Mike Chan, the host of Go and Grow Podcast, had a chance to talk to Kris Reid, the founder and CEO of Ardor SEO. In this 52-minute podcast episode, Kris takes us back to his life before he delved into the world of digital marketing. He talks about the humble beginnings of Ardor SEO and its success. Kris also shares some useful SEO strategies that can help your website rank on search engines.

About the podcast host: Who is Mike Chan?

Mike Chan, the founder and host of the Podcast Go and Grow, is fascinated with launching and marketing products, as he himself has launched products of his own. In his podcast, he talks to industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs about their strategies in starting and growing their companies and products.

Aside from being an entrepreneur, marketer, and podcast host, he is also working on several other projects. For starters, he is the co-founder of ribl, a real-time, location-based message board that allows you to discover and share relevant and current content. He is also a co-organiser of Startup Weekend DC, as well as the principal and founder of MWC Consulting, a strategy and marketing consulting firm that helps small and start-up businesses grow.

What is the Go and Grow Podcast all about?

Go and Grow Podcast aims to motivate and inspire listeners by highlighting industry leaders and entrepreneurs from different niches. It doesn't matter if they are in the sales, marketing, engineering, or product management industry. As long as they are doing and growing things, the podcast will feature their story. 

Listeners get to dig into the tried and tested strategies used by the guests to achieve their goals in business. The primary idea behind the podcast is to allow listeners to learn actionable growth and marketing concepts from the guests, then take whatever they have learned and apply them to their own businesses. 

Ardor SEO from the ground up: A brief history

kris reid

Ardor is the brainchild of Kris Reid. But, before he founded Ardor, he was a software engineer providing software solutions in the financial market. 

He worked for many different companies. For many years, this proved to be a very lucrative career—until the Global Financial Crisis swept the world by storm. 

Kris, like many others working in the financial sector, did not go unscathed by the effects of this unfortunate economic failure.

Armed with the money he saved over the years, he decided to quit the corporate grind and travel the world. This decision came easy for him since he never had his heart set on the corporate world. While backpacking across the globe, he took this time to figure out his next move.

During his hiatus from the corporate scene, he used his expertise and experience as a software engineer to develop a web game. But, as he was about to finish the game, he was presented with a dilemma. How does he get people to play it? That's when he discovered the world of SEO. 

And, being the smart cookie that he was, it didn't take him long to realise the power of backlinks and how he can earn a living from it.

He learned how backlinks help websites climb Google's Page Ranking system and how they create authority.

Backlinks are the fundamentals of how Google works. So, Kris worked this out and came up with a software that manages backlink development. And, that's how Ardor Media Factory came about. 

Today, Ardor has two main products, which are Ardor SEO and Ardor Media Factory. According to Kris, Ardor SEO is their retail brand where they offer SEO services for business. Ardor Media Factory, on the other hand, provides backend SEO services for SEO companies. So, aside from being an SEO company, Ardor is also the engine behind other SEO companies. They have offices in Phnom Phen, Cambodia and Davao, Philippines. 

Basic SEO strategies to know about

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an integral part of the growth of any website. But, most people find it confusing—mysterious even. In this podcast, Kris—a.k.a. the Coolest Guy in SEO—shares some of the basic SEO strategies used by Ardor to drive more traffic to websites to improve their search rankings. 

Use brand reputation management

Anyone can write bad things about any business and post them on the internet for everyone to see, whether there is justification for the bad review or not. So, if you have a local business, and somebody writes something bad about your business, it's going to hurt your reputation.

A good way to counter this is to protect your brand reputation even before anyone does anything nasty. You can do this yourself, as it's not really that complicated. However, it's quite time-consuming. 

You have to make sure that you have all your social media pages set up, such as your domain name, Facebook page, Linkedin page, and Twitter page. You should also have a YouTube channel, as Google loves to rank YouTube videos. 

Get your website good backlinks

If you are on an equal footing with your competitors, such as you both having the same quality website and the same amount of content, then it's backlinks that will set you apart. 

There are a variety of ways to acquire good backlinks. One way is to have relevant and high-quality content that websites can link to. However, this can be quite tricky if the nature of your business is not that exciting, such as plumbing. Kris suggests submitting guest posts on third party websites. For example, the local hardware may like to have content about how to fix the toilet. When they run your article, they will link back to your website. And, you just scored yourself a good backlink. 

If you want to be more technical, you can look for broken links on older resource pages. University pages and outdated guides are a good place to start. You can reach out to the page admin and suggest a backlink to your article with the same information. There are tools that help you find broken links, but the whole process still requires a significant amount of time and effort. But, in return, you will get high-quality backlinks.    

Tweak keywords that are ranking you on the second page

Kris advises using Google Analytics to determine the keywords that are putting your website on the second page. Tweaking them to keep you one or two spots up can get a lot of traffic. 

The inquisitive host then asks what exactly it is that needs tweaking—a question we all have. And Kris, being the coolest guy in SEO, has an answer ready for us. 

According to him, if the keyword you're on the second page for is “emergency toilet fix”, but your page says “emergency toilet repairs”, changing it to “emergency toilet fix and repairs” can give it more context, and up you go.

Take advantage of SEO Siloing

Another effective way to bump up your traffic, albeit a bit more complicated process, is SEO siloing. SEO Siloing is the act of sorting a webpage's content into different groups called ‘silos’. It will help keep your website structured and keep its subject relevance. It will also help lay the groundwork for top keyword rankings. It's a difficult subject to grasp, especially for SEO newbies. But, Kris has a simple explanation for it.

Add a call to action

Keeping your website as logical and structured as possible helps users and Google understand what it's about. But, Kris asks what's the purpose of your website.

You should also know exactly how you want people to respond to it. Do you want them to book a schedule and call you? 

You must have a strategy in mind on how you're going to capture this lead and turn it into a customer. You should have a clearly defined call to action.

How did Kris grow his business without the added workload?

As a marketer and entrepreneur himself, Mike is naturally interested to know the driving factors in the growth of Ardor. 

Kris is a good salesman, so he enjoyed excellent business growth. However, this also proved to be a problem. He's getting more clients than he can handle. And, the only solution he can think of to continue production is to hire more staff. Kris is an excellent salesman. But, when it comes to handling a large team, he is a fish out of water. 

As more and more people started joining his team, it became harder for him to monitor their progress. He didn't know what they were up to at work or if they were working at all—half the time they weren't. This resulted in angry clients. Now, it takes twice as much work to keep them happy. So, he hired an operations manager to handle both the staff and clients, which according to him, is one of the best things he ever did for his business. 

According to Kris, hiring competent people to help you manage different aspects of your business can help take some of the load off. In fact, Kris now has more time on his hands, which he could have used to relax. But, no. Not Kris. He uses his free time to learn new things.

Lesson learned the hard way: Check your metrics and finances

When asked about his finances and what metrics he uses to track his growth, Kris shares an anecdote where he learned a really valuable lesson. He shares that their newly hired accountant in Phnom Phen discovered some irregularities with the payroll in the Philippines. But, Kris was in disbelief because he trusts the office manager in the Philippines, as she has been working for him for a very long time. 

When he flew to the Philippines to get to the bottom of things, he found out that this manager has indeed been stealing a lot of money for a very long time. So, while you should trust your employees, you should still do audits from time to time.

How to acquire and keep clients

Providing high-quality services is a given if you want to acquire more clients. But, that's not all of it. You also need to maintain a good relationship with them. This is why good communication skills are an important thing to have as a business owner. Kris understands this and is quite good at it, as evidenced by the success of Ardor. 

Kris suggests that you should take the time to chat with your clients. They are, after all, spending a small fortune to do business with you. This will help you provide better service for them. 

Talking to your customers will help you understand what they want so that you can provide better services and better quality products. Plus, work becomes more enjoyable when you have a good relationship with your clients.

What’s in store for Ardor

As the podcast interview is coming to an end, the host wants to know what the future of Ardor looks like. 

Kris shares that Ardor is shifting from a marketing company to a more sales-driven company. But, his frustration in finding a salesman that's as good as him is proving to be a roadblock to this transition. For starters, they don't know the products as well as he does. They're also not as technically minded. With enough support and training, they're getting there but a bit slow for Kris's liking. That's why they're moving back to the marketing side. 

Next, he mentions that he's working on a book about digital agency, which he hopes will make people perceive him as a stronger authority when it comes to SEO. His company is also in the middle of creating more case studies and educational stuff, such as the local SEO guide he is working on. 

He also hopes that moving back to the marketing side will bring in more leads. 

You can listen to the full podcast interview here to learn more about the basic SEO strategies you can use to grow your traffic.