This winter has already brought record cold and plenty of snow where I’m at. In fact, as of writing this post, one local ski resort has already reported over 170 inches of snow this season. And a few weeks back, over Thanksgiving weekend, I even had to make a pit stop at a dive hotel to escape a winter blizzard during a road trip.

My 2019 Sled Ride

I’ve had some fun though. My kids busted out the sleds one weekend and headed for a sledding hotspot from my childhood, Happy Hollow.

My 2019 Sled Ride

Despite sledding giving me a bit of a youthful feeling, it was also quick to remind me that I’m not as young as I used to be after falling to the ground… twice. At the end of the sledding day, I was wondering how bad I would be hurting the next day. But the day’s bumpy rides are always worth the rewards at the end of the journey, as I kept rerunning my kids’ smiles in my head.

Those short-term bumps for long-term memories and rewards are a lot like how I feel when I look back at 2019.

When I started my search engine optimization company back in 2007, I knew there would be a lot of work, and that part hasn’t changed. But the excitement that comes with each new milestone makes the tough days well worth it. Here’s a look at some of the milestones I’m most proud of for 2019.

Featured in Entrepreneur

Last month, my advice for using solid SEO and web design practices to build a rapport with Google was published in an article. My first on Entrepreneur.

Featured in Forbes—twice!

Also last month, I was consulted for and contributed in a Forbes article detailing how brands can make the connection between testimonials from existing customers and value that they want to communicate to potentially new customers. Less than a week later, I was featured in a second Forbes article as I described how being transparent and vulnerable can help businesses improve their storytelling and build their brand.

Named to the Forbes Agency Council

I was honored to be accepted into this invitation-only organization for successful executives and entrepreneurs. Members are selected based on their depth and diversity of experience and invited to share their insights as an up-and-coming thought leader in their industry.  Check out my Forbes profile here.

My 2019 Sled Ride

Published in Forbes

I published my first solo piece in the online magazine shortly after being named to the Agency Council. It was an honor to be featured this year in Forbes articles among other writers, but to pen my own is another level of appreciation. This first articlet is titled “Constant Connectivity Does Not Equal Productivity: Two Surefire Tips To Reclaim Your Personal Life,” and my next post about the right questions to ask before hiring an SEO company is already in the queue at Forbes.

Managed SEO for the Utah Jazz’s retail Team Store

I remember going to my first Jazz game almost 30 years ago. I remember who they played (the Denver Nuggets), the roar of the crowds, and the thrill of looking onto the court from the nosebleeds. Taking the Team Store on as a client was a dream come true, not just because of the clout they carry here in the Beehive State, but because of the strong emotional tie I have to the team.

Boarded our second largest individual client ever

Though we love clients of all sizes, we were very excited to welcome our second largest individual client in the history of SEO National. One of the reasons I started this company nearly 13 years ago was that I had seen enough of the turn-and-burn relationships of so many “quantity-over-quality” digital marketing firms out there. I knew I could never run that kind of a business. When we sign a client, we aim to keep them growing and increasing revenue for many years to come, and we’ve been fortunate to do this with the vast majority of our clients. We look forward to doing the same with all of the new clients we signed this year—big and small alike.

Shifted our content strategy

After reading a lot of research about the benefits of longer content, I adjusted our strategy from four to five shorter blogs per client per month to two long-form blogs. We still spend at least as much time creating articles, but they are longer and meatier, and our internal testing shows major benefits from this shift. I think we have one of the best writing teams around who consistently turn out well-researched and engaging content to keep our clients’ target audiences coming back for more.

SEO traffic increase results?

Traffic increase by the hundreds of percentages.

My 2019 Sled Ride

And this next screenshot just boggles my mind. One new article that we wrote for an apparel company has shown up 45,271 times more on Google than their home page. That’s the power in targeted content research and copywriting.

My 2019 Sled Ride

(click to enlarge)

Wrote a book… finally

You know when you walk down the aisles at Barnes and Noble and see those perfectly jacketed books resting quietly on the shelves? I sometimes wonder what that book’s journey was like? Was it written in a perfectly sunlit home office with classical music playing in the background as the click-click-click of computer keys produced page after page of a perfectly manicured book?

My experience was…er…kind of like that—but with the phone ringing and business meetings during the day, kids needing rides to ski lessons and another glass of milk before bedtime. Along the way, I learned that there’s a difference between what easily comes to the front of your mind versus translating that to paper, and that has given me a profound appreciation for fellow authors.

And then, I have learned about editing. So. Much. Editing. This book has been “done” since early 2019, but I wanted to fully read it one more time to make sure everything came across as I hoped in one continuous read. After doing that, I ended up rearranging a lot of paragraphs, even some chapters. This prompted me to read it cover-to-cover a second time to make sure it flowed correctly. Then more shuffling ensued, so I proofed it a third time.

The problem? Finding time to fully read a book on top of running a business and being a husband and father— that proved tricky. It took me three months to find enough time to proof a few chapters my third time around. Then, it took me seven more months to find the time to proof the remainder. And, as with everything, you are your own worst critic.

And so it is with great pleasure that I announce my finished book that is chock-full of comprehensive, actionable information on search engine optimization: “Outrank.”

A younger me with only a hope of starting a successful business couldn’t have even dreamed of a year like 2019. A big shout out to my family, team, and loyal clients for helping make it possible. If 2020 is anything like 2019, now with a book in hand and Forbes credibility, it’s going to be one thrilling sled ride.

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