IAM2126 – Understanding SEO Strategy, Widens Your Visibility

Special Podcast Interview with Lynn Howard and Amanda Furgiuele

In this episode on The Pursuit of Badasserie Podcast, Gresh shares insights from his experience and emphasizes the importance of building and leveraging media companies and dives into discussing the eight essential business pillars.

Gresh recounts his journey into digital marketing and SEO, underscoring the significance of community, long-term strategy, and being open to opportunities.

The conversation also touches upon entrepreneurial spirit, the human aspect of marketing, and the value of being clear on goals, targeting, and resources.

Listeners are encouraged to chase their dreams and utilize the power of community and strategy in their business endeavors.

Episode Link: Understanding SEO Strategy with Gresham Harkless

Business Pillar: Visibility

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Gresham Harkless 00:00

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. And I wanted to share with you one of the episodes that I was a guest on for someone else's podcast. I always talk about how important it is to build a media company. One of the next best things you can do is be on somebody else's media company.

So I had the pleasure of being a guest on this podcast, and I wanted to share a little snippet with you because it would help support the Eight business pillars. We've really been trying to focus on with a lot more of our content, a lot more of the solo episodes that I'm doing.

So make sure of course, that you subscribe to our podcast, but of course you take some time out, check out the show notes, subscribe to the podcast that I've been featured on as well, too, and get to learn about some of those eight business pillars.

pillars and how you can continue to leverage and build that up so you can go from builder to architect to, of course, a rock star and luminary. So this is Gresh signing out. I hope you enjoy this I AM CEO special episode.

Amanda Furgiuele 00:52

What really started that shift in towards what is considered now the more traditional digital marketing SEO world.

Gresham Harkless 01:00

Yeah, I think a lot of it happens sometimes when you aren't sure we were even talking about SEO not sure what to do. Sometimes you come across the right people or the right situations and it leads you in that direction, but I've always been interested in I always say I was tech geek and interested in websites, building things.

I built a computer when I was in high school, things like that. But what kind of led me to that was I started to. Quote and quote, study those things without knowing those things were any of any value. So I got laid off from, in the midst of a couple of years, got laid off from a job. I was going to get it off from another job, but it was an outside sales job.

So I was cold calling somebody so that they would buy advertising for the company that I work for. So I, talk to him. My way to get in the door was saying, Hey, your website's not really set up. You should do this. This not thinking. These things are of any value at all. Honestly.

So I sit down with him, have a conversation with him ask him, of course, if he wants to buy advertising, he, of course, doesn't want to buy advertising, but he gives me an endorsement and wants to be 1 of my 1st clients at the time for the SEO.

And so I'm able to work into that. So I wouldn't say that I was. aware of it. I would say that it was brought to me as something of value. I didn't see the value until I met him. I went to a networking event, met other people that were like, Oh, you know about this thing. And it just started to snowball from there.

So I wish I could say that I was the smartest person in the room, but I just was following whatever that that magnet was leaving.

Lynn Howard 02:24

I love that for several reasons. 1st of all, we don't have to be the smartest person in the room and it drives me crazy when people are saying that we do have to be.

And actually, you don't, you just have to be clever and be open and I love that maybe you weren't looking for it, but you were open to the opportunity and you were, you uncovered it because you were giving right and Amanda and I are big advocates of give, give, give to receive and you are actually navigating and we love sales.

We wrote a whole book on it, but you were giving to be able to navigate. Maybe we're doing that to get the sale, but it sounds and, reading your bio and reading about you that it comes natural for you and that really opened up the door. And then you're like, ooh, maybe this is bigger.

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Gresham Harkless 03:08

Yeah, I would definitely echo that. You're absolutely right. Because I think that. I didn't really know what it was going to be, but I knew this is my superpower. So to speak, this is something I'm passionate about. This is something I could do to help. And then hopefully, things will come out from there.

I'm not sure what it's going to look like. I didn't know that. I probably wanted to start business at some point. Don't necessarily think I had the confidence, I think probably is the right word, but I think that as those things start to happen, I just started to try to help people out in whatever way I could, whatever talents or gifts or even things that I feel like I have experienced or known and then just try to share that along the way.

Lynn Howard 03:43

I think 10-year-old Gresh would just not agree with you. If you already saw news, your newsletters at 10 years old that's incredible. I love that. That's that young entrepreneurial I love that. And I actually, I do want to bring it back to that, because I was literally in a talk yesterday that I did for a rotary club.

I was talking about handwritten in writing out different things that I send postcards to. All the little kids and in my kind of girlfriends, families and stuff all across the world. And like, how beautiful that was. Cause I lived overseas as well. And we would send family letters back home.

Even though internet was a thing at that point, but still like to be able to get that handwritten or that even printed one about this is everything that's happening. So it looks like you definitely have that creativeness and then the entrepreneurial spirit. and cleverness way before you even understood it.

Now that you can bring it back to that point in time, that's really fabulous.

Gresham Harkless 04:40

Yeah, absolutely. I would say it's probably a little bit naive. It's hey you didn't even know you just doing it. When you're younger, you're just doing things. You don't think about, oh, I want to make a lot of money or I want to be successful.

I want to go viral or any of those things. You're just doing things from a passion standpoint.

Amanda Furgiuele 04:53

But I think that's one of the things I love about the entrepreneurial spirit at its core is that you do just do you do the thing. You don't get afraid of it. You don't question yourself so much. You just decide I'm going to do this and then you do it.

And that's, what little Gresh was doing?

Gresham Harkless 05:07


Lynn Howard 05:08

That's right. So, you are all about blogs and podcasts and videos and you really leverage technology. So, if somebody's coming to you, like, where do you start with them? What's your process?

Gresham Harkless 05:22

Yeah, I think everything starts from a conversation.

I think so many times that I talk a lot around building a media company. And I usually compare that to going to the grocery store to cook your favorite dish. And I'd say a lot of times people go to the grocery store, they go hungry. They're jumping, dropping everything into their card, dropping all the ingredients, all the things, they all look good.

They all sound right, but they aren't necessarily essential to what you're trying to build. So a lot of what I try to do during that 1st conversation is just trying to understand what and where people are trying to go. I usually say that there's three main questions. I usually try to get as much information as possible.

And those are ongoing questions, which are around their goals. What does success look like? Does it mean selling more books? Does it mean selling t-shirts? Do you want to have more speaking engagements? All those things I think will tailor how you execute on your strategy. The next is who you're targeting.

Who are you actually, providing value for solutions for and helping. And then the next is honestly, just your resources, which usually can mean time or money. So, when I'm trying to have that 1st, initial conversation, I'm usually trying to get as much information around those. things because I believe that and I call all these marketing tools, all these things that we have out there ingredients.

I believe if you get clear on those questions when you're trying to figure out what the ingredients are for the thing, the recipe or the dish you're trying to make, you're going to be able to make sure that you're getting the ones that help support that. And I think a lot of times people don't necessarily go to it from that.

They hear the new fab and you hear the new thing that they need to be doing rather than saying, okay, this is where I want to go. So will this support me in terms of getting there?

Amanda Furgiuele 06:56

Yeah, it's all about strategy. It really is, you have to get clear on what your goal is. And you have to really put those strategical steps in place.

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Otherwise, you're all over the place, and you're just putting eggs in every bucket that you see. You're putting some eggs in a drawer. There's some eggs over there next door. You've got to really focus in on what you're trying to achieve, and then go all into that thing and really strategize around it.

Otherwise, you're going to be all over the place.

Gresham Harkless 07:23


Lynn Howard 07:24

I love that. And especially with you being on the digital side, marketing and SEO and all this other stuff, because you hear a lot of people in that world, like bright, shiny object. Oh, we can get you a million overnight. Blah, blah, blah. And you're like.

Bringing it back to the basics and the actual foundational structure that every business should be built upon for sustainability, for scalability, for really to survive, survivability at this point. And because otherwise it can be a success overnight, but it's not going to be long-term, right? You're selling an empty egg, a shell of an egg.

And I love that you bring it back to that. How is that navigating that with your new people? Because they're probably not used to hearing those questions. They just want to hear what are you going to give me?

Gresham Harkless 08:11

It is extremely difficult, and I think it's extremely difficult a lot of times, because there's so much misinformation out there.

And even people that are using, I don't know if I want to even call it salesmanship, but a lot of times, because we know that people want things yesterday, a lot of times, if you make those promises, make those proclamations, then that's going to attract people. But I just try to, Kind of march to the different drum and beat and not be true to those things.

But it can be sometimes difficult, but that's where a lot of times you start to attract the right people that will support those things. And I'm very transparent about SEO. Like, when you're picking all the ingredients, each of them have pros and cons. And I'm really I try to speak to the fact that SEO is generally speaking a long term marketing strategy.

If you think that you're going to get on page one on day one, then, you've been promised something that, that isn't probably going to happen. Of course, there's so many different considerations. If you're ranking page number two, then of course you can help improve that. But generally speaking. If you understand that it's a long-term marketing strategy, it's going to attract the right people.

And that's one of the reasons that I talk a lot around SEO because I've started to find over the years, over 10 years of doing this, that if I talk about long-term strategy, it will probably remove people that aren't interested in that and want that quick fix. And sometimes that helps me to attract the people that are actually going to be the right people that we can serve.

Amanda Furgiuele 09:38

Yeah, it's like stock market theory. So it's like when you're talking about financial advisor, you think, okay this is your stock market stuff. This is the stuff that you're investing in, but it's not going to pay off until For a while, because I've had some clients who literally we go over like a basic, very basic social media or SEO platform.

And then a week later how come I'm not ranked yet? I'm like it's been like, 5 days. I give it a minute. But yes, it's understanding where you're how long things are going to take. It really is an important concept.

Lynn Howard 10:06

Yeah, I do love that. We used to call it repelling. So, when you're actually speaking and truly who you are, what you represent in your purpose and being really clear about that, you'll actually repel those that are not your clients, which will save you so much time and energy and headache much later on down the road.

So, I love that. But yeah, talk a little bit about, like, how a little bit more about community and what how community can support you in your entrepreneurship in your marketing and every facet that you have your hands in.

Gresham Harkless 10:44

Yeah, I think community is huge. I think we're made to be in community in some different form, shape or fashion.

I think during the pandemic sometimes I won't say it. I think some people think it negatively affected. I think it evolved the way that we communicate and we do it in different ways. But funny enough with that cold call, I made that I was talking about when I got started that cold call. What's who?

Was to a BNI member who actually introduced me to BNI which is where I started my business. So I love BNI as well, too. And I'll say this so many times, I think we get into the the nuts and bolts of business, which is, of course, important. You want to make sure you have your, your P and L and your SEO's all those things in place.

But what really helped me, and when I talked about that confidence piece within my business was actually being in a BNI chapter because I didn't necessarily have that environment that was supporting me to start a business, but BNI allowed me on a weekly basis to be able to do that. And I can't say enough about the impact that it has.

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So it speaks directly to the community. I think so many times when we don't have the confidence, we don't know what we want to do, or we have like really ambitious goals or things that we want to focus on, it's. We can go so much further if we go together, rather than by ourselves. And I think community speaks directly to that.

So I think if there's something that, someone might want to achieve they may feel a little doubt, may not be aware. If they can do that, find a community, tap into that community because you start acting, you start doing the things without, you have that naivety that I had when I was. in. I still sometimes have now because you're in the environment of people that are doing certain things that you want to do.

And I think that's the power of community. It just brings people together when you have a bad day, somebody else is having a great day when you have a great day, somebody else is having a bad day. So you start to go through things together and helps you get, I think, closer to at least the goal that you want to have.

Lynn Howard 12:31

I love that because a lot of people won't make this correlation, but marketing really is about people dynamics. It is about the numbers and the navigating and stuff. But really, if you actually boil it down to the human side, we're looking for some kind of connection to feel a part of something and that.

And I know that you do more than marketing. You have all the other stuff with SEO and stuff like that, but. To me, that adds in addition to everything else that you're doing. And I love that. I love that. You represent that. And I know you have a global team as well as Amanda and I do, and that it's something that's a core.

I would assume a core value from what I've read and understood of you of yours and we love that.

Gresham Harkless 13:09 Yeah, it's usually, I would say we forget about the people aspect of business and we forget about the people aspect of life. And that's really the, we talk about even if we go into the nitty-gritty of all of it, all it is really trying to understand how people are searching and the data analytics, all those things reflect that.

But it's at the core, like what people are. So I think that understanding, and that's why I said, that's one of my core questions, who are you targeting? You understand them and you continue to understand them. That's going to direct as SEO changes, as platform changes, all as life changes.

You start to be with your North Star to the people that you're trying to serve. And it's huge, but it's often overlooked.

Amanda Furgiuele 13:47

So if you could leave the audience with one last tidbit of things that you think about in their SEO website world, what would it be?

Gresham Harkless 13:54

I think one of my favorite quotes that I always go back and, this pertains to marketing, but also it's a life in business and everything is don't tell me that.

The sky's the limit when there's footprints on the moon, and I think there's so many times I listened to so many motivational things when I was getting started and talking about the community, of course, being around people. But now we have podcast books, blogs, videos that we can lean on to create that environment.

And I think 1 of the things that really stuck with me is that there was things that we're using right now that people laughed at. And then think we're possible. So when you have that dream, that aspiration, that goal, that invention, whatever it is, don't let people tell you that it's not possible. It might be hard.

It might take a lot of time, but don't feel like it's not possible because I truly believe that even if you don't get to quote unquote, the goal, whatever that is just the pursuit of it, just the journey towards it is sometimes the gift in and of itself. So just continue to chase those dreams, chase the things that you want to have.

And yeah. Make it a phenomenal day.

Hello. Hello. This is Gresh again. And I hope you enjoyed that special episode of the I AM CEO podcast. Just like I mentioned in the beginning, we're really trying to laser focus on these eight pillars and show you as a builder, how you can leverage these eight pillars and really level up there.

So it helps you level up your business and organization. So hope you enjoyed this episode and definitely please check out the show notes and learn more about the pillar, learn more about the person that I guessed it on their episode. And of course, learn more, a little bit more about us as well, too. This is grass signing out.

I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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