Earlier this week we had the pleasure of phone interviewing the serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and digital marketing consultant Neil Patel.
1. Could you please tell me about your childhood?
Sure. I was born in London. When I was a little kid, my parents moved to Orange County, California. Not the part you see on TV, but more so the poor part away from the water. And I lived up there my whole life. I grew up in middle class America, loved it to death, and spent most of my time as a kid wanting more in life. I wanted to be rich, I wanted that lifestyle, saw it all around me, but didn`t have it. I realized later that money that doesn`t really buy happiness, but as a kid that`s what I wanted and that`s why I started looking into entrepreneurship.
2. Who are your mentors and how did you find them?
One of my main mentors is Andy Liu. He`s the co-founder of BuddyTV and he`s done a few other companies that he`s invested in, such as Cheezburger. I met him at a conference, I was speaking there, and he invited me to Seattle, Washington. I learned a lot from him and eventually become advisor to his company. Funny enough, he started mentoring me on all the different aspects of entrepreneurship and business throughout my life.
3. At what point in your entrepreneurial career did you choose to get a do-it-all assistant?
About three years ago. I just couldn’t keep up with my work, so I needed someone to help me out with everything from managing calls, calendar, a lot of the basic necessities in life.
4. And that was before the 4-Hour Workweek book?
Yes, before it was out, but I’ve never read the 4-Hour Workweek.
5. What’s been your biggest fear as a entrepreneur?
My biggest fear as an entrepreneur is not succeeding. I hate it when I create something and I can’t make it do really well. Everything I touch or work on, I want it to succeed and solve a problem for people. It’s definitely create a company and see it fail.
6. How do you allocate your time between KISSmetrics, Quick Sprout, Crazy Egg, Qualaroo, and your independent consulting work?
Sure, Qualaroo is owned by someone else now. We sold it off. Crazy Egg I don’t run, someone else does and I don’t spend any time on that. I also don’t spend any time consulting. Quick Sprout is my personal blog. I blog out there for fun. KISSMetrics is pretty much my full time job. I spend 60+ hours per week on it.
7. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned since you started doing SEO?
I can give you one that is probably the most important, something that everyone should learn. Taking the quick and easy route (trying to buy links, grow your rankings through tactics that work but that Google may look down upon) works in the short run, but not in the long run. If you really want to succeed in the game of SEO you have to create a lot of value whether it’s a good product or service, or great content educating people. If you do what’s best for the consumer, eventually (maybe not in the short run, but eventually) you should be able to do pretty well in search organically because you’ll create more press, you’ll get more leads naturally, people will talk about your product in a positive fashion, they’ll love your content. So it’s all about trying to create value and the value should end up giving you a lot of high rankings in the long run.
8. What books and courses would you recommend to SEOs?
Instead of books, because a lot of books are outdated, check out the Beginner’s Guide to SEO by SEOMoz, I ran an Advanced Guide to SEO which is on Quick Sprout, and then I’d get a membership to SEOBook, which has an awesome community and forum where you can learn a lot.
9. What are your top 3 SEO tips for 2013?
There’s actually one main tip. Just write really good content. [laughs] If I had to take three, it’d be content, create more good content, create even better content. So it all revolves around content because it really translates into success in the SEO realm.
10. What are the major trends that we’ll see over the coming 3 to 5 year in SEO?
I think more things will get away from links. Co-citations will help a little (Rand Fishkin talks a lot about that). I think another thing that will be really successful is social media. In the future there will be some sort of a social aspect tied in with rankings as well. What it will be? I have no clue yet. A lot of people are using things like check-ins. Google will rank your restaurant well if a lot of people are checking in and giving you good rankings. Someone else who owns another Italian restaurant, but does not have as many check-ins or positive reviews, won’t rank as well. I think search engines will start taking more human elements into their rankings.