International SEO consultant, digital branding expert, speaker and blogger, Milosz Krasinksi wears many hats with ease. His career has involved creating and implementing digital growth strategies for start-ups and small businesses. Before acquiring Chilli Fruit Web Consulting, he was known for growing UK tech start-up Plus Guidance (now acquired), and Sigma Digital Marketing Agency.
A hardcore link-building specialist, Milosz currently helps international brands strengthen their link-building strategies so they can develop deep and long-lasting relationships with their clients. His processes have been highly effective, helping him conduct outreach to almost 1 million websites!
So you can imagine we’re thrilled to have him here on Cloudways. Keep reading for some perceptive insights into improving digital branding, conducting SEO audits, using link-building to improve outreach, and more.
Cloudways: So glad to have you with us, Milosz! Can you begin with telling us about Chilli Fruit Web Consulting? How did you come to acquire it?
Milosz: Nathaniel Smithies, who was one my first business mentors, gave me an opportunity to acquire an agency as he had started his own tech startup a few years previously in London. Before that, I started out as a solo entrepreneur building clients’ websites and developing a few custom development projects.
This quickly reached a point whereby I was connecting creativity and technical skills and, therefore, decided that it was the right time to acquire clients looking for 360 sort of management. Years later, specializing in online visibility through outreach brought us to the right level of high ticket long term clients.
Cloudways: You’ve built quite a name for yourself as an international SEO consultant. What’s the process you use to conduct an SEO audit of your client’s website? What are the key areas you look at?
Milosz: While my team and I have moved from development site, technical SEO to off page signals, we are using this type of knowledge very comprehensively when working with clients as it helps us to evaluate the quickly we can move forward, how fast we can move the needle and, how soon the visibility can be improved.
From experience, I can tell you that 9 out 10 times, the issue is within off-page optimization. A lack of relevant keywords, lack of synonyms. A basic “People also ask” within a given piece/article always poses a challenge, but this very much improves content as it prevents fluctuations from jumping excessively from different positions in SERP.
Secondly, basic mapping keywords to avoid never ending keyword cannibalization in a master document should be cultivated with the entire content team. Although this may sound like 101 SEO, I’m constantly seeing that only a few are following this type of advice.
The two steps above help us to stay on the right path as, in the past, both parties – we and clients – wanted to focus only on delivering epic links. After a while, if you don’t see any improvement, something isn’t right. Thankfully, it is never too late to go back to the basics.
The last two things I want to touch on are: companies from non-English speaking countries, that are willing to improve visibility in English speaking countries, seriously need to think twice when hiring a content team just for the sake of having tons of blog posts.
Always either define who your target audience is or, re-define later if no data is given. Is it a high level CEO decision maker, or just any old user who might happen to be scrolling, clicking and sharing via social media but with no specific purpose?
Cloudways: It can be tricky to walk the line between best SEO practices and good creative design. As both an SEO specialist and a branding expert, how do you think agencies can balance the two? How do agencies commit to great digital branding while still optimizing their SEO?
Milosz: I think this is something that a lot of brands fall down on. Despite processes and techniques moving on, a lot of brands are still keyword stuffing, resulting in an awkward and unnatural narrative.
Rather than thinking about traditional SEO as part of my brand, I separate the two – I focused on defining and developing my brand, improving the user experience and establishing myself as an authority to begin with. Once this was underway, I focused on SEO through my content. SEO is incredibly important but shouldn’t ‘take over’ your branding.
Cloudways: While some are quick to proclaim link building dead, it is at the core of your SEO efforts. What results can agencies reasonably be able to expect from quality link-building efforts?
Milosz: Quality link building has, quite literally, been the making of my business. This is because high value link building is all about building a network and setting yourself up as a thought leader in your industry. It also, of course, widens your reach to a huge extent. Rather than dead, link building is very much alive and kicking and, as important as ever.
Cloudways: How can agencies use link building to improve outreach, and develop deeper and more meaningful customer relationships?
Milosz: This is exactly what I use link building for. I carefully research who I want to link to in order to make sure that linking to them will present me with opportunities to reach people who will be interested in my content and will, possibly, require my services. By using link building consistently and effectively, I’ve managed to make my name known in the industry which means, ultimately, less work for me in terms of marketing.
Here is an example of an email I got recently from a very engaged person that read one of my blog post.
Cloudways: You’re big on using digital PR to improve a brand’s online presence. What would you say differentiates digital PR from online marketing efforts? And what are the top challenges agencies face when conducting digital PR campaigns?
Milosz: I think that this is something that confused a lot of people to be honest. In simple terms, PR is all about generating brand awareness and manipulating public opinion in order to form long term branding and recognition.
Online marketing, on the other hand, is a more short term activity which aims to identify audiences and make conversions. Brands should, of course, be using both of these as a matter of course, but the challenge with PR is in quantification. It’s always a good idea to hire a professional PR firm to increase awareness, however, this can be expensive and results can be difficult to quantify. To combat this, I use dedicated PR specialists so that I can keep an eye on costs and results.
Cloudways: You’ve talked about the risks involved in rebranding, such as potentially irking your loyal customer base. How can brands owners and managers mitigate these risks and make an informed decision on rebranding their services?
Milosz: Very carefully! As you say, the big danger is in alienating your existing customer base. You can mitigate the risk of this by anticipating questions and concerns and contacting existing customers beforehand, explaining why you’re rebranding and how this will benefit them in the long run. It also doesn’t hurt to offer customers an incentive to stay with the new brand. A great way of doing this is to offer customers an exclusive affiliate opportunity for the new brand.
Cloudways: What’s your secret to exponentially growing your digital agency?
Milosz: Arm yourself with some solid, really interesting data and tell the world about your findings. This is how Elephant Agency became famous – by auditing some large enterprise websites and making a case study of them. Becoming an influencer or ambassador for some well known tools in the industry gets the job done really well.
Finally, discuss the exact precise metrics and KPIs you are going to deliver to demonstrate what you can do for the client. Remember, you can’t always make everyone happy as Google is like an unpredictable friend who changes their mood every three months so you need to bear this in mind when speaking with a client.
Cloudways: What digital tools do you recommend every agency should have?
Milosz: Linkody, Semrush, Ahref, Surfer SEO, Asana, Streak for Gmail and Prowly. Slack for private groups. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of other SEO agencies, as it isn’t really scalable to be a lone wolf in this ever evolving industry. Consider having your own tools. We have built internally this way – and, with a little investment, you can do the same!
Cloudways: And lastly, who would you recommend we interview next for this series?
Milosz: Alexandra Tachalova (link building agency owner), Francis Mommens (solo developer and founder behind Linkody), and Damian Salkowski (CEO & Founder of Senuto).
Our thanks to Milosz for his keen expert insights! Keep up with Agency Gurus, as we continue to interview top agency owners and specialists.
Manal works in digital marketing at Cloudways, where she shines up content primarily by torturing the Oxford comma. After hours, you can find her rambling about books, movies and music, and ranting about media and politics to anyone foolhardy enough to listen.