Trending March 2024 # Google Ads Pulls Plug On Dedicated Support For Many Premier Partners Starting April 1 # Suggested April 2024 # Top 4 Popular

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Some Google Premier agencies began receiving a surprise message yesterday: they will no longer have dedicated contacts for their accounts.

We were made aware of this later yesterday by Jeff Ferguson via a post on Twitter:

What Information is Google Ads Providing?

Is This Happening to All Google Ad Partner Agencies?

According to follow-up questions, this will be happening to the majority of agencies, but not all of them.

The rep did not further clarify the criteria for which agencies are and are not experiencing this.

When Will Dedicated Service End?

When pressed as to whether an increase in spend would reverse this, there was no direct answer, just a reiteration that service will cease tomorrow, April 1.

Agencies affected by this can expect to receive these notifications today from their Agency Development team, if they have not already.

Why Is Google Ads Pulling This Service?

No reason was given, though the form letter stresses it has nothing to do with the upcoming changes to the Google Partners program slated to launch in June of this year.

They are encouraging affected agencies to rely on the support line moving forward, noting that “things may change in the long run.”

This indicates this may not be permanent, but currently it’s the direction Google Ads is going.

How Will This Change Likely Affect Agencies?

The hands-on relationship with assigned reps meant a dedicated person to contact for things like ad appeals, white listing into beta offerings, and a direct line for client questions.

This comes on the heels of Partner qualification changes announced in February, which included increased required spend levels, certification requirements for staff, and utilization of Google’s Recommendations in a given account.

We will continue to monitor updates as they become available.


A Google spokesperson provided Search Engine Journal with the following statement after publication:

“We recently made changes to Google representative support for our small and mid-sized agency partners. These changes are not related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. They are part of a routine review where we evaluate our support level for all agency partners. Status as a premier partner does not impact their agency representative status.”

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Drags And Pulls On Liquidity

Drags and Pulls on Liquidity

Factors that negatively affect a company’s cash inflows and outflows

Written by

CFI Team

Published May 12, 2023

Updated July 7, 2023

What are the Drags and Pulls on Liquidity?

The drags and pulls on liquidity are the factors that negatively affect a company’s cash inflows and outflows by determining a deterioration in its liquidity position.

A drag on liquidity exists when cash inflows lag, for example, because a company is facing trouble with the collection of its commercial credits. A pull on liquidity is generated when cash outflows happen too quickly or when a company’s access to commercial or financial credit is limited.

Drags on Liquidity from Uncollected Receivables

It often happens that a company is willing to sell goods and services while accepting a delayed payment. However, sometimes companies face issues with the collection of their commercial credit, for example, because one or more customers are experiencing deterioration in their business.

For an analyst, the drags are often visible from an analysis of balance sheet trends and ratios. For example, a deterioration in days sales outstanding (DSO) is often an indication of negative developments acting as drags on liquidity.

Increasing levels of bad debt expenses are also a useful indicator to identify issues in the collection of receivables.

Drags on Liquidity from Inventory Obsolescence

If a company’s inventory is turning obsolete, it will experience a drag on liquidity as the value of such inventory declines, turning into lower cash inflows than planned. Sometimes, such inventory can’t be sold or used at all, while in other cases, the company may need to sell it at significant discounts to the usual price.

Moreover, obsolete inventory may still occupy space, require labor, and generate storage costs that can be avoided. A good indication of increasing inventory obsolescence is often given by slowing inventory turnover ratios.

Drags on Liquidity from Tighter Credit

If access to capital worsens or becomes more expensive, a company’s liquidity may worsen. Credit conditions vary due to the action of several factors, including:

1. Changes in business fundamentals

Deteriorating fundamental trends, such as declining sales, falling margins, or poorer cash flow generation, are factors that would worsen a company’s creditworthiness. As a result, tighter conditions may negatively affect the company’s liquidity position.

2. Industry trends

Sometimes, whole industries suffer, or are exposed to, unfavorable trends. As a result, credit conditions granted to the companies operating in such industries can worsen, triggering a deterioration in liquidity.

3. Overall macroeconomic conditions

Bad trends in capital markets, rising interest rates, or recessionary environments are examples of macroeconomic factors that can negatively impact a company’s access to credit and worsen its liquidity position.

Pulls on Liquidity from Early Payments

Granting commercial credit is common in many industries. It often implies that a customer is allowed to pay 30, 60, or 90 days after a purchase is made.

A company that pays its suppliers, creditors, or employees before the payment is due is creating a pull on liquidity. It is a commonplace among companies to hold payments until the due date without any anticipation of payments.

Pulls on Liquidity from Trade Credit Pulls from Reduced Lines of Credit

As a supplier can reduce the amount of credit to a customer, banks can also reduce the amount of credit available to their customers.

Banks may decide to reduce the lines of credit to a company for many reasons:

Company-specific reasons, such as deteriorating business trends in the company or in the bank itself. In other cases, it can be a response to a customer’s poor track record of debt repayment.

The reductions may be mandated by governments or may be due to conditions in the credit markets, such as tighter access to funds from central banks.

Solutions to Drags and Pulls on Liquidity

The drags and pulls on liquidity should be identified and corrected promptly, especially when significant. The measures that are taken obviously depend on the specific type of drag and pull involved.

For example:

Failure in collecting receivables can make it necessary to involve debt collection agencies and to make changes in the payment terms given to customers. In some cases, companies may stop allowing delayed payments to certain types of customers.

If obsolescence is becoming a problem, the company should find a way to monetize the obsolete inventory before it becomes a significant drag on liquidity. It may also need to rethink or refine its inventory management system or strategy if it contributes to the issue.

If a company expects credit-line restrictions in the future, i.e., as a result of worsening market conditions, it may try to open credit lines well above the actual current needs.

More Resources

Build A Brilliant Google Ads Audience

If you’ve been working with Google Ads/AdWords for a while, you know that it’s great for targeting intent.

But “the almighty keyword” is losing its potency.

Not because keyword targeting isn’t effective, but because Google Ads is pivoting away from contextual and keyword targeting in favor of audiences.

As we lose control of precision matching, we have two (seemingly) less-desirable options: Get better at audience-first targeting, or lose market share to those who do.

But, done right, Google Ads audience targeting is a great way to reach – and generate demand among – your target market.

So, let’s look at what’s changing and how to win in the new “audience first” landscape – even if you’d prefer to stick with keywords.

The Upside Of Audience-First For Alphabet

Whether or not a keyword-less approach is in your company’s best interest, it’s certainly working well for Google’s parent company Alphabet.

This chart shows reported annual revenue (in billions), with an overlay of the release of non-keyword products.

Google’s success is obviously due to more than just keyword-less ad offerings. But the expansion of its inventory is non-trivial.

Our prospects spend far less time Googling a product than they do not Googling a product.

Your audience at any given time:

This expansion is great for Google’s bottom line, but how about yours?

Here’s a step-by-step look at how to build an audience-first strategy that keeps you competitive.

Create An Audience-First Strategy

An audience-first strategy isn’t entirely different from an intent-first strategy, but you’ll need to reframe how you target your prospects.

Define Your Campaign Objectives

The campaign’s goal reveals the best approach to take with strategy and targeting. Consider this frequently-asked audience question:

“Should I exclude remarketing from the audiences in my campaign?”

If the purpose of your campaign is to reach new audiences, then it would make sense to exclude prior visitors or customers.

If, however, the objective is to reach people who are familiar with your brand, then this exclusion would be fatal for that campaign.

Knowing your objective will make successful audience selection much easier to think through.

Define Your Audience And Segments

No, we’re not going to imagine a specific user avatar, what color shirt they’re wearing, and what they ate for breakfast this morning.

Instead, consider the attributes that make your audience unique in how they shop for, value, or use your product or service.

Consider things like:

Who they are.

Why they’re that way.

How they’re solving their problem today.

You generally won’t find these answers in your Google Ads data.

It requires work outside of the platform (such as surveys or interviews) to research the characteristics of your customers.

Let’s say you’re selling plant-based (vegan) burgers.

Your audience might include multiple segments:

Beef-lovers who need to reduce their red meat consumption or want to try something new.

Devout vegetarians who want an alternative to dry black bean patties.

Those two groups have different desires, motivations, and alternative options.

They’ll respond best to different messages, and possibly different landing pages and offers.

We’ll need a segmented message strategy for the best results.

Build Your Audiences And Segments In Google Ads

Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you need a plan to reach them.

To reach vegetarians who might enjoy our plant-based burgers, we could target:

Screenshot from Google Ads, April 2023

The audience segment types available in a specific campaign will depend on the campaign type or network you use.

For example, you can target Life events (such as marriage, graduation, or moves) on Display, but not Search.

You can create new segments from Audience manager or directly in your campaign or ad group from the Audiences tab.

Create Distinct, Specific Ad Groups And Campaigns

An exception to this rule is Search campaigns, where intent is strong, and audience segments can be layered into keyword targeting without separating them completely:

But for non-Search campaigns, your audience segments are filling-in for keyword intent, so you’ll want to keep distinct segments separate.

Create Ads Targeted For Your Segments Track And Optimize Your Segments

You can stack multiple, similar segments within an ad group.

If the same person matches more than one segment, Google Ads uses this hierarchy for which audience type gets the credit:

You’ll also find a lot of audience segment data in Audience Manager.

Segment members.

Match rate.

Network eligibility (including segment size).

Segment distribution.

Segment use.

Evaluate your audience performance and edit your settings to optimize and improve your campaigns.

“Don’ts” Of Audience-First Targeting

Don’t target arbitrary attributes. Build audience segments and targeting around meaningful attributes, not arbitrary observations. Categories like age and gender are easy to track, but typically won’t define your market.

Don’t “set it and forget it.” Just like keyword optimization, audience optimization is an iterative process. Pay close attention to overly-broad terms in your custom segments.

“Do’s” Of Audience-First Targeting

Do expect a learning curve. Google Ads has been evolving its functionality and terminology over the last several years, making it feel new and unfamiliar. Be patient with yourself as you (re)learn the ropes.

Do know the rules. Your industry, government restrictions, and other requirements will impact whether and how you can market. Review Google Ads support documentation and updates regularly, so you can stay in the loop.


An audience-first strategy for Google Ads will help you prospect and reach your target market.

Knowing how to group and speak to individual market segments will improve your performance and increase your chances of success.

More resources:

Featured Image: Alones/Shutterstock

How To Link Google Ads To Google Analytics Step

🚨 Note: All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. That’s why it is recommended to do the GA4 migration. We’ve also created a GA4 version of this post.

Google Ads and Google Analytics are both powerful marketing tools on their own—but what if you could get the best of both worlds by connecting them?

In this guide, you’ll learn why you should link Google Ads to Google Analytics, how to do it, and how to make sense of the collected data. 

An overview of what we’ll cover: 

So let’s start!

Why Connect Your Google Ads and Google Analytics Accounts?

Linking your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account has two major benefits that you wouldn’t be able to leverage from these tools separately. 

Observe the Behavior of Google Ad Traffic

Firstly, you’ll be able to track the behavior of the users that visit your website from a Google Ad.

For example, did the user visits other pages on the website? Or did they leave immediately? Are they more likely to convert than users who arrived from other sources?

You can answer all of these questions by importing Google Analytics metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, and Average Session Duration into your Google Ads account.

Thus, linking these two accounts extends your ability to track traffic and user behavior. It also tells you about the quality of traffic that you’re buying with Google Ads.

Google Analytics Retargeting Audience

Secondly, you can retarget an audience from your Google Analytics account using Google Ads. 

Depending on your requirements, you can create different types of audiences in Google Analytics and target them using Google Ads.

Apart from this, you can also import Analytics goals and Ecommerce transactions into your Google Ads account for better goal tracking. Similarly, you can import cross-device conversions into your Google Ads account when you activate Google signals.

So let’s see how to connect these accounts!

Log In with the Same Email Address on Both Accounts

We’ll start by logging into both of our accounts.

🚨 Note: Make sure you are logged in with the same email address on your Google Ads account that you are logged in with your Google Analytics account.

First, find your Google Ads email address at the top right-hand side of the screen.

Your Google Analytics email address will be found under your account name.

Next, we’ll need to check whether we have the correct account permissions set for connecting. 

Check That You Have the Right Account Permissions

One major thing we need to take care of is to grant correct permissions. 

Let’s see how!

Google Ads Permissions

Then, check your access under Access level. You need to have Admin access level set up with your email address.

Google Analytics Permissions

Go over to the Admin section at the lower left-hand side of the platform.

Under User Management, you need to have edit access to the account.

Link Your Accounts Together

Check the compatibility of your Google Ads IDs.

Choose and input an account name in the Link group title field. This way, if you have multiple accounts that you connect to your Google Ads account, you can determine where this is coming from. 

Choose where you want to pull data from. You are allowed to choose multiple views. 

Enable auto-tagging to automatically pull data from your Google Ads account into Google Analytics. 

You may also want to leave auto-tagging settings as they are, especially if you are utilizing UTM tags and you want to avoid mixing it up with the auto-tagging feature.

You may also want to try to link Google Ads and Google Analytics through Google Ads’ linking wizard.

So let’s go ahead and see how the data will look once the two accounts are linked! 

Looking at Live Data

Open the homepage of your Google Analytics account. You’ll be able to see all the campaigns and reports under Acquisition → Google Ads → Campaigns. 

On the top of the screen, you’ll see the sales charts. It will show the number of Users vs. Transactions report of a particular timeframe for your campaign.

Going further down on the Campaigns page, you’ll see the different metrics of your campaigns. 

For example, you’ll find the Cost and Revenue in this report. You’ll also see the Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, Sessions, etc. for your campaigns. 

Similarly, you can analyze and compare the results of different campaigns to increase their effectiveness. 

For example, the bounce rate of a smart campaign can be considered good even if it’s around 80%, but the bounce rate of a shopping campaign will be considered good only if it’s really low.

You can definitely obtain revenue-related information from your Google Ads account. But when you analyze the reports with your Google Analytics account, you can make more informed decisions as you have a holistic view of data. 

FAQ What account permissions do I need to connect my accounts? What data can I see once my accounts are linked?

After linking your accounts, you’ll be able to see more data in both Google Ads and Google Analytics. In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition → Google Ads → Campaigns to view campaigns and reports. You’ll see sales charts, metrics like Cost, Revenue, Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, and Sessions. You can analyze and compare the results of different campaigns to optimize their effectiveness.

How does linking Google Ads and Google Analytics help with decision-making?

Linking the two accounts provides a holistic view of data, allowing for more informed decision-making. While revenue-related information can be obtained from Google Ads, analyzing reports in Google Analytics provides additional insights and a comprehensive understanding of user behavior, enabling better decision-making for ad campaigns.


So that’s all you need to know about linking your Google Analytics account with your Google Ads account. 

Have you started doing keyword research for your Google Ads campaign? Check out our handy guide on how to use Google Keyword Planner for SEO keyword research.

How To Use Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool For Predictive Keyword Research

The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a useful tool; there’s no doubt about that.

Whether you’re starting your first Google Ads campaign or your hundredth campaign, having a plan or forecast is critical.

But have you ever thought of using the Keyword Planner as a way to forecast trends in the future?

Staying ahead of the curve by predicting demand can set you apart in any competitive market.

In this post, I’ll walk through how to use the Keyword Planner tool and how to use it so your PPC and SEO efforts can work together.

What Is The Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool?

It’s one thing to know what’s trending now.

That’s a valuable asset for any digital marketer.

But what about what will be trending tomorrow or farther into the future? How do you even predict that?

The Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool does just that.

It’s an awesome option for anyone looking to up their SEM and SEO game by narrowing down the future potential for any keywords or groups of keywords.

According to Google, it updates its forecasts daily with data from up to 10 days past.

This data includes market changes that occurred throughout this time.

It also considers seasonality, so you’re not confused by natural market fluctuations.

In short, Google Ads Keyword Forecast is a pretty cool tool.

How (& Why) To Use The Forecast Tool

The forecast tool is a multifaceted part of Google Ads, and it just goes to show how useful the Ads platform is as a whole.

It goes well beyond today’s data and delivers insights for the near future.

It can even help inform other future efforts or initiatives, as well as benefitting other channels like SEO.

So, what does this forecast tell you?

The forecast tool will help you figure out how your keywords will perform in optimal settings.

You can:

View a chart of your estimated performance.

See projections for individual keywords or grouped keywords.

View how these estimates change when you adjust your max CPC or bidding strategy.

Your forecast has a date range, and you can change the time frame to see how it affects your forecast.

There are two ways to see forecasts on Google Ads, so let’s break down the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool for you, step by step.

How To Use It For Forecasting

Within the Google Ads Keyword Planner, you’ll find something called a forecast.

Once you’re here, you can enter an individual keyword or a group of keywords that are separated by commas or line breaks.

The three tabs are Forecasts, Saved keywords, and Negative keywords.

For the forecasting side of things, you’ll obviously want to stay under the first tab.

You’ll see a selection of forecast data based on the keywords you entered.

Automatically, Google Ads will forecast on a defaulted monthly basis:


Cost or your average projected spend.


Average cost per acquisition (CPA).

Here’s an example of what the aggregated forecast looks like based on your inputs:

You can update the date settings if you’re looking for a shorter or longer period.

In the end, you’ll be left with a pretty nifty graph and data chart that showcases future predictions (or forecasts) for your selected keywords.

This helps you determine the best plan of action for campaigns to come and even lets you know if you should adjust existing campaigns based on consumer queries and behavior.

Remember that the numbers you see associated with each metric are what you’re likely to achieve for your keywords or a group of keywords based on your ad spend.

These numbers will change if your budget changes, proving just how holistic Google’s approach really is.

However, Google clearly shows that spending more doesn’t necessarily equate to better conversions.

When you’re done, take one or all of these steps:

Download your forecast. To do this, select the download button on the page.

Think about how this fits into your paid media, SEO, and content marketing roadmap.

Is This The Only Way To See Forecasts On Google Ads?

Short answer: No, it’s not!

When you use Discover new keywords, you can:

Discover new ideas for keywords.

Edit an existing list of keywords based on what the data shows.

But in addition to these, you can also see a performance forecast once keywords are on your plan.

As an optional measure, you can create a new campaign based on positive forecasts.

Or, you can use them to beef up your existing campaigns.

If you want to add keywords to your plan from Discover new keywords so you can forecast their performance, you can follow a few simple steps:

Choose either Add to plan or Add to existing campaign.

Select Add keywords, and voila!

How To See Keyword Trends In Google Ads

The best way to see keyword trends in Google Ads is within the “Saved keywords” section from the left-hand navigation.

Average monthly searches.

Three-month change.

YoY change.

Competition (low, medium, or high).

Ad impression share.

Top-of-page bid (low and high ranges).

An example of how this would look in Google Ads is below:

Combine this historical data with forecasted projections from your Google Ads account, and you’ll have a comprehensive picture of keywords for your industry!

Note: While the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool accounts for things like bid, budget, and seasonality, historical data doesn’t. Just keep this in mind during your comparisons.

How Google Ads Keyword Forecast Tool Fits In With The Overall Paid Media Mix

Paid media is best served holistically. PPC should not be operating in a silo.

While the Google Ads Keyword Forecast tool should be a well-used component in your marketing repertoire, it’s not your only friend.

By using all these tools combined, you can craft a well-planned, holistic marketing strategy.

Identifying core keywords and trends can help inform marketing areas such as:

PPC strategy and realistic budget.

Content and copy creation.

On-page SEO.

Fuse the Google Ads Forecast tool with other tools, like:

Google Trends

Search traffic by any given term or company.

You can compare terms and entities, plus visualize data by location, related topics, and breakout terms.

Use Google Trends to answer the question: What are some recent changes in the landscape?

Google Benchmark Report

This report lives inside Google Analytics.

The Benchmark Report looks at your individual traffic and compares it to the industry benchmark.

Remember that this benchmark comes from the overall industry, not necessarily a particular niche within that sector.

You’ll see how you stack up against national players in the game.

The most useful part of this report for you is comparing your own historical and current data, so you can see just how far you’ve come.

Google Ads Automated Insights

This is a recent development from Google.

Using the power of Google Trends, it imports relevant data into your Google Ads account.

With that data in hand, you can see breakout terms and their forecasted growth.

It’s a super-powerful addition that can potentially improve business and marketing planning by a landslide.

If there were ever a way to slide into a new category before the competition, this is it.

Semrush Data

Learn today’s keyword search volume and compare it monthly for the last six months.

You’ll know what the search volume used to look like and use that data to determine what keywords you should be focusing on now and in the future.

Their keyword planner also offers forecasts, so that’s another tool you can add to your toolbox.

Google Intelligence Events

Using artificial intelligence, Google Intelligence Events tells you if there’s a marked change (either up or down) in your site traffic.

You can even select your own events to automate tailored insight.

A cohesive combination of tools will help you boost your business like the pro you are.

Keep in mind these are just a handful of tools — you’ll find plenty more to back you up along the way.


The Google Ads Keyword Planner Forecast tool has a wealth of information.

Whether you’re looking to add new keywords to your campaign mix or understand future trends for your existing campaigns, this tool has it all.

Not only are the forecast trends important, but what’s even more important is how you use the data.

Forecasting trends helps more than just identifying competition and potential budget; when coupled with other tools, it helps you create a powerful, holistic marketing plan.

Use these tools to help you stay ahead of the game and keep a leg up on your competitors.

More Resources:

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

Sean Si On Starting A Seo Company The Right Way

On June 21, Search Engine Journal’s Philippine team had the privilege of attending a one day marketing conference called SEO Summit 2014. I interviewed one of the hosts, Sean Si, about his company SEO Hacker and its humble beginnings.

You mentioned at SEO Summit that your company, SEO Hacker, started out as a one-man team before becoming one of the leading SEO companies in the Philippines. Can you share a brief history of your company’s journey?

Yeah, sure! I started providing SEO services as a side job in January of 2010–one month before I graduated from college. I studied IT but I was a really bad student because I didn’t like the course to start with. It was fun for me because I love writing and I got to work from home.

Things started to roll November of that year. Clients grew and I was looking to register SEO Hacker as a legal business, which I did April 2011. I met some people along the way, such as Jason Acidre, who I hired to work remotely for me. He did some link building during that time for my clients. I also hired an editor who worked remotely to manage my outsourced writers.

I worked solo until I figured I couldn’t do it alone anymore. Clients were growing, I couldn’t see myself working with remote people because I didn’t know better during the time.

So I hired my first two in-house guys November 2011 to help me out and rented a small 30 sqm. office where we could stay, brainstorm, train and work. It was a very exciting time for me. I’ve always imagined handling my own team.

Today we’ve grown to an in-house team of more than 20 people and counting. Some of us work remotely (including myself) because we have systems in place that allow us to be efficient and productive even when we’re working from home or anywhere else.

What tips could you share about hiring an SEO team, especially for start-up businesses?

To make my answer more complete, I want to take an excerpt about hiring from my book (to be published in hard and soft copy this August) since I wrote it out there anyway.

“Hiring people is perhaps one of the most difficult and critical things in starting up a company. You don’t simply hire people to relieve your team of pressure. That would be stupid. No, you hire the right people. Why?

Because the right people are self-motivated, driven, and love working with the same kind of people. The right people hate working with the wrong people. You don’t want to dilute your team with the wrong people. This is perhaps one of the most perplexing questions I’ve ever asked myself when I was starting out: “How do I know if I’m hiring the right people?”

As our clients grew, so did our need for people to help us do the job. My hiring strategy started out as posts in Facebook. I had more than 2,500 friends there and they would refer people they knew to SEO Hacker. Which is completely fine–at least it came from a connection somewhere–until we’ve exhausted that strategy. And we didn’t exhaust just my Facebook, we exhausted all my current team’s Facebook connections.

So we got all the people we could from Facebook connections and referrals. There were some who I had to lay off. There were some who just suddenly up and left and never came back. There were some who politely said their goodbye. In all, we’ve had some people come and go in our early years.

Of course, as the founder of the company and the main leader, it breaks my heart to see good people leave–in whichever way. We spent time together, had fun, learned a lot, but now had to part ways. That’s just how it is in business. You can’t really stop people from leaving. But you don’t have to wait until people tell you they’re leaving to do something.

So we finally consented to getting job ad packages from job websites like Jobstreet in hopes of getting the right people. We have hiring processes and strategies in place. But how do you know if the person is the right fit?

Three things: Character, Commitment and Skill.

Character is something you can never trade nor largely develop. It is something that has been mostly intact within a person since the day they became conscious of their personality and environment. It’s heavily difficult to affect character in terms of work ethics, camaraderie, integrity, and overall values. I place a heavy weight on a person’s character. Someone who I think does not have the right character for the job will not make it to the team. That person may well just affect the team chemistry negatively.

Commitment deals with a person’s drive and loyalty to the company. How far do you think this person will run for you when push comes to shove? How long will he or she stay and help build your company’s dream and vision? Yes, long-term commitment is rewarded but it is first sought in the hiring process. I continually ask applicants “How do you see yourself with SEO Hacker five years from now?” I’ll have a good idea of their level of commitment from their answer right there.

Skill is one of the last attributes of a person I weigh in the hiring process. That’s because skill can be taught much easier than character. It can be affected and improved by processes, environment, and tools. However, a person with little to no skill to start with has no place in SEO Hacker. We are a team that is looking to help us build a great, lasting company, not someone who will slow us down. We don’t spoon feed anything in our team. In fact, we make sure that every new hire hits the ground running–with shoes, of course.

One of the most effective ways to ensure low churn rate in your team is to sell them a dream. A vision. Something that you know you’re honestly headed to. Something that you’re trying to attain, even now, with little goals every day. I sell my people a dream. And not just any dream. A dream that will come true–and I myself will die trying to reach it.

One of the things I love to tell my people is that we’re going to have our own campus someday. A place where we’ll have our own sports complex, our own dormitory, research and development lab, support center, and so on and so forth. This is something that may be quite far from where we are today–but it is something that I’m definitely shooting for as the owner and founder. And since we’re growing, it’s looking truer and truer each day.

One step at a time.”

The year 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Philippines’ first connection to the Internet. In your opinion, how much has the local SEO scene changed over the past years?

Internet usage has definitely changed in the Philippines. A whole lot of people are using the Internet. Mobile data has also changed the way we live our lives. We can now use the web even when we’re away from home, and it just makes more sense for us to use SEO to make our local search results better.

I noticed on your website that you’re writing your first book. Can you share something about it?

Sure! It’s a book about how I started up SEO Hacker–all the risks, challenges, failures, and successes I’ve been through. It’s a book that’s meant to talk to people who are trying to start things up no matter where they are in life. The book deals with all things startup; from hiring, managing people, leading from the front, dealing with risk and the ‘lows’ of business, and so on and so forth. I found I really enjoyed writing about how to start-up a business when I started my “secret” personal blog.

The votes on my Qeryz microsurvey tool tell me that people prefer the title “CEO at 22: The Risks, Challenges, Failures, and Success of Starting Up Young.” I prefer that title, too so it’s probably what my book’s title going to be.

Hopefully it’ll be published this August. I’m finishing the secondary editing, I’ll bounce it to another editor and then I’ll be the final editor. The layout and cover design will be done next week. After that, it’s just a matter of costing and paper picking with the printer and we’re good to go. Soft copies will be out sooner though and will be colored, so I think it’s better to get the soft copy. It’ll be on my website’s sidebar when it’s available for purchase.

Being part of the SEO industry for years now, what would you consider as your biggest accomplishment to date?

I would consider my biggest accomplishment to be providing jobs for my team. I think that being an entrepreneur, it’s one of the best things we do to give people jobs. And not just any job, but a job that they love.

All other accomplishments pale in comparison to that. Whenever I see my team happy and enjoying their work and their environment, it makes me really glad.

Bonus Question: I see on your Google+ account that you have a sweet tooth. What is, by far, the best dessert you’ve ever tried?

I’ll give the Belgian chocolate cheesecake at Afters Cafe along Tomas Morato the crown on that one. It’s really the best dessert I’ve tasted thus far.

Featured Image: docstockmedia via Shutterstock

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