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From Econ Teacher to $25MM in Search ARR – Wil Reynolds // Seer Interactive

Episode Overview

Finding your career path as an SEO isn’t always a linear journey. In today’s Career Day episode of the Voices of Search podcast, Wil Reynolds, Founder & Director of Strategy at SEER Interactive shares his story of his transition from being a high school economics teacher in Philadelphia to launching and scaling a Search agency to produce $25MM in annual recurring revenue.

Topics include:

  • How to know when it’s time to make a career transition?
  • What skills can you take from your previous careers?
  • How to turn local relationship into a scaled business?


Episode Transcript

Benjamin: Welcome to Career Day on the Voices of Search Podcast. Today, we’re going to learn about the skills accumulated and the lessons learned from a great SEO throughout the various stops on his career. Joining us for career day is a teacher turned SEO that now runs a $25 million ARR search agency. Wil Reynolds is the founder at Seer Interactive, which is a performance-based digital marketing agency. Seer focuses on PPC, SEO, analytics, creative, and CRO services, and today Will’s going to tell us a little bit about his career path.

Benjamin: But before we hear from Will, I’ll remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Search Metrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise-scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data-driven decisions. And to support you our loyal podcast listeners, we’re offering a complimentary consultation, where a member of our digital strategies group will provide you with a consultation that reviews how your website content and SEO strategies can all be optimized. To schedule your free consultation, go to

Benjamin: Okay, on with the show. Here’s our interview with Wil Reynolds, the founder of Seer Interactive. Will, welcome to the Voices of Search Podcast.

Wil Reynolds: Thank you for having me.

Benjamin: Honor and a pleasure to have you on the show. I’m excited to hear a little bit about how you’ve grown Seer Interactive to be one of the most prominent SEO agencies and digital marketing agencies in the world. Let’s start off talking about your beginnings. How did you get into SEO?

Wil Reynolds: That’s easy. So I moved up to Connecticut with my significant other right after college after I realized that a career in teaching high school economics wasn’t going to work out. And I found five or six companies that I thought were doing really interesting things on the Internet, and I decided to just knock on their doors and try to get a job, and that was August of 1999, is when I started knocking on those doors.

Benjamin: So let’s go back a step, and actually talk about your pre-SEO career. You mentioned you’re an economics teacher … Was it high school economics?

Wil Reynolds: Yeah, high school economics. You’re not teaching that to sixth graders, that’s for sure.

Benjamin: Okay, well, it could’ve been college. You’re a smart guy. Could’ve been a professor. What is it about economics that caused you not only to choose that career path, but eventually decide to go away from being a teacher?

Wil Reynolds: Great question. So I think the thing about economics that I loved is I was in a position to help students understand kind of how the world was working around them, why their shoes cost what they cost, the economics of how people can give away an app like Facebook for free, even though that didn’t exist in 1998 when I was doing my teaching.

Benjamin: They can give away Friendster for free.

Wil Reynolds: Seriously, or You remember those days?

Benjamin: Yeah.

Wil Reynolds: So it’s really cool to help somebody to see and discover this complexity that’s going on around them in a way that educates them about what’s really going on. What made me really ultimately not be a teacher was less about the students and the subject matter, and it was more about the administration. This was 1998, and I was in a lower middle class school district, so when I wanted to teach my students about the stock market, I said, “Hey, there’s this website called Yahoo, and we can go set up fake stock accounts, so then you’re going to actually want to watch the news so you can be really invested every day in what’s happening with your portfolio.” And my cooperating teacher at the time was like, “I have this board game that we play.” And I’m like, “But this is, the kids can go online, and really interact with real companies that are going public and whatnot,” and you could just see that was not something she was interested in. And things like that just happened over and over again. If I wanted to email grades, if I wanted to save my grades in Excel instead of in a written grade book. Those were all kind of no-nos, and that’s why I ultimately decided that my love of technology was a little bit ahead of where the education space was at the time.

Benjamin: So the lack of innovation working at a public school and as a teacher in economics caused you to realize that you needed a life change, and you decided you were interested in technology. You mentioned that you were knocking on some doors of some of the biggest companies. How were you thinking about your job search up front, and who were you reaching out to?

Wil Reynolds: Well, you know what’s interesting, is I think I just took a personal inventory of what made me tick, and I’m competitive as hell. I like to win and I don’t mind losing, but I like to know whether I won or lost. And I like computers. So those two parts of my personality kind of culminated in me finding a job like search, which was, hey, every day I can check to see where I rank on 30 different search engines. And especially at that time, if you were getting your butt kicked on Altavista or Excite or Lycos or whatever, you knew it. There was no spin. Somebody out there is testing more templates, they’re trying more things, they’re studying more than you are. And because as a 21 year old I felt like I could study more, that made me feel like it was within my sphere of influence to change that or turn that around. And I just loved that everyday was a battle. Everyday I was trying to figure out what do I need to learn, how can I rank sites better, and how can I prove the value of what I’m doing? And to me, that as just the absolutely best type of job out there for my personality type.

Benjamin: So, you realize that keeping the score was important, and that led you into being interested in SEO. What were some of the roles you had earlier in your career when you shifted over to working in digital marketing? what were you focused on?

Wil Reynolds: So my title, my first title, was portal strategist. Back then most of the websites were portal driven. It was horoscopes and sports scores and all that on your home page. And that is pretty much what I did. I got my first job out of college being responsible for optimizing websites on portals, submitting URLs via different tools to the search engines, and all that crazy stuff that we were doing in the late 90s, early 2000s, that’s all I did from up until about 2001. I then ended up going into a Fortune 500 after that, after a stint at that startup net marketing.

Benjamin: Okay, so you started out at net marketing. You started a little bit on portals. When did you get more into SEO specifically?

Wil Reynolds: Well, it wasn’t really … We didn’t know what to call it back then. I was doing SEO, but my managers were calling it, “Oh, there’s these web portals out there.” But really, all I was doing was saying, when people put things into the search boxes on those portals, how do we figure out how to influence what shows up? So it was basically, first day, first real job, was SEO, was optimizing keyword intent on search engines from day one.

Benjamin: So this is around the turn of the century. You were working around net marketing as a portal strategist in 1999 to 2002. The Internet is in its teenage years, or earlier years, I don’t even know what to call them, but the AOLs and Yahoos are the most dominant players in the world. Google is not even relevant. What are some of the challenges you faced in search marketing before it was really known as search marketing?

Wil Reynolds: Great question. The biggest challenge was that there were probably about 30 different search engines, and you had to optimize for all 30, and there wasn’t a breakout where you could just optimize for one. You literally had to try to develop strategies for 30 different search engines. And some of them were lower tier, but there were times when sites like Ask Jeeves were getting 5% of search, or Direct Hit was getting 5% of search. So you can’t ignore that, right? So I think that was the biggest challenge at the time. The other thing that was hard is everybody was pretty much changing the wheels on the car as it was rolling, so every day was learning, learning, learning, learning. Going into forums, like Jim’s forum is my big one. Trying to figure out, how can I sit in these forums and learn from people about what they’re testing and what they’re trying, because there were no books. You weren’t going to learn this stuff any other way. There were no blogs. It was all forums.

Wil Reynolds: So you spent tons of your time trying to learn, tons of your time trying to test what you learned, and then time in front of clients trying to interpret what the value is of what you had done.

Benjamin: So eventually you move on from net marketer and you become what is known as a web producer as AON, which originally when I looked at this, I thought it was AOL. I’m like, okay, this guy’s a portal guy. He went from portal marketing to AOL. What is AON?

Wil Reynolds: AON is one of the … I think it’s the second largest insurance brokerage in the world. Huge company.

Benjamin: So what is web production, and how did you end up at an insurance carrier?

Wil Reynolds: So net marketing was interesting, man. People weren’t sure the web was going to be a thing in ’99 and 2000. My parents thought it was risky. The cool part was that we thought it was going to be a thing, and I was their first employee. So I was just working my ass off, really long days. But it wasn’t like that, “Oh, the boss is making me work long days.” I just loved the shit. It was so much fun to work in this business that I kind of couldn’t peel myself away. So there was a lot of all-nighters in the office, a lot of showering at the office and stuff like that.

Wil Reynolds: And I started realizing that maybe that’s a little bit much. My girlfriend at the time dumped me because I was working too much and whatnot. So I decided to start to look for other jobs, and at that same time, unfortunately, net marketing ended up going under, the two founders of the company, the brothers, twin brothers, I think it was a couple business decisions they had made related to finance and legal that ended up putting us under. So at that same time, I was already kind of looking for jobs. And I ended up getting a job at AON where I was basically a liaison between web teams and technical teams that were end developers. And I did that along with SEO and paid search for a few years there.

Benjamin: So you had a broad role that was technical but not specifically focused on SEO, and shortly thereafter, you decide to roll out [inaudible 00:10:47] and next thing you know, you’re starting Seer. Talk to me about what Seer is, and the early days. It’s the vast majority of your career. You’ve been there for almost 17 years. Talk to me about the beginnings of your agency.

Wil Reynolds: Sure. So the way it started is, I was very-

Benjamin: … about the beginnings of your agency.

Wil Reynolds: Sure. The way it started is I was very unfulfilled at Aon. You know, you go from a hotshot startup to a Fortune 500, especially a Fortune 500 in the insurance space. Those people wake up every day wondering about risk, so I couldn’t even get Internet Explorer, or Firefox rather at the time, installed on my computer because it was scary.

Wil Reynolds: What I found is I was really disappointed with where I was in my career. I went from this learning every day and working with all these smart people to kind of, like, you know, you look around at 5 o’clock and nobody was around. I was really disappointed in where I had gotten in my career. I was sitting there, and I was frustrated. So I decided to start knocking on doors of companies in the Philadelphia area trying to get a job.

Wil Reynolds: Within about six months, I realized that Aon was going to be the wrong place for me, and I tried to do what worked the first time. I ended up spending about a good 18 months knocking on different companies’ doors trying to get a job with them. Some companies, I knocked on their doors three or four times trying to get a job at some of the companies in Philly, and I just could not get interviewed. I just could not get a job.

Wil Reynolds: I was just so frustrated that I started doing some freelance work and whatnot, which ultimately led to me leading Aon and then starting SEER.

Benjamin: Why couldn’t you get a job? You’ve got some experience. You’re doing digital marketing. You have a company that’s got lots of credibility. What’s stopping you from getting hired by some of the prominent companies in Philly?

Wil Reynolds: I think Philadelphia was a big pharmaceutical city, and there was a couple startups that were doing some cool stuff. GSI Commerce, who went on to get bought by eBay and whatnot. So there were some, and there were some agencies, but for the most part people just kept pounding me on, “Hey, where’s your pharma experience?” I’m like, “I can reverse engineer AltaVista, Excite, Hotbot, whatever. I’ve learned how this stuff works. You need to hire somebody in SCO. Let me just do the job. You’ll see.”

Wil Reynolds: I don’t know why. It’s still one of those things I kind of scratch my head at it. I think the funniest thing is there’s a company, who I won’t name because there’s no need to, but I knocked on their door twice trying to get a job with them two different occasions. About seven or eight years ago, their CEO sat across from me and asked me if I would buy their company. It’s one of those things where you’re like, “Dude, I was asking for like $50,000 a year. You could’ve had me build SEER inside of your company for 50 grand a year to start me off.” But somewhere the HR people or whomever never gave me an interview, so therefore he never knew what I was trying to bring inside of a company.

Benjamin: So did you buy the company?

Wil Reynolds: No.

Benjamin: No. Okay.

Wil Reynolds: We didn’t need the clients. That’s what he had to offer. He had a client portfolio to offer me, and I was already turning stuff away that I couldn’t take, so I couldn’t do it.

Benjamin: I’m going to take some liberties here, but it sounds like the reasons why you were getting rejected was you were ahead of the technology curve, right? There are these big established companies that aren’t ready to make a shift towards digital, and you’re sitting here branding yourself as I can help you do search marketing before anybody knows that they need to be in search. Isn’t that part of the problem here?

Wil Reynolds: Part of it, but these were jobs that were like, “We need you to work on the internet to help us do internet marketing stuff.” So it was close enough that I still feel like I should’ve gotten a job. But it all worked out just fine.

Benjamin: So you start doing some freelancing, and this is where SEER Interactive starts. I guess you’re overlapping between time at Aon and the freelance work that you’re doing. Talk to me about the clients that you’re taking on in the early stage, and how did you go from small to medium and eventually pretty big?

Wil Reynolds: Sure. I left my apartment and walked down to the main street of the city that I lived in at the time. I knocked on the door of a jewelry company.

Benjamin: Literally.

Wil Reynolds: Literally.

Benjamin: Knocked on the door, yeah.

Wil Reynolds: Knocked on their door. I was like, “Hey, your site’s in Flash. It looks great, and it tells this great story for a jewelry shop, but you can’t rank for all these words. Can I help you?” The guy was like, “No, I don’t need your help right now.” But I stayed in touch with them, and he referred me to somebody, and that person, his name is Peter Madden, who was across the street who ran a PR agency.

Wil Reynolds: I optimized Peter Madden’s site, this company AgileCat. Still around, still do work with them. I optimized his site for all these Philadelphia PR keywords, he ranked at the top of Google, and he was like, “Whoa, this is great. I have a bunch of clients. Let me introduce you to them.” Then he introduced me to Barbara Balongue, who runs Balongue Interiors. He introduced me to Rizzieri, Joe [Stuzzi 00:15:37] at Rizzieri Hair Salon. So he was introducing me to his local clients, and that’s kind of how I got my start.

Benjamin: You start focused on local business, right? You’re literally knocking on doors and doing your networking and kind of trading up a little bit where you’re finding somebody that works in PR, you’re helping them, you’re making connections through their clients. You’re running what I assume would be a nice side hustle at first. At what point did you go from working as a web producer for Aon while managing SEER on the side to having it be your primary gig?

Wil Reynolds: The way I ended up leaving Aon, I didn’t have SEER really set up well. I left Aon on a frustration. I was volunteering at a children’s hospital, and I said to my boss at the time, I said to her, I said, “Can I work through my lunch on Wednesdays so I can get to my volunteer assignment on time at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia?” She was like, “I don’t think we can do that right now,” and I just quit. I was like, You know what?” I called my mom. I said, “Mom, I think I’m going to have quit and start SEER full-time because I’m just trying to spend some time with some really sick kids in the hospital to take their minds off their illness, and my boss won’t even let me work through my lunch so I can get that hour back to go do something good.”

Wil Reynolds: That was really my final straw, and that’s when I was like, “Screw it, I’m out here.” I think not having that safety net as the backing really helped me to be like, “Go knock on some doors today, dude. If you don’t knock on some doors, you’re not going to get paid.” I think that fear led me to being okay with knocking on doors because I hate approaching people and pitching people on stuff. That’s just kind of how that rolled from there, just to kind of correct the record.

Benjamin: I’ve been … Sorry if I misspoke, and honestly I’ve been a marketing consultant myself independent f close to four years. One of the biggest lessons that I learned early on running a consulting business was you have to dedicate at least 25-50% of your time knocking on doors, making introductions, and networking to have a stable book of business.

Benjamin: Eventually you are knocking on doors and you’re starting to bring on some local clients. Were you focused on local clients for the next couple years? Is that what helped you scale, or did you start moving from the local Philadelphia market to people that had regional and national reach?

Wil Reynolds: Good question. I was 21 when I was at NetMarketing, 22, and I was working with Mercedes-Benz. I used to work with DoubleClick. DoubleClick was one of my clients, and they wanted to rank for banner ad keywords. I used to optimize DoubleClick to rank well on Google and Yahoo and those kind of sites. So to work with those big brands but as a young guy, it pumps your ego up a little bit, and it was very humbling to go and work with really small businesses who barely had a couple pennies to pay you.

Wil Reynolds: But to be honest with you, the story of SEER and our growth is so interesting because it’s one of not very intentional growth. I think so many people create this vision of where they want to get to that they’re kind of stepping on their clients that they have today. I took the opposite approach. Even though it was a little bit of an ego hit to go from working with De Beers or Mercedes-Benz to a local hair salon, I said, “I’m going to make them feel like I care about their dollars, because I do. I care about every dollar they give me, and I want to see them get a return on that dollar.”

Wil Reynolds: It’s interesting how far things can go when you just show people that you care. After getting those first few clients, once Peter Madden referred me to those three clients, everything after that was pure referral. I just did a great job for every single person who trusted me with their money, and if I failed, I gave them their money back. And it wasn’t even in my contracts. I was just like, “Look, I don’t feel good about taking your money if I’m not doing a great job for you.” It was that level of honesty and wanting to see my clients be successful early on that made people think about me differently, and that made me come up in more conversations, and that made me get a lot more referrals than the average agency.

Benjamin: So you start building a reputation. You start delivering for the clients. You’re earning referrals. Your agency is scaling. What’s the difference between running a bootstrapped agency, you’re working with local businesses, to scaling to the point where you’re at $25 million ARR?

Wil Reynolds: There’s a lot in there.

Benjamin: What are the stages that you go through?

Wil Reynolds: For us it was interesting. We were getting so many referrals. This is SEER’s story, and I’ve learned that it’s probably unique, but we were getting so many referrals that we were just turning business away for a good two or three years. A lot of people will talk about going into debt, a lot of people will talk about how hard it was to hire their first, second, third, fourth, fifth employee. For me, I always turned away so much business that I always knew it was there when I went to hire another employee. So I never had that fear of hiring somebody because there was so much stuff I had turned away for so many months that I knew that there was a momentum there. It wasn’t just a one-off thing.

Wil Reynolds: I didn’t really have any major, major issues until I probably got until about 10-15 employees. There I think my issue was I was always a great executor. I’ve never been embarrassed to say I’m good at execution; I’m not a business guy. But I will work my ass off, and I will execute, and I’m not above having my hands be dirty at the end of the day because I’m down building links or whatever I got to do. I was never that guy who was like, “Oh, I want to sit up here and have all these people do this work.” I liked being in the work, and I feel that that always kept me really strong in my craft, but really made me bad at running the business.

Wil Reynolds: So I made a lot of mistakes when SEER was in that 10-20 range where I would go and pick up groceries or drinks for the office. I would ask people what they wanted, and I’m buying Red Bulls and smoothie drinks and stuff for the team. Then one day when I finally hired a controller, he came in and was like, “Do you know you spent $5,000 on Red Bull, like this year?” I’m like, “Holy shit.” I had no fucking idea. It was like I was so into like, “Hey, I want this to be a great place to work,” so I just bought people the stuff they wanted. I paid no attention to the books really because it was boring to me to look at the finances. I spent all my time on my craft, and luckily the amount of referrals we were getting enabled us to get through that time without crashing and burning.

Benjamin: So you get to the point where you’re scaling, and that’s …

Wil Reynolds: … crashing and burning.

Benjamin: So you get to the point where you’re scaling, and at some point, the way that you’re building the identity, and the way that you’re supporting your company, both your employees and your clients, starts to break down, it sounds like. Or at least your costs were escalating to the point where they were unreasonable.

Benjamin: What did you do to make it through that and get to the next point of scale?

Wil Reynolds: You know, it’s another referral. The guy that sold me my house, great guy. This guy Steve [Grandisio 00:22:27], he sold me my house, and after I had bought the house, we’re sitting in his car, and he’s like, “I got a guy for you to meet.” I said, “Okay. I’ll meet him.” The guy ended up being Larry Waddell. Larry was a consultant, and really into entrepreneurship, and whatnot.

Wil Reynolds: Larry came in and really helped me to build the first frameworks for the business around how to look at my finances. That really bridged me for a while because without Larry coming in and teaching me and Crystal some of the early ways of how to run the business, I don’t know if Seer would’ve made it.

Wil Reynolds: Because I learned that from Net Marketing, that at Net Marketing, those guys were one of the first … They built a company called Net Marketing in 1995. Those guys knew the web was going to be big, and they went under. They went under on a couple of business decisions, not on their inability to know what was going to happen on the internet.

Wil Reynolds: So I learned from a tough learning early on, that just because you’re really good at search or your job, and you are running a business, doesn’t mean that that’s what you should be doing for the long term. So once we got big enough, I allowed Crystal to start running the business for me so I could stay focused on innovation and working on client work. Because I knew that that’s where I was happiest, and I knew I needed somebody to watch the business from a financial, and a growth, and business standpoint.

Benjamin: So it sounds like you understood your limitations and focused on the things that you did well, and found the support system to be able to manage the rest of the business.

Benjamin: Now that you’re focused more on the client services, and the SEO, talk to me about some of the things that you’re doing today. How are you providing value to your customers, as search and digital marketing in general have continued to evolve? What’s your area of focus?

Wil Reynolds: My area of focus these days is big data. It’s so old, in the sense of we’ve been saying “big data” forever, but if you really think about big data, and you ask people how do they use big data on the day to day, you’re going to find that 99% of SEOs aren’t. What’s they’re doing is they’re using tools that process big data, but they themselves are not intimately steeped in data.

Wil Reynolds: So what I like to do, is I like to take large sets of keywords … I was looking at a client today with five million unique search terms in the last year … and take all that data and run all the rank data on it, pull out where there’s people also asks, and map results, and snippets, and then marry that data to analytics data. Marry it to PPC data and other data sets, that will help me to find insights across those siloed divisions.

Wil Reynolds: So one of my favorite things in the world to do, is to take a PPC report with all the search terms, clicks, cost, and spend, join it to an organic ranking report and show a client where they’re spending money on keywords, where they have no content. To be able to do that on the thousands or tens of thousands of words, you start realizing things that are opening my eyes to a whole new world.

Wil Reynolds: So one of those things is, I took a tool and I put a bunch of words in it, and it came back and said, “Oh all those words, most of those words have no search volume.” I then took those words and looked them up in my PPC report, and found out that I got 750 conversions on those words. So I thought, “Hm. Isn’t that interesting?” This tool is telling me and every one of my competitors that looks at these words, there’s no reason to go after them because nobody searches for them. But yet, those words that had zero search volume according to this tool, has 735 conversions, or whatever that number was. But yet, when I looked at all the keywords that had over 1000 searches a month, and I added up all those conversions, it was only 300 and something.

Wil Reynolds: So there was double the number of conversions available on keywords that most people would ignore because they’re not joining the data sets. So those are the kind of things that I just absolutely love doing today. I think it’s where our clients are getting the most value from working with Seer.

Benjamin: So as you’re focused on working on Seer, and you’re managing these big data and analytics projects, what are some of the other things you’re doing in terms of client service, and also promoting the business?

Wil Reynolds: So one of the things that people know a lot about me is, I speak at a lot of conferences. It’s funny, I never really thought of that early in my career as business development. I never thought of that as selling. I thought of it as education because I come from the education background. You don’t stand in front of your classroom and teach them a lesson to get them to buy something. You teach it so that they can progress and learn.

Wil Reynolds: So for me, speaking at conferences, getting the word out about what’s Seer does, is big. I’m preparing right now for my seventh MozCon, where I’ll be presenting on some of the things that we’re talking about. So that’s what I spend a lot of time doing.

Wil Reynolds: I love working with clients who have really unique data challenges. So when a client says, “Hey I want to connect my sales force to my organic data, to my analytics data to see this kind of question that I’ve been asking, and I think that you guys can do it”, those kind of projects are insanely fun to work on.

Wil Reynolds: And then do the best that we can. Seer is founded heavily on the belief of volunteerism, so we’re trying to combine those things through a promotion that we’re doing right now, which is Seerfest. Seerfest is a conference that we throw … we’ve done it the last couple years … where all the money goes to charity. We bring in non-profits that work with people in our community, and let them speak at the conference as well, along side of people like Rand Fishkin, and Ralph Simmons, and April Dunford, Ed [Herna 00:27:50].

Wil Reynolds: So we bring all these really great speakers to people at a price point that’s a couple hundred bucks, which they might not be able to afford or get buy in from their companies. So it really helps me to feel fulfilled, to know that we are supporting our local community, but we’re also giving people an opportunity to meet some of these insanely strong speakers at a price point that makes them more accessible.

Benjamin: So Seerfest based in Philadelphia?

Wil Reynolds: We do it between our two offices. We have a Philly office, we have an office in San Diego. Last year we did Seerfest in San Diego. This year we’re doing it in Philly.

Benjamin: When you said, “We do it in between our two offices”, I was expecting you to say something like, “Well we do it in between, so it’s like Des Moines, Iowa.”

Wil Reynolds: No, not there. That’s for sure.

Benjamin: So Philadelphia this year for Seerfest. When’s the event?

Wil Reynolds: It’s in October. I have to look it up and give you the exact date, but yeah, we’re doing it in October this year.

Benjamin: Okay.

Benjamin: Any last words in terms of when you look back on your career and you think about making your way from being a high school economics teacher, staring your career early on with the rise of the internet, and now running a successful agency that’s also focused on volunteerism?

Benjamin: What advice do you have for other people that are considering making the change and going into digital marketing?

Wil Reynolds: The thing I would tell them is that there’s not that many barriers. If you want to learn to be the world’s preeminent Pinterest optimizer, I don’t know one, do you? There’s a lot of pockets of the web where if you just studied, you could become someone that a lot of people have to listen to. Do not allowed yourself to get in your own head. Make sure that you just continue to learn.

Wil Reynolds: I think as long as you’re willing to learn, as long as you’re willing to test, as long as you’re willing to fail, I think for most people, there’s a lot of pocket’s of opportunity within organizations, on your own, et cetera, where you can really become one of the go-to people of a pocket of the internet that’s widely ignored by most agencies today.

Wil Reynolds: So go for it. Just get started.

Benjamin: One of the things that I appreciate the most about your story is your ability to take risks, first and foremost, but also just go out and be visible. Whether it’s knocking on the jewelry store door to start Seer Interactive, to being a speaker at multiple conferences, to launching Seerfest.

Benjamin: You’re putting yourself in a place to be visible, and so I think that there’s not only having the … like you mentioned … the ability to learn and go develop the skills you need to be an expert on a subject matter, but also putting yourself out and being visible, is something that’s only going to help grow your brand. I think that you do a great job of that.

Wil Reynolds: Ah, well thank you very much. I appreciate that.

Benjamin: All right, well Wil, I appreciate that you coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure hearing your story. And that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast.

Benjamin: Thanks for listening to my conversation with Wil Reynolds, the founder of Seer Interactive. If you’d like to learn more about Wil, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes, you can send him a tweet @wilreynolds, W-I-L-R-E-Y-N-O-L-D-S. Only one “L.” Or you can visit his company’s website, which is S-E-E-R,

Benjamin: If you have general marketing questions or if you’d like to talk about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes or you can send me a tweet @benjshap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

Benjamin: If you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic or online visibility to gain competitive insights, head over to for your complimentary advisory session with our digital strategies team.

Benjamin: If you liked this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed next week.

Benjamin: Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed the show and you’re feeling generous, we’d love for you to leave us a review in the Apple iTunes Store or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Benjamin: Okay, that’s it for today. But until next time, remember: the answers are always in the data. 

Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene is the CEO of Searchmetrics Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Searchmetrics. Previously, Jordan was the Head of SEO and Content Development at eBay. During his time at eBay, Jordan focused on utilizing eBay content to improve user experience and natural search traffic.

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