The most successful SEO Meetup in the USA.
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Have you ever wondered where all the SERPs on the web come from? They're created by SEO Bot. If you want to know how to do SEO - you'll want to learn from SEO Bot at the Raleigh SEO Meetup.

Check out this heated debate about the best link building strategies.

If you have been asking these questions, you don't want to miss this:

  • Is there a high ROI link outreach strategy?
  • Where can I get started with link building?
  • What practices will get me in trouble with the search engine, what not to do?
  • How to measure link building results, ROI?
  • When and how to complete these tasks?
  • How to perform a backlink audit, and read/understand the data?

JR Ridley

JR (@ridley_jr) has been working the world of SEO and web design for 4 years now. As a political science major, he decided the most relevant use of that political science knowledge was in the completely unrelated world of Digital Marketing, and he's been working with Go Fish Digital ever since.

He has overseen technical SEO for businesses of all sizes, is Google Analytics land Mobile Sites certified and also can code in HTML, Java, and C++. Doubling as a soccer referee, he spends most weekends on soccer fields around northern Virginia or loudly cheering on the New England Patriots.

Tripp Hamilton

Tripp (@Tripp_Hamilton) has worked in Internet Marketing since 2012, where he got his start through Google Penguin penalty remediation. He helped hundreds of companies navigate through penalties, by analyzing backlinks, manually removing backlinks, and having regular communication with Google to lift the penalties.

His primary focus was off-site SEO in the beginning of his career but has moved to performing on-site technical SEO audits, implementation, and web design. In his free time, you can find Tripp at an NC State basketball game, campgrounds around Falls or Jordon Lake, or at a park spending time with his kids.

Patrick Stox

Patrick Stox (@patrickstox) is an SEO professional located in Raleigh, NC. He is a Technical SEO for IBM.

He is an organizer for the Raleigh SEO Meetup, the most successful SEO Meetup in the US, and also the Beer & SEO Meetup. He is also a contributing author for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and Search Engine Journal. In addition, he's a speaker at search conferences around the world.

Does this sound like something you've said recently:

"I'm overwhelmed with everything I need to do, what can be automated?"

Maybe you run an e-commerce store and want to...

"post my products on a new website today, and it would automatically post to Google Merchant, Amazon, and eBay (to start) as well as create a press release that distributes to my media list."

Other topics discussed include:

  • How can I automate these business processes?
  • How can I setup email drip campaigns and sales funnels?r
  • What are marketing automation solutions available for a range of budgets?
  • How can sales funnel automation be used to generate leads?

Search Analyst at Adapt PartnersGrayson Parks enjoys all aspects of digital marketing, from creating content that is both engaging and informative, to data-driven projects that offer new insights and understanding.

Chris Douglas

Chris Douglas (@FlyingNCMBA) has over 15 years of experience in helping companies build brands, both traditionally and digitally. Chris earned his MBA through ECU while working full-time as well as earned a Single and Multi-Engine Pilot's License along with an Instrument Rating.

Chris runs DCD Marketing in Raleigh, which focuses on Marketing Automation and providing clients a resource marketing director, as well as using marketing technology to further their reach and lead generation efforts. He is the founder of Triangle Marketing Club.  Along with his "Intern Army," Chris has disrupted the professional networking scene in Raleigh for Marketers.

Helping the TMC Interns learn marketing led Chris to begin teaching digital marketing at ECU for the College of Business, as well as working to create a Digital Marketing Certificate at the undergraduate level at ECU.

When not doing all that, Chris is husband and a father to a 5-month old that puts meaning to all the work he does.

Check the replays of this meetup!

Looking for a debate over the best SEO tools? You've come to the right place.

Each of our speakers has a different perspective on the SEO tools they use and love. The best tool for a job is not the same when you work for a local company focused on promoting their own website, compared with an agency serving many clients.

You also have a different perspective on SEO tools when your job is to build them. Even within agencies, there are different opinions when you have a focused set of tools to serve your niches versus an array of tools for diverse projects.

The Speakers

Russ Jones (@rjonesx) of Moz, Chris Long (@gofishchris) of Go Fish Digital, Cole Watts (@cole_watts) of Waste Industries, and Lee Kennedy (@LeeLKennedy) of Coalmarch Productions - these four will debate which SEO tools are the best. You will not only learn the SEO tools they like, but also why they like those tools, and if it's the right choice for your project requirements.

Here's a list of the SEO tool categories discussed:

  • Browser Extensions
  • Keyword Research
  • Link Building
  • Local SEO
  • Directory Submissions for Local SEO
  • Competitive Research
  • Technical SEO
  • Rank Tracking
  • PPC Analysis
  • Content Optimization
  • Backlink Analysis
  • Algorithm Update Lists
  • Search Flux Monitor
  • Tutorials/Education
  • Free SEO Tools
  • Paid SEO Tools
  • Freemium
  • Other

These are a few of the questions our members have been asking about SEO tools which inspired this discussion.

  • Too many tools and conflicting opinions, what's working right now?
  • I need to setup online directories, is Yext the right tool for this job?
  • If I don't have the money to spend on Yext, what else can I do?
  • If I can't afford the best tools, what is the next best thing?
  • I have time, but not much money, is there a free option?
  • Lots of tools and lots of data, how do I interpret all this information?
  • How do I train my team to use these tools and make decisions with this data?

Check out the replay of this meetup:

Content Marketing is a strategic approach which consists of creating and distributing high-quality value to engage an audience and turn it into revenue.

How to use Content Marketing

Do you find yourself asking...

  • What content do my visitors want, what should I write/create?
  • Can I identify what content marketing efforts are working and which are not?
  • How to measure ROI of content marketing?
  • What are the high ROI content marketing best practices?
  • How can writers use SEO data to improve content marketing?
  • How would you create a content marketing plan for the next eight weeks?

Steven van Vessum

Steven van Vessum (@Stevenvvessum) has been in the SEO industry for over a decade. He's worked with large and small companies from all over the globe, from a variety of niches.

After being an in-house SEO for three years, he was approached by Google to join their Search Quality team. Instead, he chooses to start his agency which he ran for eight years. All of this knowledge and expertise culminated when he co-­founded ContentKing. ContentKing is growing fast and has recently been shortlisted for 2 European Search Awards.

Grayson Parks

Search Analyst at Adapt PartnersGrayson Parks (@GraysonParks) enjoys all aspects of digital marketing, from creating content that is both engaging and informative, to data-driven projects that offer new insights and understanding. I'm always looking for ways to innovate and improve SEO processes.

Kat Haselkorn

Kat Haselkorn (@KatContentQueen) is the Director of Content at Go Fish Digital, a full-service digital marketing agency based in the Washington, DC area. She has helped dozens of clients boost their overall brand presence and increase search rankings through innovative content strategy and SEM techniques. Kat's work has been featured in The Huffington PostSearch Engine Journal, and Social Media Today, among other well-known industry publications.

Check out the replay of this meetup, so you don't miss anything

This presentation had a special focus on Google Analytics. However, many of these concepts apply to any tool you're using to collect data about visitors to your website and customers buying your products or services.

Given all the various analytics platforms and mountains of data, members of the Raleigh SEO Meetup want to know:

• How do I apply this information in my business?

• What one social media site should I focus on first, why?

• How to identify the best outreach methods, timing, message, and more using split tests and other data?

• How can I use SQL databases and server logs for SEO purposes?

If you have been struggling with similar questions, this event is for you.

Lee Kennedy

Lee Kennedy (@LeeLKennedy) has been working in the marketing agency world for over 6 years with a big focus on SEO, PPC, and Analytics and currently, as the Analytics Director at Coalmarch Productions, he runs the technical side of the marketing department, where a large part of the job is overseeing the setup, QA, and reporting for the 40+ Google Analytics accounts that Coalmarch manages.

In our first Meetup of the year, we met at Milton's Pizza to hear these two remarkable people

Jake Bohall is the Vice President of Hive Digital and an instructor for Fortis College through ASPE, leading their Search Engine Optimization Boot Camp course. Jake is recognized as an online columnist, entrepreneur, and serves as a board member of an educational non-profit. His near-decade of experience in these diverse areas make him often sought-after to speak on topics of entrepreneurship, education, and web-based marketing strategies.

Phil is the Director of Technical SEO at Adapt. He has been working on the web since the late 1990’s doing everything from web development and system administration. He found his true calling about ten years ago when he started to move from web development to online marketing. Phil has worked for multi-million dollar e-commerce websites, SaaS software companies, advertising agencies and even other SEO agencies.

Getting started with SEO

Did you know that more than two million blog posts are published every day?

This means that more than one thousand people have posted their blog post since you started to read this.

These days, when content publishing has become so massive, it is necessary to stand out; it's a priority.

SEO techniques give you visibility among the sea of content that has become the web nowadays.

First of all, we need to define what SEO even means, sure it stands for Search Engine Optimization, but we need to know what is being optimized.

It's not only the images, or the design, or even the links... you need to optimize all of these aspects, but not only that.

It is the process of optimizing your content to be in the top results after a search of a particular keyword is performed online.

In simple English: SEO is about making sure that if someone introduces a set of keywords such as "Gluten free pasta," and if you have a gluten free pasta business, your content appears in the top results.

You could check out the Wikipedia's definition of SEO for deeper information

Who can you trust?

One of the most important things out there is trust, and who you can trust; there are plenty of techniques known as Black Hat SEO which are aggressive strategies that focus not on a human audience but the search engines, and frequently don't obey search engines guidelines.

Among the techniques that might be used for a Black Hat SEO strategy, we could find keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, adding unrelated keywords to the page content or page swapping (changing the web page entirely after it has been ranked by search engines).

This kind of strategy might lead you to a quick financial return, but in the long term it would end up with your website being banned from search engines, leaving you without traffic. So if you think that this is the way, you should think twice before using Black Hat techniques.

What is Machine Learning?

This concept is pretty important because it's all about non-explicit programming, the computer explores, studies, and constructs an algorithm that it can learn from to make predictions based on data.

Being such an important part of the future of SEO strategies, machine learning is something you can expect to make Black Hat techniques increasingly difficult. Check out Wikipedia's definition of Machine Learning to get more insights.

Here's an important definition: Mobile First

When we refer to Mobile First we are talking about a mobile UX Design by implementing responsive JavaScript, it’s possible to tell websites to adapt to whatever device a person is using to view a website. Want to know more about mobile-first UX design?

Which direction is Google taking?

You have probably noticed the direct answers offered by Google for various search queries. As an example, take a moment and type "miles to feet" into Google. The result is not only a direct answer, 5280 feet in 1 mile - but also a conversion calculator built into the top of the results page. Think about the Star Trek computer and the number of people that carry a smartphone in their pocket, making those mobile devices into Star Trek computers is probably not far from what Google envisions for the future.

What should you do now with SEO strategies?

Make sure that your strategy follows the following aspects:

Additional important in SEO strategies

These are also important, but there's no need to rush it. Take your time to implement the following aspects:

Recommended reading for your SEO strategy:

This being said, and after all this explanation you should go and read the following:

Learn why technical SEO is more important than ever, and why SEOs need to truly understand JavaScript and its impacts. Crawling has changed, and our tools need to change with it. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the impact on how just the technical items can still have a dramatic impact.

Do you have questions about content strategy, marketing automation, SEO, and using data to inform your marketing decisions?

Join us to learn from one of the best data-driven marketers in the country.

Mike King

Mike is the founder and managing director of iPullRank, a digital marketing agency focused on Content Strategy, Solutions Architecture, Marketing Automation, SEO, Social Media, Measurement, and Optimization. He is based in New York City, but he travels the country speaking at events like Internet Summit.

You’ve used the latest SEO technique to build the most search engine friendly site around. How do you know that it’s successful?

You can measure revenue, traffic, phone calls, form fills and downloads, but you need to put all of that information together to understand what your online marketing spend has produced. Going from your spend to your earnings is more than a one-step process.

Mark Sherwin and Greg Shadik take a deep dive into conversion funnels, analytics, and metrics, so you get a complete picture of how well you’re performing actually.

Mark Sherwin


Co-founder of LeadsNearby@surewins is president of client solutions for the full-service digital marketing agency. Mark has more than 17 years of experience in both online and traditional marketing.

Using his strong marketing background, he has developed effective interactive marketing campaigns including paid search, affiliate marketing, SEO campaigns and more.

Mark specializes in implementing programs that achieve high results and deliver a high return on investment.

Greg Shadik

He is LeadsNearby’s Customer Success Manager and Certified Google AdWords Specialist. He stays abreast of what Google looks for in SEO, PPC, Social Media and Digital Marketing Content.

Greg uses this information to optimize both paid search and organic search efforts for LeadsNearby’s local service clients. His specialty is analyzing results and adjusting interactive elements to improve ROI.

Watch the full replay of Deep Dive Into Performance - Understanding Analytics & Conversion Metrics Meetup

For several years now, Google has said that it uses more than 200 signals to rank pages. Many of them have more than 50 variations within a single factor.

It's rare that Google confirms any of the factors, but in the past year, they have confirmed the top 3 ranking factors.

Last year Google confirmed RankBrain was the third most important ranking factor, but Google refused to say what the first two were.

That is until earlier this year when Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said the other two factors were links and content.

JR Oakes and Patrick Stox will break down some of the things that Google may be looking for with regards to content, links, and RankBrain and tell you what you need to know about each.

JR Oakes

JR Oakes is the Director of Strategy for Consultwebs, an agency that specializes in online marketing for law firms throughout the United States and internationally.

He is in charge of developing and managing the company’s comprehensive approach to search marketing strategy for their clients.

In this role, JR analyzes and adapts strategy to address the constantly changing factors that affect online visibility.

He leverages data analysis, testing, and SEO / development best practices to help the team provide more value to their clients.

He is also one of the co-organizers of the Raleigh SEO Meetup, a Search Engine Land author, and is a member of several SEO groups around the country.

Patrick Stox

Patrick Stox is a Technical SEO Specialist for IBM and one of your organizers for the Raleigh SEO Meetup.

He’s also an author for industry blogs such as Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and Search Engine Journal. Patrick speaks at major search conferences and has spoken at both SMX Advanced and SMX West this year.

WordPress is growing

WordPress has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world. There are about 75 million sites running on WordPress (about 20% of all sites on the web).

If your is one of them, then you can stand out or be one of the millions being ignored.

This Meetup covered 19 things that you need to know about to get your website to the next level. Basic functionality, how to keep it streamlined, what plug-ins are worth it and which ones will kill you, adding Google Analytics or Tag Manager code without yet another plug-in, how to increase visibility, using hooks and choosing a theme that makes sense.

Phil Buckley

Phil Buckley is a self-taught web technologist from way back in the 1990’s. He learned to love search engine optimization, social media and digital strategy over the last 15 years.

His blogging insights on how to save the newspaper industry were noticed by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University but never by the newspaper company he was working at.

Phil’s super power is the ability to make the über-geek jabber understandable to mere mortals and to explain marketing speak in binary code.

He organized the country’s most successful SEO Meetup in Raleigh, NC. For five years and started the Digital Marketing for Business conference in 2013. Today, you can find Phil working as the Director of Technical SEO at Adapt.


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