RANKING TOP GOOGLE Search Derric Haynie

Ranking #1 in Competitive Keywords Using Smart SEO

I was a high stakes poker player for about 10 years, but always knew I wanted to get into business. My first company was a simulator for a card game similar to poker, learned how to develop a product and get it to market (poorly), then realized I had to do better at marketing. That's when I really discovered digital marketing and all its glory. I'm currently head of growth at Rebrandly, focused on growth testing and inbound marketing, and my agency is now focused in social media management, growth, and advertising.

This is How I Ranked #1 in a Super-Competitive Keyword

I would have to say this one blog post I wrote called "Top 10 Digital Marketing Agencies in San Diego." I was able to rank #1 for a heavily competed keyword term because I used a better strategy than all the digital marketing agencies in my city combined. That's my one most favorite "hack."

Check out the SEO steps I took to rank my post #1 in Google, instead of paying $16 PPC for the competitive keyword in the video below:

My Top 3 Tips for Startups to Get Traction

1. Get customers before starting to build your product, during product development, and really at every minute of the day. You don't need your app to launch to get customers, or at least fans of what you are doing. It's super important to be in constant connection with customers. If you don't have 10,000 (adjust for your own business) people eagerly waiting for your launch, you probably just have a bust company.

2. Talk about / blog about your competitors, your industry, what you are doing, and anything directly related to your product. Show people what's up and give them sneak peaks.

3. Copywriting is key to success. If you can't get the right message across, find someone who can and pay them more than you think you should.

The Most Common Marketing Mistakes I See Among Startups I’ve Worked With

Starting a company with too little money is #1. People want a shoot the moon social networking app that is "mobile, local, and social... bro." This means it's going to take millions to succeed. They started "bootstrapped" and hoped that funding would fall into their lap, but they've never started a company or raised funds before. Guess what, you probably need more experience before you can succeed with this company. Can you put it on the backburner while you work for someone else and then come back to it once you've made the right connections?

Another huge one I see is being too broad with your startup or product offering. I'm just as guilty too with my agency, we started serving everyone everything, and eventually we found we couldn't scale. When you strip away different verticals and horizontals, you differentiate yourself and make yourself more unique, not less accessible (which seems to be what founders think). Niche so hard it hurts. Pick a vertical and a horizontal, then a niche segment. Focus on that super small pie, and if you succeed you can open the doors later to everyone.

Tools I Use Religiously for my Marketing Work

1. Mixpanel or Kissmetrics are crucial to understanding user behavior and engagement with any kind of SaaS tool.

2. Asana for ongoing project workflow.

3. Time Doctor for understanding where my time is going and how to optimize it.

4. Drip for email marketing automation.

5. SumoMe is great for email lead collection.

Focus on finding the right tools for you by vetting multiple options, getting good at scouting and understanding tools, and testing them out. Tools make life easier, so it behooves you to know how to onboard one into your daily routine.

What I Read

Neil Patel

Moz blog

Andrew Chen's blog - He's the guy that leads Growth @ Uber


The Sales Lion

Growth Hackers


I follow all those guys on social. But I also don't find myself looking at social media for great reads or information from individuals. Instead I'd recommend Facebook groups or Slack channels. Here are a few:

Traffic and Copy (started by Vincent Dignan who was featured on Marketing Ramen a few weeks ago)

Startup Study Group on Slack

Growth Marketers on Facebook

You can connect with Derric through his daily live Facebook show called Growth Marketing After Dark, check it out here: derric.link/page

Subscribe to my newsletter and get more articles like this

Derric Haynie

Derric Haynie is Head of Growth for Rebrandly, a URL shortener making it easy to create and share branded links. He’s regularly seen speaking and blogging about startups and growth marketing in San Diego, San Francisco, and across the universe.