In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Harry Sanders from StudioHawk, an SEO agency he started when he was just 17 years of age. It is now the largest dedicated agency of its kind in Australia, employing more than 50 SEO specialists with over 300 clients including well loved eCommerce brands such as Officeworks, Flora & Fauna and Mecca. Harry grew StudioHawk into the multi award winning company it is today, despite going through a period of homelessness along the way. In this chat, Harry shares how a video game started his love affair with SEO, which SEO metrics are BS and which ones really matter and why information architecture is crucial to effective SEO. We also find out what goes on at ‘Camp Hawk’ – there are birds involved…er…obviously.
“I love it because it is this beautiful blend of logic and creativityHarry Sanders
Don’t be an arsehole
“The biggest thing I would say about being in the industry and being in what we do is I would sit next to 13 year old Harry, I would say, “Look, buddy, you keep playing RuneScape, I’ll talk for bit. And I would say, you can be really talented and you can be very successful but one of the most important things that you need to be is humble and not have an ego about it.”
When I was 16/17, I was working at agency at that stage. I left that to start StudioHawk and I’m going to be honest, Nathan. I was a total arsehole. I treated the people I worked with poorly, my team, all that stuff because I was referred to as some prodigy SEO specialist and I thought I was God’s gift SEO or something.
And it wasn’t until I went through what I went through, couch surfing, all that kind of stuff that it took for me to realize ego is the biggest thing that holds businesses back and holds great people back. If I hadn’t gone through that, I might have been a great SEO specialist, but no one would know about me because I was just too much of an arse to work with.”
“SEO does not have a secret formula, right? SEO, ultimately, comes down to good technical onsite ability, good search intent. So matching what people are looking for with providing content on your website and good authority in terms of the links you’ve built and the credibility you have behind it.”
“I think the most surprising and exciting part about SEO is more the people and what people are able to achieve and do. I’ve been around it for a long time and I love it because it is this beautiful blend of logic and creativity. It’s logical in how things flow and follow because it is a mathematical algorithm, but it’s creative in how you can come up with these ideas.
Like I can say, “Hey, Nate, the algorithm looks at high-quality backlinks.” And you’re like, “Great.” And I say, “But how can you be creative and get those?” And that is up to you to figure out and that’s so exciting, and so the exciting part for me is what wacky ideas do people come up with?”
Questions answered in this episode include…
- How did you start your career in SEO aged 14 years?
- What are the major differences in how companies approach SEO since COVID?
- What do the best SEO briefs look like?
Links from the episode:
- Appliances Online
- Retail Global
- Daily Jocks
- The Good Guys
- Shopify Plus and Crate & Barrel Singapore (sponsored)
- Packleo (sponsored)
This episode was brought to you by…