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Below is our recent interview with Antonin Pasquereau from BlackcatSEO:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to BlackcatSEO?
A: Sure. BlackcatSEO is an agency specialized in organic traffic acquisition and E-reputation, meaning that we optimize business owners websites and citations in order to get more qualified leads and money from the web. We cover a wide range of services that basically helps businesses to have the visibility they deserve : as a (small) business owner myself, I understand the importance of having the right audience on a day-to-day basis : that’s why we’re here. Most of companies have built platforms, apps or websites that were only made for the ‘human’ user , but hardly for search engines (crawlers or bots). So our work is to translate into code what’s visible to the eyes, which create a ‘natural’ (or free) traffic from search engines. The name BlackcatSEO for the brand refer to our passion for black cats and felines in general, like the black panther. It’s funny that Sam Ovens recently posted a video on Youtube explaining why the black panther was his favorite animal ! From a business perspective, I definitely agree that silence and focus are extremely dangerous weapons.
Q: Can you give us insights into your services?
A: We cover everything from on-site performance to digital promotion and our method was created from scratch, so we have our own formula. It can be divided into two major segments of services. On-site optimization can go from proper server setup, to CSS and JS fixes, caching, files Minification to make the site faster. We also work on the definition of pages for search engines, typically handled by proper metatags and Microformats, or specific files like sitemap.xml or robots.txt. It’s very common for businesses to build a V1 and completely rebuild it based on stats and data. We’re here to ensure that every aspect of the website is understable by major search engines to rank better.
The ultimate goal of on-site work is digital promotion. So once the site and major landing pages are optimized, we’re here to promote these pages on other websites. Over time we have built partnerships with over 12000 sites, blogs and medias, so we can pretty much cover everything, everywhere in Canada, USA, and France. We adapt off-site campaigns to the size and market of the client, and we make sure all signals are aligned to assign authority to the targeted pages. So there is no waste : a small local business won’t need a link in a major newspaper, but maybe just 2 or 3 blog outreach. The big company in a bigger market or territory may need to be promoted on Forbes or New-York times.
On the side, we can work on E-reputation in certain cases, and paid campaigns (like Google Ads) but only to balance out seasonality of SEO. Our focus is technical growth-hacking for organic traffic.
Q: You’ve recently expanded your activities in France and the United States; could you tell us something more?
A: I’m from France and live in Canada for the last 15 years. It was crucial for me to be able to ‘export’ my expertise in France and luckily, I recently had big companies onboard. The ability to work in France and trigger results there was relying on my catalog of publication. It took me a year to build the proper offer for this territory, but replicating our ‘in-house’ method to another country has bring great results, and It continues to grow.
For the US, it’s different and is just born out of necessity : for native-Canadian clients that wish to grow in the US, for example. I had the connections and great hybrid media offer. Since most companies rely on ‘sponsored content’ to be promoted on the best websites, our offer is killing it in terms of prices and results.
Q: From your perspective, how can search engine optimization change a business owner’s life?
A: From my experience, SEO is the only systematic way of growing when you are an SMB . Not only it changes the way of getting leads and business (passively) , it also generates trust and confidence with proper lead nurthering. We can answer any question online and reach any client, specifically where they are looking. You don’t sell anymore, you answer a question or a need, which is the best approach a business can have.
For bigger companies, challenges are different. They have an history to control and reputation to manage. We’re acting on every platform and digital influencer to achieve our objectives. From every angle, what you get from the web is impactful. Being able to grow out of nothing, – or to change people perception about a brand is a huge responsibility.
Q: How is online marketing different today than it was just a few years ago?
A: A few years ago, it was still easy to achieve some results by ‘faking’ external signals. For instance, the authority assignment principle was mainly based on referral numbers. Even if the ideas is still the same today, Google has added some user-behavior related signal like CTR an to influence rankings.
So without a proper funnel, meaning a proper offer, there is no easy way to rank in top search engines results pages. If you’re working with an ‘old fashioned’ SEO, you have to be careful for penalties ! A first layer backlink needs to be from a top-website, with contextual placement and traffic – not from a blog or a directory. It also requires a clean and healthy website.
Due to the increasing number of competitors, the offer you put on the table needs to be very specific and answer a market problematic. Not only the external references needs to increase, but the maintenance on the website needs to be visible.
Social medias also play an important role in the credibility of the brand, so there is no ‘patch’ and workaround for a successful company on Google. Relevancy is key in 2018 from every aspect : on-site content, social medias, links, citations AND traffic.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: To answer agencies needs for digital promotion. The formula we’ve built over time can be profitable to agency with similar clients, so I hope to increase volume through this channel. We plan to develop a simplified way of getting influence for businesses and agencies, but it requires a few month work. It’s mostly the translation of our method in an automated platform. I’m confident that, with proper digital placement for each country, the model can be replicated abroad.