How Gennaro Cuofano scaled FourWeekMba from 0 to 100k visitors a month

How Gennaro Cuofano scaled FourWeekMba from 0 to 100k visitors a month

This is the seventh interview of our SEO Expert Roundup Series where we publish interesting life experiences of top SEO experts.

Whether you are a freelancer, an agency or a blogger, all we want is your passion for SEO and we will do the rest of the work to bring your story to life.

FourWeekMBA aims to deliver exactly what its name suggests: giving you the concepts that you need to run a business, in just under 4 weeks.

Now don’t get mistaken that you will learn everything within 4 weeks, but you will get enough to put it into action and continue your learning journing.

Being an MBA myself, I was pleasantly surprised to see Gennaro Cuofano(the founder of FourWeekMba) explain MBA concepts in such an easy language. No doubt that his blog received more than a 100k visitors each month, with almost 70% traffic coming via organic search.

Organic traffic fourweekmba blog

That’s when I decided to know more about Gennaro and invite him for an email interview.

Here’s his story of scaling FourWeekMba from 0 to 100k in 4 years.

Q. Hi Gennaro. Please introduce yourself to our audience?

A. I’m the founder of FourWeekMBA, a leading source of insights on digital business models.


Q. Please tell our audience more about TheFourWeekMBA. What’s it all about, why did you start it and what’s the journey like?

A. FourWeekMBA started as an attempt to make advanced business education easily available to a large number of people. 

From there I developed the blog, which in 2019 alone reached over a million business professionals. Now FourWeekMBA is evolving more and more into a sort of business intelligence platform where original resources are provided.


Q. I was going through your LinkedIn profile and interestingly, I saw you had a professional career outside of digital marketing. So how did you happen to scale TheFourWeekMBA? Are you self taught? What’s your digital marketing story like? 

A. I was a complete outsider, coming from a background as lawyer first, analyst later. So to me, digital marketing was completely new. Yet, something I wanted to learn to start my own business. 

By the end of 2016, I had also joined a software company with an innovative SEO tool, which pushed me to learn SEO.

Around 2017- 2018 I went back to develop my strategy starting from the blog.I started to scale FourWeekMBA by testing several strategies, and over the years I went through hundreds of small failed attempts.

Traffic analysis by SimilarWeb for fourweekmba blog
Traffic Analysis by SimilarWeb

But in this entire journey, I managed to build a strong audience. Going forward FourWeekMBA will expand across several formats.


Q. Is your SEO success a planned one? Or did it happen on its own without you having to do much (i mean apart from writing some great content)?

A. I didn’t really plan it from the start. But, back in early 2018, I started to switch my focus on the blog and on content development.

From there, I realised organic growth was a key element of my digital business as it was in line with my mission. Indeed, I had always developed evergreen content formats, so SEO was the perfect channel for that sort of growth.


Q. Any resources you would like to suggest to our users for self learning SEO & digital marketing?

A. The best way is to experiment by doing. Either by working for other blogs, websites, or to grow your own.

Experience will drive your learning and will push you to learn the most important aspects to grow an online business. At the end, SEO is a digital growth/distribution channel!


Q. This is my customary question that I ask everyone: what’s your one liner definition of SEO (the way you see SEO as)?

A. Many think SEO is about rankings. Yet that is the tip of the iceberg. SEO is about minimising the risk to produce content that none will need. Thus, SEO is not only a growth channel, but also a way to smooth the risks of running a digital business.


Q. How do you keep your SEO knowledge up to date? What are your favorite blogs?

A. Blogs like http://www.seobythesea.com/ , https://orbitmedia.com , https://www.searchenginejournal.com/ are great resources.


Q. What’s that one single SEO tactic which you think is overrated (because it never worked for you)?

A. Backlinks are overrated. To be sure, they do work extremely well. However, personally, rather than spending my time reaching out to get some backlinks. I’d rather put more effort in content development, research and analysis, which are way more expensive in the short-term but also way more scalable in the long-run.


Q. What’s that one single SEO tactic which you think is underrated (but mostly works for you)?

A. Working with WordLift.io, I’ve been testing a lot with structured data, and mostly on-page SEO

An SEO strategy focused on making sure Google truly understands your content, coupled with great content can have a massive impact.


Q. What’s your effort split between on-page & off-page SEO? And how do you view link building as part of off-page SEO strategy? Do you actively build links?

A. I don’t actively build links, if not indirectly via guest blogging. My work is primarily on-page, so focused on content development, research, analysis. SEO helps by looking at topics my audience is interested in.


Q. What’s your approach to ranking for keywords (if there is any)?

A. Original research, highly curated content, and continuous improvement.


Q. What’s your content promotion strategy? Any secrets or tactics you would like to share?

A. I put a decent amount of effort in developing my newsletter, so when my articles are out I can share them with an extremely interested group of people.


Q. What would you do differently if you were to start TheFourWeekMBA from scratch today? And what mistakes would you want to avoid this time? I am asking from an overall perspective and not just SEO.

A. Initially, when I started FourWeekMBA I tried to master several channels at once, with the consequence of diluting my overall strategy. For sure, omni-channel is the way to go today.

However, that works in the long-run, after you’ve mastered at least a key channel, from which you can build on top of. Therefore, initially master a single channel where you might be best at, or where your audience might be. From there, expand.


Q. Any suggestions/tips for beginner bloggers on things that should matter in their early days? And things that are vanity metrics and should be avoided?

A. Better avoid tracking too many metrics. Select 2, maximum 3 metrics, that really matter to your business and work on those.


Key takeaways from Gennaro’s journey

  • There is no substitute for quality content.
  • You can scale your traffic without an active backlinking strategy. Onpage SEO has magical powers.
  • When it comes to SEO, you learn only by taking action. There’s no substitute to that.

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