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Roshan Ambler: From a college dropout to running a marketing agency, and beyond

Roshan Ambler: From a college dropout to running a marketing agency, and beyond

This is the sixth 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.

I have been following Roshan on social media for some time now. 

Roshan runs his digital marketing agency in Mumbai. But that’s not what caught my attention.

He is very active on social media and generates some really interesting discussions on not just SEO & marketing but also on his life’s experiences and learnings.

That’s when I decided to interview Roshan for our Expert Roundup Series. 

It’s interesting to know how Roshan started his career and ended up running a digital marketing agency. Roshan has a knack for analyzing things minutely, and you will get a sense of this by reading through his responses to our questions.

Let’s dig in.

Q. Hey Roshan. Let’s start with your 2-liner introduction?

A. Well, I consider myself a good digital marketer, but my friends and colleagues call me the SEO KING, so yes, that’s my 2 word introduction (not even a two liner).

Q. Haha…that sounds like Lion King. So how did you get started in the field of digital marketing? What’s your journey like?

A. I am a college dropout.

I used to work as a telemarketer and it’s been an experience of a lifetime. The only reason I pursued it was to support my family.

(Fast forward to today, I still wear it as a badge of honor despite people suggesting that I drop it from my profile. That was one experience that helped me gather immense knowledge, shaped up my personality and is very close to my heart, but that’s a story for some different time). 

I left no stone unturned and took advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. After a struggle which lasted for more than 3 years, I finally got an opportunity to work in the field of web designing. 

I welcomed the job with open arms. Within a year, I became the head of the web development team and that’s when my focus slowly started inclining towards digital marketing, especially SEO.

I self-learned SEO and took one independent SEO project as a challenge. I managed to carefully create an effective SEO strategy focusing on increasing targeted traffic.

Within a few months, I was able to 3x the amount of website traffic and 5x the amount of online leads. The same client gave us 10+ referral clients. Since then I haven’t looked back.

Q. What’s the vision behind your digital marketing agency Go Lead Digital? Any remarkable brand(s) you have worked with through your agency?

A. My vision in a few words would be BIGGER, BOLDER, BRAVER and BETTER.

But to give you an exhaustive answer, the vision is not to be a competition but to help our clients beat their competition.

I solemnly believe in my team and with our cumulative skills and expertise, we can help our clients build a long lasting and noticeable presence on digital platforms.

Notable brands we have worked with include IceKraft, Treks and Trails, Shari Academy, Indian Combat League, and more.

Q. What has been your biggest achievement in SEO?

A. Like I said, I took one SEO project as a challenge and in less than 6 months, I was able to 3x the amount of website traffic and 5x the amount of online leads.

I believe it to be one of my major achievements. That was when I was still learning SEO. 

But yes, you can gauge how much passion I have for SEO; it’s been 7 years and it is still intact, in fact increasing every year.

Q. What’s YOUR one liner definition of SEO (the way you see SEO as)?

A. For me, SEO is the technique of creating websites that are both user friendly as well as search engine friendly.

Q. What’s that one single SEO tactic which you think is utterly overrated?

A. Spending too much time on making your page “standards compliant” to SEO plugins such as Yoast.

Tools are meant to assist you in your marketing strategy, but getting fully dependent on it will never help or show any direct results.

Q. What’s that one single SEO tactic which you think is utterly underrated?

A. Re-using content and updating old pages. Website freshness score still matters. You can’t expect to publish a great piece of content and hope it will last a lifetime on the first page.

Fresh content “degrades” over time, meaning it will lose its value unless it’s updated now and then.

The simple step is to re-optimize previous traffic generating pages with fresh content and if possible, use a skyscraper technique to maximize traffic.

Q. What’s your approach to building an SEO strategy for your clients?

A. When creating an effective SEO strategy for any business, there are a few key areas that search marketers need to focus on to drive better and faster results. Some of these crucial areas are:

1. Audit : Technical, SEO, and Competitor

2. Keyword research

3. Meta descriptions

4. Descriptive URLs

5. Good UI/UX

6. Structured data markup

7. Content Optimization

8. Strong CTAs (Call to Action) 

Similarly, for SEO off page, we strategize what should be suitable for a business. 

As a startup or a small business, you may not have budgets for content marketing but for e-commerce it should always be SEO + Content Marketing. 

Q. OnPage vs. OffPage; where will you put your stakes and why?

A. It’s a very debatable question, but for me it’s always be on-page SEO. 

I have tested many scenarios, where my pages were ranking high even with low backlinks count and off page activities for longer durations. 

This was unlike those marketers who don’t worry about content but focus mainly on link building. But then, they need to keep doing it to maintain their position.

Q. What are your top 3 challenges while running a digital marketing agency? How do you overcome that?

A. We are in the 3rd year of running our digital marketing agency. Each year we have tackled a new challenge and we are getting better at understanding the industry & startup life.

I personally have learned so much in these years!

Here are a few insights:

1. As a rule of thumb, most short terms projects are not worth the effort and are not profitable. Aim for a retainer of 6 months minimum spends to be successful.

2. Take risks. Decide which new initiatives you are going to try each quarter or every six months.

An excellent example for us was adding App Development/Marketing & Amazon SEO to our services list. It was a substantial investment for us in terms of time and resources, but we have not looked back.

3. Trust your professionalism. Whether you believe that the client is always right or not is beside the point. We are hired to do a job that our customers don’t know how to do or don’t have the capacity to do.

This means that we lead and recommend ways to our clients how they should be reaching their goals. That is what they are paying us for, and it’s on us to prove we are right.

4. Not every customer is right for your agency. The sooner you can identify that, the better. Parting ways from a client early on is much better than after you have already disappointed each other.

The anxious client or the non-believer is the classic example; they call you several times a day and question your every move. You spend more time explaining what you intend to do and why than doing.

5. Discounts do not lead to more deals or happier clients. They can lead to fee bargaining from that point and onto eternity.

6. Not every agency employee can be customer-facing. Some will be excellent at the back office but fall apart in front of a client. Don’t try to change them, nurture them.

Q. A major chunk of our reader base includes small businesses who are confused on how to get started with SEO (with all their meagre resources- be it money or experience)? Any suggestions/tips for them?

A. It’s imperative for them to invest in SEO, especially for the small businesses, if they want people to know about them and if they want to become a recognizable brand. 

They need to get started with digital marketing, no question about it.

Q. What are the 3 most critical SEO mistakes that you see your prospective clients making frequently?

A. SEO can sometimes take a back seat at clients because of multiple reasons. 

1. Not utilizing Google My Business listings for better exposure and brand building.

2. Not focusing on technical SEO elements like load speed, mobile friendliness etc.

3. Not adding any lead magnets to engage users on the website.

This was all we had from Roshan. Hope you enjoyed reading his experiences.

For more such interesting SEO insights, take a look at our previous SEO Expert Interviews.

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