Kevin Miller: The Journey From Startups to Google to Co-Founding the Fastest Growing SEO Agency in the U.S.
Coming from Ormond Beach, Florida, a younger Miller always wanted to have a job at one of the biggest technology companies in the world: Google. After studying at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington, DC, Miller had relocated to the west coast and achieved his dream.
The job Miller was hired for wasn’t originally his own, though, and had instead been offered to a friend who declined the offer in favor of another. At the time, Miller made a request to that friend: “Please apologize to your recruiter for not taking the job and say you have a great candidate to introduce.” It took him four months, seven interviews, and a good deal of rent struggles, but in the end he got a job at the company he’d always dreamed of working for.
Then, two years later, he quit.
Miller’s father called this decision crazy, but the enterprising young man felt he had learned all he could from the role, so he set his sights on building something of his own.
He enlisted in Tradecraft, a $14,000 marketing bootcamp where ironically, most of his peers voiced a desire to work for one company: Google. Instead, Miller wanted to learn how they built businesses, analyzing product development, company culture, and more, all from the inside. He also examined different markets and possibility spaces, searching for both passion and opportunity. That was exactly what he found when he discovered Search Engine Optimization.
From the bootcamp, Miller was able to transition back to the startup world by taking a Director of Growth position with Spire. At Spire, Kevin got his feet wet with SEO and began to implement some of the strategies that he was slowly beginning to get a grip of. Later, as the Head of Growth at Open Listings in Los Angeles, Kevin honed in on his crafts and saw so much success from his SEO tactics that he eventually decided to work as a consultant for other DTC and eCommerce brands.
However, Miller’s first foray into using SEO on one of his own brands was with a basic English-language tool he developed in late 2019: TheWordCounter.com. This online tool would count words, analyze writing practices, and even offer help for board games by taking random letters and finding words with them. With his understanding of the online medium, he was able to achieve over 750K unique visits per month, and rank on Page 1 of Google for more than 300,000 keywords. From there, he knew he was ready to build something of his own.
In April of 2020, Miller and longtime friend Jon Zacharias, launched their LA-based SEO agency. Their objective was to defy the approach of other agencies, who tried to offer a multitude of products, and instead own this one corner of the marketing world and become industry experts.
Zacharias brought a decade of SEO knowledge to the team, and as a former employee of the world’s biggest search engine, Miller and Zacharias were well-poised to build something great.
They developed a three-pronged approach to SEO: content writing, backlink acquisition, and on-page optimization. Using extensive keyword research related to a client’s products and services, GR0 gained the ability to increase SERP (Search Engine Result Page) rankings and generate organic traffic through the search engine.
Miller compared the end result to a car; the optimized website being the vehicle itself, the content fueling it, and the backlinks operating the pedal and propelling it forward.
Miller and Zacharias found this strategy worked well with their initial five to six clients, but they had a problem: They had no employees. These clients were personally maintained by the two entrepreneurs themselves, with some contract work from content writers and engineers they recruited through LinkedIn and Upwork. This lasted for several months, until they made their first hire: a content editor.
To finance their business, Miller and Zacharias each invested $20,000, without support from lenders or VCs. Just like the online traffic they garnered, they both had to grow their business organically, manning campaigns themselves in order to fund new hires, which in turn allowed for more campaigns.
In just one year, they’ve hired 75 full-time employees and worked with companies like Pressed Juicery, Universal Music Group, and Ritual to yield a combined one billion new page views, and increase organic revenue for clients by 10x.
During all of that, Miller knew how easily they could fail, and often recalled the job he gave up at Google for his current company. Still, he persevered, challenging himself to be the best he possibly could, because of one simple fact: “You only get so many revolutions around the sun.”
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