Jonathan Kiekbusch has had an interesting and varied career, from leaving Germany at age 16 to move to India and build web sites, to getting fired from his dream job and offering a gig on FiveSquids where he would break up with your partner – which got him a lot of media attention.
Since 2014, he’s been running SEO Butler (formerly PBN Butler), and has grown that service from articles for Private Blog Networks into a full suite of SEO services designed for marketers and agencies.
Sites and Resources mentioned in this episode:
- SEO Butler
- The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
- Daily Mail article about his break up service
- TV Appearance on This Morning (UK)
- Jonathan Kiekbusch on Facebook
Kevin: Hey guys, Kevin Graham here with my guest today Jonathan Kiekbusch from SEO Butler. Jonathan has been in the SEO community for a number of years now. I think I first met him back in 2014 in Chiang Mai, and I've closely followed the journey of SEO Butler across that time. Very excited to have him on the podcast, so welcome Jonathan.
Jonathan: Hey Kevin. Thank you so much for having me.
Kevin: For the audience who might now know about SEO Butler and you, can you give us a bit of a brief background and intro to who you are, what you do now?
Jonathan K: As you so eloquently said, my name is Jonathan Kiekbusch. Despite the very, very conceiving accent, I am actually German, born and brought up in Berlin, but I've been in the UK for quite a while now. I did found SEO Butler in late 2014, which is a productized SEO service business, so essentially we productize service that help marketers do their job from content to link building and all sorts of stuff. The journey to SEO Butler has been quite a turbulent one. I have been in quite a few different industries beforehand, and in quite a few different countries beforehand. I almost like to say that the SEO industry found me much more than I found the SEO industry.
Kevin: One of the facts that people who get to know you rather well eventually discover is that you used to be a breakup artist.
Jonathan K: That's right.
Kevin: Can you tell us a bit about what that part of your entrepreneurial journey was like?
Jonathan K: I have to give you a little bit of perspective to lead up to it. I'm going to go through this at light year speed. Wait, light year's a distance, that doesn't make any sense. Anyway, I'm going to go through this very, very quickly. Born and brought up in Germany, I dropped out of school at 16. In Germany, there was mandatory school service as well as mandatory military service at the time. I decided I was going to leave Germany, so I moved to India, absolutely logical step. Moved to India and did some web designing there. Very, very early, I didn't have a clue whatsoever, and this is back in the day of Flash development, so you can imagine absolutely horrendous Flashy websites, took ages to load, incompatible with most devices, horrendous.
Jonathan K: Was out there for three years, moved back to Germany, but you can imagine at that point, I had just turned 18... I was about 18 and a half, and had already been away from home for like three odd years, and coming back to mom's was just not really acceptable. Going from doing whatever you want to, "Where are you going and what are you doing?" didn't really work out so well for me. As soon as I came back to Germany, I started putting out my CV as much as I possibly could, and tried to just get some traction. I actually got headhunted by an Anglo-American company that was at the time the leader in usability studies. For SEOs, that's CRO essentially. They did it on the really, really high end. We did studies on mobile phones that were about to be launched, on ATM interfaces, on airplane cockpits, on websites, just anything where basically the customer wanted to improve the persuasiveness of the interface to steer user behavior.
Jonathan K: I got recruited there as an account executive. The condition was that I move to the UK. I had been to Brighton on previous trips, and so I decided that despite the office being in London, I would move to Brighton and then just commute into London. I was there for six months as an account executive, and the director of sales quit, so I applied to be the director of sales at like 19 and a half, which somehow I got, and then I spent one of the best years of my life with an unlimited travel budget traveling throughout Europe and closing deals with big corporate businesses.
Jonathan K: Now, the reason why all of this is really important is because I was then made redundant, and I lost what to me was a dream job. I had a really nice redundancy package, and I just sort of sat on my arse not really knowing what to do with myself. And being really young and having a directorship at a really big business on your CV is actually a terrible, terrible thing to have, because every single business that you interview with thinks that you're overqualified and so don't want to hire you because they think that because they can't give you the same opportunity, you're just going to be looking for a different job straight away.
Jonathan K: I got turned down everywhere, and I started looking at how to make money online. I discovered this website called FiveSquid, which was a UK competitor to the really popular site Fiver, and this is was right at the beginning of the gig economy. I jumped on there. This site had only just been launched, and so all the gigs, they were really, really, incredibly creative. There was a guy on there that I remember that was like a world ranked Call of Duty player, for example, and he said for £5 he would protect you so that you can level up in the game. He'd be your bodyguard. And you'd have all of these really creative gigs, and I was like, "Okay, I have to beat these guys. I have to be more creative than anybody on this platform, and I have to come out with something that has a real shock factor."
Jonathan K: I created a gig saying that for £5 I would break up with your other half on your behalf. I didn't really think that it would go anywhere. I just wanted to own that listing to own the real estate and to be the guy that came up with it. Then the gigs started coming in, and I was like, "Oh shit, what do I do?" And so I-
Kevin: You actually have to deliver on this service now, of breaking up with people.
Jonathan K: Exactly. Or I'm going to get some bad reviews, right? I did it. It was actually a really, really fascinating process for me, because I learnt a lot about behavior and about psychology and the mental state of people, and the difference when you introduce a mediator into very tense and difficult situations. The thing that was funny was that that company that owned the website, they actually hired a huge PR agency to get them in the news. What the PR agency did is they selected some of the gigs that were quite controversial, that were really cool, and basically started submitting them to the press association and stuff like that.
Jonathan K: They asked me if I would do an interview with... I think the first one was the Daily Mail. To anybody that doesn't know the Daily Mail in the UK, it is... I don't know how you describe it. It's a trash newspaper in the sense that it's a sensationalist, sort of propaganda paper that every barbershop and every café will have a copy, and it's the thing that the headlines get discussed from. Anyway, they said, "Look, we're going to put a little side piece in our female section, just saying this is kind of a funny spin or something, and you might get some hate mail or something." I was like, "Okay, I'm cool with that. I'll do it. Don't worry about it."
Jonathan K: They interview me, they send a photographer to my house. I do everything. And they're like, "Okay, we'll let you know when this publishes." I didn't realize this, but obviously they have a publishing schedule, and so your story that is hot right now might not actually get published for a couple of weeks or even months, because they decide when they're going to publish it, unless it's a really, really hot story. A couple of days go by, and they just send me an email and say, "Hey, purchase the Daily Mail tomorrow because you're going to be in it." I go down to my local corner shop, and I pick it up, and I'm at the counter. This is a shop that I go to pretty much every day to buy milk or whatever. I start flicking through it, because I want to make sure that it's worth buying. I get to the centerfold. There's a two page centerfold with my face in real size, and the headline is something along the lines of, "This is the man you don't want to be called by."
Jonathan K: My face drops, the guy behind the counter's face drops, and after that, it went absolutely mental. The story went semi-viral. I did radio interviews four to five times a day for about two weeks. Then I was invited on This Morning, which is the UK's breakfast TV show. I did Sunrise TV, which is the Australian equivalent to This Morning. Did a lot of press out of it. I actually managed to monetize the whole thing. I started charging for the interviews, which worked out really well because it's actually the most money I've ever made per minute in my life. I think I charged one agency $2000 for a three minute interview.
Kevin: $2000 for a three minute interview. Mate, I am not looking forward to getting the bill for this podcast, Jonathan.
Jonathan K: The clock's ticking. That was my first kind of experience with the power of virality and kind of understanding a little bit more about where the world was going. That made me super aware of where I wanted to go with my business, which was online. It kind of slowly but steadily set the tracks in the right direction to where we are today. I did start a completely different business in between which was a physical security company where we did a lot of different things from high end retail security all the way to close protection and surveillance stuff. But I think I needed that because after being made redundant from what I thought was my dream job, I was really sick of working for the man and having a boss and not being able to do things my way. So starting that business was something that was really important for me to progress and learn.
Jonathan K: You fast forward to 2014. I had the security business, I was really sick of it. Security clients are notoriously bad at paying their bills. I had to send court threat letters to multimillion pound or even billion pound businesses to threaten then to actually pay their very, very small invoices all the time, and I was really sick of it. That's when I slowly started to gain traction online.
Kevin: With that whole thing when you were like the centerfold guy, like the most hated guy, "You don't want to have a phone call from this guy," did you start to get negative reactions from people walking down the street?
Jonathan K: It was really funny because I actually... The newspaper did a little damage in the sense that a lot of people did notice it, but it didn't really hit home until I did This Morning. I didn't realize how many of my 20-year-old friends watched that TV program. I actually thought that none of my friends would watch that, and would even know that I had done it. But I got a lot of abuse. But what's even funnier than the abuse... I expected the abuse. I got a ton of inquiries from alleged ladies trying to get in touch with me, which was even more bizarre than the hate mail.
Kevin: There was all the hate mail, there was everyone equally, "Hey, this guy's kind of attractive, let's hit him up?"
Jonathan K: Right. That is really quite mental if you think about it. I went down a totally different track right afterwards, which was that I was actually talking with a studio in Hollywood that wanted to turn this into a TV show. We actually had a pilot script written, and it never got picked up by a network. But what's fascinating is that this story has had echos throughout all of the years since doing it... There was actually a lady that wrote a theater play based on the story that interviewed me multiple times, and that story was on stage at the Washington Fringe Festival last year.
Kevin: Did you get to see it?
Jonathan K: You know what? I was so gutted. I wasn't able to go. Unfortunately, my wife's mother was really sick and we had to prioritize that. I would've loved to have gone out there, but it had smashing reviews, and she's now looking to turn it into a TV show. It's insane. That little story, that one decision of publishing that post on that website, has had now almost an eight year story or something.
Kevin: The thing that I've always wondered when somebody remakes your story into a TV or a play or whatever, and you see the person that they pick to play you. How close of a representation was that person? Did they look kind of like you, or was it like completely off?
Jonathan K: In the play, I think it was totally off. I mean they just chose a tall white guy with dark hair, but it could've been anyone. I reckon for the TV show they actually wanted me to play me.
Kevin: What would that be like, playing yourself on TV?
Jonathan K: I don't know. I always go in with a completely open mind. I'm the kind of person that if it interests me then I'm willing to do it, even if it makes me look like a bit of an idiot. I was pretty excited. What worried me is that for a moment it looked like it was going to go on... Let me get it right. On like Spike TV or something, which is like, from what I've been told, a pretty trashy TV channel, and that would've had me really worried.
Kevin: Spike's not too bad. That's also the home of Bar Rescue, so there's some okay shows on there. If you weren't playing yourself, who would play you, though?
Jonathan K: I don't know.
Kevin: Who would be your ideal Jonathan?
Jonathan K: Oh God, I don't know. I think that would be really difficult. They'd find someone. I don't watch enough TV to know enough actors to go, "Oh yeah, that's a guy that could play me," to be honest.
Kevin: Right, so just default to Brad Pitt then.
Jonathan K: Yeah, that'll do. That'll do.
Kevin: We've caught up to the modern PBN Butler, SEO Butler days. Can you explain the business model to our audience of how SEO Butler works in terms of making money? You did mention briefly productized service. Explain that out a bit as well.
Jonathan K: As you already mentioned, when we first launched we were actually called PBN Butler. It's really important to note that, because throughout time that change from PBN Butler to SEO Butler was really, really important for us. When we first launched, we were in the same business model, which is to find tasks or services in general that are tough for the average marketer to scale. At the time, it was finding PBN domains, writing PBN content and building out PBNs. And this is before a lot of the services that are available today were out there.
Jonathan K: The thing that really brought us into the limelight, I believe, was our PBN content at the time, where we basically looked at the market, and we could see that people were posting every day in SEO Facebook groups, saying, "Hey, I've got this PBM built out. I'm desperately looking for reliable content writers. I'm really struggling to find them." The rule of thumb was that people would find a really good writer, usually from the Philippines or from India or from wherever, at a great rate, and they would really supply a great service, and so they would rely on them, and then one day they would... Poof, they're gone. And they would be sat on a bunch of unwritten prompt.
Jonathan K: We looked at that model, and we said, "Okay, well what's the first thing that we need? We need a lot more writers than the average marketer has." What we did is we hired a manager in the Philippines whose sole job it was to recruit these writers. By doing so, we got a lot of writers that other people weren't aware of because they were only hiring writers that were already on the big platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, PH Jobs or whatever. And the problem with those was that a lot of them were already in a cycle of just trying to find the best-paying job and then they will abandon that job as soon as they find one that pays slightly better. Whereas the ones that we were getting were teachers that couldn't find work, that had English degrees. We were finding all sorts of people that were really great, because our local manager was actually advertising in local newspapers and job boards and stuff like that.
Jonathan K: That gave us the first edge. Then we noticed that the quality of the content wasn't so great. What we did is we hired American students at a really low price point to basically proofread the articles that the Filipino writers had written and just basically touch them up, which wouldn't take long. I mean it would take like 10 minutes per 500 word article, if that. By doing that, our content was slightly higher quality, and we were far more reliable as a supplier than working directly with the writer, so people were willing to pay a little bit more.
Jonathan K: Now, the problem with all of this is that on those articles we were making maybe $2 an article, so the margins were slim to say the least. And even when we started doing real volumes of say 1000 articles a week, it just wasn't really worth it because of the amount of moving parts that were in there. We started looking at other products, and this is how PBN Butler was built. We started looking at introducing the domains, we started looking at introducing the PBN builds, and building out a team for that, and the margins were far better on those products. Essentially, that's how we started. We started with content, the PBN builds and the domains, and we had pretty decent margins on two out of three, and we then started looking at the model to start improving it to make more money because obviously as we grew our costs grew because we needed support people, et cetera.
Kevin: You started with content. It solved a real pain point for people, but wasn't great margin, and so then you started looking around that and said, "Okay, what other things can we add on that will be higher margin and allow us to scale our profitability much better?"
Jonathan K: Exactly. The thing that was really important to look at as well was that we never thought that this would become our business model. We didn't go in trying to build a productized service business. We actually were hoping originally to build a marketing agency, but we were, at that time, looking to use PBNs, and we needed the content just as much as everyone else did. So we were like, "Hey, we could actually make some money on this." Then it started growing so quickly that we very quickly forgot about building the marketing agency and just made that our main focus.
Jonathan K: Now that the thing that happened though with the market that was really fascinating, and I love to bring up the quote that's been used a million times, which is that marketers ruin everything. The market got absolutely flooded with domain vendors, content vendors, PBN build vendors, and so we really had to try to find a competitive edge, because I remember when we started, PBN domains were going at basically the price that you wanted for them, anywhere from $50 to $500 a domain all day long. Now, within about six to 10 months of us rolling out that product, people were selling them at $7 a domain, and it was really hard to compete with that, no matter how good your product and your service and everything was, because there are plenty of people that look at that and go, "Well you know what? I can get 10 domains for the price of one with them, so if one domain is good in that batch of 10, I've still broken even."
Jonathan K: That's when we started slowly looking at what would eventually evolve into SEO Butler, which is that we wanted to get out of the race to the bottom by creating far, far stronger products than the people that we were competing with, which then meant that we were going to drop PBNs entirely or the PBN products, and move onto products that every marketing agency needs, which were a much higher quality of content written by writers in the US and the UK, introducing stuff like our citation product, our signals product, and then eventually guest posting, as well as eventually opening up the agency which then started to do white label fulfillment.
Jonathan K: By doing all of this, we really, really distanced ourselves from the race to the bottom. Whenever we would introduce a product, we would intentionally introduce it a little bit more expensive than the immediate competitor, just so that we could guarantee the level of service and the quality of product that we wanted to be at, and basically give people the choice to say, "Well do you want cheap and cheerful, or do you want the product that you can rely on?"
Kevin: It would've been interesting watching that sort of business change and evolve as you parlayed it from, "Here's slightly better than completely average PBN articles, in that they're being reviewed by a native English speaker and tidied up," because hey, I know that I went through a bunch of our early PBN articles and used to have to do the exact same thing, of giving them a quick proofread, tidy them up around there. Starting there, and just slowly parlaying up that value chain to doing higher quality content, written by native writers so it's designed for your money sites that you can give out to client sites, all those sort of things.
Jonathan K: Exactly. For us, I think most of the focus was on the team behind it. I think that we learned very, very early on is that we build an incredible team, then the quality of the product and the quality of the service overall is going to come naturally. I have a very, very strong focus or belief that the founders or the leaders should be serving their team, and then the team serves the customer or the client. I see a lot of the time that that gets mixed up, and you get the founder thinking that the team works for them, and that the founder is the one that should take all the responsibility towards the client. But it really doesn't work that way because you can't scale.
Kevin: Correct. I think it was maybe Southwest or Virgin Airlines or one of them had this thing of like, "If you look after your staff, your team, they'll look after your customers," and that's the way that you need to build it, definitely.
Jonathan K: 100%.
Jonathan K: I think that that was really the biggest thing for us. Initially, we started off with a team in India, and unlike many other businesses, we actually flew out there and recruited people in person, which worked really well for a certain amount of time. We scaled a lot because of this team. What was really interesting, though, was that when we switched over to SEO Butler and we wanted to work with far bigger agencies, I instantly knew that I had to bring the team to a European timezone, and scale up the quality of the team.
Jonathan K: What I mean by that is in India we mostly had to higher freshers and teach them, and that kind of left them at a disadvantage because even though they were really hard workers and really committed to doing their job great, in India, where we were especially, in southeast India, the kids weren't growing up on a computer, they weren't growing up playing computer games and figuring this stuff out for themselves, so they would literally just do what you told them to do, but they wouldn't necessarily innovate and grow. I believe that this is actually probably very different if you go into north India, into the big cities like Delhi or Bombay, because the generation that's around now that's in their 20s and 30s did actually grow up on computers because there's far more wealth around, et cetera.
Jonathan K: But I knew that we had to do it, and so after some time I actually opened up an office over here in the UK and closed the office in India, and we immediately skyrocketed as far as scaling and revenue and net profit as well.
Kevin: Would you see that sort of shift of moving the team and office out of India and to your new location there in Brighton as one of the inflection points in the business?
Jonathan K: Yes, I think so. I think that's one. I think the other one is when we decided in general to move to SEO Butler. For us, for a long time, I had the mindset of wanting to be the cheapest, the loudest and all of that, and with SEO Butler that mentality really changed. I started to look far more at the long game, started learning a lot more about the infinite game and stoicism and all of those kind of things. I think that moving the office was definitely one of the main turning points, but it's hard to pinpoint because I think it was like a six to eight month transition which was that turning point. It was from making the decision to move to the new brand, closing the Indian office, and then the upswing of hiring the right key players in the new UK office.
Kevin: When you're doing that sort of thing, like rebrand, moving and hiring a brand new team and repositioning your value proposition, they're all things that you can't just roll out overnight. They take a lot of time.
Jonathan K: And a lot of money. Add on top of that that when we rolled out with SEO Butler we'd been on WordPress WooCommerce with a standard theme that had been heavily edited and about 70 plugins for I don't know how long, and the site would just break all the time, and we would get frustrated customers just saying, "Look, I just want to give you my money, but your site is taking 13 seconds to load, it's not working." We knew that we had to go a different route with that as well, and that's when we started hiring these contractor developers and a world-class designer to rethink the entire brand. We obviously went insanely over budget with both time and cost, but the outcome is that we now have a really stable website that in my own opinion looks great and does exactly what we want it to do. It was again a very slow, painful process that's paid huge dividends.
Kevin: I can imagine. It sounds like it was a huge turning point for you guys in the business there.
Kevin: One of the things that I'd like to focus on on this podcast is both sides of business. Now business isn't always sunshine and rainbows and just money pouring into the bank account. There's stuff that goes wrong as well. Can you tell me about an unexpected crisis that happened in SEO Butler and how you handled it?
Jonathan K: I started the business with a partner. It was a business founded out of a friendship. We started it just as you do, two people just working in their spare time, just doing it online. So needless to say, we had absolutely no paperwork in place. Even when the business was registered and we had our shareholdings and everything, there were no shareholder agreements, no director contracts and all of that. I'm just trying to remember the timeline. But a couple of years into the business basically we got to a point where we didn't 100% agree on the direction that the business should be going into, and it basically turned into a stalemate, where I basically said to the partner that either he could, lack for a better word, get his shit together, get really moving, or he could make me an offer or I would be able to make him an offer.
Jonathan K: At that time, my business partner decided to say that he wanted me to make him an offer, and that then turned into a six month negotiation, and it took six months to settle, and those were six months during which we couldn't move, as in we couldn't make any big changes to the business, we couldn't really advertise very much, because obviously we didn't want to influence the valuation too much. It was really painful, and not having the paperwork in, we basically had to pay a premium for stuff like lockout clauses and stuff like that, things that would just be standard in an agreement.
Jonathan K: I have to be totally honest with you. That was probably the hardest time mentally and emotionally for me in business full stop, irrelevant of this business, my previous jobs and careers and everything. It was really hard for multiple reasons. The first one was uncertainty. I'd worked really, really hard and taken very little out of the business, and if we couldn't come to an agreement then there would be the possibility that the business would have to be dissolved and just money shared out and then you just take it from there.
Jonathan K: The uncertainty also came from the fact that it was a very progression to eventually get to a deal. People imagine that hey, you make an offer and the person accepts it and you draw up some paperwork and job's a goodun. It doesn't really work that way, especially when the business is doing well. You fight over every dollar, nickel and pence and pound, and try to really come to an agreement that suits both sides. And then it has to be rock solid in a contractual way, which alone takes like a month to draw up a contract like that, and then takes another month for the opposing legal teams to go through that agreement, et cetera.
Jonathan K: I was very, very grateful for my wife and for my other business partner Zeke, who kept me sane during that time and kept me on track and didn't allow me to completely derail. But to be honest with you, I think that was really a very forming experience and it was a game changer. After that, we came out fighting. We had just had to pay this money out, a lot of which I paid out personally, and we didn't have huge reserves in the business anyway because we were reinvesting everything into growth because we never saw anything like this coming. We were right on the edge of the cliff, and we came out fighting, and the six months after the deal was made, we more than doubled the revenue of the business.
Kevin: I know that everyone says it and it's never advice that people really think enough when they're going into the business or setting up a new business, especially a partnership, is getting all those documents right and having all of those scenarios laid out of like if you're not doing enough work in the partnership what should we do? If you've decided you want to move on, what should we do? All of those things are things that at the start people don't think about enough, but you kind of need to have all those hard discussions right at the outset before even getting started, to really make sure that you're safe and protect yourself from these sort of things down the line.
Jonathan K: Oh, 100%. There's a really, really horrible, terrible saying but it's you should prepare for divorce before you get married. The reality is that deals or partnerships go south when things are going really well. Everybody thinks that when the business is failing, that's when you're going to start getting problems, but most of these disputes actually happen when the business is doing really well. Everyone thinks, "Oh, it's not going to happen to me. We're really good friends." Well, I'll tell you what. Ask any successful entrepreneur that's been in the game for a little while and I'm sure that they'll tell you some stories.
Jonathan K: Ever since that moment, we've had lawyers on retainer. Every deal that we make as a business is vetted by them. And the great thing about putting lawyers on retainer for a business is that they actually act in the interest of the business and not in the interest of the directors or the individuals or anything like that. They have the business' interest in mind. It's really good, because they can also be used to bounce ideas off and say, "Is this a good position for the business, or is this something that you would recommend we don't enter as a deal," or whatever.
Jonathan K: It's been a huge game changer for me, just changing my mindset a little bit around that. I wouldn't say that it's made me cynical or resentful in any way. I still do joint ventures. I just approach them differently, and I've just learnt a lot about how to structure them and I've learnt a lot about how to work with people, and like you said, have those hard conversations right at the outset. I think that's very, very important.
Kevin: Well, thanks for sharing that part. I'm glad to hear that it all eventually worked out well and you came out fighting and had an absolute monster six months or the backend of it. It would've been a great feeling going through that huge surge of growth and just reinvigorated in running that business.
Jonathan K: Oh, for sure. Our love for the business is bigger than it ever has been. I think as a founder or as an entrepreneur, what you tend to find is that you're in love with certain aspects of the business, and as your business grows and you get to focus on those kinds of aspects more and more, your love tends to grow even more for the business and for what you're doing. Because obviously when you start you tend to have many hats and take care of loads of things in the business just to make it run, whereas as you grow and you kind of settle more into that sort of CEO role or technical role depending on what suits you best, and it's really, really enjoyable to discover where your passion lays within that business as you scale.
Kevin: For sure. What's one thing about your business that makes you excited today?
Jonathan K: Well, really the developments that we're working on. With us now having a completely different approach to developing the business, and what I mean by that is actually working with professional developers that are able to build just about anything that we can come up with, it's really changed our mentality around how to develop out the site and everything. What I'm really excited about are some of the new products and services and functions that we're going to be rolling out throughout the next six months. We're also just now starting to publish a ton of content.
Jonathan K: One of the shortcomings I had realized about myself late last year was that I used to be very good at keeping the site updated and the blog updated and that sort of stuff with great content and inviting people in to have a read, but as we were growing, my priorities aren't with that. So what we did is we started hiring and we eventually found a brilliant editor-in-chief who now manages the whole blog calendar, sourcing content from contributors, writing his own content, and just keep it all in line. That for example was a huge game changer for my own personal availability, because I don't have to worry about it. I just take part in content planning meetings.
Jonathan K: I'm really excited because we only just started publishing that sequence of content a couple of weeks ago, and so I'm really, really excited to see where that's going to go, what kind of traffic that's going to get us, what kind of new audiences we're going to engage with as content. Yeah, I'm pumped.
Kevin: Awesome, sounds really exciting. I've seen the last couple of weeks the emails coming out from you guys about all that new stuff, so I can see that it's something that you guys are really excited about and promoting pretty heavily to your existing customer base as well.
Jonathan K: Yeah, that's right. Got to squeeze out every drop.
Kevin: If we're looking a few more years in the future, where do you see the future of SEO Butler?
Jonathan K: That's really hard to say. I mean, I operate within ITW, which is our holding company that holds all of our businesses. I think that as a business, or as a business group, we're looking far more into owning more real estate. We're looking to buy more SAS products, more authority sites, affiliate sites, eCommerce stores, and scaling them up and owning the real estate and either flipping them or just going on an acquisition spree and trying to own little niches.
Jonathan K: For SEO Butler, we're going to continue on our path to quality and trying to onboard more agencies that want to work with us, and helping them fulfill their projects at a better price with a better service. I really hope to grow SEO Butler out as a brand a little bit more. I think we're going to add some more tools to the site to just attract users but also just to solve problems, which I love. And just keep growing it sustainably, and see where it takes us.
Kevin: Awesome. Just to wrap up here, obviously we'll include all the links in the show notes here, but where can our listeners connect with you and find out more about both your history and your stuff now?
Jonathan K: Ideally just seobutler.com. You can get in touch with both the team and myself via the site. Anything that's fed in via the contact forms directly goes to me. It gets redirected to me once the support team notices that it is for me. Always very, very welcome to get in touch. Very welcome to find me on Facebook as well. We can include a link to my profile. I'm always excited to speak with other entrepreneurs and see if there's anything that I can help them with, even if it is just to bounce ideas off.
Kevin: Awesome. Hopefully we can find links to one or both of those TV interviews as well. We'll include them in the show notes as well if people want to go and watch you on some breakfast television.
Jonathan K: Oh yeah, absolutely. I can hook you up with a link to that. It's hilarious.
Kevin: Awesome. All right, well thanks for your time today, Jonathan. It's been great having you on the show, and I look forward to chatting to you soon.
Jonathan K: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me, Kevin. I really appreciate it.
Kevin: All right. Bye now.
- 06:28 Breakup Artist Gig on FiveSquids
- 09:00 "This is the man you don't want to be called by"
- 12:52 The pilot that never aired, and the story that keeps coming back
- 15:54 Launching PBN Butler
- 22:07 Distancing Ourselves from the Race to the Bottom
- 24:02 Focussing on the team that delivers the service
- 27:10 The long game and the infinite game
- 30:18 The messy breakup
- 34:59 Keeping lawyers on retainer