Local Maps SEO & Online Reputation Management
You’ve had some interesting jobs over the years. What was your favorite and why?
Right out of high school I wanted to go to work for a major airline. I didn’t want to be a pilot, but rather something in middle management dealing with people and marketing. It took me a year and a half to land a job with American Airlines at LAX. I worked there for 6 years while also going to school working on a Business Mgmt. degree minoring in marketing. Working for American was probably my favorite job I’ve ever had. I loved working on and around the gigantic jets, I loved the travel benefits and I even loved being affiliated with a company I admired a lot. I still have my old ID badge and AA Tie from back in the day. What I didn’t realize at the start was that I would be working crazy shifts and ALL the holidays for at least the next 20 years of my life. That realization was a sobering one.
I ended up changing my career path in 1984 and took a partnership position with a friend in the Los Angeles Floral Wholesale industry. This was my most lucrative job to date. I was shocked to find that I could make much more money in small business than I could be working my way up the ladder at American Airlines. Losing my travel benefits turned out to be not so bad after all. I found that I could now just pay retail, and have the time to travel! Plus, I learned a lot about small business which would go on to serve me well to this day. So, after a 10 year run in the flower biz under my belt and a new family to provide for, I made the big move to Kansas City seeking a better environment for my kids to grow up in and a chance to own one of the first high-end espresso bars here.
What did you want to be when you were a little boy?
My first answers to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was either a jet fighter pilot or a veterinarian. Jets had a definite allure for me from a very young age, and since I liked animals so much, I thought a job that would take care of them would also be a good choice for me.
Why internet marketing? And why local maps SEO?
From those first thoughts of a profession… Fast forward some 30 years and I found myself in Kansas City with a new Espresso business that was blazing the specialty coffee market trail in Olathe, KS. There was no Starbucks here yet and after my first year, I understood why – there was no market for the product in Kansas City… YET. So, I knew I needed to get the word out any way I could and so leveraging the new World Wide Web by creating my first website was definitely in my plans. I launched the site in 1998 and in the early days of the web, I learned how to optimize for search engines. My first year was also Google’s first year and they were the first company to rank websites be open with how they did it. So, I optimized my site to rank for the typical search words and phrases one would use to find a coffee/espresso place, but also for Starbucks searches and unknowingly became an early spammer! (before the word even existed). For almost 2 years my site ranked #1 for Starbucks in Kansas City. It changed after Starbucks finally opened in Kansas City, but never the less, I thought that the fact that I could outrank them for a while was exciting and fascinating. Ever since I’ve continued to be excited about ranking local businesses on the web and I’ve lived through many evolutions.
What about online reputation management? Is there really something that you can do to help business owners manage and earn more reviews?
As more and more people started using the web to find information about goods and services they wanted to buy, it was only natural that other people’s opinion became a part of searchers decision-making process. This need gave birth to what we all know as Online Reviews and the likes of Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Reviews, etc. Currently, review quantity and ratings aka ‘sentiment’ are one of the ranking factors search engines use to position one site compared with another. Thus, along with other reasons, it’s a good idea for business owners to be aware of how their business is perceived on the web and take action in helping to keep it in the best light. There are definitely strategies to accomplish this, some are common sense, others are a little more technical. But, the main thing is execution, and that’s where a marketing agency’s help can really make the difference.
What is the proudest thing you’ve accomplished for a business?
Every time I’m able to help a new business become visible on the web and compete with other businesses that have existed for years before hand makes me very proud. Also, just having the answers to business owners questions is quite satisfying.
Tell us about your family and the Rob Scutti “zoo”.
This is probably not a good question for me, as my answer is that I’m patiently waiting for the numbers to decrease naturally while at the same time, trying to convince my wife to come to enjoy life without an overabundance of animals running around the house…
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Since I only play the lottery when it exceeds $350 million or so, I’m assuming that is the amount of money we’re talking about here… That said, I’d be a terribly boring winner in that I’d be one of those that did not want to go public. Also, the first things I’d do with the money would be to discuss and agree with my wife so to start out on the same page. After that, I’d like to give 10% off the top to our church and other charities that mean a lot to both of us. Then divide up the next 40% between friends and family to be given according to need anonymously. The rest we would keep to do all the things we’ve only dreamed of. For me, I have about a half dozen cars I’d like to own and a few motorcycles too. I’d also like to resume my traveling plans and finally get to see some of the places I didn’t get to during my airline years and also return to some of my favorites. And lastly, I’d love to fund some startups and help folks with some promising business ideas get a start.