Leading Cannabis SEO Agency Account Manager Tony Ham on SERP Jargon

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Written by: Johanna Bloomquist

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NisonCo is a marketing and cannabis SEO agency that has ranked as one of the country’s best since our inception in 2013. Last month, we talked with PR account manager Michelle Melton. This month, we’re shifting gears for an interview with one of our SEO account managers. 

Continue reading for a conversation with Tony Ham, an SEO account manager at NisonCo. We’ll discuss his history at NisonCo, some of his favorite parts of the job, and what exactly some of that SEO jargon means. 


Hello, Tony! Please talk about your location, role with NisonCo, background and how you got here.

Tony Ham: Yeah! So first things first  — Tony Ham is my name. I am located in Queens, New York — more specifically, Bayside. I am an SEO Account Manager at NisonCo. 

Background — we’ll just go abridged. I started at NisonCo as a researcher and did that for many months. I moved up to “Pitcher” — I believe that is now known as an “Account Coordinator” — on the PR side. That didn’t really work out. I moved back to being a researcher, and then NisonCo hit me with an opportunity to start doing SEO with Evan. That was almost three years ago now. 

I started as an Account Coordinator for the SEO team, moved up to Account Manager, and I’ve been here since. The SEO department has grown quite a bit in the past two years. [At first] it was just Evan and me. We added an Account Manager, and then we got Account Coordinators, then another Account Manager, and we’re just chugging along. 


What is an SEO Account Manager? What’s a day in your life?

Tony: So SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” for those unfamiliar. We, in a nutshell, get clients ranked for keywords on Google. 

A day in the life — it’s a lot of emails lately. Just keeping clients happy, ensuring tasks are done. Identifying keywords, trends, and things like that for clients and just trying to get them ranked. Usually, we will get hired because either a client doesn’t have time or doesn’t know SEO, and it is up to me to identify which one of those it is and then kind of move forward accordingly. 


You said you evaluate whether it’s a situation where a client doesn’t know, or they don’t have the time. If it’s something they don’t know, is your goal to teach or do it for them?

Tony: It is a more educational approach. The foundation is similar in the sense that there are a set number of things that need to get done. People who just don’t have the time will know what needs to be done and will tell us. The people that don’t know, we will need to identify, educate, and then do. So it’s a little more involved, but I like that better, personally. It’s more fulfilling, I suppose. 


A quote from Cannabis SEO Account Manager Tony Ham: "[Clients] that just don't have the time [for SEO] will know what needs to get done and they will tell us. The people that don't know, we will need to identify, educate and then do. So it's a little more involved but personally, I like that better. It's more fulfilling, I suppose."


What do you mean by “ranked,” exactly?

Tony: For example, for NisonCo, we aim to rank for terms like “cannabis PR” or “cannabis SEO.” Those are terms that people are typing into Google and hitting “Enter.” And once they hit “Enter,” we show up on the first page. Those are technically the rankings. So being the first result on Google, or any other search engine basically (but we use google for the most part here, that’s number one). When you are ranked number one for that term — though it could change in the next hour — that’s the goal. 


How is your job at a cannabis SEO agency different from SEO jobs that are outside of the industry? 

Tony: Realistically speaking, SEO is SEO. The procedures, the tasks, the research, and everything like that are very similar within any industry. So it could be dental SEO, it could be cannabis SEO, and it could be HVAC SEO. It’s going to be similar. 

Cannabis is a little tricky when you get down to the nitty-gritty because the FDA does not medically approve it, so you can’t make claims. So when we’re writing web copy, optimizing descriptions, drafting descriptions, meta tags, so on and so forth, we have to be very careful in what we say. There are words that we cannot use. “Stress relief,” for example, is a no-no term. 


What is a directory, and why are they key in SEO for CBD, hemp and cannabis companies?

Tony: A directory provides a backlink on a listing. For example, Yelp and Manta are big “super directories” that encompass many other directories, and the smaller directories will pull from them. They’re important because you need backlinks to your website to give the website domain authority, and with domain authority, it will make ranking easier. You could start ranking for terms you didn’t even mention on your website. You could rank for them within the week if your domain authority is high enough. So again, using NisonCo as an example — when we start a new industry like vegan SEO, we could start ranking for that term almost immediately because of our authority within that world of SEO specifically. 


What was your favorite part about doing business development research?

Tony: That’s a loaded question! I guess, honestly, just looking and finding innovative companies because there are many run-of-the-mill vaporizer companies or just straight-up e-commerce companies. Generally, I enjoyed exploring what the industry offers regarding new companies popping up. 


Thank you, Tony!

Tony’s SEO know-how and research chops have helped NisonCo’s SEO department get to where it is today. By reaching out here, you can connect with Tony and learn more about SEO with NisonCo

Keep an eye on the blog and check back next month for another conversation with one of our team members. We’ll kick off the new year by interviewing one of our PR account coordinators.

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