SEO Community Spotlight: Raleigh

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SEO communities around the world are struggling to get back to normal after COVID-19. Ahrefs is looking to highlight different communities globally to see if we can reignite some of them. If you want your community featured,

SEO conferences

The largest running conference in Raleigh is Digital Summit, which started in 2008. Founders Eric Gregg and Scott Hedrick are from Raleigh. 

Before the series was sold, they held the premiere conference for the series locally. This event was called Internet Summit, and it attracted upward of 2,500 marketers each year.

We also have the Raleigh SEO Conference, which is much smaller at fewer than 200 attendees. This is another event that we just haven’t done since the pandemic but, hopefully, we can get it going again next year.

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Ashley Berman Hale presenting at the Raleigh SEO Conference in 2018.

There were some other conferences over the years like the Digital Marketers For Business (DMFB) conference, which doesn’t run anymore. There was a different conference being planned when the world shut down, and I’m still hopeful that it will move forward soon.

The people

Passionate people make the community special and help it grow. We’re really lucky to have awesome people who are willing to share their knowledge and hang out with others.

There are a lot of experts on different topics. I’ve already mentioned many people. But some others who live here or used to that you may know include Mark Traphagen, Casie Gillette, Jake Bohall, Russ Jones (RIP), Chris Long, Heather Lloyd, JP Sherman, Tony Spencer, Chase Granberry, and so many more.

There are also a lot of unknown SEOs who are really good at what they do but aren’t public facing. Plus, there’s a constant stream of new SEOs entering the field. 

We also have reps in the area from some of the SEO tools and resources like Ahrefs, Lumar, seoClarity, and Third Door Media (Search Engine Land).

There are constantly new SEOs, marketing people, and business owners who come out to the events, allowing the community to grow. In addition to the events, there are a lot of random get-togethers.

Raleigh also seems to attract a lot of remote workers. It had one of the highest rates of remote workers for any major metro both before and after the pandemic. 

There are lots of great in-house SEOs, freelancers, affiliates, and a surprising number of famous YouTubers in Raleigh. We have a lot of folks in the gaming niche, probably because Epic Games of Unreal Engine and Fortnite are right next door in Cary, North Carolina.

One of the world’s greatest content creators, Mr Beast, grew up in Raleigh. A couple of years ago, he built downtown Raleigh in Minecraft

SEO companies

There are a lot of great SEO companies in the Raleigh area. Some of the ones that are constantly winning national SEO awards are Go Fish Digital, Hive Digital, and Locomotive. Ayima, which many people may know because of its Redirect Path plugin, also has a presence and history in Raleigh.

Three Ships is another company that I think deserves a mention. It partners with and grows companies. It also acquires companies to grow them. I think it’s leaning somewhat on the Red Ventures model. Red Ventures is just down the road in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has many employees in Raleigh as well.

There are many great companies that work with more local clients too. Some of them have been operating for nearly 20 years. Others are newer to the market but have talented people. 

Do y’all remember a few years ago when it was announced that iContact had acquired Moz? I was surprised by this because that was a company name I hadn’t heard in a while, and iContact is just 12 minutes from my house (according to Google Maps). I was fairly amused.

How can we reinvigorate in-person SEO events? 

It’s been hard to get things going again after COVID-19, and I’ve spoken with many other organizers with the same troubles. Running these events is a lot of hard work. If you have a local community, thank your organizers and ask how you can help. They will greatly appreciate it!

We want to know your thoughts on how we can get things going again, and we want to feature other communities so we can bring more awareness to them and spark people’s passion for SEO.

If you want your community featured, send me a message. This doesn’t need to be a physical community; it can be a virtual community or group. I’d prefer if someone passionate about their community is willing to share it in their own words, but I’m happy to help if you’re having trouble communicating your thoughts.

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