When GR0 CEO Kevin Miller got a call from his father about his career change, the voice on the other line said, “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. “
A native of Ormond Beach, Florida, a young Miller always wanted to work in one of the biggest tech companies in the world: Google. After studying at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Miller moved to the West Coast and made his dream come true.
The job Miller was hired to do was not originally his, and had instead been offered to a friend who declined the offer in favor of another. At the time, Miller asked this friend, “Please apologize to your recruiter for not taking the job and say you have a great candidate to present. It took him four months, seven interviews and quite a few rent difficulties, but he finally got a job at the company he had always dreamed of working for.
Then, two years later, he resigned.
Miller’s dad called the decision crazy, but the enterprising young man felt he had learned everything he could from the role, so he decided to build something of his own.
He enlisted in Tradecraft, a $ 14,000 marketing bootcamp where ironically most of his peers expressed a desire to work for a company: Google. Instead, Miller wanted to learn how they built businesses, analyzing product development, company culture, and more, all from the inside out. He also looked at different markets and spaces of opportunity, looking for passion and opportunity. This is exactly what he found when he discovered search engine optimization.
After the bootcamp, Miller was able to return to the startup world as a director of growth at Spire. At Spire, Kevin got familiar with SEO and started implementing some of the strategies he was slowly starting to master. Later, as a growth manager at Open Listings in Los Angeles, Kevin honed his craft and was so successful with his SEO tactics that he eventually decided to work as a consultant for other brands of DTC and e-commerce.
However, Miller’s first foray into using SEO on one of his own brands came 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 with board games by taking random letters and finding words with them. With his understanding of online support, he was able to achieve over 750,000 unique visits per month and rank on Google’s Page 1 for over 300,000 keywords. From there he knew he was ready to build something of his own.
In April 2020, Miller and his longtime friend Jon Zacharias launched their Los Angeles-based SEO agency. Their goal was to challenge the approach of other agencies, who were trying to offer a multitude of products, and instead to own this 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 positioned to create something big.
They developed a three-pronged approach to SEO: writing content, acquiring backlinks, and on-page optimization. By using extensive research for keywords related to a client’s products and services, GR0 has gained the ability to increase Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rankings and drive organic traffic through the search engine.
Miller compared the end result to a car; with the optimized website being the vehicle itself, the content that powers it, and the backlinks that pedal and propel it forward.
Miller and Zacharias found this strategy to work well with their initial five to six clients, but they had a problem: they did not have employees. These clients were personally nurtured by the two entrepreneurs themselves, with contract work with content writers and engineers they recruited through LinkedIn and Upwork. It went on for several months, until they took on their first hire: a content editor.
To finance their business, Miller and Zacharias each invested $ 20,000, without the support of lenders or VC. Much like the online traffic they generated, they both had to grow their businesses organically, running campaigns themselves to fund new hires, which resulted in 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 generate 1 billion new pageviews and 10x customers’ organic revenue.
During it all, Miller knew how easily they could fail and often remembered the job he gave up at Google for his current business. Yet he persevered, challenging himself to be the best he could be, because of one simple fact: “You only have a certain number of revolutions around the sun. “