New York City Area SEO Expert Alex Melen from SmartSites

We’re excited to have interviewed New York City SEO Expert Alex Melen from SmartSites for the next installment of our Featured SEO Expert Series!

SmartSites is one of SEOblog’s Top SEO companies in New York City.

Alex Melen is an award-winning entrepreneur and keynote speaker. He is the founder of web hosting company T35 Hosting, founded in 1997, and co-founder of advertising agency SmartSite, founded in 2011. SmartSites now manages over $100MM/year in advertising spend and has six offices and over 350 employees worldwide. SmartSites has been featured in the INC 5000 for six consecutive years as one of the fastest-growing digital agencies. Alex has been featured in Business Week’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs, Bloomberg, Forbes, NPR and more.

SmartSites is an award-winning website design and digital marketing agency, with a focus on search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. SmartSites was founded by brothers Alex and Michael Melen, who grew up with a passion for all things digital. With an innovative vision and a lot of hard work, SmartSites quickly became one of America’s fastest-growing companies. Their relentless focus on their clients has led them to over 100 five-star reviews since our inception in 2011. 

What would you say is unique and/or challenging about the SEO industry in 2023?

“Just like we’ve heard for decades, I’m once again hearing that SEO will be dead in 2023. I believe 2023 will see the rise of machine learning with services like ChatGPT threatening the traditional aspects of SEO. However, I truly believe that the tried-and-true manual content writing will continue to outperform (for 2023, at least!). It will be interested to see how Google and other search engines handle machine-generated content. I believe that Google will soon start highlighting the machine/AI-generated content from content that is manually produced. In 2023 for the very least, we will still have an advantage against the AI.”

How does your agency stand out in a crowded market like the New York city area?

“We continue to pride ourselves on our reputation – which is second to none. Our continuous commitment to our clients continues to shine through. As we have since 2011, we continue to help our customers succeed online.”

Can you share a success story from a local SEO campaign centered around a local area? Include any stats and highlights if possible!

“I’ve personally been very involved in the automotive side of the business. To that extent, we have recently been able to create a how-to resource center for a local Lexus dealership with [hundreds] of pages of content on how people can service, diagnose, and troubleshoot their Lexus. The content started ranking within a few months and now ranks nationally for almost every single page of content. In fact, most now come up in featured snippets and even come up in voice results!”

What is the best advice you ever received in business?

“The best advice I’ve ever received actually was indirectly from my brother and co-founder of SmartSites. It’s something he practices himself – but the advice was to work on the business, not in the business. I often struggle to delegate and think of the bigger picture, but that original concept of working on the business still resonates with me.”

What do you think is the most important quality that makes an agency truly great?

“As an agency, we don’t make any physical goods; we don’t produce any widgets. For us, our employees are our biggest asset. Keeping our employees happy and having them be passionate about what we do continues to be our greatest asset and is what makes our agency great.”

Any predictions for the future of SEO?

“As we briefly discussed in the first question – I believe a big part of SEO is going to be dealing with AI-generated content and automation. Both create a huge challenge for Google in determining what should rank and what shouldn’t. Google themselves have spent huge amounts of money developing their own AI, and I believe we will see them start putting it to use. I also think that AI-generated content will start being highlighted as such, and at least in the short term, will rank worse than manually generated content. It’s certainly an interesting time in SEO, and I think the next two years will see more changes than the previous decade combined.”

What is your reaction when you hear that “SEO is dying”?

“It’s something I’ve been hearing for almost two decades now – as long as we keep hearing it, we’ll know that SEO is still here and is as important as ever.”

What do you think is the most important contributor to keeping clients happy?

“Being passionate about helping your clients succeed (along with generating great results!) will continue to be the most important contributor to keeping clients happy. Happy & passionate employees – dedicated to helping their clients succeed online – is how we all win!”

Interested in being considered as an SEOblog “Featured SEO Expert”? Reach out to our team at! We’d love to hear from you and give you a high-traffic platform to share your SEO agency’s story and insights.

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