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Rank Harvest SEO: Helping You Scale Up Your Business, Reach Untapped Markets & Create Meaningful Customer Relationships

Founding Year:  2018

Office Headquarters: Headquartered in San Diego, California


With the rise in popularity of the internet, smartphones, and internet-connected devices, customers have become tech-savvy. Hence, businesses need to invest in digital strategies and craft campaigns that accurately respond to their target demographic’s needs and demands.

There’s an ocean of opportunities in reach, but there are a lot of decisions to make. That’s where Rank Harvest SEO comes in to help businesses find the right solutions to improve their brand awareness and drive qualified leads.

Excerpts from The Chief’s Digest interview with Rank Harvest SEO team

What qualifies Rank Harvest SEO as a ‘smart company’?

Prior to the internet, marketing agencies looked like something you might see on Mad Men where executives in expensive suits pitch ideas to large brands from fancy offices designed to convey status and success. The entire staff, ranging from graphic design to copywriting, sat under the same roof, just outside the execs’ offices. What worked well with this model was quality control; nothing left the door that wasn’t carefully scrutinized. This model was carried over into the internet age but didn’t survive.

Fast-forward several years and the pendulum swung in completely the other direction. The internet brought a wave of new small to mid-sized businesses that could not afford the high-ticket campaigns of legacy firms. New marketing agencies sprung up without the overhead of expensive office leases and c-level executives. They quickly ate the legacy firms’ lunch and made them obsolete overnight. But the cost-cutting didn’t end with leases and execs; many of these new marketing agencies were nothing more than front companies who closed deals on one end and outsourced everything to the lowest bidder on the other. This resulted in high-profit margins, but also fragmented, disjointed marketing campaigns and low-quality work.

Rank Harvest SEO lands right in the middle, taking the good from each model and leaving behind the bad.  We have a permanent staff where quality and expertise are required, we are also quick to outsource when it’s the right fit. This model isn’t exactly ground-breaking – a lot of agencies are doing the same. But what makes us different is the size of the outsource talent pool we have cultivated. While other agencies outsource to the same small group of data entry, virtual assistants, content writers, designers, and the like, we have hundreds of quality professionals at our fingertips in every imaginable niche. For example, if a customer needs their homepage copy rewritten, they’ll get our local, in-house content writer with a degree from UCSD. But if they need 500 product descriptions written for their online furniture store, we’ll outsource to someone less expensive who specializes in this niche (yes, there are writers who specialize in writing about furniture). Because we have an in-house team, we’re able to tightly control quality while saving our clients thousands of dollars. This is why we are a smart company.

What challenges did you face in your initial years?

Our founder, Michael Chagala, started his career literally sweeping the server room floor as an unpaid intern at a software development company and worked his way up from there.  After years of writing code in cubicles, followed by management and then a Director role at one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States, he’s seen it all.  Today he’s just as comfortable talking business strategy as he is writing code, which makes him a perfect fit as a digital agency owner.

But starting Rank Harvest SEO wasn’t easy. With the skills to both run the business and do the work, Michael set out to create Rank Harvest SEO without investors, partners, or business loans.  He started building a clientele with free ads on Craigslist and grew from there. While still employed full-time to fund the project, Michael worked Rank Harvest from 4 am until his day job began, then came home and worked 4 more hours in the evening, and 12 hours each on the weekends. Nearly 2 years later, with 2 kids and a mortgage, Michael quit his day job and Rank Harvest SEO was officially launched as a fully operational digital marketing agency. Today Rank Harvest SEO has serviced over 2500 customers, won numerous industry awards, and employs a full staff. Today Michael’s role is that of head strategist, but insists he spends most of his time “trying to stay relevant surrounded by staff smarter and more talented than me. This usually results in meddling where I’m not needed”.

What is new on the horizon for Rank Harvest SEO?

Almost by accident, we’ve found ourselves specialists in the wellness niche surrounding cannabis SEO and psilocybin SEO (psilocybin is a fancy way of saying shrooms, or magic mushrooms). When cannabis first started becoming legalized in pockets around the United States, it tended to be in small markets that didn’t generate enough revenue to support digital marketing budgets. And even if they had the budget, they found themselves blocked by banks and credit cards from buying professional services as cannabis was still illegal at the federal level.

Today the cannabis industry is well-established and matured, and psilocybin is next. However, they both continue to be underserved by the digital marketing industry in general. As long as they are operating legally, we’ve accepted them with open arms and have probably served 100 customers between the two – making us leaders in this space. It’s a fun space to work in; owners are often extremely well-funded yet laid back. They’re willing to take risks on creative new ideas.

Where do you see your company in a few years?

We’re growing fast. There’s never a time we’re not hiring or onboarding new clients.  But there’s a company culture we want to protect; everyone is getting paid well, nobody is overworked or pulling all-nighters, our clients are happy… Sometimes growing bigger just moves you further away from this.  We’re trying to grow carefully so we’re the same company in a few years that we are now, just bigger.

Michael Chagala, Founder & CEO

Michael’s career began sweeping the server room floor as an unpaid intern at a software development company, later progressing from software engineer to digital marketing then leadership. Michael was an executive at one of the fastest growing companies in the United States helping bring a small energy company from $20 million annual revenue to nearly $70 as part of a small team of Directors. 

“We know how to get the highest rank in the shortest time possible.”