You may have heard about GR0, the digital marketing agency in Los Angeles with an SEO-first approach, but how much do you know about its founders, Jonathan Zacharias and Kevin Miller? Their agency, despite being just two years old, is quickly becoming a household name in the industry, attracting the business of major brands and celebrities in the Hollywood area.
Their innovative approach to online advertising is providing incredible results for even small-scale brands, and it all started in the office of a law firm in San Diego.
“I have a law degree, and when I was in law school I was working for one of my dad’s friends at a wage-an-hour class action law firm. I realized that I was way more interested in getting the cases than litigating them” recalled Zacharias, who was studying at the California Western School of Law at the time.
The phenomenon he’d become interested in, which would turn out to become known as Search Engine Optimization, was starting to bloom within the medical and law industries. But he’d discovered that while some were privy to the new technology, there were many who weren’t, including those in the e-commerce sector.
With both an idea and an audience, Zacharias traveled to Los Angeles, continuing to study SEO in the hopes of building a brand new business. “I spent the next seven, eight years, from 2011 to 2019 when we started the company perfecting the science behind SEO, and then once I had that perfected, I basically started applying tactics that had never been used in e-commerce. It was really like the second wave of SEO,” Zacharias recalled. But his story wasn’t so simple and involved some time spent in rehab for substance addiction.
The entrepreneur found himself in need of some help. “I got sober in November of 2016 with the support of [residential drug rehab center] CRI-Help,” he explained. While it was not the best time of his life, Zacharias found himself learning a lot about himself. It was through rehab that Zacharias met Miller, and he recalls they “immediately became best friends, talking every single second, I feel like my entire life shifted as soon as I met him.”
Miller, who’d previously worked for Google in San Francisco and was then Head of Growth for Opendoor, was well-versed in the world of SEO, but he found himself learning even more from Zacharias. “I was showing him how to grow traffic through SEO and he loved it so much that he was like, ‘let’s just start a business and do this for as many direct-to-consumer brands as we can, because it’s such a powerful channel,’” Zacharias remembers. “Everyone trusts Google, and obviously if you can get high on Google for certain words, it’s incredibly valuable to the client.”
As it turns out, they were right, and now they can offer potent marketing to smaller brands who don’t have massive budgets, “We give these brands an opportunity to work with huge celebrities that they wouldn’t normally be able to work with because they couldn’t afford to put millions of dollars down up front,” explains Zacharias. “But they can afford for us to basically do a whitelisting campaign. It’s a new type of campaigns that we’re doing, and they are very, very powerful.”
It’s been two years since the founding of GR0, and they’ve already become an award-winning success, snagging a Silver Stevie for Fastest Growing Company of The Year from the American Business Awards. Their success didn’t come easy, but through hard work and careful thinking, the duo have made a name for themselves across the country, and they’re only just beginning.