There are many great search-experts out there. We decided we wanted to give some extra attention to some of them. Therefore we will be interviewing some of these experts. During the entire summer you will be served with short interviews with influential people in the industry. You will be seeing interviews with the likes of Joost de Valk, Marcus Tandler, Chris Sherman, Mike Grehan and Danny Sullivan, and off course our bloggers! Be aware that some interviews will be published in the newsletter!
Today: WordPress guru and SEO Joost de Valk (Yoast.com)
1- Can you introduce yourself in one paragraph?
No 🙂 Ok that was lame, let’s give it a shot: my name is Joost de Valk, I’m a web developer and SEO from the Netherlands. I play with and develop for WordPress, mostly WordPress plugins, as well as develop SEO tools. I blog about all of that on yoast.com, which is also the home of my own company. On the family side, I’m married and a father of two young kids, an almost 4 year old boy and a 7-months old daughter.
2- What are you doing this summer?
About 6 weeks of holiday, although I’ll probably only be offline for about 2. The other 4 I’ll continue development on my new WordPress SEO plugin, which is my biggest project in, well, ever. You’ll hear a lot about that once it comes out, suffice to say it’ll be a true all-in-one SEO solution.
3- What is the most hottest subject in search at the moment, what should every SEO be looking into?
There’s two things, one is Video SEO. I just started playing with it recently, but the ease with which you blow results into the top 10 feels like the good old days when people didn’t know the power of a title tag yet. The other thing is rich snippets, and all the microformats related stuff. Funny thing is that both of these fields are highly technical in nature, making me as a web developer feel very at home. I’ve noticed that this also keeps a lot of SEO’s out though, as quite a few SEO’s out there don’t seem to be so technical, which often surprises me. If you’re one of those non-techy SEO’s, either start learning fast, or hire a good web developer and start training him / her, you’ll need it.
4- What do you think is the “state of search” at the moment, is the industry doing good?
It’s getting a bit boring. Seems to me most of it isn’t new (outside of the afore-mentioned video seo and rich snippets) and most of the blogs seems to be rehashing old content (except for this one of course). We could probably also say that it’s slowly maturing. Funny thing is that only few people seem to be preparing for the future, for instance, where are all the articles about HTML5 and it’s impact on SEO?
On the other hand, judging by the growth of this site, for instance, there’s still room for original content and opinions. On the conference front I see more and more conferences popping up, and I haven’t really decided whether that’s a good thing yet.
5- What is your favorite website, apart from your own?
Without any doubt that is A List Apart. This site has single handedly made the world a better place, and has been doing so for many, many years. It’s not for non-geeks, but it is one of those few true and original sources of ideas and inspiration on the web.
6- Can “social marketing / media” and search survive apart from each other?
I don’t really care whether they “can” or not, fact is that they don’t: they’re both part of the web, and thus as a marketer you need to use them both to reach your goals. If you’re not doing that, you’re doing your clients a dis service. I’m not saying you need to do it all yourself by the way, there’s no reason to do that. I myself, for example, am most at home in technical on-site optimization and strategizing, if I’d spend my time link building or doing social media optimization, that’d be a waste of resources, so I outsource or partner for that.
7- What’s your search tip for the summer?
I’d urge every SEO to start looking at HTML5, and especially at the way it uses headings. No longer is there one h1 per page, there’s an h1 for each section of the page, with subsequent h2’s etc. This entirely changes some of the things we’ve been teaching people for years. A good start is the online book Dive into HTML5, by Mark Pilgrim.
Another tip, only slightly self promotional, is Quix, a tool I built, and then especially the ‘seo’ command in it, check the output it gives for State of Search. It’ll recognize whether the page you’re checking is indexable based on robots.txt, x-robots-tag http headers, robots meta values and canonical links: quite the time saver.