A summer interview with… David Harry (@thegypsy): “Video. It is one area that is getting increased visibility”

A summer interview with… David Harry (@thegypsy): “Video. It is one area that is getting increased visibility”

20th July 2010

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: One of the technical strongest persons in SEO: David Harry, aka “The Gypsy

1- Can you introduce yourself in one paragraph?

Wow, is this a job interview? What’s a fella to say? Hmmmm… ok, for those unfamiliar with this wayward web wandering Gypsy, the name is Dave, and I… am an algoholic. I am massively jealous of the IR geeks in the CS world (information retrieval and computer science respectively) but came to the game far too late in life to be going that route. So I did the next best thing, became an SEO and analyst/reporter for the search world. I eat breath and sleep organic search. No PPC, no social, just a massive (organic) search geek.

2- What are you doing this summer?

Working, working and then working some more. No, seriously. That’s about it. When not writing, consulting or building my SEO community, I spend time with the wife and kidlets. We do a lot of hiking and camping and I really have no other personal life to speak of at the moment. I am intensely in love with my family and really have no interest beyond supporting them and spending time together.

3- What is the most hottest subject in search at the moment, what should every SEO be looking into?

Ah man, that’s too hard to answer… almost seems like a loaded question. What is ‘hot’ in the search world and what SHOULD be on people’s minds are most often too different things. So let me quick hit a few;

Universal Search Strategy – one area that a lot of SEOs don’t seem to be catching is the fact that a SERP out approach to your query spaces is needed. The elements that require the most attention in knowing the universal elements are Video, News, Blogs and Local. Know which query spaces of yours they are showing up in, and nail them down. (we had a chat about it recently on SEM Synergy )

Personalization – while the buzz may have died since ‘personalization for all’ may have died down, the holy grail of implicit/explicit user feedback has not passed and the IR world is ever pressing on to do it better. Behavioural data is going to continue to be a huge players in the future of search… understand it well (http://www.huomah.com/Search-Engines/Search-Engine-Optimization/The-SEO-guide-to-Google-personalized-search.html )

Real-time social search – this one has been a ‘hot topic’ for some time now and fits into the, meh, category. It has been consistently been moving down below the fold and in many query spaces, disappeared altogether. Far more noise than signal here and too many SEOs latch onto it for the ‘sexy’ feel…

4- What do you think is the “state of search” at the moment, is the industry doing good?

Man, here we go again. You see, being the geek that I am, I tend to think of the ‘state of search’ as being the state of the IR world. Not really the SEO industry per se when I hear that question.

And when I think of the SEO world, well… the record continues to skip (dating myself there). I am often frustrated to no end by the general lack of understanding in the industry of how search engines actually work. It was the motication for the ‘SEO Higher Learning’ and ‘White Coat Resolutions’ posts over the last year or so ( http://www.huomah.com/Search-Engines/Algorithm-Matters/SEO-Higher-learning.html, http://www.huomah.com/Search-Engines/Learn-SEO/White-Coat-SEO-resolutions-for-the-New-Year.html ).

To me a ‘Search Engine’ Optimizer not understanding how a ‘Search Engine’ works is like having a web developer that fails to understand HTML. I do believe some of the newer generation has a keener sense of things than in years past, but we’re not there yet.

5- What is your favorite website, apart from your own?

HA! That’s just waaaaaay too easy – SEO by the Sea. I spend more time there than I do anywhere else and Bill has long been one of my favourite people in the biz.

6- Can “social marketing / media” and search survive apart from each other?

I am not even sure how to answer that one. While they are, to me, very distinctly different mediums, neither is going away anytime soon. But as I noted earlier about RTS, it’s more of a ‘sexy’ topic for many and I don’t see it that way. A search element of a social site is NOT a search engine to me. That isn’t really what a search engine is. Thus I don’t see Twitter/Facebook search apps as a ‘Google Killer’… that’s just a silly catch phrase that peeps use to get attention. Anyone remember social 1.0? You know, forums? Imagine me saying that the search function on a forum is a ‘search engine’. It would be just silly.

Thus search and social already to survive on their own since they are actually different elements. In truth, social isn’t viable for signals to search engines in a great many markets/query spaces. And by all accounts, social is a FAIL for search anyway.

7- What’s your search tip for the summer?

Well, this one goes back to the universal strategy from earlier. More specifically, Video. It is one area that is getting increased visibility (see; http://www.huomah.com/Search-Engines/Universal-Search/Google-showing-more-video-in-SERPs.html ) and it is also an area not a lot of SEOs are well versed in. If there was one place I’d advise people to get their chops honed on, it is VSEO and content strategy inclusive of Videos.

Other than that, I’d say to also look into microformats/RDFa as annotations are something that is also likely to become more and more important in the coming years.

Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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