A summer interview with… Mike Grehan (@mikegrehan): “the most interesting time to be involved in the industry”

A summer interview with… Mike Grehan (@mikegrehan): “the most interesting time to be involved in the industry”

8th 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 Godfathers in search and a man I appreciate highly: Mike Grehan.

1- Can you introduce yourself in one paragraph?

Bas, dear boy, it would be difficult to sum it up in a book, let alone a paragraph. But here goes.

Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit, I took the midnight train going anywhere. I met a singer in a smoky room with the smell of wine and cheap perfume… It goes on and on and on…

2- What are you doing this summer?

Well you know what I did last summer. I didn’t mean to kill him. He just stepped out in front of the car. And bundling a dead body into the ocean is tiring work. So I won’t be doing that again.

Seriously, I’m working with a huge team pulling together connected marketing week which happens in August. So most of the summer is work, work, work. After that I think I’ll check in for rehab somewhere as pulling this thing together is sending me insane!

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

You know, what I refer to as “textbook” SEO never really changes. Fundamentally it came out of the need to overcome barriers to having your site crawled and indexed. And it’s all pretty much straight forward. There’s no rocket science involved. But as search gets absorbed into the social media space I think all SEOs need to think well beyond crawler issues and look at the bigger picture.

Obviously, real-time is very much a buzz phrase and it certainly makes the melting pot a bit more interesting. And mobile is still a very important space to watch. Now that the iPad is totally mobile with the 3G version and there are so many clones planned by other leading manufacturers these types of devices will become much more commonplace. The interesting thing about them though, is how often people actually sidestep the browser as there are so many apps. Same applies with iPhone and other smartphones.

I guess when we think about the word optimizing, we should be thinking more about optimizing for the end user as opposed to just search engine crawlers. I use the term connected marketing a lot, so as a marketer I tend to think more about integration and the way things are heading more-or-less towards convergence.

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

Personally, I honestly believe that this is very much the most interesting time to be involved in the industry. It’s never been healthier. I feel there is definitely a trend towards more partnerships between the search providers of old and some of the newer providers. Location based services are becoming more and more popular and that means that advertising opportunities are becoming ever more laser targeted.

I used to get asked so many times about Google killers and who will be the next Google. And you know, it’s a bit like asking who will be the next Beatles. There isn’t going to be a next Beatles and I think the same applies with Google. They were the search engine of a generation. But now they’re becoming innovative in so many different areas (as are the other search engines) that we’ll see a transformation into the new “information providers” and the industry will continue to grow and thrive.

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

My own sucks, big time, buddy! And this is such a hard question to answer. I used to work as a radio DJ in a previous life and my passion (after information retrieval) is music. So I have an absolutely huge music collection (my first answer in this interview probably gave some of that away). If anyone were to ask me out of the thousands of albums I have which was my favorite, I just couldn’t answer. Same with great content web sites. If the question was where do I spend a lot of time online, it would probably be Technology Review < http://www.technologyreview.com/ >

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

There are different strategies and tactics for both. But if you want to get the best out of your online marketing efforts you don’t really want to separate them out. There’s as much search going on at social networking sites as there is at search engines. So the line begins to blur anyway. It’s kind of like asking can advertising and PR survive apart from each other? Probably, but you would be missing a whole world of marketing opportunities if you only did one without the other.

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

One HUGE tip that will help to enlighten every search marketer and put them on the road to search ninja status: Attend SES San Francisco < http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sanfrancisco/ >. All search knowledge is here!

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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