How did you get into Search?
I started doing web design and web development 1997 and then about 2 or 3 years later, clients started coming to me and asking how customers could find their sites. I started my career in search by necessity, clients needed to be found on the web.
How many events do you talk at or moderate?
Third Door Media organises SMX East, West, Advanced, Social Media (in December) and I am also involved in Getlisted.org Local University which is focused on local SEO and marketing for small business owners. I speak at conferences between six and eight times per year.
I noticed you have a blog “Small Business Search Marketing”, is this what you update outside of work?
Yes. I started writing it in 2006 because at that time most writers and bloggers focused on large brands, very little was written for the small business owners.
How do you find the time to update this blog and how do you come up with interesting topics on Search Engine Land and Marketing Land?
If you’re a blogger, writing has to be a priority. You have to make time for it even if you’re busy.
What about when a lot of blogs are writing about the same thing?
Part of being a blogger or writer is being willing and able to stick your voice into the conversation. Even if there have been three different people writing about a topic, there are still different ways of looking at the same topic. If you have an opinion, don’t hesitate to write about it.
When I come up with topics to write about, or maybe just a good headline, I often write the title in my WordPress blog and save it as a draft to come back to later that month when I have the time to finish it.
What link building do you do?
I don’t do link building. My client writes great content on her blog, and we use traditional PR to get links from media sites. HelpAReporter.com – HARO – is a big help with this.
It is very difficult to have free guest posts on sites in competitive industries such as travel, what is your view with paid posts?
If the site has the potential to send lots of traffic, then paying for a post on that site is okay. It is about getting visibility for the client. The link should be no-followed and that’s okay if the article is going to send a lot of traffic. This is a form of advertising and Google can’t prevent businesses from advertising.
What do you like the least about SEO?
There is a lot of bad link building in our industry, which gives us a bad reputation and devalues the work good SEOs do.
I like the fact the SEO can make a difference to a small business owner and change their path. I worked with a small business client in 2000 and 2001 that was not getting any sales online. Yahoo had just started charging for links in the Yahoo directory so we decided to buy a link in the directory and their site appeared on the “Newly Added” page. Within about 2-3 weeks, they had sales from 8 to 10 different countries and this saved their business.
What is the future of SEO?
I think the future is — and I want to believe the future is — where those who are working on long-term quality content are going to win in Google. People focused on low quality, quick hit tricks are going to realise it’s not a good strategy.