Hello VTNS Solutions fans and welcome to our Expert SEO interview series where we get insights from industry experts to discuss all things SEO.
In today’s we have the pleasure of asking Gianluca Fiorelli, founder of iloveseo to shed insights into some salient SEO issues.
Here is the full interview:
What is an average workday like for you?
Seriously, I always try to follow a routine, which is like this:
09-10 am Checking emails (especially alerts from Google Analytics) and reading posts I tagged as to read later during my breakfast. And scheduling my Buffer for social curation.
10am to 02pm Working on clients, usually no more than two clients during the same day (I rotate them along the week working hours).
02-03.30 pm Relax, lunch… switching off.
05-07 pm Work
07-10 pm Family time
10-12 pm Work (usually things like blog posts, Q&A for Moz.com, but also scheduled Skype or Hangouts with overseas clients).
I try to reserve at least one day during the weekend for not even thinking about work. That’s a needed switch off and I dedicate it to my kids and wife and to all those things I like as reading novels, movies or dining out with friends.
What is your most effective marketing tactic or technique?
Relationship marketing is extremely powerful.
Having being able to create professional (or even friendly) bonds with other marketers is helping me a lot also when it comes to working for clients. It is much easier to outreach someone who you know personally than a total unknown person.
What pieces of advice would you offer small business, who intends to outsource their SEO ?
To have very clear what they want to achieve with SEO, not outsourcing it with the very generic desire of ranking in the first position for keyword “X”.
To help the SEO company in understanding their business needs, core and objectives.
To have the SEO provider explaining every detail of what they will be doing and have them reporting every step, especially in services like link building. I saw so many times owner of penalized sites, who didn’t have any idea of what the outsourced link builders did for them.
Finally, to be reactive to what their SEO providers is asking, being it collaboration in Digital PR or implementation of technical suggestions.
What’s the worst SEO advice you’ve ever heard being given?
So many! Usually related to SEO myths like Keyword Density, Link Sculpting… once I wrote a post about this topic: http://www.iloveseo.net/the-ten-crappiest-mythical-seo-questions-we-should-not-ask-anymore/
With content marketing, personalized local searches, do you agree with those who think SEO will soon be dead?
I think that SEO started being declared dead since its very beginnings.
No, I don’t think SEO – meant as that discipline that helps brands being found in any search tool – will die ever.
Search is a natural pulse of human nature since we were just errands Australopithecus million years ago, and curiosity and intelligence themselves are behind this need of searching information, answers, things…
SEO will evolve, obviously, but won’t die.
Of all the Google ranking factors, which do you consider most important?
It’s a hard question and one almost impossible to answer to, as the complexity is so much bigger than just few years ago.
Said that, I still consider that everything related to links is still the most relevant Google ranking factor. And, on a correlation base, social media engagement surely plays an important role also in terms of SEO, as it can be seen in the Search Ranking Factors Moz published last year (http://moz.com/search-ranking-factors).
But remember that correlation is not causation, which means that the more a content is socially shared, the more links it will probably earn thanks to those same social shares, but not that the social shares by itself are influencing the rankings.
If you were to start running a blog today, what would you do differently from scratch.
What I’d do surely is creating and editorial plan and firmly give a steady publishing continuity to it. Nothing kills the blog’s effectiveness as not being able to publish posts recurrently. It mustn’t be every day, but even if you decide to publish a post just every 2 or 3 days, then you should respect that schedule.
Only doing so – and, obviously, writing great content that both fits with your interests and the audience ones – you will be able to conquer a base of loyal readers.
And don’t despair if even for a long time your blog is not having that immediate success you were dreaming it was going to have. Consistency is the secret of successful bloggers.
I’m suggesting this and not some other more fancy tip also as a reminder to myself. In fact, I am guilty of having abandoned my own blog because of being so much occupied with clients and for blogging (irony, isn’t it) for wonderful sites like Moz or State of Digital.
What link building tip would you like to share that you have not shared before?
Sincerely I don’t have any never-told link building secret to share, but I can share two great link building resources:
1) The Complete List to Link Building Tactics (http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies) by Jon “Pointblankseo” Cooper, which is an amazing resource and that can be very helpful for starting freeing your imagination when you need to translate your link building strategy to actions;
2) The Link Building Ebook by Paddy Moogan (http://www.linkbuildingbook.com/), which is – IMHO – the best resource for every one who wants to start doing link building right.
What advice would you give SEO experts in a post penguin era
If they are really experts, then they should already know the answer :-).
My only suggestion is to abandon definitely the idea that the main value of a link is the PageRank it may pass, and understand that a link is valuable if it is able to:
1) Exposes your site and brand to your targeted audience;
2) Generates referral traffic.
How three major things can a website do that will guide it against Google penalty
1) Having the site technically perfect in term of on-page optimization;
2) Being audience centered and not Googlebot centered;
3) Doing content marketing and promotion off-site without thinking at Google
What one SEO lesson did you learn in 2013?
Not really a new lesson, but more a confirmation of something I was already aware since Schema.org was announced: that Semantic SEO is the new black, and that more and more Google (and all the other search engines) will rely entities recognition, semantics and concept connections for understanding a site.
And that SEO done in a silo is definitely something of the past.
Which link building methods do you think is by far the most important and usually gives the highest result?
There’s no rule in link building. Every niche is different, so if in tourism or leisure content marketing as a way also for earning links is surely effective, in others it could simply be having an amazing customer care service or working hard in order to offer the best product.
Ultimately, the best method for having success also in link building is knowing really well your audience, both the buyer persona (your customers) and the audience persona (the people who may influence your customers).
From Link builder point of view, what’s your favourite Link building tool to work with and why?
I wouldn’t define myself as a link builder, as link building is not my main activity. But when I have to run a link building campaign, I’m used to use:
1) OSE and Searchmetrics for Competitive Analysis;
2) Google Analytics, Tribalytics (http://tribalytics.com/), Facebook Ads Create for audience analysis;
4) Buzzstream (http://www.buzzstream.com/) for managing the campaign
How do you think businesses should approach Social Media Marketing?
It should approach it remembering that it’s Social, hence a place where creating conversations with its audience, and not just another channel where shouting it’s greatness.
Social Content Curation (http://moz.com/webinars/social-content-curation) is a great way to start offering content that match with your audience interests.
But also being emphatic with your customer base values is essential. I suggest you to study what the Lego Group is doing, for instance, with its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LEGO) and Twitter profile (https://twitter.com/LEGO_Group) and Instragram (http://instagram.com/lego).
Thanks a lot Gianluca for sharing this wonderful insights with us.
You can find Gianluca on twitter here to further discuss some of the insights he shared with us here or drop your comments here.
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