What follows is a quick interview with
founder of the
Online Marketing Summit
, an educational resource for marketers trying to stay at the top of their game. Look for more perspectives from other SEO luminaries in the coming weeks.
How have you seen SEO as a practice change over the last few years?
SEO has become much more focused around fundamentals then tricks of the trade as those with the budgets have too much fear of getting banned. They are not looking to "work the system". Gaming the link system also seems to be diminishing, with entire business models folding under the weight of Google re-working algorithms to catch those that do. The most dramatic change is how social media and related recency are playing in the role of the SEO practice. Take blogs for example. How could a small consultant's blog out rank major publications? It is all due to publishing content quickly. To that point, one would be remiss if not to mention Real-Time Search. It is a HUGE wild card, that not even Google has figured out, because their algorithms are built over time, indexing, crawling, and real-time is well just that, "real" time.
Is search engine rank (page rank) important? Why or Why not?
Like all other indicators or even metrics, its importance is based on its comparative relevance. So, much like saying I had 100 unique visitors today ...
what does that mean
nothing unless compared to yesterday
and if yesterday was 50 then, that's a good sign. Page Rank is an indicator, one of many, but unlike past years, it is no longer the Holy Grail for your site as a goal. If taken too seriously it can mislead you in many ways. I'd think of it as a barometer. If page rank drops then a storm is a brewing, if it stabilizes or goes up, the potential for good weather ahead is much greater.
How do you think localization and personalization have changed the relevance of search ranks?
Localization and personalization make it much, much harder for SEOs but produce an increasingly better experience for the user. Localization has a long way to go but like personalization, it's a step in the right direction for all.
What will be the impact of social media inclusion in search?
"Will" seems a little past tense... it
huge impact. There is not an SEO consultant worth his or her salt that would not list a social media tactic as one of their top priorities for any SEO strategy. The content goldmine of user generate content, the viral linking of forums and blogs, and the nascent stage of video, leads to a ton of great opportunities for the small business to out pace the slow moving behemoths.
What is the most important thing an SMB can do to improve organic traffic?
A Blog. Period.
Write content, have others write content and make it engaging and relevant, then the links will come. I Can't even begin to tell you the potential here, if you are willing to engage for a few hours a week.
What do you think about all the new trends in SEO and how is it impacting your business already?