SEO gained popularity when business owners realized that serious buyers in the online world use search engines like Google to search for their needs and usually select and buy from the websites they see on the first page of Google.
In the early days it was so easy for a website to manipulate Google and get to the first page of Google with the desired key phrases but with the time Google continued to get better and smarter and in 2012 Google took some BIG and bold changes to hammer down all manipulative techniques and allow the ethical and relevant people to rule the first page from their targeted key phrases.
Today BIG brands are killing smaller brands by acquiring all the money making keywords in search engine and at the same time Google give hard time to businesses by launching animal named updates that miserably affect small and mid size businesses, it is smarter to think about the future and thinking about a platform other then Google that allow businesses to get some solid leads that help business grow.
There can be tons of ways where you can establish your authority to attract your targeted audience and bring leads and conversions to the business that includes, Peer to Peer interaction, community building and more…
Today, I am having no post lined up but, I have a man who according to me is the boldest mate in the search sphere I know! He probably is the first man who blocked Google bot from his own blog and the blog which used to appear on the first page first rank against the keyword “SEO 2.0” is no more anywhere in search engine. He is none other than The SEO from Berlin, Germany Mr. Tad Chef.
Without any further delay, I will ask him questions about his latest act to block Google bot and other question that will allow all of us to know more about him.
Hello Tad, Hope you are doing great!
Question: Tad, let me start with the most demanding question first, Why did you block Google from your blog? What were the real reasons behind this? And should people follow you? [With regards you your latest act of blocking Google from the website?
Answer: First thank you very much for reaching out and interviewing me!
To be honest my blog is mainly private in nature despite dealing with business topics. That is I don’t earn money with it directly. It’s more of a resume so that potential clients see who I am and the level of my expertise.
So I can’t spend too much time on it as I have to work for clients in the first place. I may charge a small subscription fee in the future though so that I will be able to publish actionable advice more regularly.
I’ve been hit by Panda 2.5 at the end of November 2011. I didn’t have much time to fix that. I tried the common sense approaches like checking for duplicate content, outdated articles etc. but dealing with a Panda penalty (even though Google just calls it an update) is not as easy as that.
It’s a full time job for weeks or month sometimes. I just couldn’t invest that much time. Also I was really angry. I’m fed up with Google treating us webmasters like some kind of dictator.
They have to fix their algorithm. My site is NOT low quality. I’m one of the most renowned SEO bloggers worldwide. So apparently it was a false positive.
Also I was following too much of Google advice by then. I was writing boring Google-optimized headlines and the likes. I wanted to be myself again and use metaphors, write like in the early days of my blog when Google didn’t rank me at all. It took them half a year or something to notice how popular my blog was.
In case you depend on the income of your site, don’t block Google. You have to buy ads while you are fixing your site. In case you can afford to start over without going bankrupt, you can block it and instead work on getting a real audience by cutting out the middleman. Make people visit your site directly!
Otherwise you just get more dependent on Google with each step of optimization. Also giving away all your content for free for Google to monetize is not a viable business model. That’s why publishers all over the world rebel against Google News.
Question: Google is getting smarter day by day and this has make life of some SEOs really difficult, so do you think the year 2013 is going to be the year of flushing down snake oil sellers?
Answer: I’m afraid tricksters and fraudsters will thrive as long as there is an entity like Google that hides it’s “secret sauce”. Black hat SEOs for example are very smart people and technologically savvy. Already I get spam emails offering me “content marketing” services. So these people are the first ones to adapt while legitimate webmasters and businesses can’t cope. So basically Google is throwing the baby out with the bathwater: it hurts legit sites while black hats don’t care with their automated throw away domains.
What I’ve seen from Panda and Penguin is that many small businesses have been hit and now have to buy Google ads to survive. Go figure. In 2013 Google will attempt to grab even bigger shares of lucrative markets. Also they want webmasters to replace SEO with PPC. You compete against Google. Google is not getting smarter, it’s getting more selfish each day. Everybody else loses, including search users who get ads above the fold instead of organic search results.
Question: Tad, there is no doubt that you are one hell of an amazing SEO, so I will try to ask this question like a student. Tell us the 3 tactics that you use to build really high quality links for yourself and your clients?
To be honest I don’t really like tactics. Things like blogger outreach or infographics are good tactics. That’s what I can sell clients. I aim for the long term though. Also sometimes I do something and only later realize that it’s an amazing tactic I used. Trying to replicate that makes it a bit too artificial though and doesn’t work then.
One of such tactics that is not really a tactic but a genuine reaction to what I see. It’s telling young gifted people that they rock. When I notice promising newcomers to the SEO industry I try to welcome them. I do it at a time when most people ignore them. Later on when they are already more successful than myself they still remember me. For example one day you may become the Danny Sullivan of Pakistan given the amazing pace your career develops.
This wouldn’t work in case it would be just done to reap the benefits later. I really like seeing new people entering the industry and refreshing it with their brand new ideas and fervor. Others go after influencers and egobait them but these leaders are so busy they won’t even notice most of those who seek their attention.
Question: I think this is the great question that I should ask you as your blog is no more in the Google search Index… do you still got emails in which people requesting to guest post on your blog?
Answer: Yeah, I do. Right now I have a backlog of two unpublished guest posts. Sorry people, I’m doing what I can. I have to work and write myself too! Search Engine Journal links to me as a blog that allows guest blogging so I get those I think. Also my blog is noindex, follow – that is the links still work.
Proper guest blogging is not just about the links and Google juice though. It’s about the relationship etc. For example you have guest posted on SEO 2.0 and I still know who you are and like you. Also I know that you know what you do. Thus I was able to write a testimonial for you.
Question: How do you [see] SEO today and what will be its share after few years?
Answer: How do I see SEO now? I think there was a word missing in the question… SEO is moving fast. On the other hand many of the things I predicted or wanted back in 2007 when I started SEO 2.0 are mainstream now. I think the acronym SEO will fade. Maybe findability or something similar with a more holistic approach will replace it.
After all SEO is already not solely about search engines anymore. I’m afraid SEO in future will only mean the technical aspects of optimization for search. In the best case the industry will embrace the Search Experience Optimization definition and evolve enough to stay afloat under its current acronym.
Questions: Strictly SEO, Is social Media important? Why?
Answer: Even in case you want to focus on old school SEO that is link building without content generation all the time you need social media to get those links. Everything else is not scalable. Link building without social media is a tedious and inefficient process.
Question: Do you think that on-page SEO alone is powerful enough to cater long tail keywords in search engines? And what are the 3 most important on-page tactics when it comes to SEO?
Answer: Good question. The long tail is basically what’s left for most webmasters and businesses these days. Also it’s much better converting etc. On-page SEO the old school way may not suffice though. You can have an optimized structure, titles and copy but still not get much traffic.
IMHO tagging is one of the most underestimated and least mentioned onsite techniques. Large sites use it all the time. In the best case you use folksonomy that is the wisdom of crowds to tag your content. People know the terms they’d use in search and tag accordingly. When you look at Last FM for example the music is always perfectly tagged.
Another grand technique is the related content approach. Show thumbnails of similar content to your users and make the links crawlable. On WordPress it’s just about installing a plugin.
Add user comments. I often rank for queries where the only place the query gets mentioned is the user comment. There is also a trick how you can create more crawlable content with ease, create a new page for each comment.
Question: Tad, I am following you and your advice for quite a long time and that really helps me in shaping my career, what I really want from you today is to reveal some tips on time management when it comes to SEO.
Answer: Time management is really tough. I was chaotic for years but my health and my famly forced my the reorganize. So by now I am very strict when it comes to time. I plan my week in advance. I have 30 min and one hour slots. I use TeuxDeux for that.
I read my email once daily, in the afternoon and plan longer replies as extra tasks for the following days. Replying to email all the time is the biggest productivity killer these days. I almost never work on the weekend or at night anymore. I start my day with workout. I schedule social media times and research times. Usually I only use 30 min a day for social media. I assign extra time for the task of SMO, that is time spent on social media actively researching and sharing industry related resources.
Question: One thing you love and one think you hate about SEO?
Answer: I love how SEO encompasses all kinds of things. You can write for SEO, you can program for SEO, you can meet people for SEO, you name it.
I hate that SEO is still a dirty word and nobody seems to be able to change that.
Questions: How easy or difficult it is for you to tell your non industry friends [or children and parents] about what you do as a profession?
Answer: My family understood it pretty quickly. My friends too, I even worked with some of them. People I meet on the street, like acquaintances are much more difficult. I often give up and just say that I’m an online journalist because that’s something they can grasp.
Thank you Tad, for your valuable time. It was a pleasure to meet you as always. I would be glad if you could take some time and answer the questions that people are going to ask in the comment section! 🙂
Thank you for having me Moosa. I will try to answer questions from the comments but can’t promise to do it immeditately. It depends on when you publish the post and on my workload. So be patient please!
Note for Readers: If you got any question from Tad, just go write down in the comment section and I will try to get answers directly from Tad.
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