Interviews January 5th, 2015
Howdy marketers, hope you all had wonderful holiday season!
It’s unlikely that there’s anyone in the internet marketing industry who hasn’t heard of today’s guest. He is the founder of Search Engine Roundtable and news editor for Search Engine Land. He well-known for relationship with Matt Cutts and Google, and is also widely considered a bridge between internet marketers and Google.
A big thanks to Barry for spending the time answering my questions!
Also on TechWyse:
Q. You’ve spent a lot of time analyzing and interpreting Google data, tell us about the methodology you use and what conclusions (if any) you’ve drawn from Google’s algorithmic updates.
A. I mostly look at the community, to see how much discussion around ranking changes are taking place in the various online communities these SEOs hang out in. Normally, the discussion forums are the first place to uncover a major algorithm change. They are pretty quick to notice ranking changes on their own sites or client sites. I have been doing it for over ten years, so I am pretty good at seeing that discussion and knowing if it relates to an algorithm shift or not.
Q. How would you describe your experience of being a messenger between Google and internet marketing community?
A. On one hand, it is nice to be able to bring information to webmasters that they would not have been able to get otherwise. But at the same time, some people want to “shoot the messenger.” If I say Google confirmed a Penguin or Panda update, some people blame me for their site not ranking well. I am just the messenger. I have no control over what algorithms Google releases and when they do it. I just battle to get information from Google to the community as fast as possible. It can take a toll on both the community and Google but the ultimate goal is more transparency both ways.
Q. How do you see SEO compared to two years ago? Where do you see it heading in the next couple of years?
A. I see more SEOs become better marketers overall. Less of those get rich quick efforts and more of those, let’s build a better web site that Google will want to rank well. That is the trend I’ve been watching over the past couple years and I honestly believe that trend will continue going forward. In the next couple of years, it will be more focused on mobile, apps, wearables and richer web/app experiences – but the same goal.
Q. What are some good ways you have found to get around the loss of keyword data i.e. (not provided). Any advice for marketers?
A. I have a feeling Google will be unlocking more data for us in Google Webmaster Tools in 2015. So stay tuned.
Q. What’s the biggest change you expect Google to make in 2015? What algorithm updates would you like to see in for the coming year?
A. I’d expect mobile ranking factors separate from the desktop signals to become more of a role. Right now, most of how Google ranks a mobile site in Google mobile search is based on desktop signals. I think that will change in 2015. Of course, expect more spam algorithms as well.
Q. According to you, how will local SEO evolve in 2015 and which factors/signals should marketers target?
A. Local is very much so about proximity of a business. In mid-2014, Google released the Pigeon algorithm that tied in their web search algorithms into the local ranking algorithm. That was just pushed out globally to all English locales. I expect it to be pushed out further in 2015 in other languages.
Q. What are the major misconceptions that you have heard from other authorities/experts and the greater SEO community? Which do you think are most harmful?
A. I hear less and less about PageRank, which is good. There are so many misconceptions I see on a daily basis. It would be hard to nail down one or two. People just hear stuff and believe it. It is important to test it yourself or get a source from Google to confirm or deny it.
Q. How effectively can one’s content marketing efforts be attributed to sales?
A. 🙂 ask an analytics person and you’ll get several different answers.
Q. What advice can you give marketers about targeting the right audience with their content?
A. Always, always, think about how your customers will search for your product or services. Not how you would search for them, but how your customers would search for them.
Q. Are you an advocate of work/life balance? How do you balance both?
A. I am not. I am the worst person to ask for advice on this. I often work myself until I get sick. I do need to focus more on my family. I would need advice on this. I just don’t sleep much.
Another big thanks to Barry for taking the time to answer my questions.
What was your favourite part of this interview? Let us know in the comments below!
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Interview with Barry Schwartz @rustybrickRead time: 4 minutes