Interview with Tad Chef
Howdy Dear SEOs, after my last interview with Neil Patel; I am glad to have another industry expert with me for the month of March. Tad Chef of seo2.us popularized the SEO 2.0 approach back in 2007 by advocating relationship building, people-focused optimization and cooperation between industry peers. In 2011 he won the “best UK SEO blog” award for an Oxford-based agency. He currently also writes for Ahrefs.com, SERPs.com and Squawk.im among others. He also helps people with blogs, social media and search, be it in German or English.
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Q. You had mentioned that your blog was hit by Panda 2.5. How much time it took to recover and what were the steps which you took for recovery?
A. Thank you for reading my blog that closely! Yes, I most probably got with Panda 2.5.2 as mentioned in a side note of this post: http://seo2.0.onreact.com/are-category-keywords-in-the-url-a-significant-ranking-signal-now
The whole point of my anti-Google stance is that I never really recovered, that is, I didn’t even really try. I was fed up with Google bullying webmasters already and when this apparent false positive hit me I was simply angry. At that time I was hugely popular as some of my posts got hundreds of shares, etc. So telling me that my content was “low quality” was a major offense. As a reaction and out of protest I banned Google search on my blog then:
Ironically that brought back my ranking a few months later despite using “noindex”. You can read the story here.
Q. What’s the biggest marketing lesson you learned in 2013?
A. That’s a difficult question, I’m not good at marketing – I excel at optimization. I’m also not that good at defining hierarchies (what’s on top or best). One of the things that struck me most though was that I fared better in 2013 despite not being on Google and having much lower traffic then a few years back. It’s quality not quantity apparently, even when it comes to traffic.
Q. According to you how link building has evolved during 2013 and how do you approach link building in 2014?
A. I’m very pleased to say that link building gets better each day. It yields more value and provides opportunities for both webmasters and link builders. One of my favorite examples of this progress is how search engine optimizers literally fix the Web now. They search for broken, outdated or redirected links and provide better resources to link to. This process will develop even further this year. Just look at this advanced SEO post by Giuseppe Pastore explaining so called dropped link building: http://en.posizionamentozen.com/blog/the-first-guide-to-dropped-link-building/
Clearly link building is not about sneaking in links anymore, it’s about helping website owners and getting a link in the process of it.
Q. Your favourite tools for SEO
A. My brain for thinking, my hands for writing and my heart for adding fire to it.
Q. What are five important areas and strategies which you will be concentrating more in 2014.
A.I will try to optimize for direct traffic more, segment visitors (for example give discounts to returning ones) and focus on social search so that people who know me and care will find me. I will publish my first SEO 2.0 ebook too! I will also look for some ways to monetize my Pinterest skills.
Q. What are some feasible ways to do SEO for small business clients? Can you give us some examples?
A. Small businesses can still capitalize on local SEO. You can even rank for large generic terms like [shoes] in your area. I had a client that did that. I don’t do much much local SEO, it’s a bit annoying because Google Local/Places/Maps (I don’t even know how it’s called by now!). It’s basically a half-automated directory or a new kind of Yellow Pages. I monitor my wife’s site and see what happens there. From time to time I tell her that Google changed everything and what steps she has to take to catch up. For example last time I told her to set up a Google+ Local page and to share some related content. She did and it worked well almost instantly.
Q. Taking a look at the year ahead, can you offer any predictions for SEO in 2014?
A. Google search will become your Google Now-like personal assistant and replace many results with their own services (they already do with weather, dictionaries etc.). I have a lot more of them written down for this group post.
Scroll down to see my dire predictions, the post is sorted alphabetically.
Q. What do you think the impact of authorship will be in 2014?
A. Google will use authorship markup to clamp down on guest posting in 2014. So in case you tell Google each time that it was you who built the links on these 50 to 100 blogs those links will be discounted.
Q. Do you have any advice for content marketing and social media strategies for 2014.
A. Create fewer pieces of content of higher quality or publish more “short form pieces of content”. Why? The attention economy of the Web nears complete overload. There is “all content all the time”. Nobody can digest that let alone read your ultimate guides or other “long form content”. So either you make tiny memes that spread quickly or you focus on articles providing more value with fewer words than the competition.
Q.What’s the stupidist thing you’ve heard about link building?
A. Some idiot invented the term “unnatural links” as if links would grow naturally on trees. All links are cultural or technical. There are no natural or unnatural links. Or in other words, all links are natural. Hey Google, fix your algorithm and stop crippling hypertext by scaring people to link!
And that about wraps it up! Thank you Tad Chef for these super-valuable insights. I hope you SEO were taking some notes. I know I did! Cheers!!
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