Internet Marketing Guru Reveals Top SEO Tactics

With Google changing its algorithms no less than twice a year lately, business owners are becoming weary of trying to get a handle on their internet marketing. In its attempt to improve the user’s search engine and Internet experience, Google has wound up being the engine that is driving billions of dollars in online advertising and SEO.

Canadian internet marketing guru, Dave Davies, CEO and founder of Beanstalk Internet Marketing, is known for his intricate knowledge and expertise in the field. While small business owners everywhere are scrambling for authority and page ranking in the hopes of winding up on page one of Google, Davies is steering his clients into successful waters.

We interviewed Davies so he could demystify all of this for our readers. We asked specific, timely questions and were pleased with his no-beat-around-the-bush answers. His well-respected voice in the business makes this interview one to read again and again until your strategy becomes clear. Read on.

Faleris: What inspired your SEO business versus all of the other internet arenas available these days?

Davies: I got my start in the SEO realm working for a web hosting company back in 2000. As their head sales guy it occurred to me that selling would be easier if I got people to call me instead of having to call them. I started optimizing the site, a “game” that was far easier back then, and it worked. In my background I always had a knack for mathematics and was raised by a speech writer so when I settled into a field that is based on algorithms and content, it certainly wasn’t a stretch.

Faleris: Do you think Google will continue to control the search engine kingdom? Projecting into the future, how long do you think it will take Bing and the others to catch up in terms of user/market share?

Davies: I don’t think it’s so much a case of Bing catching up as users changing the way they access information. If I’m going to project 5 years from now I see a world that has Google dominating the mobile space and Bing securing more of the home user space. While I don’t see Bing taking over search per se, their integration into the home (gaming, PC, etc.) will give them a huge advantage. Their engine is fast catching up to Google from a generic perspective and with Google distracted with mobile and their preexisting inroads into the home, if Bing can ensure the user interaction is smooth, they can make gains into the home space which could prove to be highly profitable.

Faleris: Do you feel there is any way to stabilize SEO campaigns so they don’t have to be altered every time Google makes an algorithm update? Or is that just something we can expect while Google reigns?

Davies: In light of the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates the answer has become “yes”. In the past the strategies that worked best/fastest were often algorithm-chasers in that they were techniques deployed purely for the algorithms. Over the past 2 years Google has done an outstanding job of catching up to SEOs and adjusting their ranking formula in ways that make these techniques ineffective.

Essentially – their technology has caught up to what they have been telling SEOs to do all along, and while there will always be adjustments to new technologies, keywords and user interfaces; the days of chasing algorithms is over. We’ve moved from that to a world where we have to view ourselves as Internet marketers and brand representatives. Build authority, build trust, build links that drive traffic and make sure the user likes what they find and you’ll rank well. I don’t see that changing.

Faleris: How can SEO companies get their clients on page one of Google if everyone in those same categories are doing the very same things? Not everyone can be on page one of Google.

Davies: Great question. It’s more a case of not doing the same or doing the same but more. At the end of the day we’re dealing with a mathematical formula and so basic principles can set in. One of two things needs to happen:

  1. Do the same as your competitors and then add 10%, or
  2. Build better than your competitors.

Of course, you can also do both. It may sound simplistic but there’s no reason to make it more complicated than it needs to be. If a competitor builds a link, build one that’s better – or build two.

Faleris: Back links have come to be the mystery of the SEO campaign. Google wants good content to be rewarded. Not everyone has the time or the money to write quality content, so they outsource. Because of this, the content on the internet is getting worse, not better. Google’s interest of improving the internet and search experience is actually forcing the opposite to happen. Your thoughts on this?

Davies: Sadly, this is too often the case. What’s resulted is Google building semantics into their engine that has to extrapolate quality. Essentially what is resulting is that companies that can’t afford to have good copy are finding that their copy can’t rank and that they’ve spent their money on nothing.

Website owners would be better tasked with producing less, high quality copy than producing more low quality. This will also help ensure they’re not calling me up 12 months from now with a “pure spam” penalty or traffic drop during a Panda update.

Faleris: What is your overall SEO philosophy?

Davies: It’s changed a lot since 2000 but at its core it can be summarized with the following: Build good content, get it in front of relevant people who would be interested in it (and more importantly – linking to it) and make sure your visitors are happy.

Faleris: What would you tell an average business owner on handling SEO? Do it yourself? Hire a company? Forget the whole thing? How can an average Joe compete on the internet without deep pockets?

Davies: It’s definitely getting harder and harder. If one’s budget is very tight and they need to go it alone then my advice would be to spend some money in advance to get some good advice from one of the many solid SEO’s who will be happy to do site audits and make sure that you’ve built in a set of hours for them to proof your work.

It might seem expensive. Some audits run in the many thousands of dollars but learning the whole field and making all the mistakes you will along the way costs even more so having someone experienced outline the to-dos (and don’ts) and proof the work afterwards can keep business owners on the right track and get to their goals faster.

If you don’t have a few thousand kicking around then read. And read some more before even touching your site. Further, read Google’s guidelines, print them out and keep them tacked next to your computer and put a post-it on your monitor with the following question: Am I trying to game the system or add value to my site or the sites of others?

Every time you think of a strategy, if it falls in the “gaming” answer then avoid it. If it adds value to your site or the sites of others, then it’s a good strategy that will withstand the test of time.

Faleris: How are companies handling SEO for mobile devices? Is that a whole new arena?

Davies: SEO for mobile has resulted in a lot more work from a design standpoint. While the principles of SEO have remained the same – ranking on mobile has required that we consider areas such as site speed and layout differently for a variety of different devices and recognized that the motivations of users may vary depending on the type of device.

To this end it’s critical to have capable designers and an SEO who understands the different metrics and motivations to consider.

Faleris: What are your pet peeves with Google? Or is that a tough question?

Davies: Pet Peeves with Google:

While Google dominates for a reason (being an extremely good and adaptive engine) many of the strategies they use violate some pretty basic web ethics and may well result in the degradation of web content. A good example is the use of knowledge graphs (those boxes of information to the right of the search results).

The information for these graphs is drawn from web pages and displayed right in the results meaning that the searcher no longer has to click through to the site. While this may seem convenient (and is) it’s removed the ability for the producer of that content to monetize it. First, I just ethically view this as unfair to publishers but secondly, if publishers can’t monetize their content then the content itself will degrade in value. For example, if I can make $200 per page of content I produce then I can afford to spend $150 to have it produced. If the monetization then drops to $100 I’ll only be able to afford to spend $50 on producing that page of copy. And the quality will drop.

While convenient today, I don’t like what it may spell out for the future.

Faleris: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about SEO companies, strategies or your projections for the future?

Davies: Be an expert. You know more about your field that those who need your products, services or information. Blog regularly, get your name out there on Q&A sites like Quora and be strong on social media. SEO isn’t just about links and content anymore, it’s about reputation and authority. Be an authority and a source of industry information and the rankings will follow. Now and into the future. And make sure your site is well coded.