We have Bill Slawski with us today – A well-known SEO strategist and popular name when it come to insights about future of search. I wanted my readers to meet the most authentic professionals in the industry when I started this Interview series. Bill was one on my mind to answer some burning questions about SEO. To get you see his backstory,

An industry veteran for almost 20 years, Bill is the founder of SEO by the Sea and partner at GoFishDigital that helps businesses with most effective SEO strategies. His move to Internet marketing is entirely accidental when he happened to help some of his friends setting up a website while working for the court in the mid-1990s. He has spoken at industry conferences such as Search Engine Strategies (SES), Search Marketing Expo (SMX).

Am sure you’d enjoy reading him ahead. Here we go!

Question 1: Thanks for your time and availability for this interview, Bill. We have business owners as well as well marketers among our readers eager to read you. Let me start with you only. What’s keeping you most excited these days, professionally (we wouldn’t mind knowing what’s keeping you excited personally as well)

Answer: One thing that is very interesting from an SEO perspective is the use of Schema vocabulary on Webpages leading to rich snippets in search results, knowledge panels, and direct answers.

Personally, I’ve relocated to San Diego, California in the past year, and am exploring the West Coast. It’s very different in many ways from the east coast of the United States. There are a lot of new things to see and experience

Question 2: SEO always takes the hot spot even if there’s enough buzz about social media etc. What’s one most important (uncompromisable) factor a website owner must consider to stay ranked and favored by search engines.

Answer: Is the site owner fulfilling the informational and situational needs of the audience that wants to use the goods and services that they offer? This is the best way to get people to return to your pages – meet their needs.

Question 3: Being the director at GoFishDigital & SEObytheSea, you have been dealing with several clients and businesses. Would you share a few questions that clients must always ask to find the right SEO partner.

Answer: One question that we are often asked by people looking for SEO services is whom else have we worked with so that they can contact them and ask how they felt about the services that we provided. We are happy to provide information about clients whom we have worked with, and it’s a good step to take if you are talking to someone about SEO services that they might provide to you.

We are also often asked about how we go about building links to a site, and creating content. It’s helpful getting some insight into how an SEO partner develops a strategy and what kind of tactics they might follow in pursuing that strategy. We’ve had a great amount of success with developing creative content pieces for clients that help to attract links, visits, and social attention. We have some case studies on the Go Fish Digital website http://gofishdigital.com and can provide other to prospective clients.

Question 4: Can you briefly share a case study where your SEO strategies and assumptions didn’t work and how did you address this situation to make it work? (if any)

Answer: No, we don’t have any case studies that focus upon ineffective SEO, but we have some case studies on campaigns that were successful here: http://gofishdigital.com/case-studies/

Question 5: SEO has evolved a lot over the years. You even might be receiving inquiries from businesses that are hurt by SEO activities. What SEO mistakes you still find people (website owners as well as marketers) often make?

Answer: We have worked with some clients who had relied upon questionable tactics to build links to their websites. We’ve worked with them to remove or disavow links and build stronger high-quality links to their pages. We have also worked with clients to improve the quality of the content on their pages, after a thorough site audit that identified issues to improve upon a site, and these have helped to increase the revenue and business that their site helps to bring their business.

Question 6: What’s your take on building backlinks, Bill? It seems to be getting more challenging every day. What are your tips, tactics, and suggestions on this?

Answer: Many businesses develop data that others may be interested in finding out, and sharing that data can attract attention and links and social media shares. We’ve worked with a number of clients to share data on things such as the most popular model of car that sold in each of the States in the United States, and the most popular places to get engaged in the Washington DC area, and, the most dangerous cities to be a pedestrian in, within California. People were interested in finding out about topics like these, would talk about them in social media, and would link to them.

Question 7: Do you think social media can replace SEO, especially when most of the social media platforms are being indexed by search engines faster than business websites and pages. What are your views and experience?

Answer: No, there are benefits to social media and to SEO that are separate from one another, and it’s worth using both approaches if possible. For instance, Tweets tend to rank well based upon how timely they might be rather than how many links they might attract. Sometimes you can be the first to report on something new, but sometimes you might provide the most popular resource on a topic. Having both options available is good.

Question 8: How about sharing one best SEO practice that’s working amazingly well for you (or your clients)?

Answer: I would rather not share it – I would like it to keep on working amazingly well. 🙂

Question 9: Being a part of SEO agency yourself, what’s the major challenge SEO marketers face getting/convert clients? What do you suggest to help fellow consultants and teams?

Answer: Answering questions that seem to want to request things that work amazingly well. It’s tempting to answer, but deadly.

Question 10: Tricky question, is there any aspect of SEO you never seem to like, Bill?

Answer: What is tricky about this answer is that definitions of SEO often change. I believe in a holistic approach to SEO that doesn’t include things that go against the search engines guidelines, and yet require creativity. It is possible to be creative without violating search engine guidelines. I like most aspects of SEO.

Question 11: Among all light & bright, here is something dark. Does PBN work? Is it considered as a dark SEO activity? How long may it take for search engines, especially Google to sniff blackhat applied on a website marketing?

Answer: I dislike Private Blog Networks. Some of my favorite older sites on the web were purchased by others, to turn them into sources of links to other sites, which ended up ruining my enjoyment of those sites. Search engines can monitor changes that happen at websites over time, especially when those changes involve the creation of new links pointed at new pages. It’s possible that changes to link graphs on the web can set off flags that might warn of the growth and existence of blog networks intended to manipulate web rankings.

Question 12: Lastly, you are one authority in the industry. We want to know who are the people you love to follow and hear in Internet marketing?

Answer: I really like the lists feature in Twitter, and I’ve built a number of topical lists on Twitter to help keep me informed of activity and new content in those areas. I have an “SEO” list that I like to visit at least once a day to see what is reported as new there.

Brilliant!

My take away from Bill’s interview – Keep the trade secrets as secrets. And create a good overdue Twitter lists of my favorite Tweeple.

What are yours?

While I thank Bill for his time to answer these questions, I would recommend you all readers to follow Bill on Twitter and Google+. You’d love his insightful posts on search behavior, SEO, and Semantic Search. You can also read his latest posts on Why in-depth articles are missing from Google and Image search trends

Hope you enjoyed the Interview. Got any questions or comments to share? I would love to see. Bring them on!

Did you like this interview? I would love to hear your thoughts in comments. If you want me to Interview a great entrepreneur or personality, just recommend in comments or email me at [email protected].