Pantheon Community

WebOps Wednesday SEO AMA: Joe Davis

My name is Joe Davis and I have over 18 years of experience working in digital marketing and web development. During that time, my company has developed numerous websites, internet platforms, strategic marketing plans and search engine optimization strategies for businesses of all sizes.

I love helping entrepreneurs shape and develop their ideas into viable businesses. This includes the entire process, from conceptualization all the way through to implementation. My areas of expertise include Web Development, Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Voice Over, Business Strategy and Dance Instruction (yes really – Salsa, Swing, Merengue and more…).

Ask me anything about SEO or anything else!

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Hi @joedavis,

Do you see any pattern in the gaps entrepreneurs have in their plans to launch a business online? Where do people commonly go wrong?

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Hey Steve,

Here are a few important ones.

  1. Selecting the right domain. I look for short, memorable, easy to spell and no obvious misspellings. You don’t want people not able to find your business because they typed in the wrong url. Also, selecting something too generic means that it might not be able to be found in Google when they search for your business name because it’s too competitive a search terms.

  2. Choosing the right hosting. The cheapest option often doesn’t come with great support (or server resources) which means when your site starts getting traffic and something goes wrong you want to be able to reach a helpful human quickly.

  3. Assuming that your online will be driven by traffic from a search engine like Google. Even non-competitive search terms take a while to rank. Make sure you have multiple sources of traffic.

  4. If you are not building the site yourself, make sure you have a developer you trust and have easy access to. This is probably the number one horror story I hear. Someone was halfway through building a site and then disappeared.

  5. Don’t underestimate the power of other people talking about your business. Work with people who are influential in your area of business. Folks that are in your space in some way but also have an outlet to the world such as a podcast blog or great social media presence.

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Hi, Joe! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us here. :pantheon:

As a web developer, I was often asked to “get Google Analytics set up”, but that often meant establishing way more than just the technical side of things and got into the marketing side of things pretty quickly. What’s the best way for a dev to get up to speed on analytics & to help provide some guidance to their team?

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Hi @joedavis :wave:

Thanks for dropping in & sharing your experience! I am really interested in learning more about SEO in general. What is your advice for someone who is just dipping their fit into the space per say? What kind of resources and/or tools are out there that you absolutely love?

Also–a question I have always wanted to know! How do you optimize for international markets? With multilingual and multi-regional sites, I am sure tracking looks very different?

Side note, you & our very own @ashleynoda would get along great! She teaches dance as well!

@sparklingrobots this is an issue that comes up a lot for developers.

The first step is right from the beginning differentiate between coding/technical integration and SEO/strategy. The job of a developer is generally the technical side. Reading the data, creating a marketing strategy and implementing it is usually the job of a digital marketer.

I would suggest creating a relationship with a digital marketing person (they often are not developers and would benefit from such a relationship as well) and also spending some time taking the free courses offered by Google Analytics Academy.

Available here:
https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/

Also, definitely use Google Search Console which provides easier to understand data for clients and is not nearly as complicated as Google Analytics.

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Hi Joe!

How would you say are the biggest ways SEO has changed in the past two years? What’s the biggest thing on the horizon companies should keep in mind?

@McKennaR, thanks for having me!

A good guide for SEO beginners:

Here a few great SEO tools (many with free versions) that also have good information on the world of SEO:


https://ahrefs.com/

https://www.spyfu.com/

The SEO blogs I read everyday:


https://moz.com/blog/

The Optimizing for international markets is a really great question. I’ll put together a write up on that and post it here.

@ashleynoda shall we dance?!

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This is amazing, thank you so much! :slight_smile: Can’t wait to get my read on!

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@carolyn there are algorithm updates all the time. Some have more of an impact than others.

It is a well-timed question, Google just released the BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update which supposedly impacts one in ten searches. Google says this is the most important update in the last 5 years. It is focused on natural language processing and long tail search (searches done using a long string of words). This means it will good for websites who have well written content and are trying to rank for search terms that are longer than a few keywords. It will most likely have a negative impact on poorly written websites and those with thin content. More information:

Perhaps one of the biggest changes to SEO was the shift to mobile first indexing. Here is a good explanation from Google:
https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/mobile-first-indexing

Here is a solid list of Google algorithm updates (with explanations) throughout the years:

Some important things to keep in mind to help future-proof your SEO:

  1. Website/server performance. Google wants sites to load quickly. Make sure you have a well coded site running on a good server. the importance of this is only going to increase.
  2. As the algorithm gets better understanding context and the nuances of language, make sure your content is laid out well, written well and no room for confusion. Keep in mind that those long tail searches are generally less competitive to rank. The more people that use mobile devices and speech recognition to search, the more those long tailed searches will grow in number.
  3. The mobile experience is at very least equally important to the desktop experience now, in the not-too-distant future the mobile experience will be significantly more important than desktop both for humans and for search algorithms.
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