For our debut installment of “Ask the Experts,” we dive deep into the world of SEO with one of IMI’s leading SEO Strategists, Mate Dyekiss. Mate has years of digital experience helping craft SEO strategies for enterprise-level clients. His work at IMI has resulted in our clients seeing increased rankings on Google, elevated traffic and engagement on site, and more data-driven strategies to continue the initial momentum his work has yielded. That said, we wanted to pick his brain a bit in our 6 Questions segment. World, meet Mate. Mate, the world.
Question: What is your approach to developing data-driven strategies using SEO?
There are four data sets I’m always synchronizing:
- Creating an organic visibility landscape to see the site’s current rankings. This provides a good understanding of the demand for the branded terms and the ranking positions for non-branded keywords shine more light on the domain’s authority and popularity.
- Building a competitor audit. By looking at the competitor’s backlink profile and their current organic rankings for the targeted keywords, it helps us to set expectations and create the strategy on how to reach certain objectives and goals.
- Looking at the organic traffic that’s already generated by the website: How these users are interacting with the site, how they convert, where they drop off, etc. These findings are helping us determine the needs for restructuring pages, rewriting the content for a better information flow, redesigning certain on-page elements, etc.
- Looking at the demand from the users’ perspective in order to prioritize deliverables.
Question: What is one of the biggest challenges facing the SEO world today?
There are the obvious challenges we all read about:
- Google is launching its mobile-first index
- AMP pages
- Voice search
- RankBrain (machine learning)
- The list goes on…
However, I wouldn’t necessarily call these challenges. New ranking factors and/or penalties are introduced by Google because they are trying to provide the best experience for their users: the searchers. This is our objective as well, regardless of whether or not there are actual ranking factors and penalties out there. We adhere to the current needs of users and provide strategic solutions that are a perfect fit for their online behavior and engagement.
Question: Which industry/industries do you believe benefits most from SEO efforts?
Every industry can benefit from SEO. The strategy might be different depending on the vertical, but there are suitable strategies for international sites, local businesses, e-commerce websites, etc. Name it, and it can benefit from a calculated and data-driven SEO strategy.
A comprehensive SEO strategy really comes down to this:
How do you want your potential clients/buyers to find you? To help to answer that, consider that there are mainly 3 types of search queries: transactional, informational, navigational.
- Transactional queries are when the user wants to do something, like play a movie, or book a hotel room.
- Informational queries are when users need additional information, such as the best Italian restaurant in a specific neighborhood, or compare credit card plans.
- Navigational queries are when users would like to visit a specific website such as the homepage of their favorite movie theater.
As you can see, SEO benefits each and every industry. The takeaway here is that a site should be built for users, not search engines. Our strategies focus on making sure the site is providing the best value possible for its visitors.
Question: In your opinion, what is the most crucial element to developing an SEO strategy?
Everything starts with technical SEO.
A site’s crawlability and indexability are the prerequisites for good rankings. If search engines can’t crawl a site properly, they won’t understand the content of its pages, therefore they will not provide these pages for relevant searches.
On-page optimization elements and a solid backlink profile are crucial as well. However, problematic crawlability issues will present serious challenges when trying to improve a site’s online visibility.
Question: How do these SEO best practices or SEO challenges affect business owners? What should they be concentrating on now or doing now to set them up?
The following two elements are essential in maintaining the site’s visibility and converting visitors:
Technical SEO – Websites change all the time. Pages are removed, added, changed, merged with other sections of the site. All of these changes have technical aspects and when neglected, they can cause some serious challenges.
User experience – Make sure the pages have engaging copy, providing value for the visitors. Also, the ease of navigation should be a priority as well. Nobody will try to understand complicated site structures.
Question: Where do you see SEO going? How is it going to evolve? Give us some predictions for 2018 and beyond
With the evolution of smartphones and the way we using them, it’s safe to say we’re moving to a mobile-only world. Since May 2015 (2+ years now), more and more searches are happening on mobile devices, which is why it’s not surprising that Google is working on its mobile-first index.
With Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, Apple’s new Homepod, voice search is already something to keep an eye on. There are some interesting differences, such as the query length for voice searches being longer in duration than for text-based searches.
Interesting note: Bing powers Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa, proving that the search engine is still a big competitor of Google when it comes to voice search.
Predictive and personalized search is also a top objective for search engines. The voice search can be conversational now, meaning previous questions and answers are used when providing the next piece of information.
There’s no need to reoptimize a website for voice search, but do consider the intent behind certain searches. Also, if there’s an opportunity to optimize for the answer box on site, go for it! AnswerThePublic.com is a great tool to identify these opportunities.
It’s all about having useful information readily available as fast as possible.
Are you set with your SEO strategies? Are you ready for the future of online, offline, and elsewhere searches? Contact us if you’d like to learn more about optimizing your site for current and future needs of your visitors.
Want more SEO knowledge? Check out our latest Google Posts POV.