Ask the Experts: Q&A with Daniel Lewallen, Sr. SEO Specialist

Daniel Lewallen, IMI Sr. SEO SpecialistReady for another round of Ask the Experts? This time, we sit down with Sr. SEO Specialist, Daniel Lewallen to discuss SEO challenges, recommendations, and predictions of where the world of search is taking us and what we can expect in 2018.

Question: What’s the biggest SEO challenge you’ve seen in your career?

One of the biggest SEO challenges is making sure that you stay up-to-date. In this industry, there are so many updates on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month level. It’s important personally and as a whole to stay informed.

But it’s a two-part challenge. It’s not just keeping up with current updates in the SEO industry, it’s also how to communicate the updates to clients so they understand the strategic directives. [It’s important] that they get why you might pivot.

It’s our job to temper the expectations from what they’ve heard from friends or other people’s perspectives. We have to hold true to our integrity of best practices and reinforce communication to original expectations. We have to look at the competitive landscape, business model, etc. It’s about getting the right type of traffic to the site. Sometimes it takes a “retelling” of the story and reminding them of the strategy.

Question: How do you explain the value of SEO since many times the efforts aren’t always as readily visible?

The best way is to tell the story from the beginning. What I mean by telling the story is to set the expectation that SEO is building a base layer of visibility, rooted in good practices and interesting and informative content.

It’s not going to happen overnight.

It’s like anything in life, the more hard work you put in, the more you’ll see the returns over the long term. There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes.

Question: What top 3 search engine optimization tips and recommendations do you often give?

From the standpoint of a new client, the approach would be to first, look at the technical side of things. It’s important that search engines can crawl your site. Start with technical and make sure there’s nothing blocking search engines from accessing your information.

The second would be that content is king. The more inspired and informative content you have, the more you’ll be relevant. It’ll make you become more relevant to your specific niche.

“Content is like the drummer of the band – they keep the song going, but no one focuses on the drummer. But without the drummer, the song is terrible.”

Finally, always keep in mind, the user’s experience with the site. If you were on the site for the first time, what would you notice? Where did you stumble? Have a third party who’s not in the industry take a look at the site. See how easily they’re able to navigate the different sections. Get out of the mind of an SEO person for a second because it’s the user who will matter – look at it with fresh, unbiased eyes.

Question: What is your favorite thing about working in the digital marketing space?

There are a lot of fun things. It’s exciting with everything always changing. The digital landscape in 2017 is completely different from that of 2010. I also like the amount of energy; there’s a certain level of innovation. There’s malleability in the industry. On a base level, we get to work with a whole bunch of clients from all different walks of life and verticals. We get to put one service to use in various capacities. Diving into all these areas keeps it fresh and exciting.

Question: What changes do you predict as we head into 2018?

Voice search is becoming a bigger element and we’re seeing how that will/does work into search. Semantic search has already become bigger and has worked well. Also, more and more sites are becoming mobile friendly. From a device usability standpoint, fewer users are searching in a conventional way (via desktop). There’s much more use on tablet and mobile, than ever before, and that’s exciting.

Want to hear more from IMI’s team of experts? Read our interview with SEO Strategist, Mate Dyekiss or sign up for our newsletter below to get the interviews delivered directly to your inbox.

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