Interview: Bill Slawski Joins WebiMax
WebiMax Contributor, June 18, 2012
I don't write online often and when I do, it's usually OK. No mind-blowing, game-changing information usually has my name attached. And when asked why I don't write more, I usually have 2 responses:
1) I just don't have time. (I know: the biggest cop-out ever.)
2) If I do have something worth writing about, I'm selfish. I want to keep the treasures for my clients; else they spread across the entire Internet and then cease to exist. Even the most above-board, white-hat strategies run the risk of being abused and lost, and I just can't take that chance.
However, there is someone who writes frequently and always nails it. I've subscribed to his blog since the beginning of my SEO career, and his understanding of patents and their impacts on search are second to none.
But that's only part of the equation. Bill Slawski has been working in SEO since 1996. His website and blog, SEO by the Sea, has been a virtual library of search engine theory and web usability since 2005. The level of detail and the professionalism that go into each post have helped Bill solidify himself as one of the industry's more cited experts.
I first met Bill at SEER's Search Church on March 15, 2012 where he presented Search and Social Patents for 2012 and Beyond. (Thanks to Wil Reynolds and SEER for continuing to host great events!) I had the great opportunity to connect with Bill after the event over a few beers and talk shop. Although his level of SEO knowledge is extremely impressive, he's just a straight-up nice guy.
It was mainly for the latter (ok – and his skills are awesome, too) that I am proud to welcome Bill Slawski to the WebiMax SEO team!
I spoke with Bill over the weekend and, after assuring him we would not have to work on Thanksgiving, asked him a few specific questions about his expectations and goals.
Interview with Bill Slawski
Your initial Tweet about you looking for SEO firm opportunities had to draw a lot of responses from the community. What were you looking for in a company? In a team?
Thanks for your kind words, Chris. I was hoping for the chance to work with people who were excited and engaged in search, and in some of the new opportunities facing us in a post Panda and post Penguin world, who wanted to dig into topics like social search, and engaging clients and their audiences on new levels.
SEO is an ever evolving field, and while there are definitely best practices that any business or organization can follow that can help them become more visible in search results, we face some new challenges with focuses upon knowledge base results and more entity influenced search results, authorship and reputation scoring influencing social and web results, additional localized pages when the search engines believe they are appropriate, and more. I realized that I wanted to be more involved in that journey, and that working with a strong team made it much more likely that I could.
What reasons helped guide your decision to ultimately join WebiMax?
When I had the chance to talk with you after my presentation in Philadelphia, I recognized that I really did enjoy talking to, and working with people who were just as excited and enthusiastic as I was about some of these new challenges that we face in search and SEO. I enjoyed our conversation, and when I had the opportunity to talk with Webimax CEO Ken Wisnefski, I saw some of the same excitement.
Based on your patent research and the tsunami of changes coming out of the Googleplex, what advice would you offer to SEO firms and businesses about inbound marketing in the coming months?
Both Google and Bing appear very serious about social search and how authorship and reputation can work to impact what people see in their search results. We know that recency-sensitive queries and queries that are looking for opinions from people we know and trust are likely better answered through social results, which have a whole new set of rules about how they are ranked. Many of those place less reliance on things like PageRank, because very recent pages haven't had time to accrue PageRank, and yet the search engines want to show those results.
What this means is that search engines are filling a new role as a real time monitor of the world, in addition to a repository of links to informative pages. Search engines are also trying to insert more knowledge base type results into what we see, that can help guide searchers, especially those in the exploratory stages of searching on topics they don't know much about. Being seen as an "authority" or expert on a topic can mean being more likely to be seen.
How will your social media engagement change?
I'm hoping that my uses of social media in the future will benefit from having a team working with me that enjoys engaging with people in meaningful ways, in being both proactive and responsive to others and their concerns and interests. I'm looking forward to both teaching and learning from the people I'm working with at Webimax.
What's on deck for SEO by the Sea? (Continued updates until forever, we hope!)
SEO by the Sea has long been my workbook, where I can write about what I learn from patents and papers and blog posts from the search engines, and it will continue to that place where I can share with others, and learn as well from people who comment and share their own thoughts and experiences.
I'm excited by a lot of things I'm seeing coming from the search engines, including the possibilities of new search interfaces like Google Glasses and Siri and other mobile/wearable interfaces. We're also seeing the search engines looking further beyond the link graph to better understand semantic connections between pages and ideas and concepts. Those are things that I want to keep on writing about, and will be. :)
Do you have any upcoming speaking events you'd like to promote?
I've been asked recently about putting together a one-time SEO meetup for people in the Richmond, Virginia area, and it's something that I'm starting to work on putting together. There seems to be an interest on the topic that isn't being met, and maybe a first time gathering might help build more visibility for SEO in the area, and lead to more.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, especially on your first day. We're lucky to have you and I'm sure great things are on the horizon!
Thank you, Chris. I'm looking forward to getting going, and meeting everyone on the team.