Insights from Barry Schwartz, SEM blogger

Insights from Barry Schwartz, SEM blogger

Barry Schwartz is the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable  and SEM blogger. He is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm with a focus on customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales.

Barry often provides an advisory role for Google, Bing, Yahoo! and several other Internet companies, and many startups.Blogger hosts the SMX in Israel and is a speaker, moderator at many search marketing conferences, including Search Engine Strategies, PubCon, and many other marketing and technology events. For more, check out his Twitter page.

1. How many years of experience in web strategy, marketing and business optimization do you have?

I’ve been doing web development since 1994, but I got into covering search marketing topics in 2003.

2. What do you do to further your own SEO and SEM knowledge and skills? 

I read a ton, write a ton and follow some of the brightest minds in the industry.

3. Is there any marketing or SEO blog you like most of all and why?

Um, I write at Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land.

4. What are the TOP-3 errors specialists made at the beginning of their SEO specialist careers?

Thinking that you can (1) see results immediately, (2) without much effort, and (3) without many resources.

5. What SEO tactics do you think are underrated?

Simply building unique and compelling content.

6. Do you believe that backlinks are Google’s past? Is link building important for increasing the website’s positions nowadays?

I think how people go about link building is behind us. But content that naturally and organically attracts links will always be important.

7. In your opinion, does the technical health of the website affect the ranking positions in search engines?

Yes, 100%.  If your site cannot be crawled, then it is a non-starter.  If your site can be crawled, but Google cannot figure out where the content is, how it is structured, is it mobile-friendly, is it fast, etc, all matters.

8. How do you stay up-to-date on the near-constant search algorithm changes?

I track what the industry is buzzing about on an hourly basis. When people in our space see ranking changes, I often pick up on that chatter.

9. Are you going to surprise the SEO and Digital Marketing world with some new projects?

Sure but if I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore. 

10. In your opinion, does a user’s behavior impact website ranking in SERP?

Indirectly, yes. But not directly. Google has said time and again that what people do on your site is not used outside of core web vitals CrUX data. But Google does not use other Chrome data and Google does not use Google Analytics data for rankings.

11. What is your approach to developing an SEO strategy?

Write good content that people want to read and share.

12. How do you see the future of SEO (in 5 years)?

I see people focusing more and more on content.

13. What advice can you give for those who are just starting their career in digital marketing?

Learn, test, and repeat.

14. How to make a website search engine friendly? Could you please name the main steps? 

It really depends on the website, but the bare minimum is to make sure GoogleBot can access and crawl your pages. Then there are hundreds of other things to do.

15. SEO is such a controversial thing. Every SEO specialist rates its success differently. What is your way to rate SEO success? What metrics do you look at? 

No, it is not controversial.  Success is measured based on conversions, are you getting converting users to your website.  It is pretty simple.

16. In your opinion, a good SEO specialist should be a good analyst? What extra knowledge should an SEO specialist have to succeed?

It depends on the role of the SEO.  Technical SEOs vs international SEOs vs content marketing SEOs vs news publishers SEOs and so on. It really depends. 

17. You are noticed at many digital conferences. How important live communication is for business? How does it work for you? 

It depends on the business. Some businesses need zero of it and some businesses thrive from it.  

18. Should a business have a corporate blog? 

Depends,  most probably don’t need one.

19. How can start-ups and early-stage businesses use SEO effectively to drive traffic to their sites?

More of what I said above, it is about content.

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