AJ Kohn shares keys to content and SEO strategy
For our third show, we wanted to mix it up and connect with someone who was a thought leader in SEO. It didn't take too long to figure out that AJ Kohn would be the best person to bring on.
He's been the owner of Blind Five Year Old, he writes for MarketingLand, SearchEngineLand, Moz and speaks all over the world on his search engine strategies and tactics. He specializes in performance marketing with emphasis on SEO, Authorship, Google+ and emerging marketing channels.
Kohn's interview focuses on the current state of SEO marketing and how social is changing that landscape.
Highlights from the interview
Social Brands and Influencers: You've been working in SEO for many years. So, is SEO dead?
AJ Kohn: No, and it really gets down to what you think SEO is. I know that there's a huge internal debate. If you ever want to peek under the covers in the industry, you'll see a whole bunch of people throwing food at each other about what the term SEO means, and what inbound marketing means, and what content marketing means. So, (SEO) has certainly changed from what it was, but the basics are still there. If you're doing good SEO, you're trying to grow your business and it's really more in line with digital marketing. I would say the days of SEO being "let's get these X number of links," and all these different things to exploit the algorithm, find the cracks in the algorithm. That's, by and large, going by the wayside. And now it really is more the hard work of figuring out how to build a brand.
SBI: How does social media impact search rankings these days?
AJK: I view social media as being hugely important, not in that the number of tweets I get will make me rank higher or X number of likes. That's garbage, right? That's bad thinking. Good social is when you get your brand in front of more people, (and) good things happen. Right? So, I always talk about social as reducing the friction to evangelizing your brand or your content or your site. When you reduce the friction for your evangelizers, you allow them to do the marketing for you. Then it becomes a numbers game, but it's a different numbers game. It's not the number of tweets that matter, it's that the tweet might have been seen by 100,000 people and of those 100,000 people, a certain percentage of them are going to be in that (group) ... that are going to look at that tweet and say that's really cool, I'm going to include that in my blog or I'm going to write about that or the next time I write for this publication maybe I'll include them because it's interesting. That's what happens, and that's how you build your brand and your story through social.
SBI: Where do you think the future of search engine optimization and content marketing is going?
AJK: I think it's going to look a lot more like a traditional marketer. I was at a major conference about a year ago, and one of the keynote speakers mentioned that as an industry most of us aren't marketers, which was shocking to me. I'm a marketer. I went to school for marketing, I worked as a marketer before I went and established my company. So that was a little foreign to me. But I think what you're seeing is search engine optimization and content marketing is finally getting all the marketing attention. I view it as a full-stack marketer with the ability to tell stories and build a brand online. I think the macro story is, five years ago even, people didn't even expect the online world to be as robust as the offline world. Today, I think that's not the case. I think when you go online, you expect to see essentially the same think that you might see offline. Or more. I think the other big part here is identity. Five years ago, you might have felt food about going into a forum and getting medical advice from some guy names SirDoc668, right? Today, I don't think that's the case. I think people are going and saying "Well, who is this person?" and "Are they credited?" and "I want to know who I'm talking to." Again, I think they expect the same type of interactions offline and online. That's a major change.
Below you'll find just a snippet of the rest of the questions we asked Kohn; be sure to listen to the podcast to hear his answers.
- First of all, your website is BlindFiveYearOld.com, what does that mean?
- How is SEO different in 2013 and do businesses still need to focus on it?
- What is the number one SEO mistake marketers make?
- What metrics do you use on content over there to report your progress and judge your success?
- What are three tools or resources that you couldn't live without?
- You're fairly well known for your research and presentations on Author Rank and Google's Knowledge Graph. What does that mean for marketers and how does it impact SEO or Social Media Strategies?
- Everyone talks about content content content. How do you manage content from an SEO perspective?
- With all the ‘experts’ out there, who/what do you follow, how to you manage/absorb all the social content out there in such a saturated online world and filter it for good use?
- What are some recent developments in internet marketing that you think are important and why?
- I've heard that you are an early riser. So, what does your day to day typically look like? What do you do to improve your efficiency with tools, training and/or processes?
- If you’re just starting out in SEO or Content Marketing, what mix of skills should you focus on developing the most to become a competitive talent in the space?
- Who is your industry Hero?
- Who has had the most professional influence on you and your career?
- Who are some brands out there, that just get SEO and are doing some great things, in your opinion?
- What are some of your favorite emerging social platforms, currently?
- How do you remain fresh and relevant in a constantly changing environment?