Get to know Charles Needham, Search Manager at Autoshop Solutions

July 6, 2017 | Interview

How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years?

The biggest change in the SEO field is the context in which we actually work. When “SEO” as a field was first cutting it’s teeth, experts would optimize specifically for search engines and their robot crawlers, namely Google. This created an echo chamber in the web where every major website started engaging in basically the same SEO marketing tactics. In 2017, that has changed every-so-slightly. Instead of optimizing directly for search engines, the focus is now optimizing for the people who use those search engines. So now instead of optimizing content for what we think “robots” were looking for, we are now optimizing for what we think “robots” think humans are looking for. It’s funny to say that out loud, but the nuance is very real and is what makes or breaks a successful campaign.

How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?

As a teenager I was really into “techy” things; from taking a part radios to trying to piece together some code to make a working website for whatever hobby I was into at the time. I got incredibly lucky with one of these websites and without any effort, it got great traffic and actually made me some ad revenue. To a teenager, an Adsense check is a very magical thing, tantamount to a Hogwarts acceptance letter. This was all completely an accident, of course. None-the-less, after I got that first Adsense check, I came to the realization that if I wanted a bigger check, I needed more visitors. The rest is history.

What are the services you provide to your clients?

It’s our philosophy that SEO isn’t a single button to be pressed or a single lever to be lifted, and instead is the culmination of every aspect of your internet (and real life) presence coming together to tell search engines how relevant you are. With that in mind, we offer a full suite of services: SEO management, website design, social media, PR management, video development, and more.

What strategy according to you will prevail in 2017 for SEO?

“Strategy” in the SEO world is typically a very binary thing. Usually it means, “what individual tricks are you going to be focusing on in this short time window to leverage rankings?”. That’s the wrong way to think about SEO. The only successful long term “strategy” in my mind for my clients is to make sure that their real expertise and authority that they have in their individual markets have been accurately reflected online. That’s what this is all about after all, right? Google and other search engines manipulate their algorithms so that in theory the very best website is going to churn out for whatever search term was used. At the end of the day, Google wants people to come back and make more searches, and as a result their algorithms reflect that. Knowing that, our prime SEO “strategy” is to make sure that our clients demographics are 100% satisfied with their experience with our client’s brand. From internet-specifics like the way they click through the site, to the way they engage in social media, to finding the information they need fast, all the way to the real-deal physical aspects of the business, like are people leaving the business happy, are the check out persons notifying them of the review process, etc.

What would your advice be to people who are looking to take up digital marketing as a career choice?

The best advice I could give an up-and-coming “SEOer” would be this: there is no one thing that is “SEO”, and if you are chasing individual tricks like this you are certain to fail. The most important attribute needed for this career is to be an excellent trouble shooter. The things that are important to SEO are going to range (and change) to the far and outrageous, from being competent with modern coding techniques, to knowing modern social media behaviors, to knowing contemporary rules for UX, etc., and more importantly — knowing how all of these things come together to influence your client’s ranking.
The 2nd best advice I could give is to experiment often, and keep a few of your own sites up as well. No matter if you are at a marketing firm or are an in-house SEO, you will almost certainly get tunnel vision by working on the slice of clients your business targets. Keeping your own websites outside of these will help keep you grounded and will provide you a much clearer “vantage point” for navigating unfavorable algorithm updates.

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