Mike Hodgdon is currently the Director of Marketing and SEO for Infront Webworks. Infront is a boutique Digital Agency and was a finalist for “Small SEO Agency of the Year” at the U.S. Search Awards in 2017. Mike, an online entrepreneur since 1997, has successfully owned or managed SEO, website design, digital marketing and or internet advertising companies over the last 20 years, and been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Colorado Springs Business Journal, and countless other publications.
Please introduce yourself and where you work.
How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years?
• Keywords- Penguin and Panda addressed SEO’s who had a tendency to keyword stuff and create pages just for search, which was reinforced by Googles Hummingbird update and the advent of semantic search which implied intent. Ultimately Google found a way to reward writers who wrote to their audience rather that for the search engines.
• Importance of content- Most marketers know the phrase “content is king” but in the last 10 years and in particular in late 2011 google that phrase should have been refined to “good content is king” because Google effectively found a way with Panda to attack the content spinners (folks creating spammy content) of the world.
• Links- In 2012 with the Penguin update, Google really started to get granular on identifying the quality of website link schemes and reshaped bad link practices. They exemplified the adage “quality vs quantity”, holding SEO’s accountable for bad link building practices.
• Onsite and in SERP behavior- Although largely studied and largely debated, onsite behavior like bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit, and in SERP behavior like pogo sticking (clicking a search result and leaving immediately), placement vs expected CTR, etc.. have respected studies that support that they have a bearing on placement, that should be considered.
Some of the biggest changes in the last 10 years were relative to search result pages (SERP’s):
• Adwords- Adwords results have moved around considerably and have not been completely eliminated from the right sidebar.
• The local stack- The introduction of location-based results based on searches locations was a big change and gave SEO’s the opportunity to place another top fold listing in the search results with the Google My Business listings.
• Responsiveness- Although the big scare of Mobilegeddon in April 2015 proved to be a bit more of a scare initially, it has become a standard for websites desiring top placement on mobile devices to have responsive websites (websites that adapt to display effectively in mobile).
• Knowledge Graphs/Answer Boxes- Another new opportunity to get that coveted top spot on page one. The knowledge graphs attempt to answer users questions directly and require a deviation from standard on page optimization but are worth the effort.
Overall changes for SEO’s include:
• Having to optimize for more devices and potential placements on the SERP’s.
• Consider load time, SSL, and user behavior factors that we’re always important to UX but know also have a bearing on SEO.
How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?
What are the services you provide to your clients?
What strategy according to you will prevail in 2018 for SEO?
What would your advice be to people who are looking to take up digital marketing as a career choice?