When you interview the pros you want to ask the right questions. Usually the typical SEO questions won’t suffice, you want to take the opportunity to ask the tough ones. Here are the responses from the web’s most pragmatic SEO fathom.

1. Hi Fathom, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. First, your vitals please:

Name: fathom
Your Web site: http://www.coopyrite.net
Shameless plug about yourself: Really — I’m a shy guy! [Nice try Fathom. :P]

SEO Pro Interview: Fathom Tells it How it is.

2. If you had to describe the SEO industry to someone new what would you say? It’s traditional exposure! Just because the medium changes and attributes that need to be considered are different it is still “marketing” through promotions and advertising.

3. Many managers, webmasters, and web owners have heard horror stories about the SEO industry. In your opinion what’s the biggest problem preventing SEO from becoming a mainstream component of business marketing?

  • a. It is (in my estimation) mainstream already. Historically when the printing press was new it took time for the world to adopt. Initially they adopted “cheaply” but as time went on and print became a premium the costs for advertising escalated – and business saw this as necessary marketing expense.
  • b. As for horror stories if you look at the news today and the Conrad Black trial – that’s a newsprint horror story and SEO has nothing to compare… it’s a perspective thing.

4. How can we solve/address the issues mentioned in Q3? All it takes is time.

5. What’s more important to you? On page optimization or off-page optimization. “What’s more important to being born – your mother or your father?” You cannot properly optimize without both so there is little point debating which is more important.

6. Name two web markets you believe are not yet saturated and have relatively higher than average ROI potential.

  • a. That’s not as easy to answer as one would think. Professionally, I believe there are very few industry segments that have reached total saturation. The reason for this is the nature of search isn’t about a single keyword or phrase.
  • b. Let’s look at it from the vantagepoint of space. Man chose to venture to the moon first because it was easy (well it wasn’t really easy but it was easier than going to Mars. Course for a really huge pay-off if we traveled to another solar system think of all the better resources we can get (comparable to those on the Moon or Mars)… we’d only need to wait centuries for to exploit those resources. SEO is much the same way – starting with the easy stuff ‘keyphrases’ is better for RIO than the most searched keyword in any industry – and in that there is room in all industry segments.

7. In your view, what are the top 5 must haves (if you think there are 5) for on-page optimization?

  • a. Titles (that’s it)
    • i. Title Elements
    • ii. Page Titles (in H Tags)

8. Same question, only this time for off-page optimization.

  • a. Links (that’s it)
    • i. Internal link anchors and navigation structure
    • ii. Links from other websites (all kinds with a vast assortment of anchors)

9. Web 2.0 is here and alive, where do you see Web 3.0 (Web Cubed) heading? Unfortunately, I never saw any value in Web 2.0 – honestly I know nothing about it and therefore Web 3.0 is a total mystery

10. Is it true that just about anybody can ‘do’ SEO?

  • a. I honestly think that’s a trick question.
  • b. NO – ‘Doing SEO’ implies having inside knowledge on something. When you have vast knowledge of SEO procedural responses it goes a long way into not having inside knowledge of the business/industry. When you have knowledge of the business/industry it can offset the fact of lackluster knowledge in SEO procedural responsibilities. So ‘NO’ — in layman terms because you can’t help others in SEO if you don’t have comprehensive knowledge of SEO or the business/industry.
  • c. YES – ‘Doing SEO for yourself’ isn’t rocket science – the basic principles are pretty simple and moreso because they are overly repetitive (doing the same things day after day).
  • d. The difference can be summed up by my recent heart attack. Before I was hospitalized I could walk, eat with a fork, spoon, use a knife, and I could write. After coming out of a 2 weeks coma I couldn’t do any of those things and that was extremely frustrating since I could remember that at some previous time doing all with great skill. The short of it – people take ‘knowledge’, ‘skill’, ‘experience’, and ‘wisdom’ for granted – anyone can imitate what they are told or shown but unless you aspire to understand the ‘why’ you’ll never be able to reproduce the results with consistency.

11. Case scenario: a strong web programmer (short on business skills) and a strong businessperson (short on programming skills) enter the SEO industry at the same time. Who has the advantage?

  • a. Whoever decides that check-sums are extremely important will likely be the bettered-skilled SEO. If you live on what others say to be successful or good in SEO and never double-check to ensure they are indeed correct – you will fail more often than you succeed… what’s worse though – you won’t even know that you failed.
  • b. Unfortunately, better skilled doesn’t stand a change against being able to sell yourself. A strong ‘business-minded’ person can sell SEO like ice to an Eskimo in the middle of winter… it doesn’t matter how good you are or even how good the ROI is – all that matters is how the customer perceives that worth.

12. Do you find that most savvy SEOs fall in one of the two above categories?

  • a. Not sure what constitutes as ‘most savvy’ nor what’s the true value of either. In fact, I was neither a web programmer nor a businessperson when I started so a direct answer to the question is ‘NO’. Indirectly — SEO successfulness is more based on 2 things:
    • i. A strong ability to adapt quickly in an ever-changing environment.
    • ii. A strong ability to challenge current thinking – (e.g. sticking with something because everyone likes it or ‘it use to work’ is bad SEO advice)

That wraps up another addition of Distinct SEO PRO interviews. Be sure to leave a note of thanks to fathom for his thoughts and contributions.

[tags]fathom, seo interview, seo pros, seo professionals[/tags]