We’ve had a delay since our last SEO interview installment, I admit I’ve been slow on the uptake to nail down writers. We were releasing one per week but now it’s like once a month :P We’ll try to pick up the pace though. Who knows, maybe we’ll do some videos soon too cause we just bought a new whiteboard!

This time around we welcome Randy who moderates SEOChat.com. His web site is: 1stsearchenginerankings.com if you want to take a look.

1. Defining SEO should be more than ‘on-page and off-page’ components. If you had to describe the industry to someone new what would you say?

Good question! Seo in my opinion is not a theory, it is not even a system, it is a process, a practice… Seo is not necessarily based on how much you know but what you do with what you know. Having said that, a broad knowledge of seo should be a goal for any seo-wannabe.

2. The SEO industry is continually evolving. Do you feel currently there is less emphasis on the ‘little things’ and even more weight given to content and relevant links?

I believe a higher emphasis is being placed on the quality of the links… yeah this has been a well known fact for some time however I believe Google is becoming even more particular. Even more so than ever before SEO should do their best to build links naturally, build up the content of a site where the site itself will work as a link-bait.

The search engines, specifically Google are getting to the point where they will be able to effectively identify un-natural links and disvalue these. No more the days of exchanging links with 500 sites and achieving success… google is going to make us work even harder for those positions… I believe content will continue to play a major role in this, it all goes back to what the end-user wants… if your offering what the users want you can’t go wrong.

Focus on the little things and even the tortoise will beat you…

3. What’s more important to you? On page optimization or off-page optimization?

More importantly which is most important to Google… both are equally important IMO however “on-page optimization” if very often mis-represented. It has been attributed to anything from optimizing keyword density to “configuring” your meta tags. When I talk about on-page optimization I am talking mainly about your content, what your offering your visitors not what your optimizing for Google. Even though there are on-page factors which can have a positive effect on your site the biggest focus should be on what the visitor sees.

You can rank for all the phrases in the world but unless those visitors are converting you have lost the battle…

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

A. An easy to navigate site structure is a must… if for some reason your visitors didn’t get what they wanted on the landing page make sure they can easily access it or you will lose them… I mention this first because no matter what rankings you have and no matter how much traffic you may get unless you are converting it you have failed….

B. What the user is looking for… if you fail to supply the demand of the users you will likely lose them… use tools such as Awstats, hittail(very good for this purpose) and others to identify what users are searching for, then identify whether or not that demand is being filled… a high bounce rate may give an indicator ;-) If the demand is not being filled then fill it.

C. Make it easy for the users to return and give them a reason why they should… Short targeted domains which are easily remembered are a plus, if you have a catchy domain it just may pop into a users head when they are thinking of your niche…

Yeah I know these are not traditional “on-page optimization” techniques but they are what I use and they are what will make you successful…

5. Same question, only this time aspects for off-page optimization. Authority, related, natural links… those will kill the competition.

6. Web 2.0 is here and alive, where do you see Web 3.0 (Web Cubed) heading? Not sure but I am excited about it… I love web 2.0!

7. Looking in the crystal ball, where do you see SEO in the next year? The next five?

Well I don’t use crystal balls, I use experience, experimentation and trial and error. It is the only way I know that works… seo next year? Anyone believe in history repeating itself?

8. If I want to start offering SEO services. What basic essentials should I keep in mind?

Seo takes time and patience… you should have a steady income you can depend on while you build up your websites using seo… you should be willing to spend days, late nights and free time working on improving your sites… only then will you succeed… whatever you do please do not offer seo until you actually can practice it effectively on your own sites…

9. I know nothing about SEO/SEM or web marketing. What are the most essential business aspects I should include with my marketing campaign?

Rome wasn’t built in a day… And the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you don’t know SEO at all you had better get started… I can think of no better resources then forums.seochat.com, seomoz.org to learn seo and sem and practice it effectively.

9. Getting quality one way links is getting much harder. What are some of the best strategies to consider when acquiring relevant and quality links?

Nobody wants to link to trash and yet that is what many webmasters are doing…

Build your sites with the USER in mind, then getting links becomes much easier… figure out what the community wants and provide it, then go around asking sites to link to it… if you have just revolutionized the industry you can gain thousands of links overnight. Link building really isn’t that hard, the hard part is providing something worth linking to.

10. Additional thoughts?

Don’t give up on your sites… they could take 6 months, a year or maybe a couple years to fully develop to where they are making you a large profit however if you put your all into them you will succeed.

Thanks for stopping by Randy. He had this to say about himself when I asked him to put in a shameless plug, “I am willing to take a webmaster or two under my wing and guide them through the seo world… my fee is reasonable.”

[tags]visio, seochat, seo interview, 1stsearchenginerankings[/tags]