Posted by moosahemani

This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.

SEO is one of the industries that has been misunderstood and underestimated by lot of people and businesses in the past. Many people have considered SEO as the alternate name to SPAM, but by the time businesses when see the great potential and greater ROI more and more people and businesses are now getting involved with this new model of advertizing and marketing.

Big brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi also understand the importance of Search and Social channels, example of Coke’s “Future Flames” and Pepsi’s selection of social media campaign over Super Bowl Ads are the prime examples.

Search and Social Industry is expanding all around the world like anything and, ethical companies with proven records are getting more and more business every day and they are looking for exponential professionals to get the job done in the possible best way.

There are lots and lots of great SEOs out there but out of them, I have selected one of the most honorable, prominent and tech savvy person and requested him to take some time out of his busy schedule, so that I can interview him!

Fellows! We have with us Gianluca Fiorelli and I’ll be asking few questions strictly related to search and social industry. Obviously, I cannot cover all the questions so you fellows can join me in the comment section. ;)

Gianluca“Gianluca Fiorelli” is one of the amazing and helpful celebrities in the list of Search Experts and an active Mozzer with the Rank ‘#3’ which trust me is hard to get and maintain!

Let’s not get more in to introduction and get directly to the list of questions! ;)

Hello sir! How are you?

I am fine, Moosa. But, please, don’t call me a celebrity, as I am not. I am just an Inbound Marketer who is very active in the Community. But a celebrity, surely I am not.

Question 1: My question starts from the latest, we have recently seen Google eating its own eco system by including its own website in the organic listings! What is your take on this? And don’t you think this will hurt the user experience as well as fewer opportunities for businesses?

Answer: If we look this issue from the Google point of view, Google is feeding and not eating its SERPs with its properties. We must never forget that Google is a business company and not a charity organization; therefore it has to have a profit from its own products. On the other hand, Google, most of the time has the ability to create products that can be useful both for the final users and the websites. Let’s take Google Places: it can be the only opportunity for small local business to be visible in the first page for very competitive keywords.

Therefore, even if it undoubtedly a problem if we think just to organic search, on the other hand the fragmentation of the SERPs because of Universal Search is a great incentive and a real opportunity to diversify the organic traffic sources of a site.

Question 2: What is Schema.org and rel=Author and do you think this is one of the important ranking factors for 2012?

Answer: Both can be considered a way Search Engines can better understand what a page is about (Schema) and how authoritative is the source of that content (Rel=”author” and the soon to be Rel=”publisher”).

Then, both are showing the next future of the Web, hence of Search, which is clearly Semantic. What before was a “movement”, and a mostly a theory, is now promoted directly by the Search Engines. That’s why, especially Schema, will be a ranking factor. My suggestion: the sooner you apply Schema the better, even though it can be a real pain, especially for enormous sites.

Question 3: As you live and work outside US, so probably you have a better idea about International SEO as you might have dealt with the similar kind of clients in your day to day life, my question here is what the best practice is, in your opinion for International SEO, Local TLD, Sub-domain or Subfolder? And why?

Answer: Personally, I would suggest to before understanding what is goal your site has to achieve. Is the business locally present with offices, plants, shops, etc. or not? Are you focusing a specific market, or are you focusing a language-based market? What is the nature of the site? Is it an eCommerce or not?

Just when everything is very clear, then you can decide what to use, if a ccTLD or a Subfolder or, if for some reason you have no other choice, a sub-domain.

Hannah Smith of Distilled wrote a great post about this topic, so I invite you to go read it.

Question 4: Most people in the industry think that Google is one of the most important search engine and they should be ranking well for targeted keywords in Google. Do you think this is a right approach? And Bing and other search engine are ignorable?

Answer: In theory, that is not the right choice. When you optimize a site, you should optimize it so to make it rank perfectly in every search engine. But to concentrate just in Google sometimes it is a quite obvious obligation. For instance, in Italy and Spain Google represent almost the 98% of the search volume, so it is quite natural the SEO and Optimization for Google is practically a synonym.

Question 5: You recently took the interview to Avinash Kaushik, one of the amazing people in the search industry. So, my question is what do you think; is Data important for business? If yes, how important it is to have an eye on data?

Answer: Data is essential for SEO and for any business. Without a perfect analysis of the data, we would be like blind people walking in a dark room. We could guess how successful or how much a failure has been a choice we took, but that would be just that: a guessing.

Thanks to web analytics, we can know for sure what is going wrong and what is going well, but also why; therefore correct our strategy on the go and/or reinforce those tactics we are using and that are giving us conversions.

Personally, I believe that every SEO should learn to know Analytics as much as he knows coding.

Question 6: Let me quickly jump over to the Social side for a while and here is a question for you; Google+ have an impact on rankings and while Google+ was new, I saw people talking about link building is dead; social is the new link building. What’s you take on this?

Answer: I think that to declare that links are dead is incorrect. Surely, social signals are having an increasing importance as ranking factor, as simple citations. But the link related metrics are still important and, even if decreasing in percentage, it still represents the biggest ranking factor.

So, to think your site can rank without link building is a supreme stupidity.

Question 7: You are in the industry from quite a long time now, and this is obvious that you might have done some mistakes a various times, would you like to share the top three mistakes that you committed in the past related to search and social and advice people to avoid them?

Answer: I did and do still a lot of mistakes. In the beginning of my career as an SEO they were due to my inexperience and because I used tricks that caused me penalizations. But, apart those kind of mistake, the ones I learned the most are not technical, but organizational ones. To not be able to manage a project because of a bad organization and so not to be able to get things done, that was my biggest error in the past.

That is why, as a freelance consultant, right now I accept just those jobs that I can successfully manage, and I have learnt to be able to say no if I know I cannot assure the quality the Client deserves.

Question 8: Relatively an easy question, but I don’t see many people asking about this, so in your opinion what are the top 3 on-page factors that least affects the rankings? Like, they have an impact but no big impact?

Answer: Nice question, because us SEOs tend to magnify every little detail transforming it in the new holy grail of search engine optimization.

Personally I consider the Headings over valuated, as the use of bold/italic or the same repetition of that targeted keywords. Not that they are not important, but to get fixated over those kinds of factors is what makes content a bad one, the classic craft-for-bots content. Instead of stressing you about how to use them for SEO, stress yourself about writing a relevant content, a rich one, and an interesting one. Write for your readers, clients and prospects. Doing so you will naturally use those elements that can also add an SEO plus, but you will have done it in a natural way.

Question 9: This time I am coming straight! What is the number one technique you used to acquire high authority links for you and your clients? (Sorry for the direct question)

Answer: In my personal case networking, my secret is becoming familiar with those ones who are behind the high authority sites. And be able to present myself as an authority in my field.

This is a tactic I use also with my clients. First: build your own authoritative voice and at the same time start creating connections with other authoritative voices. With time, these relations will start creating links naturally, or make easier to propose to your contacts a content/service/tools… what so ever to link for.

Question 10: This is not a technical question, but I usually ask this from every search celebrity! How difficult it is to make people i.e. parents, friends who are not in this field and others to understand what SEO is? And what usually is their first reaction?

Answer: It is not an easy task… and usually I tend to explain it just if they ask me. I say to people who are not in the search industry that my job is to help users to find my clients sites on the web when they need them. The answer I give to my small kids: I try to make the web a better place.

Thank you sir, for your time and answering all questions. I am sure this is going to help people understand SEO better!

 

Moosa Hemani is an SEO Analyst and a continuous SEO learner. I don’t have any personal blog but I often writer on different search blogs as a Guest Writer. One can find more about me on my profile or follow me on twitter @mmhemani.