Meet your SEO: Anthony D. Nelson

Hey guys, what’s up?

Exciting time for me: I’m going to Brighton SEO on September 14th, and I want to thank Aleyda and Kelvin Newman because it all started from tweets I had with them. I’m so excited about this, because I know already how cool that conference is and I hope to meet some people I respect a lot.

Other news: right now there is a cool series similar to our “meet your SEO” that is called “Ask the agency” in Gaz Copeland ‘s blog. Go and check it out, but first read this! :D

Ok, but it’s Thursday right?  So, it’s time to “meet your SEO“. Today I have the honor to talk with Anthony D. Nelson , in-house SEO at Swanson Health Products . Anthony is a great guy, and I have the pleasure to talk with him quite often over twitter. You can read more about his thoughts on his blog, Northside SEO. You have to know that he is living on the border…you say, what???? Yeah, because he is between Minnesota and North Dakota. Many of you are going to find this normal, but it’s totally a cool thing, for an European like me.

Ok Anthony, are you ready to rock?

Anthony Nelson

When did you enter the SEO world, and why ?

I started my professional career as a videographer about 5 years ago. I was working on a website where not only was I creating the videos, but I was also the only person responsible for the marketing. After searching the web for ways to get traffic to a website, I came to the conclusion that SEO was a great avenue for this new site. So I wound up spending most of my days editing video and the rest of my day reading about SEO.

After dabbling a bit in social media marketing, eventually the company I work for realized that I was the better utilized focusing my time on SEO. I no longer do any video editing. I still help out on the social media team, but I think it fits in really nicely with SEO so I enjoy being involved. My job title officially become SEO Specialist just over 3 1/2 years. Although, I hate the word specialist. There are so many roles for a SEO to embrace, it’s a generalization to call someone a specialist in such a broad field.

I would say I ‘entered the SEO world’ because I found the whole process addicting. I went to college for Video Production and also English with an Emphasis in Writing. Despite that, I wasn’t very passionate about either field. Once I found SEO, I no longer cared that much about my previous career choices. It didn’t take long before I no longer read any video production blogs and turned my focus exclusively towards internet marketing.

A great tip about onpage optimization?

For bloggers, when you first publish a page, focus on making your page title and headline extremely awesome. Something that will attract shares, clicks and hopefully links. After the initial rush of traffic has died down, you can consider reediting them to include the target keyword phrase you hope the post will rank for. Pick a short keyword rich URL that will be a good middle ground for the two titles so you don’t have to change that and worry about redirects.

The most stupid thing people believe about onpage optimization?

That you need to put your primary keyword at the beginning of the page title every time. This is still a good technique and one I still use often, but is no longer the necessity it once was. More often I’m beginning to see high rankings for pages with the keyword used later on in the title tag. Write something natural and compelling. Forget awkward title tags written for engines.

A great tip on how you build links?

During outreach, I try to be personable, nice and offer something of value. After that, I just flat up hustle. A lot of outreach campaigns fail, but if you keep at it and keep working hard you’re gonna find some success in-between failures.

If you want some people to link to your content, don’t expect to email five people and call it good. If you want to pitch a guest blog post, you should have a pretty good idea that the person you are pitching to will say yes before you even pitch it. Start building relationships before you start building links.

The most stupid thing you heard about linkbuilding?

I’m going to go with the opposite of linkbuilding and talk about removing links. If you have links in a paid blog network, by all means remove them. If you have a site in a few bad directories and a few crap links like everyone else, I wouldn’t worry about it. Show me one natural backlink profile that doesn’t have a nice big pile of shitastic links in it. The web is full of garbage sites. We all have bad links. Don’t worry about them so much. Put your focus back towards doing something good for your site.

If you have to explain what you do at a 10 year-old kid , what are you gonna say?

SEO helps people get their websites to show up on google in the non-paid sections. Kids are smart and computer savvy nowadays. I’d possibly ask them if they had any tips for me.

What do you drink when seoing?

Morning is coffee. After lunch usually some protein powder. Water in the afternoon. Whiskey or cheap beer when I’m working in the evening at home.

What do you think about SEO community?

I like the community. There are a ton of nice people and I’ve enjoyed slowly becoming part of the community myself. I think the sharing of ideas and tools is amazing. Similar to other answers in this section, there are also problems with it being such a tight-knit community. Plenty of bickering and petty small talk. I think we could all focus on giving more constructive criticism to each other.

At times people try to be too nice. People are coining everything they read ‘epic posts’ or referencing someone ‘killing it’ when in reality we’d all be better served if we were more critical of everything we read and grew our techniques from the criticism of others. Constructively challenging each other will do more than simply patting each other on the back all day.

Make yourself a question and give an answer: How do internet marketers get actual work done when they spend most of their day tweeting, reading blogs posts, and submitting stuff to Inbound.org?

I have no clue. Some people in the industry either crazy workaholics or actually get no work done all day. I tend to take some long breaks (few days a week) from the community scene so I can focus on work. It’s what works for me. When I spend the whole day on twitter, my productivity suffers.

Who is your biggest SEO influence?

SEOmoz was the first major influence on my marketing career. A variety of authors and topics that were all new to me at the time.

Now, I look forward content from other SEOs who are more focused towards e-commerce like Jonathon Colman, Everett Sizemore and Adam Audette.

That said, I try my best to discover new SEOs to follow or blogs to read. Drop me a line if you are reading this and we don’t know each other.

If you weren’t an SEO, what would you like to do?

I would like to own a tiny antique shop and sell old junk. Hopefully business would be slow and I could do a lot of reading and listening to records.

  • Spook SEO

    Hello Alessio,

    I agree with Anthony. Putting keywords in your title is not that effective and it usually makes it awkward to read. On-page optimization should require quality writing with a lot of uniqueness especially with the primary keywords. I’ve done it a hundred times and it totally works!

  • Pingback: Using Images for Better "Oscar the Gouch" Outreach | Boom Online Marketing

  • http://twitter.com/michaelkovis Michael J. Kovis

    Been waiting to read this one Anthony. Really good to finally be able to sit down and read this to get to know a little bit more about you.

    Your “Ask Yourself a Question” made me laugh. It’s so true. I wonder the same every time I hop on Twitter. How the hell do some of these guys do any work, if any at all? Sometimes I actually think some of the people in SEO are just plainly full of bullshit. ;)

    • http://www.northsideseo.com Anthony D. Nelson

      I am completely sporadic in my community participation. Often unplugging to relax or to get work done. I think I’ve noticed that a lot of the constant tweeters out there don’t have kids/children. When I get home from work, I tend to spend time with my kids instead of tweeting up a storm.

      Bullshit? In this industry? Never!

  • http://twitter.com/rymcl Ryan McLaughlin

    To the question: The most stupid thing people believe about onpage optimization?

    Thanks for not answering, “Keyword Density.” While correct, it seems like that one had been used a lot in this series. You also answer with a gutsy statement. I wonder if we can get some historical data on this.

    • http://www.northsideseo.com Anthony D. Nelson

      Historical Data would be cool. I think a lot of it comes from google getting better at returning a variety of results trying to guess intent for vague head terms. Also, I simply think that we’re seeing pages with good headlines get more traction with shares and links and therefore ranking higher more often.

  • http://01100111011001010110010101101011.co.uk Vlad

    Anthony, spot on in terms of the constructive criticism. I’ve never seen an industry so happy to back slap one another all the time.

    • http://www.northsideseo.com Anthony D. Nelson

      I love a good pat on the back as much as the next guy, but ultimately, I want to become better at what I do.

  • http://www.northsideseo.com Anthony D. Nelson

    Alessio- thanks for letting me be a part of your fantastic series. I am truly honored. I did my best to avoid repeating great answers left by others (keyword density, etc). I really appreciate you putting these together for everyone to read and enjoy.

    • http://www.alessiomadeyski.com Alessio

      thank YOU Anthony!
      it’s a honor to me when people decide to participate to this series!
      keep rockin!