Meet your SEO: Bill Slawski

Howdy readerz, today is august 9th. And you know what day is it? It’s the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. This to say that it would be great if we all stop to be jerks with the others who are “different” from us. I mean, the color of the skin could be different, the language could be different, but we are all here, living in the same world, fighting for something, fighting to become better, fighting to live better. But we can fight better when we recognize we are all the same family.

In other news, directly from Alessio’s HQ: I’m gonna start at the end of august a new section call “Meet your marketer” , in order to interview people who are not strictly SEO. I have already one interview ready (and it’s awesome), and I really hope to have the chance to interview other amazing people. Basically this section is opened for all the people working in the marketing field. Hope you’re going to like it. It would not be a fixed appointment, because I need to relax a bit and focus in other things. “Meet your SEO” is going to continue as well, but not with 2 interviews every week.

So today! Today I’m pleased to announce that I interviewed Bill Slawski. Yeah, yeah, you heard me. Bill Slawski. Now, what can I say? If you don’t follow Bill, you miss a lot. Bill is the founder and presiden of SEO by the sea, where he analyses patents in order to make you understand future plans and give you more insights about what’s going on in Google and other big companies. Moreover, Bill is now a senior SEO consultant for Webimax.

I mean, I feel even stupid to make an introduction for him, because you have to know him. Period. :) Plus, our surnames end in “ski” , and this is another important thing to say.

Ok, ready to learn more about Bill and his thoughts? Have a safe journey :)

Bill Slawski

When did you enter the SEO world, and why ?

A friend of mine was looking for a new job, and another friend had an empty office in the house he was renting for his law firm. I suggested that they go into business together, helping people to incorporate in Delaware. I picked up a copy of “Learn HTML in Two Weeks,” and started putting together a Web site for the business. Once it was online, I started promoting it. One of the friend’s sisters worked at DEC Corporation, and she sent us a link to a new site they had just started called AltaVista. After we had figured out how to rank well there, some other new sites sprung up to promote the site in, including Google. It’s funny how when you set out to try to help others how much that can influence your own life.

A great tip about onpage optimization?

Adding terms or phrases to your pages that tend to co-occur on top pages for the particular meaning of the term you’re optimizing for can help boost the ranking of your page in search results.

The most stupid thing people believe about onpage optimization?

I think this has been falling off, and yet I still see it mentioned in places that surprise me. The myth that there’s a magical percentage of keyword density for a particular term that can be identified by looking at the keyword density for that term on other pages that rank highly for it.

A great tip on how you build links?

Write consistently good to great content and rinse and repeat until you’ve developed a platform that people trust, recognize as an authority, and like to cite.

The most stupid thing you heard about linkbuilding?

That Google favors brands in their algorithms, which is a myopic view of how Google treats entities of all types, including brands. Limiting your focus and understanding of how entity association works in search results based upon what seems to be confirmation bias means that you may lose out on many opportunities.

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

I help make it easier for people to find what they are looking for in search engines, whether its cartoons or games or a new pair of sneakers.

What do you drink when seoing?

I used to drink a lot of coffee while doing SEO, but cut back considerably. My drink of preference now is ice-cold water, though some iced green tea is a nice change of pace.

What do you think about SEO community?

I’m not sure that there’s one single community that a person could point to and call the “SEO Community.” There are a lot of different groups that are experimenting with ideas and approaches, with different motivations and desires. There are full time SEOs who work in-house for businesses, others who work in agencies, and still others who work as solo practitioners.

There are those who share what they learn, and work to promote the industry as a whole, and others who keep their experience and knowledge as close as possible. There are people working in SEO who focus upon reporting search related news, others who focus upon training others, some who build and provide tools for others to use, and many who focus on improving and promoting client sites and their own.

Make yourself a question and give an answer: How important is it to be proactive in what you do as an SEO?

Your ultimate goal in doing SEO is to make a difference to your client’s bottom line; to help them meet the objectives they’ve set out to attain with their website. If you can do that and future proof their sites so that they continue to achieve success, that can help them build upon success rather than spend their time putting out fires as new competitors and new upgrades rear up to face them.

Who is your biggest SEO influence?

Probably the biggest SEO influence I have is Ammon Johns, with whom I was an administrator with at Cre8asiteforums. Having the chance to learn from and ask questions of Ammon over a period of a few years, and be around by his creative and holistic approach to SEO really influenced me greatly.

Everything in SEO depends upon the objectives of site owners and the needs of their audiences, but the paths towards getting those audiences and those site owners to meet together and communicate are limited by your imagination.

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

I took a tour recently, given by a National Park Ranger, filled with local history, insights, anecdotes, and observations that transformed a walk around a field into a look at forces that shaped our society. Being an educator, whether giving tours or standing at the front of a classroom, would be a lot of fun.

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  • http://www.niallflynn.com/ Niall Flynn

    Nice post, I hear you on the coffee, I feel like the the guy in the oatmeal comics some days :)

  • http://www.eBizROI.com/ Rick Noel

    Nice interview with Bill Alessio. Your interview provides some interesting perspectives from Bill, one of the great SEO minds of our times. I have often wondered about the perceived “brand favoritism” and the relationships that Google looks at to positively influence big brand positions in the SERPS. This perceived brand favoritism issue gets some coverage in the blog sphere by some highly experienced and influential SEOs which perpetuates the perceptions. Big brands can become synonymous with their categories like Xerox for copiers, Scotch Tape for invisible tape, Kleenex for tissues, etc. Connecting that with what Bill said about “Adding terms or phrases to your pages that tend to co-occur on top pages for the particular meaning of the term you’re optimizing for can help boost the ranking of your page in search results.” My guess is that it is all tied into evolving Google algorithm natural language processing and linguistics capabilities. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.alessiomadeyski.com Alessio

      Thanks Rick for the comment!

  • http://level343.com Gabriella Sannino

    Excellent interview…I’ve been following Bill for years. His sound advice, no nonsense attitude and passion for SEO is clearly visible in this column. He reminds me that “Life without passion is unforgivable”.

    • http://www.alessiomadeyski.com Alessio

      Thanks for stopping by, Gabriella! :)

  • http://www.seobythesea.com Bill Slawski

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks. I see people whom I think are extremely bright, and know SEO very well denouncing Google for their “brand bias” instead of exploring the many other ways that Google is attempting to use an understanding of entities through knowledge base approaches, in exploring query log and click log information, and so on.

    Find out what aspects or attributes Google (and Bing) are associating with specific entities, and build upon that knowledge. Work on creating some entity/website associations of your own. We limit ourselves when we become fixated on one small aspect of something much larger.

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

    “That Google favors brands in their algorithms, which is a myopic view of how Google treats entities of all types, including brands. Limiting your focus and understanding of how entity association works in search results based upon what seems to be confirmation bias means that you may lose out on many opportunities.”

    I think this is really important. The cited mentality is pretty shallow, and Bill hits on the head by encouraging people to dig deeper into the concept of entities and how they affect search.

  • http://www.seobythesea.com Bill Slawski

    Hi Alessio,

    I’ve been really enjoying this series you’ve put together, and for getting a chance to learn more about the many people that you’ve been interviewing. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see a little behind the curtains, and for letting me share a little about myself. Much obliged. I’m looking forward to more.

    • http://www.alessiomadeyski.com Alessio

      Thank you Bill! It’s been a pleasure to have you for this series!