Meet your SEO: Tadeusz Szewczyk

Hello everyone!

Another episode of “Meet your SEO” for you, and well, for me!

Today I have the pleasure to chat with Tadeusz Szewczyk . I really enjoy Tad, it’s one of the people I like the most on twitter, and you need to read his blog, SEO 2.0 , currently a Google-free blog.

OK Tad, it’s your turn now! Let’s rock!

Tad Chef

When did you enter the SEO world, and why ?

In 2004, while still being a frontend developer I was looking for freelance jobs. One of them was about SEO and as at that time there were almost no SEO practitioners available in Germany I got the job. I had almost no experience prior to it but I already knew what a mod_rewrite was. It took me one month to realize that I knew nothing about SEO earlier and that I love it. I was also ahead of the time. I implemented a blog on the site to get people to link to it organically but in 2004 there was no business blogging yet at all in Germany. They expected some dark grey SEO magic instead. After this month I knew what SEO is about and how to learn it. Back in those days you had to read and participate in online forums.

A great tip about onpage optimization?

Ban Google! Just kidding. I recently banned Google on my SEO blog so I may not be the best person to advise others on onpage optimization anymore. There are good reasons to ban Google, just ask Apple and the likes but most average webmasters have no choice but to please Google onsite. So my advice is this: while optimizing onpage for Google never limit yourself to SEO. You know there is a lot you can do onsite to get more traffic directly and to make the visitors who are already there happy. Treat conversion optimization (CRO) and user experience (UX) as part of onpage optimization. Also practice what is called website optimization, that is improving your site’s size and speed.

The most stupid thing people believe about onpage optimization?

The worst thing I hear frequently is that “you need some content (in the footer) for the SEO”. There is even some truth to it so many people do not understand what’s wrong with that sentence. It’s wrong on so many levels I have to explain each one. The belief that “you need great content for SEO” completely ignores the user who visits the site. Is s/he meant to scroll down to find and read the small print? The textual content is in most cases the crucial element of your page/site.

Placing your content or basically any important element in the footer raises a red flag over at Google. Why should someone hide this in the footer? This is the question behind this.

Probably the main problem with this approach is the moment this question arises. The site is ready, it’s full of shiny graphics and cool web design so it’s pretty to look at but hey, there is no content. Hmmm, Google won’t find anything. So let’s ask the SEO. In reality you need the content first. Then you need content design for it and at the end you need the other elements of the site. It’s like building a home and forgetting that someone has to live in it. Your website is not an empty shell. Your website is the package your content arrives in. Adding a descriptive paragraph for the search engines to index is an upside-down approach. Also all this lorem ipsum designers use for their mockups doesn’t make sense. You have to design with real world content.

A great tip on how you build links?

The best way to build links is just to stop building links! Get links instead. Stop tediously building links manually like some 19th century working class hero. Use the Web as it was intended. Then the links come to you by itself. Now how to do that you might ask. It’s a whole social science that does not fit into one short answer but some people grasp it without reading whole books. The simplest explanation is probably this: be altruistic.

As altruism is the true egoism and people love you for being generous they will give you more back than you gave them and of course they will also link back. Why will they give back more than you gave in the first place? You are just one person and they are multitudes. Also on the Web and in digital media things replicate without effort. You don’t need to print 1000 copies of your article. The 1000 copies are 1000 originals and get produced in an instant without even work involved. So don’t try to mimic the approach of the 19th century worker toiling all day. Use the power of the Web! The best example is probably Creative Commons. It allows you to build links effortlessly by simply allowing other people to copy your work.

The most stupid thing you heard about linkbuilding?

“Buy 100000 blog links for 5$!!!”

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

I help people to find things they like on the Web.

What do you drink when seoing?

I drink organic fair trade tea all the day. I gave up caffeine. I drink an Earl Grey first. Then I drink different Roiboos teas from South Africa.

What do you think about SEO community?

It’s awesome. I love it. SEOs are the most caring, helpful and inspiring people on the Web. This is perhaps one of the main reasons I went international with my SEO. The German SEO community was not enough for me. Around 2006 people were stingy, acting in the dark. Trading links would be very difficult. Some people would disrespect you on SEO forums for asking questions etc. It almost felt like some semi-criminal underground network. Then I moved on to the international SEO community because there were so many inspiring people I wanted to learn from and cooperate with. By now the Germans changed too luckily. So I consider engaging more in Germany as well but the day has only 24h…

Make yourself a question and give an answer: Is SEO dead?

NO! Want proof? See

Who is your biggest SEO influence?

Well, around 2005 when I was still new to SEO and was put off by the shady approach most people took for granted back then I discovered this guy who was 10 years younger than me. He proved that “you don’t have to f*#ck people over to survive” in the SEO business. That was a great inspiration. He had a funny sounding name. I think it was Rand Fishkin. Others have influenced me heavily as well, Aaron Wall of SEO Book, Lee Odden of Toprank, Todd Malicoat of Stuntdubl. The latter two have been crucial for me when I started my blog and had the idea to popularize the concept of SEO 2.0 – they both provided great SEO 2.0 definitions. Danny Sullivan, Bruce Clay, Eric Ward, Jill Whalen, Lisa Barone, Rhea Drysdale, Neil Patel, John Chow, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark. I could go on for a while like that. These are just the people from the early days.

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

I would be probably a writer, like you know a real one, writing books. I may return to this original idea. Maybe I should start with writing a book about SEO 2.0 but one day I’d like to write novels, probably sci-fi but who knows. I have even written animated JavaScript poetry in the past, that’s where my nick onReact comes from. I may also become a professional traceur (parkour practicioner) but I won’t be a stuntmen for movies. I’d rather teach kids how to overcome their fear and both physical and mental obstacles. I have to practice a bit more myself until then. Well who knows. Maybe I become a blogger?