Sam is Marketing Director at Right Casino Media Ltd, the chief product being online casino comparison engine RightCasino.com.
He is an experienced marketing blogger, having shared some of his tactics on MOZ and Advanced Web Ranking.
How would you explain specifically what you do as an SEO?
As a marketing director at Right Casino Media, I’m currently looking after many channels: SEO, PPC, email and affiliate marketing.
In terms of SEO, I’m responsible for the organic search presence of websites in the gambling and finance niches. We have different websites with different risk profiles.
With some, we adopt a primarily ‘white-hat’, content-marketing approach to link building, whereas with others we are more aggressive.
What is your primary marketing goal when it comes to delivering results?
It’s all about calculating and achieving ROI. For PPC, this is very straightforward – you work out your cost per acquisition and the value of a sale to establish your margin.
Figuring out ROI in SEO is a lot harder, and in many cases trial and error.
There are many things you have to consider: keyword traffic, competition and commercial value, and the competitor landscape, amongst other things.
Which new skills are most important for SEO’s to learn in the next six months?
I think website user metrics are an increasingly important ranking factor.
So really start to analyse your click-through rates, bounce-rates, time on site and returning visitors in Google analytics, and try to improve the user.
I’d also encourage SEO’s to study how Google’s algorithm works in foreign languages. Tactics that don’t work in English certainly do in other languages.
What do you find most rewarding about SEO?
I find it very rewarding when you spend time developing long-form content – a ‘linkable asset’ – and it attracts natural links.
It reminds me that it’s still worth investing in great content, be that an infographic, podcast, e-book or even a parallax. I recently commissioned an interactive gaming law map that’s got some decent traction.
How do you stay updated with the latest SEO industry news?
Call me primitive, but I just bookmark the best SEO blogs and sign-up to certain newsletters.
I keep an eye on sites such as MOZ and the SEO Round Table for news, and follow individuals such as The Kaiser Sage and Viper Chill for tips.
As an SEO, what is your favourite SEO hack?
It’s not so much a hack as a tip. If you create a special piece of content – let’s say an infographic – TRANSLATE IT and perform outreach.
This is safe, scalable and cheap link building – it doesn’t cost much to translate a few hundred words and to get the designer to edit the text on the PSD.
You’ll also find that international webmasters are friendlier and less cynical about your link building campaign.
Are there any particular SEO trends on the horizon that really excite you?
It’s more of an opportunity than a trend, but I’m really excited by international SEO and the challenge of ranking in foreign languages.
Algorithms are a lot less developed, and there’s a lot more scope to be ‘creative’ with your SEO campaigns.
In terms of trends, I think app store listing optimisation and the prospect of real-time Panda updates are pretty interesting.
What are some of the top tools and apps in your SEO stack?
I’d recommend SEMRush for tracking rankings, and Ahrefs for analysing competition and keeping tabs on any poisonous links pointing to your site that need disavowing.
I like Buzzsumo for getting content ideas, and Muckrack for contacting journalists and spotting PR opportunities.
How is your typical work day structured?
It’s mainly structured around managing people – designers, developers and the content team.
Any spare time is used for checking up on paid media campaigns, talking to partners and for analysing competitors so we’re never left behind.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every SEO should read?
Paddy Moogan’s ‘The Link Building Book’ – it outlines the fundamentals of link building, along with some creative case studies.
I’d also read anything by Glenn ‘Viperchill’ – he publishes a lot of great case studies, and isn’t afraid to adopt ‘riskier’ tactics providing they get results.
What advice would you share with other SEO’s who want to become more productive?
Spend less time reading about SEO techniques and getting bogged down in the theory, and more time actually DOING things that will positively impact your rankings, whether that’s commissioning a great piece of content, performing outreach or fixing on-site issues.
The SEO world is full of ‘do good’ gurus who spend more time talking.
Among the Google algorithm updates what is the most challenging one that you’ve encountered?
Without question Penguin. In 2009 it was possible to buy an EMD, buy 20-30 links and rank for a fairly competitive English phrase.
Now, Google’s algorithm is so much more sophisticated, and you actually need a trusted website that delivers user value.
If there’s one SEO Guru you’d recommend who and why.
I would recommend Matthew Barby for the simple reason that he produces excellent tutorial videos around content marketing, and actually offers actionable advice rather than theory.