Category Archives: Interviews

Double Award Winner Barry Adams Features on The SEO Jo Blogs’ PodCast

Hello everyone and Welcome to the SEO Jo Blogs podcast. This is Jo Turnbull and I am pleased to have on the show today, Barry Adams on the show today. Double Award Winner, he won two awards at the UK Search Awards in London in November. Barry Adams and I was lucky to be able to share the table with Barry at the UK Search Awards November 2016.

Listen the podcast below or read the transcript of the interview.

Continue reading

SEO Jo Blogs Interviews Shyam Dattani – Speaker At Search LDN’s Birthday Party

I am really pleased to have Shyam Dattani who is one of speakers at Search London’s 6th Birthday Party at the end of January 2017.  Thank you Shaym for coming on the podcast.

Read the full interview below or listen to it on SoundCloud.

You are going to be speaking at Search London, you work at Searchmetrics who is the headline sponsor for the event.What is your role at the company?

I am now actually the director of Strategic Partnerships at Searchmetrics which involves working with all of our high value partners and really kinda just making sure that we align what we are doing perfectly to increase the efficiency of our partners output.

Some of your partners are people that work in the search world and I understand that you used to work in search as well. How did you get into that?

I started working at iProspect and was working on some of their global accounts, American Express and a few more.To be honest getting into search was almost an accident but I never looked back since I got there to be honest.I liked the analytical nature of what SEO actually is. It is more of a puzzle than anything else I think.

Yeah I definitely find that many people that are in SEO or in search didn’t actually plan to be there from the beginning.

That is what digital is, it is constantly changing which is great. You are speaking on January 30th, our 6th birthday party. Can you tell us a more about the presentation you will be speaking about.
You mentioned it was going to be User Centric Page.

Yes User Centric Search is the name of my presentation and to be honest it is basically the goal of SEO and the goal of Google in general.  People often forget whilst trying to game Google that really Google just wants to give the best service to its users, namely us, the people that search on Google.

I think if you put the user at the heart of everything you do strategically when you are thinking about SEO, that is when you can come up with the best strategies and have in my opinion the best digital plan. So hopefully I can delve a little deeper how to put the user at the center at your search strategy and some of take aways everyone can do.

This question has been raised often, are keywords still in important in SEO

Yes that question is one for the hall of fame. Keywords are always going to be important.  The fact that they are called keywords is due to old school, needing to stuff pages and writing something in Google to get a specific answer or jumbling it around to get a different answer.

They are important because they will form the basis of your content. But they are not so important in the same way they used to be before.

If you type into Google, for example,  “The thing you sit on that has 4 legs”, and then head to shopping, Google will show you chairs. However, that does not mean that typing in “chairs” is not quicker.

What people are trying to get at when they ask “Are keywords still important in SEO”, what answer most people are looking for is that yes keywords are important but what is more important is also surrounding the context of what that user is searching for. What that means is meeting that user intention and what that means is that it inherently makes the keywords not as important because you can describe something and write around the topic. Google will still understand what you are talking about.

You are talking about making sure that the content is relevant

Yes making sure that the relevance of the content actually matches the intention of your user, whatever that may be.

Google wants to serve up a result that serves the purpose of for what the user intended.  That is why Google tries to understand a lot about your past search history, understand what type of person you are, to make a guess or assumption on what you mean. One example if you are searching for Thai food on your phone, you will get restaurants and local places to eat.

If you are searching on your desktop, you may see that you get recipes. Google might assume you are trying to cook or make something.

Google tries to learn a lot more about you.  So it can personalise its efforts so it  can understand your user intention.

Based on that, what are the three main changes happening in 2017

There will be so many changes this year as there always are.  The main thing is Mobile First side of Google  and the fact they want to index Mobile before Desktop. It was a change that was necessary, bearing in mind more people use mobile than desktop.

A real marketing channel will look to see where mobile fits in that funnel and where desktop can still come in.

Mobile First will be really really important, making sure pages are ready for mobile and pages are working in that way. Many webmasters I think are not read for the Mobile First change.

I also think that puts you onto the same spectrum of thinking about AMPS. If you see recently in this last year, it has massively increased, the frequency of showing AMPS and number of AMPs that are available and how often they change and how regularly they update.

Google seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on those especially as they load up so quickly, they are so straight to the point,  They do exactly what they are meant to do.

Voice search is obviously making a massive difference in the way people are searching. That also ties in very well to Hummingbird and ranking algorithms what were speaking about before.

If Google is understanding content better and understanding what it means, it will also be using the same mechanisms and algorithms to be more relevant to what you are saying.

One of the more interesting things that I have also seen that will increase and improve in 2017 is the overall lack of click throughs in general. Google is getting so much better at showing the answers to your questions or servicing your need and intention without even having you go to a website.

If they carry on doing it at that rate and carrying getting better at what they are doing and understanding and serving instant answers and instant results and knowledge graphs, there will a natural decrease in the need to visit a website to get the information you want.

Follow Shyam on Twitter or Linkedin. He will also be at the conference if anyone wants to catch up.

How To Set Up Your Own Digital Agency – Interview with Polemic Digital Founder, Barry Adams

I am always inspired by people who set up their own business. There are many entrepreneurs in the Search Industry who are brave enough to establish their own agencies and attract big brands as their clients. Barry Adams, the founder of Polemic Digital set up his agency in 2014 and is now nominated at the UK Search Awards. I first met Barry when he was working for another company and was impressed he had been nominated so soon after starting his own business. I wanted to interview him on setting up his business and what he recommends for those looking to go out on their own.

1) What was the catalyst that prompted you into starting your own business?

It wasn’t one specific thing that prompted me to start working for myself. Looking back, it was an accumulation of many different things that eventually made me decide to go out on my own. Things like not being able to choose my client projects, increasing levels of stress and lack of fulfilment at my job, the growth of my own personal brand, seeing others in the industry starting their own business with great success, and a general sense of ‘now or never’ as I approached my 40th birthday all contributed to that decision.

In the end it was a bit of an ‘aha’ moment where I woke up early one morning and realised that starting my own business was something I needed to do. From there, things moved quickly: I spoke with my wife about it, who was very supportive, and then got the wheels in motion to launch my own company.

Continue reading

Interview with Social Media Guru Lukasz Zelezny

I met Lukasz Zelezny over four years ago at a Searchmetrics event in Central London. Since, then, I have seen him speak at some London conferences including my own Search London, while his profile has risen through the years.

What prompted you to start speaking and why so many places around the world? (Is there somewhere you have not spoken at but want to?)

The reason I started was because I just wanted to do something in addition. Both of my parents were teachers, so sharing knowledge is something that comes naturally to me. It’s also something that I enjoy and find quite fun. Speaking also gives me the ability to meet lots of new people who are often willing to share their insights with me and discuss the happenings in the industry. Of course, personal speaking has also given my personal brand a boost but that is an extra positive, and not the main reason why I speak at events.


Continue reading

Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made? Interview with Steve Barlett – Co-Founder of Social Chain

I met Steve Barlett at UnGagged in June 2016. Steve set up his first company while at University and now runs a multi million pound social media company and he is not even 25 years old ! I was impressed by what he had accomplished at such a young age that I wanted to interview him on SEO Jo Blogs.

What motivated you to set up your Wall Park?

I was playing Xbox one day at university in Manchester with my housemate when it dawned on me that this wasn’t exactly the life-affirming experience I had expected it to be. I began thinking about what everyone else might be up to and I wondered how to give students the power of community.

Wallpark basically was a digital notice board where students could share everything; events, gigs, job vacancies etc. It had the ability to transform students university life into something altogether more exciting and varied, as it meant your social compass went from 10 to 100,000.

 SEOJo and Steve

Continue reading

EU Referendum – Interview with Call Your Nan Website Owner

Everyone is talking about the EU Referendum. As the Leave Campaign were gaining momentum, one man in particular wanted to do what he could to Remain in the EU. He set up the website that has gone viral – Call Your Nan.  This man was Liam Brennan. Liam and I used to work together a few years ago and I wanted to find out more about the site @LCBrennan put together in just a few hours.

“Liam, thank you for taking part in the interview.  Your site – call your nan has gone viral.  You were featured in the Huffington post, Metro and Guardian too, interviewed on the radio and even some celebs have tweeted the site.

From today it looks like you have just over 30,000 visits and it is the last day to vote.

Call Your Nan June 23 2355

Continue reading

Interview with Paul Rouke – Speaker at Conversion World

I met Paul Rouke at a Conversion Conference a couple years ago and I wanted to find out more information about conversion optimisation and how he is preparing for Conversion World, the virtual conference taking place next month.

How did you get into Conversion Optimisation?

Leaving school with a passion for design and computers, clearly the natural path to take was to join an engineering apprenticeship with British Aerospace! As it turned out, two years in to my four-year apprenticeship I made one of my early life lessons – if you don’t feel like you are in a role that is allowing you to do what you are really passionate about, make a change.

So I went from wiring missile control panels to a design role (desktop publishing in fact), which soon after led me to join Shop Direct Group (who at the time were Great Universal Stores). As I was working within their catalogue design department, an opportunity came up to become their first web designer and I jumped at the opportunity. This was back in 1999, and it was then that I took part in my first ever user research session. This role and introduction to interacting with users to understand their behaviour set me up for life (well, the rest of my career to date)!

In 2004, I began moonlighting under my company name PRWD, providing UX design and development for a range of businesses looking to invest in a customer focused online experience. User research was a core passion and a core focus for the business then, and it has remained the same throughout our first 11 years. On saying this, up until 2009 we were missing one thing – the quantifiable evidence that the improvements we were recommending were actually changing user behaviour and delivering a higher percentage of outcomes for our clients.

With this in mind, in 2009 we started our first conversion optimisation programme. Since then, we have focused the business on delivering transformative conversion optimisation programmes for a wide range of mid to enterprise size brands such as The North Face, The Student Room, Skyscanner, Bensons, Sliderobes, Lovehoney, King & McGaw and Harveys.

Continue reading

Interview with Conversion World Founder, Manuel da Costa

Do you want to attend more conferences but do not have the time or budget to travel?
I would recommend attending at least one and this is Conversion World. It is taking place 18-20 April 2016 this year. Conversion World is an online/virtual conference dedicated to Conversion Rate Optimisation and growth.  This will be the second edition of the event after a successful run in 2015.  Last year there were delegates and speakers from Europe, US and Australia.
Conversion World
As an organizer or Search London, I wanted to find out what it was like organising an online conference such as this one. I interview the founder, Manuel da Costa.

How long have you been in Conversion Optimisation for?

Coming up to 4 years now since I started focussing solely on Conversion Optimisation and growth.

When did you first have the idea of running this conference?

I had the idea about a year and half before I actually started planning it. I sat on it for a while, never too sure if this would be something people wanted to be a part of. Founder’s doubt, you can call it.
Conversion World

How do you attract the speakers?

I have a big network which consists of top CRO experts. For year one, it was reaching out to them and inviting them to be part of it. There isn’t a big barrier for speakers to take part in Conversion World compared to regular conferences ie No travel, no jetlag and minimal time commitment so that makes it easier.

What are the requirements to be a speaker and how do they present?

The conference speakers are selected on an invite only basis. Meaning they are hand picked or they come recommended. The general rule is that they have a talk that is actionable and practical for the attendees. No sales pitches.
For speakers, the attraction was being part of this global event without the usual travel and time commitments. They could be anywhere in the world, hook up their webcam and mic and present to our audience.

Do the speakers need a webcam? do they talk through a presentation or is it more of q&A style format?

Yes. They need a webcam and their slide deck to present. The format varies. Usually it will be a presentation. This year, we are adding panels with multiple speakers and AMAs (Ask me anythings) to make it more varied.