SEMpdx SearchFest 2013 Mini-Interview: Marshall Simmonds

Todd Mintz

Marshall Simmonds will be speaking at the “SEO Bootcamp” session at SearchFest 2013 which will be taking place on February 22, 2013 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click the following link.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.

I’m the Founder and CEO of Define Media Group, specializing in enterprise search marketing and strategic audience development. I’ve been involved in search since 1997, was the Chief Search Strategist for About.com from 1999-2011 of which the last five were spent quarterbacking all search strategy initiatives for the New York Times Company portfolio. Define Media Group started in 2005 and officially broke off from the NYTCo in January of 2011. Define works with many of the most influential brands and networks in the world.

2) How does somebody learn SEO in 2013?

Read, execute, learn.

There are exceptional sources of information covering these topics too (and as always some not so good) to learn intro and advanced techniques. For example, intro info from SEOMoz.org is some of the best out there but as best practice strategies evolve, fracture, and re-focus, seeking out specialists in the industry is critical for advanced learning and industry networking. AJ Kohn’s site http://blindfiveyearold.com/ is an incredible repository for all things G+/Authorship/SEO related. If your travels take you to the land of Structured Data, Aaron Bradley and http://www.seoskeptic.com/ is the best in the space. John Doherty is really becoming a great technical SEO and Phil Nottingham is the person to follow for video SEO, Annie Cushing for data analysis and all things Excel. If mobile strategy is important, Cindy Krum at http://www.mobilemoxie.com/ is a must-read. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our blog at Define’s site that focuses on our extensive expertise with big data and enterprise SEO. The point is no one site can address every need, agenda or strategy so seek out the vertical experts.

3) People say that SEO has evolved from more of a technical pursuit to a marketing pursuit. What’s your opinion about this?

All SEO roads lead through tech and metrics, so it has been, so it shall be. You need a change site wide? You have to navigate the technical landscape which entails understanding how a particular team manages and prioritizes their roadmap. Once changes are implemented it has to be quantified and that means data analysis through metrics. However marketing, learning how to reach, engage and retain a particular audience, is obviously very important and no way inferior to technical pursuits. I see these all as equally important pieces of the greater SEO and Audience Development pie and more an exercise in campaign management, risk assessment and resource allocation.

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