Jamie will be speaking on Enterprise SEO at Engage 2020 which will be taking place March 12th and 13th at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
I graduated with an English Major. The dean handed me a degree with the warning to never expose it to bright light, water, or to feed it after midnight. Late one night, I was sitting in a raggedy armchair hunched over my laptop trying to figure out how to pay my student loans and afford to eat.

My dinner of ramen simmered in a coffee pot on top of cardboard file boxes. The terrible flicker of an overpowered lamp I found by the dumpster annoyed more than it helped. I tried to turn off the harsh industrial light but tripped, knocking it over. It flung the ramen coffee pot into the file box.

The box began to shriek and shake. Through the smoke and noodles, I watched my English degree emerge from the soggy cardboard. It smooshed the unfinished manuscripts of plays and graphic novels to make goopy yet surprisingly dexterous hands. The ghastly mutated degree grabbed my laptop and began clicking away. It studied webpages- not just for the on-page content- but the unseen elements that shaped how search engines saw the content.

With my new skillful friend, I moved from being a blog outreach manager to a marketing SEO for an eCommerce site. When that site began to hemorrhage out organic traffic and pages from the index, I spent 11 days straight scraping SERPs and analyzing trends on which pages were being dropped.

I camped outside the CTO’s office and explained the data and solutions. This was the first time I actively collaborated with developers to build a solution. The experience lead to the creation of a front end team, the dotCommies. Since then, I’ve focused on Technical SEO while being embedded with developers, UX, and QA engineers.

These days, I run my own consultancy called Not a Robot– because well, I’m not a robot, but I speak bot. I offer Technical SEO services specializing in the gap between what users see and the content experienced by webcrawlers. My clients are primarily enterprise, eCommerce, and Your Money or Your Life sites.

2) How do you feel Google views SEO experts such as yourself?
Google sees Technical SEO is critical! They even put it into their slides for the Zurich Webmaster Summit.

Since becoming part of Google Developers, the Webmaster Analysts team has focused on making answers to complex questions available. Martin Splitt joined the team specifically to help Webmasters understand JavaScript. New documentation, hands-on coding tutorials, and video series empower SEOs with practical and actionable steps. We need SEOs and developers collaborating to make a better web for all users (and search engines).

3) If you were asked to audit fellow panelist’s Tim Resnik’s Walmart site, what would be the first 3 areas you would check / test?

1. Unleash the bots!
I’d crawl the site using a Chromium-based web-crawler configured to behave like Googlebot and capture key data points. My goal is to gain clear view of how many resource requests are made, the order they’re requested in, and how effectively the site uses those resources. Google can’t index what it can’t render. Often wasted and cumbersome resources are the root of the problem.

2. Google Search Console!
Using Index Coverage, I can see how many pages are indexed, flagged as problematic, or straight up troublemakers. These high-level patterns can help me prioritize what and were to investigate. I’d use the Speed report to see the Real Users Metrics (RUM) of actual humans using the site in the wild. Slow and problematic experiences are grouped together with similar URLs. If we can identify what the URLs have in common, we can approach the solution in a holistic manner.

3. Coffee with humans!
Tim undoubtedly has a great team dedicated to his site. Every developer there wants to make good things. They’re working with the tools and limitations they have. Sharing a cup of coffee with people who understand the code base is one of my favorite (and most effective) ways to learn about the site.

Sometimes low-hanging fruit is far more complicated than it seems. That banana on the ground? Yeah, there’s actually a massive subterranean network of roots holding it there. To pick up that banana you’d have to excavate 4 city blocks. Understanding these quirks means providing actionable solutions that work for their site.

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