SEO’s need to take themselves less seriously – An interview with Chris Hooley

In SEO, The Digital Marketing Blog by KelvinLeave a Comment

When I was first starting out in SEO I signed up for a load blog feeds and tried to absorb as much knowledge as I could by osmosis. Eventually after a few weeks of reading posts I decided to send a few of the bloggers some emails saying how much I was enjoying their work. Most replied with an identikit response but [tag]Chris Hooley[/tag] actually took the time to give me a shout out on his blog for getting in contact.

Since then the poor bloke’s had me stalking him ever since. As part of the restraining order he took part in the following interview.

With [tag]Drinkbait[/tag] you pulled off a successful linkbaiting campaign by making an impact in ‘real life’ – do think more SEO should be looking to stunt marketing to attract links?

At one point in time I would have answered a resounding “Hell Yes” but I’m not sure I like the direction it started going after that first loud stunt. Don’t get me wrong, I love anybody who can entertain and make some noise, but noise just for noise’s sake is lame.

If anybody wants to take a deeper meaning from that “campaign” I guess you could think of the separation between real life and online. If you ARE something it will be easier to rank for it, right? BE that something in real life, know what I mean? Then use your SEO ninja skills to make it evident to Google that you ARE the most relevant for your vertical.

But honestly, I just had a quick idea based on Nathaniel’s SEO Drinking Contest (brilliant) that I thought would be really fun and would allow me to meet everybody I wanted to without having to do the creepy “Hi I read your blog” intro at a bar. I’m glad people had fun with it. I’ll definitely make more noise, but probably won’t be forcing [tag]Matt Cutts[/tag]to hold a sign saying


You work as an [tag]in-house SEO[/tag] – do you think agency SEOs have it easy?

Yep. I wish I could just attack a new vertical like “Gilbert Arizona Pest Control”, bang out like 6 links, own that top spot and charge a retainer for the rest of my life… Seriously though I think it’s a bit of both. It would be fun to keep jumping into new verticals and fixing obvious problems with sites and link portfolios and seeing immediate results. But if you think link building is hard, try doing it for the same site(s) for a few years. It gets really hard.

On the flip side, imagine competing (in ways that don’t get you banned for lol) against a corporate SEO team who has been focusing on a single vertical for years, and still is. Being laser focused makes it easier to own a major vertical, but having a huge network and tons of tricks up your sleeve could probably work just as well.

It’s probably really just as hard on either side of the fence, just different challenges I guess. I play with house money and get paid to perform. Playing with your own money is harder, especially at first, but probably more rewarding if you make a big dent in a major market.

You’re known as a one of the biggest jokers in SEO – Which SEO’s need to take themselves a bit less seriously?

Almost all of them. That’s deep.

Next Student is operating in one of the most competitive niches out there – do you think Social Media/Blogging/etc is the best way to beat the more established players?

Gotta have a really well rounded arsenal. There is no one trick that can do it. I love SMO and blogging but it’s just a piece of the puzzle. Some of the better SEOs out there are still owning tough verticals with old school techniques.

Think of it like this, you know those steroid dudes in the gym with the huge arms and tiny legs? That’s what your link portfolio looks like if you don’t work on everything. Might be all flashy and hard to miss, but if you don’t have legs I can still kick your flabby butt.

You’ve put your career and personal goals up on your site for all to see – do you think that its helped keep you motivated?

Absolutely. The day [tag]Keith Ferrazzi[/tag] spoke at adtech San Fran was the day I decided to launch my blog. It was specifically created initially just to keep record of my goals. Still got a lot of work to do to make that list happen, but at least now I can’t forget (and neither can complete strangers in new dehli who found me off shoe money’s blog roll)

Which Five SEO blogs can you not live without?

It’s hard to pick five; there are so many different styles. I have hundreds of blogs in my reader. [tag]SEOmoz[/tag] is still probably my fav EVEN IF THEY DO CENSOR ME HALF THE TIME (burrrrn!).

If I even try to pick 5 and miss a few friends, my IM will light up and facebook profile will fill up with some not so happy stuff. I think I’ll leave that one alone for my own good

Can you settle for all time out of you and [tag]Jeff Dempsey[/tag] who owns who?

Well, I am his boss, so even if he wins the popular vote I still own his soul with a darth vader like grip. Jeff, I own you. Now blog about this!

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