[i]Ladies and gentlemen, please give a big hand to @alabamaseo, who is our latest star performer and the winner of October's Member of the Month award. If you're a regular in the Internet Marketing section, you've probably been impressed by his good knowledge and advice already, but now it's time to meet the real alabamaseo and find out a bit more about him...
So we know where you live and what we do for a living (or at least, we can have a good guess!), but who is alabamaseo as a person? Do you have a name, or are you here incognito? What do you like to get up to when you're not hanging out on Sitepoint?[/i]
I have many hobbies and interests outside of internet marketing. I really enjoy cooking exotic foods, especially from Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East. I also really love different types of music. I am fans of artists in genres ranging from classical, to country, to Swedish death metal, and much more. I love going to concerts/music festivals, and exploring/enjoying nature. When I have time, I also really enjoy college football and learning about world and military history.
If anyone is curious, at http://alabamaseo.org/about-us/, I am the handsome guy on the right.
Can you remember what first brought you to Sitepoint? What made you stay?
I had visited Sitepoint many times via Google, but I decided to stick around because I really enjoy helping people work more efficiently in their internet marketing campaigns. There is a lot of misinformation out there about SEO, and I appreciate the opportunity to clear things up for many people. Sitepoint seemed like a good fit when I found it.
SEO is a difficult and often controversial field to work in. First of all, there's so much bad advice out there. How do you cut through that to make sure that you know what really needs to be done?
SEO is not as complicated as people tend to make it out to be. The most complicated part is learning how to look at the problem as “How to build credibility with Google” and “How to create valuable resources for visitors” instead of “How to trick Google into putting us at #1 for certain keywords”. I consider most SEO campaigns to be an exercise in credibility and authority.
By showing Google that our sites and our clients’ sites provide their users with quality, authoritative content relative to our targeted search terms, we give Google reasons to rank our sites highly for those keywords. We micromanage the sites and their content to make sure they provide visitors with what they are looking for, and Google tracks these signals.
Google does not want to penalize webmasters, they want to provide their users with the best match based on what keywords they are searching for. If you play by Google’s rules and help them to access and organize the information on your sites more readily, your sites will eventually be rewarded by ranking for relevant keywords.
...And second, the shysters and charlatans have given SEO a bad name, so how do you convince clients that you're the real deal?
There are many answers to this question.
The method that has worked the best for us in terms of making up for the bitterness left behind by another company is explaining SEO in terms that business leaders can understand. Very well thought-out proposals and action plans help people learn why Google ranks certain sites above others, we can help them understand why our strategies will work better than what they are currently doing or have done in the past.
We try very hard to not talk over people’s heads (doing so almost guarantees a bad impression), and we make it very clear that there is no secret to success other than good writing, hard work, and creativity. The key is to focus on how all this stuff effects a client/prospective client and their business rather than the technical side of things, the bottom line so to speak, make it impeccably clear exactly what they stand to gain and how it effects their business.
One of the most important steps when beginning a business relationship is understand the client’s terms of “success”. It is not uncommon for my team and our client to initially have very different goals in mind; after all, ranking is not everything and there need to be agreed-upon units for measuring success. By having a solid understanding of our client’s definition of success, we are in a much better position to keep them happy.
At the end of the day, we like for our clients to have a good understanding of our strategy, and they usually realize that they are better off with us than without us.
As a way to demonstrate transparency, we also do not require any of our clients to sign a contract (although we have in the past at the client’s request). We invoice our clients at the beginning of the month, and they continue to pay us as long as they are happy. This is usually comforting for clients who are skeptical about being locked into long-term agreements.
Although you make occasional forays into other areas of the forums, Internet Marketing has been where we've seen you most of all. How important do you think it is to specialise in a particular area of web work?
I think that specialization is very important. No one can do everything on their own; it takes teamwork to accomplish great things.
I am not even close to being the most knowledgeable internet marketer at Alabama SEO (our marketing firm). I have been blessed with a business partner who is a genius when it comes to internet marketing strategy (and about a dozen other things), and his oversight of strategy and client management allows me to spend more time (day-to-day) managing campaigns and developing websites.
Our team has a culture of pushing ourselves and trying to learn more every single day, especially in our areas of expertise within our firm’s division of labor.
It's your chance to change one thing about the internet ... what would you change?
I am a big believer in freedom of information. I believe that no government should be allowed to prosecute people or websites for assisting in file sharing (music, movies, and software included).
Times are changing, and I believe that people in these fields (I actually have a vested interest in the success of a musician here in Alabama) should be innovative and use their reach to make money instead of relying on the distribution of CDs, which is just unreasonable in today’s world.
Also, the profit margin on movies (even ones that bomb in theaters) is insane. No-one in Hollywood is starving.
It's your chance to change one thing about SitePoint Forums ... what would you change?
I would not allow people to comment on a thread unless they have read every post. It can be frustrating to post something that I view as meaningful, only see the next 3 posts be someone agreeing with the first post (which a lot of times is objectively wrong, due to a misguided poster who is relying on tactics that worked 2 years ago). It would require some custom coding, but it wouldn’t be too terribly hard to implement.
As you know, we don't normally allow people to plug their own websites, projects or services, but here's a unique opportunity for you ... plug away!
We have several projects in the works, but Alabama SEO is our bread and butter. Anyone who would like to discuss working together can contact me there.
Editor's note: alabamaseo has asked if he can add this in a couple of weeks when their new product is launched. The answer is ... of course!
And finally ... anything else you would like to add?
Thanks to all the admins, mods, and webmasters who organize and curate Sitepoint; we really appreciate your effort and the community you have created.
Aww, shucks, you didn't have to add that last bit in, we'd have given you the award anyway! But it's nice to be appreciated
Excellent interview guys. It was a pleasure getting to see a more detailed side of you @alabamaseo ; Well earned reward for someone who seems to really have a passion in a topic I find incredibly difficult.
Yes, great interview. It's nice to know you a bit better, Joseph (I assume that's your name from the photo you linked to?). It's refreshing to meet someone here who treats internet marketing as an intelligent craft rather than as a cheap and nasty cash cow. All power to you.
Times are changing, and I believe that people ... should be innovative and use their reach to make money instead of relying on the distribution of CDs, which is just unreasonable in today’s world.
Yes, a fair point. The web is the web, and it seems to me better to try creative new approaches to making money from it, rather than trying to go the law enforcement path to try to maintain the old hierarchies.
(I was just reading yesterday about the zillion downloads of the last Breaking Bad episode within hours of it airing in the US. That's just the way it goes, I guess, although I still reckon it's stealing. Anyhow, if people are downloading your stuff that much (even if in pirated form) and you can't make a buck from it, you are prolly doing something wrong. [Embedded ads in TV shows? Hopefully not ... but there you go.])
I would not allow people to comment on a thread unless they have read every post.
Probably not viable in practice, but o so desirable!
Congratulations and interesting interview. It's always good to learn a bit more about our members and what makes them tick.
If anyone is curious, at http://alabamaseo.org/about-us/, I am the handsome guy on the right.
It's a shame that someone with a black T shirt was hogging the limelight and standing in front of you
Great interview guys and good to get to know you a bit better Joseph - a well deserved award!!
Out of interest, which death metal groups are you into?
My favourite Swedish one would have to be Entombed, but I'm more into some of the groups that have come out of Norway.
Congratulations with a well deserved award.
And as always the interview is very interesting. Something I look forward to every month
I consider most SEO campaigns to be an exercise in credibility and authority.
This is BRILLIANT and quite profound. It is surprising and distressing to recognize the number of people who believe SEO is all about trying to fool/cheat the Search Engines.
Congratulations on the MOTM award. Thank you for your contributions to this community.
Congrats on the award and for a great, informative and interesting interview. Always fun to read up a little on the person behind the name
Congratulations @alabamaseo; – I enjoyed the interview. I've just applied your shiny new badge. It suits you.
Keep it well polished this month, @alabamaseo; !
Congratulation, though i am new here.
As we all were once. Welcome.
@cpradio ; Thanks a lot! I have equal admiration for anyone who can conquer something as intimidating as PHP.
@ralph_m ; I'm sure Breaking Bad has made millions off of downloads from iTunes alone; not to mention DVD sales. They are also being syndicated on several networks now (at least 2 I have seen). I would be willing to bet that the show's producers aren't losing sleep over the pirates who stole their show.
@Paul_O_B ; Personally, I think the person in front of me looks very handsome. I hear he can bench press 580 lbs. And for the record, he is wearing a sweater with the sleaves rolled up :P.
@Pullo ; Thanks a lot!
My favorite death metal groups are Necrophagist (German), Nile (American), and Mushuggah (Swedish). I also really like bands like Ozzy, White Zombie, and Godsmack.
I've never listened to Entombed, but I will check them out. What Norwegian groups are you into?
@guido2004 ; Thank you very much
@ParkinT ; Aw shucks, you are gunna make me blush I think soon people are finally going to come around.
Its hard for a lot of internet marketers to admit to themselves that they need to have good English (or at least good English writers) to be successful. That really kills the dream for a lot of people who used to reply organic rankings to pay the bills.
@DaveMaxwell ; Thanks a lot! I like your Youtube video btw; I have always said that Queen would have been 10 times as popular if Freddie Mercury sounded more like a confused frog That red thing can tear it up on drums though!
@HAWK ; Thanks a lot! I look very important
I had heard of (and listen to) Nile. The other two were new for me though, but I quite like the sound of both of them (just reading up on them on Wikipedia).
Another German Thrash band worth mentioning is Kreator. They're one of my favourite.
If you listen to anything by Entombed, then I recommend Clandestine.
It was by far their best album.
Some of my favourites are Gorgoroth, Satyricon and Urgehal, but they might be a bit of an acquired taste
Also, like you, I don't just listen to metal.
My music collection ranges from the Artic Monkeys, to Bob Marley to Fairport Convention, to Eminem, to Janis Joplin to J.S.Bach to Psycho Realm to Queen to the Rolling Stones to the Violent Femmes - with lots more in between.
I just love music, really.
Great Interview! :tup: I've never been to any music festivals, I think the biggest over here in the UK is Glastonbury, just doing a google image seach for "glastonbury festival overhead view" that looks big but I would imagine it must be tiny compared with music festivals over there.
When it comes to people's actual behavior, it is pretty obvious they share with each other. Sites like the pirate bay are uber popular, and have withstood the test of time. We may be reaching a point where we need to be honest with actual reality. There are similarities to the drug war. People are fighting to win it, yet usage is not going down. The same applies to file sharing.
@Pullo ; Kreator is awesome. I really liked Clandestine too. I am gunna go ahead and "purchase" both of their discographies. I will check out some of those Norwegian Metal groups too.
We have a lot in common in terms of taste in music. It is rare to find someone with such diverse tastes. I'm also really into Eminem, J.S Bach, Queen, and the Rolling Stones. I have only heard a couple of Violent Femmes songs, but I think I remember really liking it.
I also listen to a lot of King Crimson, The Flaming Lips, Deep Forest, Thievery Corporation, Shakira, Norah Jones, Infected Mushroom, 2Pac, Chopin, Dvorak, Paganini, Yonder Mountain String Band, Dixie Chicks, Townes Van Zandt, the list goes on...
In the words of Ice-T, "I feel sorry for anyone who only listens to one type of music".
@SpacePhoenix ; If I'm not mistaken, Glastonbury is one of the largest festivals in the world.
I have been to Bonnaroo twice ('07 and '09) and The Hangout Festival twice ('10 and '12). They were a lot of fun, but I would guess European festivals blow US one's out of the water.
@dvduval ; Agreed, there comes a point where you just have to be realistic and accept that times have changed. You can't only takes bits and pieces of technological advancement.
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