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Fast Five – Jef Van Gool

Posted by VerboliaSeptember 8, 2021

This week, as part of its Fast Five interview series, Verbolia is pleased to introduce Jef Van Gool, SEO expert and owner of Sherlock SEO Agency – a leading digital marketing agency. Specialized in search engine marketing, the agency assists companies in analyzing, optimizing and developing effective online marketing strategies. During the interview, Jef Van Gool told us about his first SEO project, the main challenges of SEO and outlined the most common SEO mistakes he frequently encounters.


1) What was your first SEO project, and how did it go?

I was in charge of adding new content for the website for my fathers’ furniture stores ( Over time I built out the site, tripling the traffic by adding quality content and building a great information architecture. My first migration went wrong when I forgot to redirect the images.

2) What are the main challenges of SEO in 2021 ?

It depends ! No really, the challenges are the same as before.

For site owners, one of the biggest problems is that more and more people are starting to do and understand SEO, so it’s getting harder and harder to rank your site every year. You need to invest heavily in quality content, and once you have it online, you need to have a budget to promote it. This takes resources and ingenuity, as well as knowledge of how search algorithms work. 

For SEOs, it’s about keeping up with daily algorithm changes and testing to understand why your rankings fluctuate.

3) What is your favourite SEO software ?

I don’t have any. Maybe my brain and my gut feeling.Understanding the customer and the market is more important than any tool. I like Excel a lot, that’s what you need when you want to work with your data. I hope to improve my coding skills so I can automate more.

For research, I’ve been using Semrush for a long time, and I have too many chrome extensions. I hope to have my own SEO software one day, but that’s only a dream for now.

4) What is the most common SEO mistake you see people making?

Writing crappy content (not having basic onpage in place) and hoping it will rank. Or thinking SEO tactics are a strategy. Content and relevance are the keys to any successful SEO campaign. Information architecture and internal links are very powerful and are often overlooked as tactics. I see lots of people talk about SEO as it exists only out of keywords or links. I am a big proponent of holistic SEO. You need to perform on all elements of the ranking graph. That’s why I developed Seopoly, to help people understand the connection between other marketing fields and how they can support SEO.

5) What is a typical low-hanging fruit optimization to make in SEO for e-commerce?

Every website needs a logical information architecture. E-commerce mostly has lots of pages so you need to take a step back before you build your website. Conceive a well thought out site architecture that will help you rank more easily. 

Next, canonicals can give a good boost to your rankings as well. Canonicals on your site can be seen as an internal linking technique. I prefer to focus on internal links first before building backlinks. Canonicals do get implemented incorrectly often, so beware. 

Great informational content is needed as a counter balance for the product pages in ecommerce. This informational content can be added to a blog, but try to add relevant content to your product pages where needed. 

And lastly, but not less important, for e-commerce targeting the B2C market, your site speed is very important. 

Did I mention schema markup yet? 😂


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