For the second edition of our Fast Five series, we asked some questions to Olivier Tahir, SEO Manager at Bpost. Former Head of Operations at Verbolia, Olivier has a vast experience in the areas of SEO, CRO and Analytics. During our interview, Olivier told us about his first SEO project, his favorite SEO software and expressed his views on the main challenges of SEO for 2021.
1) What was your first SEO project, and how did it go?
Well, that’s a tough question as I started SEO as a side task while working for a web development startup. So it went as expected, I was learning SEO by reading blogs and using tools from SEObook.com… Starting with the basics, all the meta tags, page title, keyword research and some rudimentary link building. As we were creating websites from scratch, with brand new domains with no authority at all for mostly unknown brands, results were slow to materialise but the effect of good keyword research was definitely felt.
2) What are the main challenges of SEO in 2021 ?
Stand out from the crowd, there are many talented SEO professionals helping their companies reach their highest potential in organic search. So, what are you going to do to get a competitive advantage over them?
My answer is collect the right data and exploit this data by :
- identifying areas of improvement,
- translating data into actionable items,
- use SEO automation and AI to speed up the process.
3) What is your favourite SEO software ?
Screaming Frog, the swiss army knife of SEO tools. It can be complex as it can be simple. You can use Screaming Frog at only 10% of its capacity and you will already find it hugely useful. Then, when you feel ready, you can evolve to the next stage, with custom extraction, custom scraping, API connections etc… It can be as complex as you can make it. I think this is one of the most flexible tools in SEO and is a must have for every SEO professional.
4) What is the most common SEO mistake you see people making?
Under appreciating the importance of details. SEO is all about details. You may think, yes we “only” have a few duplicate pages, we are “only” a couple of points under the performance standard, have “only” some pages with thin content, bounce rate is “only” a couple of points under target, we “only” have a few toxic links, our schema code is “only” defective in 20% of our web pages etc.. etc.. but no big deal right? It’s “mostly ” good can you please get off my back and stop annoying me?
My answer: Oh I will annoy you much much more in the future because you are the weakest link.
I’ll put this in parallel with the customer journey, if you say, all our 5 touch points have an 80% satisfaction rate. Sounds good at first, no? That is, until you realise that only 32% of your customers will have a positive experience when going through these 5 touchpoints.
Doesn’t look so great now, does it?
5) What is a typical low-hanging fruit optimization to make in SEO for e-commerce?
I will give you 3 because I can’t choose between them. I will start with the easiest:
- Proper keyword optimised titles and H1’s can work wonders.
- Think of your structure & categories & content in terms of silo’s & long tail. Having a properly categorised ecommerce is key to extract the most ranking potential for your pages.
- The last one, useful for SEO (user engagement) but even more for the bottom line, have an upselling system in place “people also bought…” to keep users engaged and nudge them to increase the value of their basket.
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