This week, as part of its Fast Five interview series, Verbolia welcomes Sven De Meyere, Freelance fractional CMO and founder of Calypsus – a platform providing Google Data Studio connectors for Facebook ads & Linkedin ads. With a wealth of experience working with and leading some of the brightest firms in our digital eco-system, Sven De Meyere is at present available as an independent consultant to help companies reach their full potential and maximize their growth. During our discussion, Sven shared with us his thoughts on SEO and its upcoming challenges.
1) What was your first SEO project, and how did it go?
My first real SEO project was while I worked at a digital marketing agency in Ghent. One of our clients was selling furniture specifically for pubs & restaurants through their brick & mortar store. They were slowly starting to digitize their approach and wanted more visibility on their product inventory in the search engines. A colleague was the lead consultant on the project and I helped out with the SEO part. I already knew the theoretical approach, but it was something completely different to put that into practice.
We were actually able to get top 3 positions for most of the product categories in both Dutch & French. Back in those days, doing proper on-page optimization and some rich anchor text directory link building would get you there easily without any problems.
2) What are the main challenges of SEO in 2021 ?
Competing with Google. We see more and more rich snippets in the search results & organic listings being pushed down below the fold, resulting in more and more zero-click results. Google has the power to destroy the revenue streams of entire niches just by tweaking how their search results look like.
Apart from that I would probably say complying with the site speed & core web vitals benchmarks. The impact today is actually a bit less than what Google wants you to believe, but it’s just as clear that it’s importance is going to increase in the next coming years.
3) What is your favourite SEO software ?
Does Google sheets count? 🙂
I actually don’t have a real favourite tool. I do like the value you can get with a simple tool like Screaming Frog.
4) What is the most common SEO mistake you see people making?
I’ll share 3 of them:
- Focussing super hard on minor technical SEO issues highlighted by some random 3rd party tools, without really overseeing the bigger picture.
- Thinking SEO is a set-up-and-forget thing. Your work doesn’t stop once you optimize your URLs and <title> tags. That’s when it starts.
- Underestimating the importance of working on your link authority. This is often neglected, because for many people it’s hard to wrap their head around it. It doesn’t feel tangible, so they think it’s not important. While in reality, that’s probably where their biggest gain is to be made.
5) What is a typical low-hanging fruit optimization to make in SEO for e-commerce?
Doing proper keyword research for each product (category), creating the right crawlable subcategories for each and linking these from the navigation tree in that category. This is typically already done for brands in combination with the product category, but there are many other long-tail variations that are unique for that product. The search volume for 1 longtail subcategory variation is probably on the low end, but this makes for a big opportunity if you consistently do this for all product categories.
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