December 1, 2015

Professionals shouldn't lose track of the fundamentals Say's Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan - Marketing Expert

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Social Hunt Interviews Danny Sullivan

Imagine you can pick the brains out of a Legend from an industry. I got the same chance a few days back, when I interviewed the great Danny Sullivan. Danny Sullivan is turning out to be a living legend of the search engine marketing. As a young learning professionals, we have always looked up to giants like Danny Sullivan. As you can imagine, Danny wears many hats. He is a search engine guru, founding editor of Search Engine Land and Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media which is responsible for publishing Search Engine Land and SMX: Search Marketing Expo Conference Series. He also helps young learners through his blog Daggle.

Danny has appeared in many interviews for different media and news resources like The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and ABC’s Nightline. It is my honor to interview him and we are very grateful for his time.

So, let’s dig into the insights offered by Danny:


Hello Danny! Hope you will be doing fine!

Noman: Danny, The Landscape for digital marketing was there even before Google, then Google came in and becomes the number one contender of providing quality traffic to the website but after all the years (Google has become uncertain) do you think business should still consider investing a good budget on SERP rankings only?

Danny: I think businesses should consider generating traffic from search, which includes Google and other sources, such as vertical search providers. Search is an outstanding mechanism for generating leads. You don’t want to ignore it.


Google recently kicked out “My blog Guest” and then an unnatural link warning to a very respectable SEO firm “Portent”. Small businesses are getting an impact that Google is an uncertain traffic channel and they should not invest much on it (After all animal updates, it’s not wrong). My question to you is how you see the future of digital marketing from the SMB stand point?

Small businesses get plenty of traffic from search and digital media, and they should continue to invest in it. That’s where the audience is. Google hasn’t been going after small businesses and, in fact, arguably small business that are real businesses are getting more traffic than ever. Google has been going after stuff it considers spam.


Would love to hear you take on Seth Godin’s words, “all marketers are liars; I’m a marketer, so I can say this.”?

I don’t think all marketers are liars; the good ones, especially, aren’t. Whether Seth is saying that for real or not is, of course, his twist on the oft-cited riddle that has no answer.


There are businesses who are over obsessed with SERP rankings and how it will bring profits for the business. What would be your advice to those businesses? Are they doing right or they should focus on other channels as well?

You should focus on attracting quality traffic that converts from a wide range of channels. If you are overly dependent on any one channel, be it Google or Facebook, you have a potential problem in the future.


The periodic table for SEO is just mind blowing and there are many including me keep that in front while making strategies for clients. Because of the ever changing nature of Google do you think this table will be valid after 5 years from now?

I think large parts of it will continue to be relevant. There are already big parts of it that are just as relevant now as they were 10 or 15 years ago.


Danny, you have one hell of an experience when it comes to SEO and digital marketing. That would be great if you can suggest some do’s and Don’ts that a professional should consider in the near future?

Don’t think your job as an SEO is to generate traffic from Google. Do understand that your job as an SEO is to understand how people seek information and ensure that your content is performing well in those channels, where it can appear organically.


Search Engine Land is BIG today but why you actually come up with this website and what were you expecting at that time?

It actually dates back to my initial “A Webmaster’s Guide To Search Engines” that I started in 1996. I knew there was a desire for information about search, that search would continue to grow and be important, but I didn’t expect it would grow as much as it has.


Danny, you are a mentor and inspiration for many but who are you inspired with?

I’m inspired by authors, writers and others who create new worlds in print or in film that entertain me.


SEL and Marketing Land are already big in my opinion so I think it’s fair to ask where you are looking these news portals in the next 5 years?

I’m looking at them to continue to grow and serve with their industries.


Would love if you can share your view on the future of Digital Marketing. What do you think is coming, what will be gone and how a professional should prepare himself to face all the upcoming challenges?

Professionals shouldn’t lose track of the fundamentals. It’s not about how you get positioned on a particular channel. It’s about what your marketing goals are and how you’ll achieve those through a wide-range of channels.

Thanks Danny


I would like to thanks Moosa Hemani too, for compiling the questions!


Syed Noman Ali

Syed Noman Ali Blogger, Inbound Marketing Expert: running Web Development and Marketing blog. Need any help email at:

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