Interview with SEO Consultant Krystian Szastok
Krystian Szastok a well-known name for all SEO and Digital Marketing Professionals, you might be one of his followers. Mr. Szastok takes his SEO consultancy as a hobby, marking problem of clients, eliminating penalizing mistakes, and has a tremendous record of improving organic visibility. He indulges into newsjacking, content curation and RCS. Being into this profession of SEO from past 6 years he is not only a consultant but also keeps his follower stick to his suggestions while educating them in a very responsive manner. He also deliberately watches his dietary habits and loves to see others in good health so he maintains a blog on healthy cooking as well. I hope reading his interview on SOCIAL HUNT will be a healthy learning experience for you.
Here we go….
You’ve been in SEO a long time — how did you get started in the field?
It all started for me after I learned how to code HTML and CSS by hand back in 2007. My first client – a B&B in Hastings, UK, asked if I could get him to show locally on Google. I was like ‘yes, sure’ – without knowing at all what’s involved, I thought to myself ‘I learned HTML and CSS – I’m sure this SEO thing is easy too’.
It came out to be a whole lot more challenging and difficult to learn. Mostly because of changing trends and back in the day, a lot of conflicting views and dodgy tactics.
Tell us about what you do, to help improve search engine visibility?
Currently in my position I work mostly on strategy level for clients and improving our internal processes within the department.
On certain projects where I have a more hands on approach I troubleshoot on-site, present content curation ideas, RCS, evaluate content strategies. Occasionally still get to do bits of prospecting on a chosen few accounts, but it’s mostly now overseeing work and checking over if standards are kept high.
RCS all the way. Any ‘real link’ – a link offline that can be translated into online: for example a real offline event that gets you press/local recognition that you can then translate into real online relationships.
Content curation also works great and will continue to if done genuinely – not low effort/low quality way.
In your opinion, what would you consider to be fail link-building strategy in 2013?
Anything oldschool – ie. Spammy techniques, low effort tactics, manipulated links that don’t have a reason to be somewhere.
Also I think the value of links in author bio boxes will diminish as Google cracks down on guest posts.
What would be your advice for setting up a link building campaign from scratch for a new website? Where it should all start from?
First look at any mentions of your company that don’t link to your site yet, then look at genuine connections you have with businesses – see which you could give some testimony that could link to you.
Next I’d look at competitors – the winners on SERPs and comparing the profiles. Check if they have links from communities that look genuine – see how you can join these conversations. Or if your competitors content gets mentioned, what content is it and can you develop better versions of it and then outreach.
Once this is done – I’d be keen to continue developing on-site resources and guides, tools – whatever the budget allows for and continue social listening to spot developing trends and conversations. Maybe do some newsjacking if appropriate.
Look out for RCS opportunities.
What are some of the most common issues you’ve seen with enterprises trying to scale up their online marketing efforts, including SEO?
Going too low quality. Either in content or in the way they outreach and where they place content.
I think scalability is a challenge – luckily Google helps us by more and more updates around recognising this and raising the bar for our links and placements to remain effective.
I think the basic attitude has to change in the way companies and SEOs approach the whole content marketing. Emailing 100s of bloggers with a guest post is just not an option anymore… Cmon!
Businesses tend to talk via their content about what they want to be talking about. Not about what their customers are asking about and this is the fundamental problem. Not wanting to provide 80% of the answer – just to sell the remaining 20% and gain a customer via trust and thought leadership. Most businesses just prefer to pump out marketing copy and pay for placements and traffic and hope their site converts.
How can someone protect themselves from being scammed?
Choose your SEO like you choose your food. Go to the tried and tested, go via referrals. When you’re choosing a restaurant you don’t go at random – you ask colleagues or friends where they went and what they enjoyed. Same with a haircut.
Why do we trust strangers with our marketing budgets, but we won’t with our hair? It’s a paradox.
What exclusive tip would you give our readers on staying ahead in the world of SEO?
What I personally do and what seems to work so far:
-Follow a solid group of SEOs
-Go to conferences
-Read SEO blogs (the leading ones anyway) and question what you read!
-Look at the bigger picture in where Google is going (after the first appearances of knowledge graph it was easy to predict that sites that offer quick answer will die off. Ie. the famous ‘weather’ query box killing off traffic to the weather sites we used to visit. Easy to predict what will be next. Or appearance of in-depth articles in SERPs – and then trying to rank with thin content – I mean cmon, why would you go against Google? Go with them instead.
-Look at what continuously successful websites do – if you see a competitor always winning stop trying to re-invent the wheel – try to do some of the stuff they’re doing, just better!
-Look at successful campaigns in other verticals and bring that into your online marketing.