Graph Search, Google+, & SEO: Pertinent Considerations From Aaron Friedman

Posted in Interviews, SMX West

Aaron Friedman, SEO Manager at Spark Communications, has deep experience spanning the full SEO spectrum. From local to digital marketing, national to global search, he’s also steeped in social media strategy development and analytics. Talk about your well-rounded marketer!

Regular contributions to his personal blog as well as esteemed online pub’ SearchEngineLand showcase Aaron’s interest and knowledge of the relationship between search and social– and we could think of no better topic to chat about with him.

Aaron will be traveling out to sunny San Jose for SMX West next month, where he’ll share his insight on the SEO Site Clinic. In tradition of aimClear Blog’s pre-conference coverage, we sat down with Aaron on the advent of the show to pick his brain on the intersection of search and social, not to mention some personal tidbits and a sneak peek at his upcoming panel at SMX. Read on for the full effect!

| aimClear: Aaron! Greetings. You sort of exploded on the conference speaking scene in 2012. Who are you? Where do you come from? How did you get here?

Aaron Friedman: Hi Lauren! Thank you for the compliment. Well, I come from Chicago where I was born and raised. And I have been in the agency world for about 5 years now. I remember the first conference I ever attended almost 3 years ago. And was so inspired to be one of the people on the stage giving the presentation. So I applied to whatever events I could go to and speak at (by the way, I had pretty much no qualifications other then my personal blog and experience).

I got rejected from pretty much everything and honestly, I didn’t even bat an eyelash. I expected it.
What I didn’t expect was when I got an email from Elisabeth Osmeloski asking me if I was still coming and if I was, could I do a site clinic. I was BEYOND ecstatic.

Shortly after that, I started writing for SEL and it sort of took on a life of its own after that to be honest.

| aC: Love it. Like a magical radioactive unicorn. Okay, talk to us about Graph Search SEO. How does organic Graph Search SEO play with page post ads and page post like stories that achieve likes? 

AF: So that’s a good question and I can’t claim to know how this will ultimately play out. But a couple thoughts I had based on the testing I did: I had a hard time actually pulling up the information I was looking for which I knew existed in posts and image captions. I think this will evolve overtime, but for now, marketers should make a big push to get users to “like” their pages.

Second, they should make sure that the page elements have to do with what people are actually searching on. I suspect Facebook will at some point roll out some analytics tool on this. Until then, make sure the page information is filled out well, and that there are relevant terms to your product or offering in the appropriate places.

| aC: Clever. Valuable advice! Onto Google+ and SEO. What is it? What’s it gonna be? What should we be doing now? What should we be preparing for in the future? 

AF: I am in the business, and I don’t use it nearly as much as I should be. I have to wonder how the average user is really behaving. I think there is for sure some intrinsic SEO value in using the network despite what Google will tell you. Is it the a magic bullet? No. Will it enhance the other good SEO work you are doing? I think so. I think there is a real opportunity to take fans away from Facebook if they can in fact build a stronger, more user friendly product. I think for now, brands should start paying a little more attention to it and at a minimum, cross posting and seeing what that does for them. I know some people won’t agree with me, but I think the cross posting is better than a ghost town. Test it out, and you will see how users respond differently on each network. Then adjust from there.

In the end, I think it’s fair to assume, that Google+ is here to stay and will evolve into being more important. So get in while you can.

| aC: Duly noted. Now, let’s switch gears. Spotlight’s on you, sir! Top 5 sites you visit each day, share!  

AF: Do Facebook and Twitter count :) ? Let’s assume not. I have my Google Reader (that’s 1) set up with over 100 blogs that I constantly scroll through on the train. But the main ones I view on a regular day to get the latest happenings are (2) Business Insider (3) SERoundtable for more search specific news . I like to browse through (4) SlideShare  in the morning too to learn how other people tell stories and how I could improve and for a little humor, I check out (5) happyplace.com

| aC: Never been to happyplace.com before… AWESOME! Okay. On Day 3 of SMX West, you’ll be sitting on the SEO Site Clinic panel. What’s some truly timeless advice you share with n00bz or folks who just don’t get it? In other words – what about SEO will never change? (As far as you can predict.) 

AF: SEO is and always will be about creativity. Yes, there is a technical aspect to it which I think people need to know and understand, but there is a component that reaches far beyond those. I think for someone to be truly successful at optimizing a website, there has to be a uniqueness that comes along with the content that lives on the site.

The best content is the content that will win in the long run. Once the content is no longer unique and generic as the next guys,  then its a game of ‘one upping’ the algorithm, and that is not a sustainable way to optimize content.

| aC: Most excellent. Finally… lightning round! Favorite city, ethnic cuisine, and television show, GO!

AF: Jerusalem, Chinese Food, Game of Thrones.

| aC: Right on, Aaron. Right on. Thanks so much for your time today! Safe travels out to Cali. We’ll see you at the show!

There’s still time to register for SMX West 2013! Grab your ticket and join the fun.

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