Interviews

Interview With Jason Acidre

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September 1  |  Interviews  |   Ryan Clark

It’s been a while since I’ve had an interview on here so it’s my pleasure to have one of my favorite bloggers join us on here. Jason Acidre is no stranger to the SEO world and you’ve no doubt read one of his excellent content pieces in the past month. I figured our readers could use a good break from my rants and take in some knowledge from another great mind in this industry.

1) Background info and a little bit about yourself

I’m Jason Acidre, an SEO based in Manila, Philippines. I’ve been working as a Marketing Consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis for over a year now. I manage their search marketing and link development campaigns, and sometimes, my tasks there also include implementation on areas like product development and quality assurance.

Before I entered the Search industry, I first started as a Professional Counterstrike Gamer – for 6 long years. Currently, I’m in the process of establishing my own SEO agency, wherein I have invested most of my time in training people extensively and in developing other side projects (test/money websites).

2) What’s your mentality/mantra/method for building links

My campaigns’ are mostly focused on acquiring links that have multiple capabilities, links that are not just focused on improving search rankings and in building the brand’s authority, but also have the ability to generate leads to the site (through highly visible and contextual links), which often require time and effort in building opportunities.

With this perspective in mind, my SEO strategies – for any form of industry – usually come down to two chains of actions:

  • If I want to build links and aim to rank for a certain keyword, I will need to create a content that strictly pertains to the targeted keyword, have high potentials of attracting people to voluntarily link to or socially share it, and a content that will have higher response and approval rates when presented in sending out link requests, as this type of content will have higher chances of ranking naturally on search engines. This can also serve as a strong support page when internally linked to the site’s landing page(s). And if I wanted more high-value links and more results from the campaign, I will need to create more content that can develop the brand’s reputation in their industry and eventually attract and acquire more links and leads to the site.
  • If I want to build scalable link opportunities that will improve the site’s reputation/popularity/authority, then I will need to build connections within the community by targeting specific individuals within the field and leverage these connections through externally distributed content, as these connections will help disseminate the site’s web presence and probably allow the site to draw more natural links.

3) What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to building links

I guess the most obvious mistake that others do when it comes to link building is focusing most of their efforts on building one-sided links, links that are solely built and created to manipulate search engine results, and not utilizing those link acquisitions’ fullest potentials, like brand emphasis through branded anchor text links and/or links that encourage visitor click-throughs, particularly from distributed content that can constantly generate organic traffic (like from topically relevant guest blogs, slide presentations, forum threads, etc…).

There are also some who centers their campaign’s objectives to only aim to rank for exact-match keywords, which usually result to force link building (in terms of speed, variation and quantity), wherein the exact match keyword links that they’ll be able to build will appear too manipulative to search engines – I personally prefer highly-descriptive anchors as these will look more natural and they do have high CTR, more often than not.

4) What are some link building methods you stay away from and why

  • · Automated link building (using tools/software) – as Google will never stop in hunting these links down.
  • · Article marketing – I would rather invest on content to be created and distributed for guest blogging.

5) What are some tools you love/like and would recommend
I’m not really a big fan of tools, though there are some that I couldn’t work without, particularly in link prospecting:

  • Google search – I mostly do my link research through using advanced search queries or search operators on Google search, I also use other international Google extensions when doing extensive link search.
  • SEOQuake – this tool makes my link prospecting process a lot easier, as it shows some of the most vital metrics I use in determining if a site is of high quality (like number of incoming links to the page/site, number of indexed pages on Google and search engine traffic price). This tool also shows these stats instantly on Google’s SERP display and on Yahoo Site Explorer, which makes it easier to skim pages shown on the results.
  • Mozbar – also shows up instantly on SERP display, and allows me to see important page and domain-level metrics such as MozRank, Page Authority and Domain Authority.
  • Opensiteexplorer.org – very useful in collecting link data from competitors, particularly in monitoring their anchor text distribution and the list of linking external pages that can be downloaded in excel format.
  • Google Analytics – allows me to track the best performing links I’ve built by identifying referring sites that are constantly sending traffic that have low bounce rates, staying longer on the page or clicking through other pages of the site and driving unique visitors. This in turn allows the campaign to create a pattern in terms of the placements of links and on which type of sites it should be built.
  • Stumbleupon – this is one of the most useful tools that I’ve been using in finding link opportunities recently, as it is capable of returning exceptional content from both authority and emerging influential sites from any industry.
  • Traffic Travis pro version – the features that I mostly use in this tool for link building is its keyword suggest feature, as it helps me expand my list of search queries when finding for more link opportunities. I also enjoy its link finder feature – when I don’t feel like searching for links manually.

6) Links are definitely being valued differently these days. Where do you see the link game going into the near future
My perceptions on Search were entirely derived from the concept of building trust to both users and search engines. I’ve always believed that the more search engines trust your site, is the more that they’ll reward your site with better search rankings, and certainly make your inner pages show up more prominently on their result pages.

In my opinion, the future of link building will revolve around “trust”, on how people really see your site, which can be measured through authentic recommendations, citations and participation. The strongest form of link that any site can get – in the past, today and probably in the future – is a link that was voluntarily given by a satisfied user, and that’s where we should all be focusing on.

These past 8 months, I have been a persistent advocate of branded link building, as I have somehow anticipated that it will be the new era of online marketing – and evidently, it’s the most sustainable way to build a robust following base on the web as well as the best way to exemplify authoritativeness to search engines.

In this case, I see the link game shifting back to the less complex formula of optimizing a website, wherein artificially created links may only be used in improving web authority/popularity, whereas the keyword game might be completely up to the on-page relevance of the content and the authentic, highly descriptive and contextual links that it will get (search engines will certainly find their way in filtering this kind of link in the future or perhaps I’m just crazy lol).

7) Where can people find you online

You can follow me on my SEO blog – Kaiserthesage, on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+. I’m also a contributor at Affilorama’s blog, SEO-Hacker, Traffic Travis’ blog and Technorati’s Business Channel.

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Interview With Hotel Marketer Are Morch

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June 27  |  Interviews  |   Ryan Clark

I’d like to thank hotel marketing consultant Are Morch for making the time to take the interview, I know how busy this guy can be! I met Are through Linkedin.com and like to point out how that social network is great for not only making business connections, but leading to opportunities such as this interview. A large portion of our blog readers come from the hotel/travel industry and I thought Are would make a great interviewee for that target crowd.

 

Introduction:

My name is Are Morch, and I am the author of Are Morch – Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist. Born in the beautiful country of Norway, but live today in Tupelo, MS with my spouse. My background is from IT, public administration, customer service and hotels.

Been fascinated by social media since I first started with BBS (Bulletin Boards). Started my first online business in 2001. Got into blogging in 2008. That was also when I got active with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

I fell in love with hotels in 2004 when I started as a reservation specialist. You learn a lot then what people put into building their dream hotel experience. In 2010 I combined my passion for hotels and social media. And in 2011 I have specialised myself on how to leverage hotels with LinkedIn.

What Areas Of Social Media Has The Hotel Industry Taken To In The Past Couple Of Years

Social Media has really awakened as a sleeping beauty for the hotel family: customer relationships, customer care and customer service are all hot topics in social news.

Hotels started with a little ‘wait and see’ attitude. But some early adapters got on to it, and started the word-of-mouth effect within the industry. There are several gatekeepers within the hotel family. So this new trend had to pass several stages before it was widely accepted.

But when hotels discovered this they also had to be where the consumers where, they started to introduce social media in a larger scale. Hotels have traditionally focused on reputation management. Here your main focus is customer service through social media channels like TripAdvisor and Yelp.

Today where the main focus is consumer engagement, hotels have got more involved in real time social networks.

Many hotels today are true social media melting pots.

How Can A Hotel Best Manage All These Social Trends Without Losing Out

Involvement is the key for hotels today.

First off, all hotels need to identify employees that have large quality social media networks, and find new unique ways to embrace these as champion brand advocates.

Many small hotels indicate challenges with social media due to limited budgets. This is one reason for employees to be involved, and assist in building a strong network.

With employee involvement together they need to define social media guidelines, and a social media strategy.

When you have you build a network of champion brand advocates through your employee then you can start on groups that will help you manage trends.

Focus on your Hotels Key Performance Indicators (KPI);
- Listen
- Involve
- Engage
- Influence
- Action
- Response

What Can You Say To The Hotel Owners That Are Still On The Fence About Social Marketing

I am not a ‘doom and gloom’ person, many hotels will still do ok without social media.

We will at some point in time come to a tipping point where the majority of hotels will have to be on social media, but we are not there yet.

Scarcity is not good guideline to follow. This often results in that the hotel becomes more reluctant to social media. I will often advice the hotel to follow the approach I gave in my previous answer.

Do You Think This Levels The Playing Field For Smaller Hotels, Or Does It Make Life Harder

Challenges small hotels have with the economy is probably for many bigger then challenges with Social Media. In my opinion all challenges is just an opportunity in disguise.

Is There Any Advice You Give Your Clients On How NOT To Go About Social Media Marketing

The most common mistakes to avoid are;
- Not to listen
- Not involving your network and peers
- Not following the 80/20 rule
- Talk about your network and peers info show how this adds value. Give 80% and make yourself receivable. Then you receive your 20% back over and over again.
- Not be to self-promotional
- Not respond
- Not have put in place proper social media guidelines and social media strategies

Do Hotels Need To Create Different Content For Social Media Opposed to Their Website Content

Yes, the hotel website is their professional online billboard. Here the message need to be short and to the point. And provide quick answers for the consumers needs and wants. Plus have an visible booking machine on their website.

Social Media is the engagement and response channel. If you put consumer engagement first, then you will start handling customer relationship and customer care in open fora. This will again result in more effective and satisfying customer service experiences for all parts involved when issues arise.

What Are Your Thoughts On The Recent Sofitel “Press” – Good Or Bad?

It is often unfortunate when this happens. But it happens. This is why it is so important for the hotel itself to be visible on social media, and have proper listening outposts in place.

You have to be able to provide proper response, and since most social media is live you have to respond reasonably fast also. Others will talk about your brand either you like it or not. And if you don’t provide a proper response people will assume that the picture that is painted is the true picture.

How Can People Connect With You Online

They can find me at:

Blog: Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist Blog
LinkedIn: Are Morch
Twitter: @AreMorch
Facebook: Are Morch – Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist

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