INTERVIEW WITH SENIOR SEO ANALYST, RYAN BERTOLLINI
Ryan Bertollini has worked in the SEO field for the past six years, and tries to constantly up-end SEO mythology that may be erroneous or unproven.
Having seen Ryan speak at Brighton SEO recently, I asked him if he'd be up for being interviewed. He said yes, so here we go...!
How did you move from general marketing to SEO? What got you interested, and what was happening in digital at the time?
In the fall of 2012, my wife and I opened a retail store. It was a roller derby pro shop, and we sold everything from roller skates and elbow pads to jerseys and socks. My wife was (and is) an active roller derby player in the U.S., and we figured it would be a great way to turn her passion into a business.
Once we opened our doors and launched an e-commerce website, I realised I needed to get traffic to our door and our domain.
That was my entry into the SEO field. I listened to podcasts at work all day about digital marketing, and then would go optimise our website at night.
What do you particularly enjoy (or not) about working and specialising in SEO?
I enjoy the problem solving element and continuous landscape change of SEO. I tend to bore easily, but search marketing keeps me on my toes, as things seem to change from one day to the next.
What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to SEO? And what do you think of those people who sell ‘SEO services’ and nothing else?
The biggest misconception around SEO, and the number one lie that marketing companies tell prospective clients is that they can get their local or new domain to rank on page 1, straight off.
There is no way any local business or relatively new domain will rank on page 1 for certain terms, purely based on how Google or Bing functions.
High funnel keywords that do not necessarily imply user intent will most likely not rank a local business for that query. Conversely, national entities that want to rank for localised terms but do not engage in things like Google My Business listings, will most likely not rank for those queries.
Agencies who promise something they cannot deliver for a client unfortunately make a bad name for SEO specialists everywhere. My advice is to set expectations with the client early about what SEO can do, and the expected turn-around time to achieve those results.
What are your top three tools?
My top 3 tools are Google Analytics, SEMRush and Majestic. With these, I can inform a client about what keywords are bringing traffic to their site, what their keyword rankings are in an international scope, and what links are adding to / subtracting from their domain’s Trust Flow / Domain Authority.
What advice would you give to someone who might be looking to begin a career which is SEO-focused?
My advice would be to “go for it!”. There are so many websites that still desperately need SEO help, and the landscape of search is constantly changing.
I would also recommend that people not necessarily believe everything thing that they read, and try theories out for themselves. Just because a certain expert on SEO couldn’t get something to work or didn’t see the value in a strategy, doesn’t mean that the strategy wont work for someone else’s campaigns.