As the term SEO becomes a more prominent force in internet marketing, the TM Web Radio Show got to sit down with one of the industry’s pioneers, Greg Boser. Greg has been a part of the SEM/SEO industry since the beginning. His experience has transformed him into someone who knows all angles of the industry. One of the most honest voices in search, Greg served as the President of Web Guerilla for 10 years and now operates 3 Dog Media.
3 Dog Media provides a fresh new look at how to maximize Web 2.0 in any vertical, while grasping every SEO opportunity. All while specializing in SEO, SMM, reputation management, and WordPress development. Greg is also a former moderator at Web Master World, former host of SEO Rockstar radio show, and frequent speaker at conferences since 1999.
Well, why don’t we let Greg tell you for himself what it is he exactly does? “I consider myself a web marketer whose primary focus is search but that encompasses anything that has to do with getting people to type something into a little white box” explained Greg. The interesting thing is like most SEO’s he sort of stumble upon this career. He originally started out by selling fire protection services and realized if they had a website they could increase their sales. So he built it, but no one was coming, quite the opposite of The Field of Dreams. “Then search became the primary way that initial site got found. And once that started we started getting leads from really all over the world”, said Greg. He then moved on to where he was doing more brokering deals for the company than doing the actual physical work.
“Then it was kind of at that point that I went wow this Internet thing might be pretty cool and I might want to figure out how to do this full-time as a career. So I just kind of stumbled into it.”
He then started to want to make money using the internet in 1995. From there it turned into a job and he started to make a little money around 1998. By 2000 it was a really good job kind of thing and Greg found his calling. From here he became fully engulfed in the SEO world. Even to the point where he admittedly stalked Danny Sullivan. After getting involved with people like Danny and really pushing this idea of internet marketing, the conferences started to come up. It’s safe to say that Greg Boser is a pioneer in the SEM conference world. “Then the first pub-con was actually in a pub and we did one in Irvine called the bar-con and it just kind of grew out of there” said Greg. From there he has been an avid speaker at well known conferences since.
Working with Web Guerilla, Greg handled a lot of corporate clients and shared his views of the corporate SEM/SEO world with us. “In the early 2000’s I did a lot of that kind of stuff and I subcontracted to a lot of large agencies where I was kind of like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain doing all the strategy. I charged them a ton of money and then they’d mark it up and go out and pretend like they were a genius”, says Greg. The whole corporate world and the long process can be painful. This prompted Greg to strictly remain a consultant. He didn’t want to work to be a Yes-Man. Being a part of the old days of SEO Greg has been through it all and has remained in the industry adapting and utilizing all the changes that have came.
“A lot of us old timers, we feel partially responsibility for Google getting better because we did exploit the holes and you know if we didn’t we’d still look like Alta-Vista 2000.”
The “old timers” can be credited for transforming search to what it is today. They are the ones picking at Google trying to manipulate the logarithm, which then prompts Google to go back and fix what they missed. It used to be easy to exploit something in search for a large volume of money, but that takes a lot longer now. This is where the black hat SEO VS. white hat SEO battle started to begin. According to Greg, “My personal take is the term ‘white hat SEO’ is a code name for an SEO with no game.” Greg believes by regularly doing R and D and pushing the envelope ultimately makes a better SEO. By knowing what works and what doesn’t you are available to provide your clients with better results. This isn’t seen much in the SEO industry because of the Google Webmaster Central, which is regulating what goes on. This instills fear in people, because they don’t want to get in the wrong side of Google and ultimately lose any clients. “The tough thing is basically what I’ve already said is that 99% of Google’s quality is handled not by the algorithm but by fear”, explained Greg. The webmaster guideline is the core mechanism behind Google that keeps things clean.
Google continues to grow both in size and influence. Recently Google rolled out Caffeine to its search engine. There are notions that this could come with some pretty big changes when it comes to ranking. Still there is speculation over whether it is good for search or not. “Whether it’s good for search depends on whether my stuff goes up or down,” said Greg. There is still some confusion surrounding Caffeine as not too many people know where exactly Google is at in the rollout process. Perhaps it isn’t totally implemented yet, but there still has been some shake up. “We saw a couple spaces where we had stuff in the top 4 but it’s now sitting at 12. Now once it fits in, gets stable, it stays that way for a while, and we’re confident that that’s what it’s going to be. Then we can take the time to kind of dissect why those sites replaced us and what factors are different,” explained Greg. People are still going to see some changes from Google in the next 3 to 6 months. A few particularly are the integration of real time search and social media into search results.
“Google’s gotten to where they just throw crap out and it’s never quite what we expected. Really the big picture, if you guys remember back 2001, 2002, you know they had the fresh spot.”
Fresh spot was a separate component that interjected content in the search results that wasn’t being analyzed by all the data points everything else was. It was like on page factors that shot in real quick because it was fresh and new. “Now with Twitter and all these new kind of signals they’re going to see that, but on a much bigger scale,” stated Greg. The testing with distributing tweets and re-tweets can already be seen in packing a blog post and then seeing where Google ranks it based on the signals found in Twitter.
It is no secret that Google dominates the search industry, but is that really a good thing for search? Greg doesn’t seem to think so, “We’re best off as an industry having three equal players with a third market share each.” Back when there were multiple search engines to rank in your projects are really spread around between four or five places. You could mess up in one and still be OK. Now if you hit the bottom with Google, it is a code-red emergency. Still Google continues to grow and it doesn’t look like it is stopping anytime soon. Now making it is way to mobile software, mobile search, Google Chrome OS, Google Buzz, and there are even rumors now they are providing SEO services.
“Our big focus right now is I’ve never been a big fan of local search just because that’s not been the area that I’ve competed in. We’ve always preferred clients that had global kind of terms that generate a ton of traffic.”
It is helpful to spend some time doing global things at a local level. Google is now returning a lot of local results for generic terms that don’t have geo-qualified areas tied to them. These are terms that in the past that were money terms that if you got ranked for you would show up everywhere. “Paying attention to how that’s evolving and what kind of phrases Google is deciding, should show local results I think is real important.” This opens up the path for a lot of lead generating by building localized sites and getting them listed in that market.
With the internet always evolving it is important to stay on top of the latest trends and new applications. Greg has been doing this since the beginning and continues to strive in the SEM/SEO industry. We would like to send a big thanks to Greg Boser of 3 Dog Media for taking time out of his day and sharing a great amount of information with us.