Digital Marketing Stories

How this SEO Director Went From Metal Bands to Marketing

Recently, I got the chance to dig into the expert marketing brain of Pat Reinhart, who is the Director of Organic Search at digital marketing agency, Prime Visibility. We discussed everything from the demise of link-building, the coming of Mobilegeddon, and how his secret love for metal bands got him started in SEO.

…Intrigued? Read on.

How did you get started in SEO?

Funny story, actually. When I was in college, I was big into the hard-core music scene, and I managed a bunch of my friends’ bands. I started thinking about what they could do to get their music found online. I built their websites and optimized their MySpace profiles.

Then after college, I joined my childhood friend’s startup, OneClickAppliances.com. I wanted to learn about SEO, because I realized I could use it to make money online. I came across a book by Andrew Hazen, who is the founder of Prime Visibility, where I now work.

Do you remember any names of the metal bands you managed?

Kills and Thrills. The Lone Rangers. There were so many.

We’ll come back to heavy metal at the end of the interview…

Let’s switch gears to an old article you wrote about link building. You say, “I feel a sense of wonder at the amount of people continuing to leave their lifeboats tied to the sinking ship.” It’s been a few years… how many SEOs do you think still rely on shortsighted link-building tactics?

75-80%. Take this with a grain of salt, though. Most SEOs are amateur SEOs; they’re just getting started. Then, there are always the people who won’t adapt.

When I started in SEO in 2004, the industry was very different. You could just stuff your meta-keyword field and write for everything. It was great. You would make money hand over fist. But that era is over, and these days you have to look at your site as a whole.

When I started in SEO in 2004, the industry was very different. You could just stuff your meta-keyword field and write for everything. It was great. You would make money hand over fist. But that era is over, and these days you have to look at your site as a whole.

On top of that, the role has changed. I’m not just the SEO guy any more. twitter-icon I do heuristic analysis of sites. I do competitive analyses. I have to think about the other channels people use to reach my site. SEO really has evolved into a broader set of skills, as you guys discuss with Web Presence Management.

prime visibility conductor team

You once wrote that Not Provided was a “Crocodile Dundee sized knife in the back of webmasters everywhere.” Are you still feeling the rage? What’s your take on Not Provided a couple years out?

It’s annoying. I listened to a lot of Architects when Not Provided initially happened. But it’s gotten better. Technology like Conductor Searchlight has helped very much. The fact that Webmaster Tools is getting better at reporting helps. You can now plug in Webmaster Tools into Google Analytics, and you can at least see impressions in clicks.

You still can’t see what’s going on at the page level like you used to, but you can make an educated guess by combining Searchlight with other data. So, in many ways, it’s not that big of a deal. But it’s still frustrating.

Let’s talk about the April 21st Google algorithm shift. Do you think it will be a Mobilegeddon?

This algo shift will be hugely impactful. It’s going to literally affect every website on the Internet. twitter-icon

This algo shift will be hugely impactful. It’s going to literally affect every website on the Internet.

This algorithm is also uniquely specific. Usually, webmasters have to guess at what the algorithm will take into account, and there are as many bones in your body as there are algorithm factors.

At the end of the day, this algorithm shift is cut and dry. There’s no gray area. You’re either mobile-friendly or you’re not. And you can actually test that with the tool Google has provided. (Ed note: get a free Mobile Friendly checklist here.)

Are you coming to C3 this year?

We’re really looking forward to C3 this year. That’s the only conference that we really go to. We’ll be there.

What would you name an SEO heavy metal band?

Our Senior SEO Strategist Scott Litvack came up with this one: The AlgoRhythms.

Thanks Pat for the great interview!

Mobilegeddon has arrived. Are you mobile-friendly? Download the webinar and the slides for our Preparing for Google Mobile Algorithm Update webinar here.

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