Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Expert Interviews
Recently I had the chance to interview Elisabeth Osmeloski. Elisabeth Osmeloski is Director of Audience Development for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, two of the leading trade publications in the digital marketing space. She is responsible for increasing readership through owned, earned and paid media channels. Previously, she managed editorial content from guest contributors and daily articles from expert columnists. If you read either site you have her to thank! She also assists in programming sessions at Third Door Media’s Search Marketing Expo conference series and is the co-founder and President of SLCSEM.org.
Thanks so much to Elisabeth Osmeloski for spending the time to answer all of my questions!
Question: Having been in the search industry since 1999 you’ve seen a lot of things come and go. What do you think are some of the biggest changes the world of SEO has undergone since you started in this industry?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: One of things I think is most exciting is to see how (best-practice) SEO has really become an integrated part of mature marketing departments and an internal priority for many organizations.
Unfortunately, I think the SEO industry as a whole still has a long way to go as far as combatting low-level tactics and misinformation that exists out there. Collectively, I believe the industry has to work harder to rise above the distrust created by bad SEO – I wish I had an easy solution to that but I don’t, beyond distributing trustworthy information about sustainable SEO practices. Education for all levels – small business owners to the C-level executive is top priority for us at Search Engine Land, Marketing Land & SMX.
Question: Are there any “rules” of SEO that you don’t think have changed since 1999?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: It sounds so cliché but it’s always, always been about creating good content to reach your target audience. That’s the thing I focused on as an agency SEO copywriter back then, and it’s the #1 thing marketers are focused on now. But just getting the technical basics right for SEO is still a top challenge for many website owners/managers as well.
Question: What are some of the biggest differences working on an enterprise SEO campaign versus a small business SEO campaign?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: This is going to be organization dependent of course, but enterprise SEO doesn’t always mean there are more resources – in some cases, large organizations have to be just as creative as SMBs. But of course, for some larger organizations, SEO is a huge priority they can dedicate resources to, and they do so because they see the value & return on their efforts. One commonality they share is that prioritization of projects is key for both types of campaigns. One advantage small business campaigns have over most large enterprises is agility – they may be able to implement certain strategies without going through too many layers of bureaucracy or delayed by long development cycles.
Question: Other than Search Engine Land of course, where do you look to further your own SEO, content marketing and social media knowledge?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: The answer might surprise some – offline mainly, and locally, through professional groups like SLCSEM.org & Social Media Club events. I love connecting with people who have a diverse range of experience, and are dealing with various successes, failures & internal challenges in their organization – whether they’re independent, in-house or at an agency. It’s a good way to get a more widespread view of the industry as a whole.
Question: What is one of your favorite SMX sessions you’ve attended over the years?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: There’d have to be two that are right up there in recent memory – being present for last year’s SMX Advanced link rant by Danny Sullivan –which luckily was partially captured on audio by an attendee, although that doesn’t even begin to capture the entire context of the conversation and what the underlying tone of the conference was. That’s one of those spontaneous conference moments you can’t plan for, and if you weren’t there, it may not have the same meaning. For me, 90% of the experience was sitting a few chairs over from Matt Cutts and watching his reactions to Danny’s diatribe.
A close second though, would have to be the Google+ session Monica Wright organized at our Social Media show last December, where Adam Audette captivated the audience with his storytelling, and the panel really was able to demonstrate just how critical Google+ activity could be for SEO. The story continued at SMX West as well.
Question: As Executive Features Editor for Search Engine Land you’re responsible for a lot of bloggers and even more content. I’ve had one client refer to managing their bloggers like herding cats; what advice do you have for enterprise in-house editors are that struggling to coordinate and manage their own content creation team?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: Most importantly, having a set process is going to help both the editors and writers, especially if you have a large team to work with. It goes beyond deadlines and editorial calendars, to setting clear guidelines and expectations, supporting writers with topic direction based on your overall goals. Easier said than done sometimes though, from the editor’s point of view.
Question: How can a small business that doesn’t have a team of bloggers (no matter how difficult it is to corral them) hope to compete against a bigger website when it comes to content marketing?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: Small businesses who connect with their most loyal customers on a regular basis, through simple interactions can be more agile and responsive to customer needs. Content marketing doesn’t have to be a massive investment of time or even intense amounts of writing. Just quick announcements on G+ or pictures/comments on Facebook might be enough for their audience.
Question: How much content is “enough?”
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: It’s only enough when you’ve solved all of your customers’ problems or questions, and you don’t have anything else to say!
Question: Has working with travel companies and websites taught you anything about SEO that other you feel industries could stand to do better?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: Working in highly competitive industries forces you to get more creative and strategic about the projects you’re taking on to help generate additional customers.
Question: Do you think a social share could ever be more valuable than a direct link?
Answer from Elisabeth Osmeloski: A social share can be more valuable in the sense that it only has to get in front of the right person, who might be able to bring more tangible value to your business than a link which may not have a direct impact on your bottom line.
This non-paid interview is designed to give the Brick Marketing audience insights and different perspectives of SEO, link building, social media and web marketing. Past expert interviews include: Ann Handley, Eric Ward, Mike Moran, Andy Beal, and Jordan Kasteler to name a few.
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