Interview with SEO Expert Ted Ives

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Interview with SEO Expert Ted IvesRecently I had the chance to interview SEO expert Ted Ives. Ted previously served as Vice President of Product Management at The Search Agency, and currently helps enterprises to scale up online marketing efforts through custom engagements tailored to their unique situations. His background working for technology companies, including Apple, Microsoft, APC, and National Semiconductor, gives him a unique perspective on SEO.

Thanks so much to Ted Ives for spending the time to answer all of my questions! :)

Question: Coming from a technical background, how has that work experience influenced the way you approach SEO?

Answer from Ted Ives: In a lot of ways, but probably the biggest impact has been being able to semi-automate and systematize a lot of the analyses I do using Visual Basic in Excel.

Question: There are plenty of site owners and marketers our there with zero skills that would get them ready for a degree in computer science—what do you think are some of the basic computer skills needed for SEO?

Answer from Ted Ives: A real understanding of Boolean logic (AND/OR/NOT), learning Excel’s FIND, Text-to-Columns, and VLOOKUP commands, and some basic understanding of HTML.

Question: There are a lot of SEO tools/software products out there but as you point out “most only do a very tiny micro-task.” What would the “perfect” SEO tool/software look like to you?

Answer from Ted Ives: The perfect SEO tool would be if Google would simply crush everything out there by offering real position tracking, and adding SERP competition measurement features to the Adwords Keyword Tool.  Why they continue to allow companies to create revenue streams out of these two things I just don’t understand; very often those revenue streams fund other SEO tool featuresthat Google severely dislikes.  Instead of fighting black-hat tools, why don’t they just cut off their air supply?

Question: How much valuable information can you really pull from keeping an eye on Google’s patent applications?

Answer from Ted Ives: I’ve found a lot of utility in reading academic papers that Googlers have presented at conferences versus the actual patent applications – and since the patent office doesn’t publish applications for a year, you can get a real jump on the information by finding papers they’ve presented.  All the *really* key stuff, i.e. groundbreaking critical developments in operating a search engine (i.e. crawling or near-duplicate detection), or in running an ad platform, get presented at conferences.

Question: What kind of impact do/will structured data markup standards have on SEO?

Answer from Ted Ives: I’m on the record as not being a big fan of them, but they’re inevitable.  It’s disappointing that Google has essentially cornered the market on Ph.D’s, but then, instead of having them solve classification problems, which are challenging and interesting, simply wants the rest of us to just spend all of our time just labeling everything.  It seems like a huge waste of human effort.

Question: When did you first create your Linking Strategies Taxonomy? Do you expect that graph to change much in the next few years?

Answer from Ted Ives: I created it for that blog posting actually, although most of it had been kicking around in my mind for about a year.   The landscape is very dynamic.  Since issuing the taxonomy, things have already changed.   For instance, in October, Google updated their Webmaster Guidelines definition of “Link Schemes”. In my experience when they update their definition, industry-wide pain usually follows, after some lag.

Question: How important is PageRank when evaluating the quality of a link? Can a “bad” link ever have a high PageRank?

Answer from Ted Ives: Well, you could have a ton of high-PageRank links, and if every one of them has different anchor text with so called ‘money’ terms, you’d probably get hit by Penguin, so in that sense, any link in that bunch could be thought of as ‘bad’.

If you’re asking, do individual links pass some sort of Anti-“TrustRank”, I think the jury is out on that.   I’ve not seen any credible studies, although Google has certainly made a lot of noncommittal statements which imply that there is such a thing as Negative SEO, by using the word “almost” as a qualifier.  It reminds me of the scene in ‘Dumb and Dumber’;…..”so you’re telling me there’s a chance?!?”  ;-)

I think anyone doing outreach should definitely be prioritizing potential targets, just from an ROI of effort standpoint; metrics like PageRank, mozRank, Domain Authority, and Majestic-SEO’s Trust and Citation Flow metrics are all useful.

Question: What is TF-IDF? Is it something the average site owner needs to worry about?

Answer from Ted Ives: It’s just a way of adjusting the frequency of a term in a document by also applying the inverse of its frequency in a “corpus” (collection of documents), for use in a search algorithm.  For instance, if you have a 400 word article and it has “the” 40 times, and more than any other term, that’s 10% keyword density right?  But if you take into account that “the” is really common, you might adjust that 10% number way down, maybe to below a half a percent.  Because it’s pretty unlikely your document is about the term “the”.  Other more rare terms might get promoted – if you mention “zebra” four times, that’s 1% keyword density, but applying TF-IDF you might think of it more as being 10% since it’s so rare.  For the most part, site owners don’t need to worry about TF-IDF because the correction curve becomes very flat very quickly – whatever term you’re optimizing for, you can probably just optimize for, you don’t need to take it into account.  All the head terms where the curve is not flat are all pretty well taken already so you’re unlikely to be bothering with them (like “debt consolidation”).

Question: Can you summarize your theory of “Peak SEO?”

Answer from Ted Ives: Positions 1-10 are increasingly being filled with SEO-optimized results; at some point we will run out of low-hanging-fruit keywords to target.  Try a thought experiment – how hard is it to rank for “debt consolidation”?  Pretty hard.  Well, clearly 15 years ago it was probably less hard.  Now extend that to every keyword and take the thought experiment to its logical conclusion.

Question: If you theory of Peak SEO proves true what can a site do to help itself stand-out in an ever increasingly competitive field?

Answer from Ted Ives: Get into PPC, yesterday!  The marketing stool needs more than one leg, if you’re relying on SEO only you’re crazy.  Also I think finding other traffic sources such as social is a smart move.  Other things sites can do is to focus on providing videos and other results that Google is more likely to display in its “Universal Search” sections for queries.

Question: What are some of the most common issues you’ve seen with enterprises trying to scale up their online marketing efforts, including SEO?

Answer from Ted Ives: Technical SEO changes (like site architecture changes, adding structured data markup, and so on) are usually great initial low-hanging fruit, but after that there’s usually a phase of focus involving herding all the cats throughout the organization that already crank out content  – which can really bog down into a million meetings about standards and processes.  People don’t like change, particularly people in bureaucracies.  So a lot of Enterprise SEO is more about coordinating across multiple departments, negotiating turf, managing through influence, those sorts of things – all the same types of skills you see product managers exercise.   I come from a software product management background and there are a lot of parallels between these two careers.

Question: Small businesses might not have the budget but they are usually quick to change as needed. Can a bigger budget make up for a slower turnaround when it comes to SEO?

Answer from Ted Ives: I think a budget for content development in particular can move things a lot more quickly.  Developing a stream of content that can make an impact can be a challenge, particularly for individual marketers at small and medium companies who are often already overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

Question: What was the focus of your latest talk at SMX West?

Answer from Ted Ives: It was a great panel discussion with Kent Lewis of Anvil Media (@kentlewis), Christina Zila of Textbroker (@textbroker), moderated by Elisabeth Osmeloski (@elisabethos) on “How to Build Links & Win Authority Through Public Relations”.  A few years back I launched a website called  FindHow – a trusted, paid directory for How-Tos (i.e. instructional material), much along the lines of a ‘Yahoo! Directory’ or a ‘Best of the Web’.

My portion of the talk was a case study of FindHow’s launch, and the best practices we leveraged to maximize our publicity.  A common theme the panel really resonated on was that although journalists and bloggers share some traits, they really are quite different animals and need to be approached differently in many respects.

I think instructional content is some of the best content people can promote –  it definitely makes the world a better place – so I’m pretty passionate about FindHow, which made the talk a lot of fun for me.

Connect with Ted Ives on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

*****

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.

If you would like to be interviewed by the Brick Marketing team please contact Brick Marketing here:
http://www.brickmarketing.com/contact

Categorized in:

Like what you've read? Please share this article

Here are some related Expert Interviews articles:

  1. Interview with Local SEO Expert Chris Silver Smith
  2. Interview with Larry Kim of WordStream
  3. Interview with Viktar Khamianok of Link Assistant
  4. Interview with Lisa Raehsler of Big Click Co.

Read What Full Service SEO Clients Say About Brick Marketing

"Our web traffic overall has risen more than 30%"

“Silvon Software teamed up with Brick Marketing to deploy an SEO strategy that would generate greater visibility for our company within a highly competitive market and drive more prospects to our website as a result. This has included website optimization based on a well thought out keyword strategy, launch of a corporate blog, and the promotion of Silvon content via industry forums and numerous social media sites. In just a few months, Brick Marketing’s efforts has Silvon showing up higher in organic searches. Our web traffic overall has risen more than 30% and continues to grow. We’re seeing consistent month-to-month growth in the amount of organic traffic coming from Google. And, our referral traffic from LinkedIn has been phenomenal — with initial increases as high as 468%! We couldn’t be more pleased with the results that Brick Marketing has achieved so far and highly recommend them as a strategic marketing partner that knows how to put SEO best-practices to work for its clients.”

- Pat Hennel Director, Global Marketing Services, Silvon Software, Inc.

Silvon

"highly recommend Brick Marketing to all of my clients"

“After working with many other SEO firms and not being satisfied I finally was introduced to the Brick Marketing President and Founder, Nick Stamoulis. Nick Stamoulis has educated me about SEO and has provided me with a well rounded SEO package, not only does he offer top quality services he also educates his clients and spends the time to explain everything and their SEO pricing is competitive. I will highly recommend Brick Marketing to all of my clients. Brick Marketing is an A+ for SEO services.”

– Mike Cardella, Integrated Computer Services

"professional, timely, thorough"

“After searching extensively for a firm to aid in ramping up our Social Media efforts we choose Brick Marketing and have never looked back – plus, enlisted their services for SEO and SEM. Nick Stamoulis and his Brick Marketing team are professional, timely, thorough and take the time to work through and explain each task step by step. In my experience in working with many outside agencies who over-promise and under-communicate, I can truly state that Brick Marketing is levels above all others and vested in our relationship. We feel they are not just a consultant, but an integral part of our team.”

- Jodi Murphy Director of Marketing, SportsSignup

sports-signup

"our goal for better presence on the internet has been achieved!"

“I had worked with at least three other SEO companies before I was introduced to Brick Marketing. But when I met Nick Stamoulis at Brick Marketing, I knew that I was working with an honest and reputable company that would guide me through the world of SEO. In the six months since working with Brick Marketing, our goal for better presence on the internet has been achieved!”

– Peter Feinmann, Feinmann, Inc.

"went above and beyond to help us with any SEO issues"

“We hired Brick Marketing to manage our SEO, but they ended up also managing our company blog, social media marketing, helped us launch a pay per click advertising campaign, migrated our website to a new domain and so much more! Shawna Wright, our Sr. SEO Account Director, and Chris Roberts, the Website Developer, were always quick to respond whenever we had a question and went above and beyond to help us with any SEO issues. Danielle Bachini helped us set up a PPC campaign for our brand and Brick Marketing President Nick Stamoulis was always available to chime in whenever we needed another set of ears and eyes.”

– Mory Creighton, CEO, Pinpoint Laser Systems

"Brick’s SEO strategy has leveled the playing field"

“Brick Marketing’s well researched SEO strategy has provided Fishman Corporation with visibility and excellent leads over the past year. Fishman Corporation competes in a niche industrial segment that has been dominated by one corporate conglomerate for 50 years; we were specifically looking for a Marketing partner that understood how to leverage SEO and social media to gain us visibility. We wanted to compete on the same level as the corporate giant. Brick Marketing has done this for us. We routinely show up high in organic searches, our web traffic has doubled and the leads that come in are well targeted. Brick’s SEO strategy has leveled the playing field; now the Davids’ can be as visible as the Goliaiths.”

- Scott Beebe President, Fishman Corporation

fishman

"Brick Marketing uses an ethical, strategic approach to SEO"

“We have worked with a few other SEO firms and consultants in the past, but, by far,
Brick Marketing has been our best experience. They are very knowledgeable about the search engine landscape, and help us respond to what seem like constant changes to the algorithms. They have helped our company correct some of the issues created by prior SEO firms, both in terms of on-site optimization and off-site programs. I appreciate the fact that Brick Marketing uses an ethical, strategic approach to SEO that creates a solid, lasting foundation for the future. They are reliable, responsive, and the quality of their deliverables is top-notch. We are happy we chose to work with them, and I would recommend them to anyone looking to engage a new SEO firm.”

- Bob Bennett, Owner/Manager Bennett Awards

bennett-awards

"Brick Marketing helped us meet our goals"

“We turned to Brick Marketing to assist in driving traffic to our website and we weren’t disappointed. The flexible approach of the SEO firm Brick Marketing helped us meet our goals, drive traffic to our website, and increase the number of calls we received regarding our services. Thank you!”

- Ken Burt, Marketing Manager Affiliated Physicians

affiliated-physicians

"the number of leads generated since partnering with Brick Marketing has increased"

“At Eliassen Group, a key goal of our website is to generate client and candidate leads, which can get a bit complex, given that we’re in multiple lines of business. Nick Stamoulis and Shawna Wright of Brick Marketing were instrumental in developing SEO strategies for each line of business, and perfectly understood the nuances and subtleties of each of them, developing a set of keywords that they seamlessly placed into our copy, which had been developed using a series of personas. The monthly reporting provided to us clearly reflects tremendous progress since inception, and the number of leads generated since partnering with Brick Marketing has increased materially! We can’t be more appreciative of Nick and Shawna, their personal commitment to us and our success, and “hands on” management of our account. We trust them implicitly, and know that they keep our best interests in mind when managing our account.”

- Tom Hart, Chief Operating Officer Eliassen Group

Eliassen_Web-300x100

"great job with our SEO program"

“Shawna Wright, Nick Stamoulis and the SEO team at Brick Marketing have done a great job with our SEO program. Our overall website visitors are up and we’re seeing traffic for keywords that a year ago weren’t even on our radar. They’ve always been willing to provide valuable input for any project we were working on and recently helped the company launch a brand new website, ensuring that our SEO efforts and value stayed intact.”

- Trish Voskovitch, Sr. Manager, Marketing Programs Enkata

enkata

"Our keyword rankings have improved and traffic has increased"

“The Brick Marketing team, specifically Shawna Wright, was critical to ensuring that our new Web site is optimized to drive maximum traffic. Our keyword rankings have improved and traffic has increased thanks to her assistance and advice. In addition, Shawna executed a strategic link building program that helped further increase Web traffic. Shawna is always willing to jump in and provide valuable input where needed and is very responsive.”

– Lauren LaFronz, Director of Marketing, enChoice, Inc.

"I would recommend Brick Marketing to anyone looking to enhance their online business"

“I have been very pleased with the responsiveness, diligent work efforts and creative ideas Brick Marketing has shown me since we started our organic SEO optimization campaign. My account executive has provided great support and has written relevant and timely articles for our website blog. Her willingness to go above and beyond to achieve the best possible results is very evident. I would recommend Brick Marketing to anyone looking to enhance their online business profile.”

– John V. Donovan, Director of Leasing & Marketing, Devionshire

"Brick Marketing is simply the best."

“After struggling for years to find the right SEO firm, it was a breath of fresh air to discover Brick Marketing. On my initial call with Brick Marketing President, Nick Stamoulis, it was immediately obvious that he genuinely cared about helping our company, not just bringing another client on board. Since then, their SEO work with us has been fabulous. Our dedicated SEO Specialist, Shawna Wright takes the time to explain every step of their efforts (and do so in a way that doesn’t leave me buried in a sea of SEO jargon). In addition to SEO, we also chose Brick Marketing to handle our website migration to WordPress, and once again, couldn’t have been happier with our decision to do so. The Brick Marketing Website Developer, Chris Roberts and Shawna Wright made the process easy and painless, and made many helpful suggestions to improve our website that we would have never thought of on our own. Brick Marketing is simply the best.”

- Kristen M. Steele, Director of Marketing & Public Relations Bookmasters

bookmasters-logo

"Brick Marketing has increased our Google traffic by 315.43%"

“Great Results, Responsive Team, Ethical Strategies: Nick Stamoulis, Shawna Wright and Michael Lupacchino have become an invaluable extension of our marketing team, and one that has delivered steady growth from the get-go. The results speak for themselves – over the last two years, Brick Marketing has helped increase our Google traffic by 315.43%. From the solid SEO foundation Brick Marketing built for GrowthForce during our initial onboarding, to our ongoing daily/weekly tasks and our monthly analytics and check in calls, our Brick team keeps us on track and up to date. They take the headache out of SEO so we don’t ever have to spend time in the weeds learning about the latest rules or SEO challenges, and they are quick to answer any of our questions.”

- Kelly Boros, Marketing & Communications Manager GrowthForce

growth-force

"Brick Marketing is "solid" when it comes to support for SEO marketing advice"

“I had been impressed for a long time with the content that Brick Marketing was sharing in their informative blog posts and articles. I chatted with Nick Stamoulis a couple times and decided that he was the expert I wanted to work with. I have worked with Brick for about six months and they have helped us resolve several SEO related issues pertaining to our website. Our account rep, Shawna Wright, is always just an email away with answers to any questions I have and suggestions for how we can improve what we’re doing. Brick Marketing is “solid” when it comes to support for SEO marketing advice. I definitely recommend them if you want to feel more secure about how your website is performing in searches and have the confidence that everything being done to improve your rank is white hat and legit.”

– Paul Rarick, Debbiegrattan.com

"raised our SEO efforts to a new level"

“When we began searching for an SEO service provider, our team had a limited understanding of what SEO entailed. After interviewing other SEO companies, it was clear from speaking with Nick that Brick Marketing does more than add keywords to your web content. By examining our tradeshow presence, blogging practices and online directory listings, Nick & Danielle have helped us work through company- and industry -specific obstacles to raise our SEO efforts to a new level. Keeping up with algorithm changes and industry trends, Brick Marketing is the perfect partner to ensure your SEO practices continue to be both white hat and impactful.”

- Catie Moyer, Copywriter Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.

charles-river

"focused on getting you results"

“Brick Marketing is a no nonsense SEO company focused on getting you results. I really appreciate their patience, insight and going the extra mile to help Gold Lasso better understand the intricacies of the SEO discpline and how we can be more successful with our SEO programs. I would recommend Brick Marketing to any of my clients.”

– Elie Ashery, CEO Gold Lasso

"Dependable, professional SEO company"

“Brick Marketing has been a dependable, professional SEO company that has helped us get results. In the last 6 months of using their services, visits to our website have increased by almost 30%. Shawna Wright, our dedicated SEO Specialist was pleasant to deal with. Her suggestions for articles and press releases were industry specific. Brick Marketing always answered our phone calls and emails within an hour which made us feel valued as a client. I would recommend Brick Marketing to all businesses to handle their SEO needs.”

– JoAnne Loftus, Archival Designs, Inc.

"Love working with the team at Brick Marketing!"

“Love working with the team at Brick Marketing! They are always available to answer my questions and assist with any concerns. I am very impressed with their thoroughness and ability to stay organized. Their passion and energy is always shown during conversations on our account.”

– Corey Savage, CEO, Suncoast Identification Solutions, LLC

"We’ve seen unbelievable success & owe much of our online lead generation to Brick Marketing’s efforts"

“I didn’t realize how much we were missing from not having an online presence until I started working with the SEO firm Brick Marketing. The Brick Marketing team took the time to guide us through the SEO process and helped bring our company into the online world. We’ve seen unbelievable success with our new website & owe much of our online lead generation to Brick Marketing’s efforts.”

- George Athanasiadis, CEO, Somerset Industries

somerset

"Brick Marketing has gotten me results"

“I have been working with Brick Marketing for over 4 years now. Brick Marketing sends me the reports every month, but I don’t need to read them. I already know what he does is extremely effective because of all the web requests I get, phone calls from customers when they see their page come up on the first page of Google! I have worked with many other companies that made promises they could not keep. Brick Marketing has gotten me results and that is why I continue to work with them. I don’t have to micro-manage anything they do. I know that they always do what they say they are going to do. If you are looking for an SEO company, I would say, look no further as you have found the one that will do the job right! In addition to doing an excellent job, Nick Stamoulis is a pleasure to work with.”

- Alan Cline, 1-800-PLUMBING

1800plumbing

"delivered a 59% increase in our organic web traffic"

“Initially, when we sought out assistance in SEO, we felt the Brick Marketing SEO offering may be too robust for the needs of our website. In hindsight, I am very glad that we decided their SEO services were worth the investment as they have proved to be an extremely valuable partner. Their tremendous expertise in b2b SEO practices and content strategy has already delivered a 59% increase in our organic web traffic. Brick Marketing has worked in close collaboration with our marketing team, tailoring their efforts to our specific needs as an FDA regulated company to ensure we are putting forward the highest quality content. I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Brick Marketing team to surpass our SEO goals!”

- Brett Prince, Vice President of Marketing Corindus Vascular Robotics

corindus-vascular-robotics

"I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation; they are simply great!"

“When we came to Brick Marketing initially, we had a small subset of challenges we didn’t have the bandwidth to tackle in house. Our idea was simply to send out the work and be done with it. A one-shot deal. What we found mid way into the first project, was that Nick Stamoulis and Brick Marketing had a depth of understanding and approach to solving our Search Engine Marketing problems that we had not considered; solutions that dramatically improved our search engine ranking position on terms and improved the overall size of our index listing (by more than 25% in the first two months). In short order we expanded our horizons and enlisted his talents to take on refining and improving ROI on our rather expensive Pay Per Click campaigns, as well as having him consult on microsite projects and blogs. Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing helped us understand what works and why, and helping us maintain our dominant position in the SERPs, despite the markets constant resetting and ever-changing drama. I could not have gotten through this year without Brick Marketing’s assistance and advice. I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation; they are simply great!”

- Connie Childrey, DataDirect Technologies

data-direct

"helped propel us forward organically"

“We implemented all the valuable suggestions and together we definitely saw amazing results over time. Other SEO companies may leave you in the dark but Brick Marketing kept us in the loop during the entire time, educating us about ALL the strategies being used that helped propel us forward organically.”

- Maura Statman, Everyone Loves Buttons Inc. ®

elb172

"our website's manual penalty action was successfully revoked"

“Brick Marketing impressed us from the get-go with their enthusiasm, know-how and commitment to upstanding SEO techniques. They were communicative, responsive and transparent throughout, detailing an extensive game plan and delivering on every count. Thanks to effective collaboration and their meticulous methodology, our website’s manual penalty action was successfully revoked.”

- Laura J Lowe, Marketing Manager EMDAT

EMDAT

"increased our search engine traffic"

“We engaged Brick Marketing for SEO related activities for our website B2b.com and they did a fantastic job in assessing our website and finding out what was needed to optimize content and improve search engine traffic. In a short span, they improved the quality of in-bound links and increased our search engine traffic by over 100%. Additionally, they also trained our team in SEO techniques and kept us up to date with the changes brought in by Penguin/Panda updates. I highly recommend Brick Marketing for any SEO related projects.”

- Navdeep Sidhu, Director – B2B Product Marketing B2B.com

b2b
More info about brick marketing Contact Us Case Studies Industries We Serve

Request A Proposal Here!

Request A Proposal:

− one = 6