Andrew Martineau: An Interview With an #SEO

Andrew Martineau SEOAndrew Martineau is an excellent SEO, and I have worked with Andrew for the past couple of years and he is situated at our headquarters in Boston. Andrew recently published a Click-Through Rate study on Moz that revealed some interesting search behavior. What I like about Andrew is his constant tinkering with data and drive to answer interesting questions utilizing data. Without further adieu, below is a list of questions that Andrew has answered for your viewing pleasure.

How and why did you choose to become an SEO professional?

Honestly, I don’t know how I first came across SEO. I do know that I first began researching the practice about a year after college and was hooked ever since. I majored in Marketing at school, which certainly helps with SEO. But, if I could go back, I would have pursued more computer science courses, which would have saved me hours of time on the coding side of things.

To stay current in SEO, you must constantly be active in the community, whether that be simply reading blogs from other industry experts, or testing things on your own side projects. I feel that both are necessary in order to gain the knowledge and experience to produce favorable organic results for my clients.

Prior to presenting a recommendation to one of my clients, I’ll often test and learn what exactly which tactics work best on one of my side projects. For instance, Wicked Wine Candles, I make and sell candles from upcycling old wine bottles. Using this site, I have tested everything from simple image attribute changes for improving visibility in image search results, to long 301 redirect chains for examining diminishing link equity.

Of all the SEO tasks (I.E. audits, competitive analysis, technical SEO, on-page SEO) which one do you most enjoy performing? Why?

I think I enjoy competitive analysis the most. It involves both the creative and numbers driven parts of my mind. Competitive analysis isn’t always as predefined and structured as other tasks (e.g. technical SEO, on-page), so you are able to tailor the work specifically towards the client and their business. Not to mention, competitive analysis typically allows for me to create different types of reports and visualizations, which I enjoy.

Is SEO more important today than it was for websites five or ten years ago? Why?

Today I think it is more difficult, but also more important than it was in the past. More people are increasingly seeking information via search. In 2013, there were over 5.9 billion Google searches per day, up from 1.7 billion in 2008. That’s a 239% increase over a 5 year time period. Additionally, consumers are constantly connected to the internet either at the jobs, via mobile, or at home.

Should a professional SEO expand their knowledge base to other online marketing verticals (i.e. Social Media, Community, SEM)? Why?

Absolutely. In my mind SEO is not just on-page optimization anymore. If it was, you could literally teach a client what they need to know on one sheet of paper. Today SEO includes social, building an online community, and establishing your brand as an informative authority in your industry.

What is a typical hurdle to overcome for a successful SEO engagement?

Often times clients seem to be reluctant to make changes to their site for one reason or another. Getting the client on-board and to understand the benefits/potential returns through investing in SEO. Once you have that, its much smoother sailing. Crafting the strategy and recommendations are easy, its implementation that is often times the bottleneck.

Throughout your career what is the most common technical SEO problem you always find when reviewing a website?

The most common technical problem I come across is probably a client making changes to their sites URLs and not redirecting the old to ones to the new URLs. If done correctly, this is such a simple task that is essential to maintaining organic search performance.

Can you look at any website while surfing the web without thinking about SEO?

Ha ha. Not really. For the really big sites, I always wish I had access to their site analytics.

6 thoughts on “Andrew Martineau: An Interview With an #SEO

  1. What a dork!!

    Thanks for including me in your SEO series Garth. I appreciate it. See you in a few weeks for our CI meeting. Hopefully the Hawks will be hawks will be lined up to play the Pats in the Super Bowl.

  2. Is it possible to have too many redirects, though? Will it slow down your server? Or is there a super efficient way of handling thousands of broken URLs without risking load speed?

    • Having too many redirects can be an issue. That is why you should be incredibly strategic in selecting your redirects. A few things you should consider:

      1. How long did the legacy URLs exist?
      Do you change URLs every six to 18 months (horrible idea, but some sites do)? Have these URLs been in place for five years?

      2. Do all of your URLs have authority?
      If 50% of your pages have zero inbound links, no social shares and zero authority it may not make sense redirecting them.

      If you decide not to redirect 500,000 pages then you need to convey to the engines that these URL are dead. They are not coming back and they do not exist elsewhere. Perhaps you should 410 them.

      HOWEVER, the decision to redirect all or not redirect all must be decided on a case by case basis. No two sites are the same and my recommendation for one most likely will not apply to another; especially when you are talking about enterprise caliber sites.

      • I once had a development team tell 6 redirects would be too many and lag the server considering several hundred were already in place. I called BS on this. What do you think seo experts?

  3. The interview of Andrew Martineau is clearing so many points from blogger’s minds because he has described how internet is getting familiar day by day and within a span of 5 years Google searches move to 239% increase in 2013 which shows that use of search engines for getting all kinds of information is increasing. No doubt SEO is getting difficult but its time to write quality content and secure top position for getting maximum traffic. It sounds like very informative to read this interview of a professional SEO director.

  4. Hi Garth,

    It is so interesting you are writing about Andrew Martineau and we all know about him very well in his SEO and blogging skills and the great work he did for his clients. knowing about him is a great experience and your post have much more about him and his skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>