Dan Crean

Growth Hacking Interview Series #74: Dan Crean

Dan Crean is a Texas based SEO and Internet Marketing professional. He has been in the field since 2000 and has seen many changes in the industry over the years. He considers content marketing to be his greatest strength.

How would you explain specifically what you do as an SEO?

Many things.

1. The blocking and tackling on the technical side includes reviews of websites for visual impact in different browsers and devices. Checking server response times, accessibility of sites. Providing feedback to the technical team if I find problems.

2. The blocking and tackling on the basic HTML elements to make a page attractive in response to the search queries you are interested in. These include meta information, page size, and internal linking through your site.

3. During my time in SEO, the role has evolved more into a content publisher, at least the way I practice. I consider myself a publisher. I get writers and illustrators to produce compelling, accurate, and unique content. I worry about how the information is structured. With an eye toward SEO, I worry about the grade level of the writing, and try to vary the length of pages on a site.

4. Data from analysis systems is important and can be used to measure the effectiveness of your SEO work and to adjust your path going forward. So SEOs spend a lot of time pouring over analytics reports.

5. I don’t devote much time or energy to producing link bait, but I do try to find ways to get others to link to my sites.

What is your primary marketing goal when it comes to delivering results?

Most of my experience is in lead generation for long sales cycle products or services. My job is to get contact info for the salespeople to follow up with, and to put a positive impression in the mind of the prospect to influence either short term or long term purchases.

I’ve also worked on Ecommerce sites where we are trying to generate sales.

Which new skills are most important for SEO’s to learn in the next six months?

Making your sites mobile-friendly is still important, although most well managed sites have already been converted and depending on your organization, it may not be the SEO who does the site coding.

I think many SEOs still need to be more quantitative in their work. If you don’t know basic statistics, teach yourself.

What do you find most rewarding about SEO?

The competition. It’s a big game when you look at it right.

How do you stay updated with the latest SEO industry news?

Searchengineland.com, webmasterworld.com

As an SEO, what is your favorite SEO hack?

Buying an old small site on the cheap and operating it as it was. Inserting a few links to your target sites.

Also, not a hack, but making your sites meet accessibility criteria for the disabled has benefits in search positions in the long run.

What are some of the top tools and apps in your SEO stack?

Moz, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, Google and Bing webmaster tools, various analytics systems, Excel (really use it a lot).

Depends on status of my projects and accounts.

I always take a quick look at SERPs in the early morning, check industry blogs, try to get something checked off my to-do list by 10 AM. That feels really good and sets the tone for the rest of the day.

What advice would you share with other SEO’s who want to become more productive?

Do some light study of sabermetrics (and I mean the mechanics, not the book Moneyball) and some study of statistical methods used in epidemiology.

You don’t have to be an expert in statistics, but seeing how they do retrospective and predictive analytics in other fields,

Also, resist the temptation to analyze sites the rank above you and make your site just like theirs. Google and Bing want a variety of sites in their SERPs.

There are many ways a site can be good. Find your own path and be different.

Among the Google algorithm updates what is the most challenging one that you’ve encountered?

Penguin, I suppose. None of the updates have significantly affected my major sites.

Panda was great for internet users and my sites were never thin so I didn’t notice a reduction in traffic.

Hummingbird was also an obvious improvement and benefitted people with rich, quality websites. Penguin affects some, um, experimental sites.

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