Growth Hacking Interview Series #62: Tim Soulo

Tim Soulo is a marketing guy at Ahrefs and he runs a cozy little personal blog at BloggerJet.com

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

As an SEO I help in creating one of the best SEO toolsets that the World has to offer.

I’m talking about Ahrefs of course.

I’m part of a great team that consists mostly of evil programming geniuses who are able to crawl the web almost as good as Google does.

And part of my job here is to come up with all sorts of new features and tool improvements that will help SEOs around the world to turn all this data that we collect into something very specific and very actionable.

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

Well, I’m not an oracle and not a Google employee to be able to give you a very specific answer to this question.

But I’ve been to Pubcon recently and one of the hot topics there in terms of looking into the nearest future was “behavioural factors”.

Backlinks still play a major role in the ability of a webpage to rank.

But what people start noticing it that Google will often track people’s behaviour and reflect what it has learned in it’s algos.

So I guess the “new skill“ for 2016 would be to better understand the visitors of your website. What they might be looking for and what results they are hoping to get.

Not sure if that can be called a “skill” actually, but this is where the industry is heading from what I can see.

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

For the most part – I try to talk to people a lot.

BigSEO community on Reddit is a nice place to visit regularly.

Different SEO forums is a great place too.

And of course conferences. Nothing beats talking in person to people who “get shit done”.

As an SEO, what is your favorite SEO hack?

Since I’m with Ahrefs, my favorite is obviosly reverse-engineering what competitors do.

We have awesome tools to spy on the backlinks they get and the keywords that they rank for. This can give you tons of insight on what they’re doing and come up with all sorts of ways to beat them on their own field.

Are there any particular SEO trends on the horizon that really excite you?

Like I already said above, the “behavioural SEO” is something that sounds really exciting.

I wonder how far Google will go with it and if they will be able to decrease the value of backlinks to the point when PBNs and black hat SEO will no longer work.

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

In terms of SEO I don’t really use anything except for Ahrefs. In fact we’re getting closer and closer to the “ultimate SEO toolset”.

As of now we have the following tools within Ahrefs:
– Backlink checker;
– Rank tracker;
– SEO and PPC competitive intelligence;
– Crawl reports;
– Search for most shared content, etc.

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

Find out which of your SEO activities have the most impact on your keyword rankings (or SEO traffic) and learn how to scale them.

If there’s one SEO Guru you’d recommend who and why.

I would definitely recommend following Rand Fishkin. That’s an absolute no-brainer.

But since he’s 100% white hat, I can also recommend to follow Glen Allsopp from http://www.viperchill.com/ to learn more about the darker side of SEO.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not advising you to go black hat, I just think that you should be aware of these tactics and keep in mind that your competitors might be using them.

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