Fili Wiese talks about how you can grow your website from your user perspective and to focus on your audience. Don't be dependant on search engine traffic and connect. Great audience, great speakers, why you should be here! Use analytic tools to segment your local business, learn about how to filter those and make it work for your small business. All Google updates fall under a larger umbrella, should that be the only focus? What makes your site stand out is the first step to exceeding expectations. SEO is not just SEO anymore... Google cares about spam. they don't care about your mail. If you pay for Adwords, you are not entitled to rankings! What tools does an Ex Google employee recommend you use? Find out more about Fili Wiese here Transcript: Q: Please introduce yourself, and tell us why UnGagged? FW: Hi, my name is Fili Wiese. I'm a SearchBrother. I used to work for Google Search Quality and nowadays I'm doing SEO consulting. I am especially specialised in removing penalties as well as on page and off page optimisation. Right here, right now, I'm at UnGagged London and I'm loving it. Great audience, great speakers, just come. Q: What are your top tips and priority actions for overcoming issues associated with any big Google algorithm roll outs? FW: Don't fret too much about big updates. The thing is, you need to collect data, you need to take your time, you need to see how it impacts you before making any jumped conclusions to "Oh, we need to do this, we need to do that!" Sit back, relax, make sure that your website is crawlable, make sure that you cover the basics and you have a foundation. Everything beyond that - basically you should be focusing on your users. Keep focused on your uses, grow your website from your users' perspective. Q: How can businesses with smaller budgets and resource best respond to big updates? FW: So that's kind of like the same answer, in a way, that a smaller business should really focus on their audience, their primary audience - they should identify who their audience is, focus on them, build a community around that, don't be dependant on search engine traffic or any other type of traffic. Try to connect with your audience so you don't care about big or small updates, but be sure that if you do want to appear in a search engine, you have your basics covered: you need to make your website crawlable, it needs to be loading fast enough, it needs to be mobile reachable and a number of other factors. Just focus on your users. One tip I can give you there, do look at the analytics - Google analytics or any other analytics program that's sort of thrown out there that you can access for free, use for free. Use those to identify what technologies your users are using. You can segment it also, like, to locals. If you're a local business, you don't care about the 200 visits that you got from, say, India - so filter those out in analytics and focus on what are your local users using. Which platforms are they using? Which browsers are they using? Make sure that it works real well in those. Q: Are you aware of any gamechanger developments on the horizon that in-house or consultant SEOs should be aware of? FW: It's something that's been going on for several years already and a lot of people have been focused recently on, for example, the mobile update or the page speed update and a number of these other types of updates, even upon the update. All of this falls under a larger umbrella. We kind of like SEO, we focus too much on search engine optimisation, when we actually should be focusing on user experience marketing. It's about managing and exceeding the user expectations. Now think of it like this - there's a search result page, you're search result is within that page, you're one of the top ten. A user searches, gets to that result page and sees your result next to the other ones. What makes your site stand out? What makes them click on that? That's the first step; getting them to your website. That's part of adding to the managing user expectations. But now you need to exceed them. Now that they've decided to click on your website, to click on the search result that leads to your website, and come to your website - at that point you need to exceed expectations. So they had an idea, when the user clicked on your website in the search result, they had an idea of what they were gonna get when they clicked there. They thought you might have the answer to what they're looking for. Now, that's awesome, that's great - now you need to keep them. Now you need to make sure that they're satisfied, they're happy, so you need to exceed user expectations. Now part of that comes to SEO, this is where the managing expectations part comes in to make sure your site is crawlable, that Google and other search engines understand your website, adding a little to work in other stuff. But the second part is also making the site attractive, making the site work, having a workflow that if part of your site involves communication, say customer support, that actually needs to work because if that doesn't work, the next time, they'll go back to someone else, or they recommend other sites, so this is one of the key things. It's about managing and exceeding user expectations and SEO is not just SEO anymore, it's now user experience marketing that includes SEO, but also UX and a whole bunch of other things. Q: In your niche or sector, what's the most annoying SEO misconception? Please feel free to set things straight! FW: I kind of have two. This is based on my personal Google experience while working for the company for about seven years. Number one is people still believe, even up to this day, that if they pay for AdWords they are entitled to some rankings. That is absolutely not the case, stop thinking that. The second thing is based on paranoia. Now, I'm all in favour of paranoia, to be honest, I actually think it adds to a healthy atmosphere in a healthy society so I'm happy if some people are and from that perspective it's fine but at some point it can go overboard. And when we're talking about this, it's about a lot of SEOs and black hats I know; they're scared out of their wits that Google is reading their gmail accounts, accessing their Google drive documents and trying to figure out what else they're doing in spam. I can tell you this - in my opinion and based on my personal experience - I have never, ever seen that happen and I don't think they will ever do that. There's too many privacy issues involved that will never let them do this. Second of all, they don't care as much about you as an individual. They care about what the user is seeing, and from that perspective it comes back to user experience marketing, so if you are a spammer or black hat and you're heavily spamming, Google cares about taking care of the spam. They don't care about you necessarily, they're not gonna read your gmail or your Google drive documents to see which other spam initiates you have. Q: Current favourite SEO tool or platform? Or can you give us the inside track on any sexy SEO related platforms, tools or developments coming soon? FW: My business partner, Kaspar Szymanski, and me have been working very closely with a client of ours who is actually at the moment in the process of releasing a tool, it's called Powerdrill, available at powerdrill.com, and it's kind of like a swiss army knife, like a multi-tool, a leatherman-type of tool that allows you to manipulate data and read you websites. It's literally both aspects, the development is both. It's really awesome, I really love it, so that's one thing I can recommend once it gets released - you can sign up right now for the pre-launch.