The Truth about SEO How to Survive in a world of robots, and spiders bestselling author Chris Lynch (episode 223)

Chris Lynch is the author of “The Truth about SEO: How to Survive Online In A World of Robots, Demons, Influencers, and Spiders”. And he’s also the CTO at Gravit-e, a website builder who specialise in bespoke builds. I’ve known Chris for about a decade now – so I know you’re in for a treat.

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How Chris Got Started

Chris jokes that he got started in the deep side of the deep end of eCommerce. His first project was an OmniChannel multi currency service platform involving three different websites, telesales and a real time TV shopping channel.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, it all came at a time when the retail industry was going through a huge revolution in technology. Dealing with such a complicated project right out of the gate meant that Chris became quickly proficient navigating the complex world of eCommerce. Chris stuck with it in part because he was so inspired by the success of that first project. He has continued his work in the online space to this day and his book is a culmination of 15 years in the technology sector.

How Chris levelled the playing field for understanding digital marketing and SEO

Levelling the Playing Field

The inspiration for his book, The Truth About SEO actually came from years of frustration with the technology industry regarding the lack of  transparency pertaining to SEO strategies. When it comes to digital marketing, Chris says that lack of understanding is the number one cause of problems. For many people, digital marketing—and SEO in particular—seems impenetrable and Chris wanted to demystify it and make the process accessible to everyone. Chris points out that while technology will always have uncharted territory and that people in the technology sector will always be expected to adapt quickly and ride the crest of trends. With that being said, he also points out that many things remain the same and that information should be accessible to everyone.

What is SEO Anyway?

SEO is inextricably linked with all aspects of digital marketing. Chris says it’s impossible to separate the two because they it’s ultimately just about getting more people onto a website and then getting those people to engage with that site in the way you want them to. The problem again comes back to ignorance. Because SEO remains shrouded in mystery, many business owners simply don’t know what’s fundamentally going on with their website in the first place. A situation that becomes very difficult to resolve. Chris says that website owners should be in the thick of it in regards to their website. They should really have a clear picture of traffic and ups and downs so they can respond appropriately.  

Listen to learn what trips business owners up when it comes to a good SEO strategy.

Breaking Down the SEO Puzzle

According to Chris, the first thing that needs to be done on any website is to check the basics.

  • Does the website track well across different types of devices (desktop and mobile crucially)?
  • Does the site have an appropriate load time?

These essential basics are often glossed over and Chris emphasizes how important it is to cover those bases first. The rest of the SEO process should be implemented as an ongoing and never ending process of tweaking. In fact, search engines like google respond best to gradual changes and as Chris points out, what’s good for Google is good for the customer and vice-versa.

The ABC’s of SEO (But in ACB Order)

Architecture: A strong SEO site must have architecture built on smart statistics—not simple design preference.

Content: Content needs to says what you want it to say, but it also needs to lead your customer where you want it to. Your content also has to have real value, especially when it comes to building your backlinks.

Backlinking: While Google might lead you to believe that backlinking is a phenomenon that happens naturally, Chris says that’s usually not the case. With that being said, businesses do have to put work into building strong backlinks.

Backlink Basics

 There is nothing wrong with asking people for a backlink.

 Valuable backlinks can be hard to get—and the ones that are easy to get are usually less valuable.

 NEVER buy backlinks.

If you’ve identified your community properly, backlinks can be really valuable and Chris says that even though it might take time to build relationships in your community, it’s ultimately worth the effort.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Diversify your traffic.
    Look at the data showing you where your traffic comes from and make sure you aren’t overly reliant on a single source.
  • Retain your traffic.  Make sure the customers you do get remain YOURS and don’t go to a marketplace for instance.

Tool Top Tip

  • gSuite-working remotely with a team across gSuite
  • Slack-great way to connect systems together

Growth Top Tip

  • Look at three points: traffic, conversion and margins and figure out which one needs improvement and focus there. Make sure the process is data driven by changing one thing at a time and tracking what happens.

Interview Links

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