I’ve known Scott for over 4 years now and I’ve been trying to get him to do an e-interview for almost that long. He’s a real smart guy with a strong background in areas (WordPress, Hosting, Affiliate) that are off the radar of many folks. Finally, after the release of his SEO Automatic plugin, he agreed to answer some questions for me.
1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living?
In the late 1990s I owned a new and used computer / software store. Since we took old software in on trade, I was faced with the task of getting rid of the 4000+ software titles we had accumulated. That’s how I began learning about the search engines, trying to see that stuff online.
2) What is SEO Automatic and why should webmasters / site owners be interested in it?
“SEO Automatic” as a whole is a free membership site where I share some unique tools, WordPress plug-ins, an iPhone app, and some insights into automation of some of the time-consuming and repetitive tasks that people are faced with on a day-to-day basis.
Site owners should be interested in using the instant URL review where with just one click, they can find out nearly everything they need to know about there on page ranking factors of a given URL. Not only do we define and explain exactly what’s going on, but we also give details, links, and provide most of the steps to “fix” what may be wrong.
Webmasters and SEO’s should be interested in it because everything there can save them a pretty substantial amount of time, when compared to doing things manually. Whether it’s setting up a WordPress blog the right way, or creating links to multiple URLs with varying anchor text, all of our development energy has gone into one thing, which is essentially trying to replicate human effort that would otherwise have to be outsourced or done yourself.
3) I ran the SEMpdx website through the SEO Automatic URL Review and was very impressed with the detail of information generated. But, in 2010, how important are the on-page factors mentioned in your site review?
Thanks for saying so! The URL review at SEO Automatic is sort of the flagship of the site, and yeah, it is pretty detailed. I remember wracking my brain trying to come up with more and more things the tools could check for, even though in my heart I had (and still have) some skepticism about how important all them are.
While on the one hand I’ll probably take some flak for saying that none of it means a damn thing if you have the right inbound links, on the other hand, you have to give yourself a fighting chance, because everybody and their brother seems to “know SEO” these days, so getting those fundamentals to be as good as they can be make sense.
In the old days, all you had to do with stuff phrases into your keyword meta-tag and you could be at the top of AltaVista in an hour. I don’t even know if external factors had any relevance at all in their algorithm, and all it took was to simply mention something on the site.
Google swung the pendulum far in the other direction by putting so much emphasis on inbound links, and far less for on-page factors. I think it was in part because some things were being abused so heavily, so Google completely discounted any ranking value at all for the meta-keyword tag and for the description tag, and many SEO’s were saying even ALT tags were dead too.
However, as we all know, the top-heavy weighting of external factors created a huge black market for buying links, and I think Google’s very existence was in danger if they didn’t step in and begin cracking down hard on link brokers.
I’ve always believed that on page factors were important, and to this day I still recommend adding a meta keyword tag or two for every page, and I do it myself on nearly every blog post. Even if it’s a complete waste of time today, who’s to say that it might not come back some day, especially with the importance of tagging photos, videos and all other sorts of content?
The click-through reasons for writing a good description tag are obvious, but couldn’t those also come back as a factor someday the same way that ALT tags did? If you look back in the archives, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an old-school SEO one point or other didn’t agree that ALT tags were irrelevant. Just like keyword tags, I’ve never stopped recommending them over the years, although I admit to being a lot less diligent, because like anyone, I can be pretty lazy.
4) Please talk about the other SEO features offered at SEO Automatic.
We have several original tools besides the URL review, including a keyword multiplier, a bulk server response checker, an RSS feed tool, and an anchor text variation tool, that can be used for providing link code for authors, or even for creating variations to put into article spinning software.
We even have a free macro that makes 1000’s of links “live” in an Excel spread sheet. (doesn’t that drive you crazy?).
We’ve got a few WordPress plugins now, and we’ve turned the URL review tool into an iPhone app and into an Android app too, although we’re having some technical difficulties with the Android market that make finding the app with a phone next to impossible.
5) Please talk about the SEO Automatic WordPress plugins.
Only two of the plugins are available through the WordPress codex. The first is the Core Tweaks plug-in, which essentially saves even the most jaded expert 20 minutes when setting up a WordPress blog “correctly”.