This week’s in-house spotlight is on Baron Ginnetti, the new Director of SEO & Content Distribution at Pronto.com. Baron’s legacy comes from his SEO efforts at Shopzilla, where he spent 2 ½ years building a large SEO team that would make most in-house SEOs salivate.
Baron and I both started our new ‘gigs on the same day and I had the chance to sit down with him a few weeks later to talk about the job search, what we learned about building a team and more. In particular, I was interested in learning about his link building team and tips he has for starting up a highly successful link building initiative. I’m happy to report he gave up the goods.
It’s a lengthy interview, but has a few excellent nuggets. Here are the highlights:
Baron’s food-for-thought before accepting a job: Is the company “looking for the level of input that will permit an SEO to contribute to the product in terms of business model and UEX”? This is the best piece of job search advice I’ve heard yet. Too often an SEO goes in-house and feels that their hands are tied. Sometimes you feel like you’re one person pushing the Titanic, it’s tough and best if you have other people willing to get out of the boat and push along with you.
Baron’s pitch for setting link building expectations: Get everyone on the same page with an interesting spin on link building: “you aren’t going to build links,” instead you are going to “develop content and features that will attract links, and to build online relationships with complementary businesses and content providers” It’s a great way to spin link building, because in the end this is what is actually needed to pull it off and you need execs to understand this useful content needs to be written and added to your website.
Best take-away: Baron gives insights on structuring your link building strategy and headcount. The full interview’s a lengthy read, but the questions about link building are the best take-away.
On the Q&A…
Jessica: You were with Shopzilla for over 2 1/2 years, what made you make the shift to IAC to work on Pronto.com? What are you most excited about in your new position?
Baron: During my second year at Shopzilla, I had the opportunity to lead an SEO seminar for other Scripps properties at their Promax (BDA) event. Participating in this event was a career eye-opener for me because I was presenting SEO to an organization of television broadcast professionals. They helped me see that I was eager to expand my participation in SEO, not only in scale, and not only as a craft in which it could be implemented, but the way it’s perceived. SEO is one of the most puzzle-like and yet sensible mediums I’ve worked with. At the same time I started to sense that I didn’t want to whittle away on web sites practicing SEO with a pen-knife as we know it today. There are amazing changes going on in the space, but the “Search Engine” portion of the acronym “SEO” was pushing me into a single media channel focus. I was feeling a nudge to consider my career beyond Search Engines, maybe to multi-channel optimization that resolves at a Search Engine. So as I stood there talking about SEO for broadcast news web-sites I started to envision a flow of audiences moving from one media channel to another. I suppose it’s the same as going to movie because you saw the ad in a magazine except it was coupled with absolute immediacy. At the time I was seeing some maturation in Web 2.0, and the incremental release of Universal Search (a mixed SE result set w/images, videos, blogs and news.) So here were opportunities to diversify SEO via expanded channel exposure today, be it blogs, social tagging, user generated reviews or even that your local TV news broadcast is serving a parallel web experience. The inspiration to me (tomorrow) was that SEO could become about optimizing multi-medium traffic flow.I would have to say a job shift began rumbling there.