“What I’m doing with my own team now is to stop thinking about SEO and think about CEA and that’s content experience analyst. And think about the content that I need to meet me at every stage of the journey. Stop thinking about search – if it ranks, if it does all of this kind of thing… It’s hard to map that customer journey but just stop thinking about in search that I have to write compelling headlines and text has to be this. Think creatively. You normally talk about engagement in SEO and how important it is.”
“SEO pioneer, author, world-traveler and keynote speaker, Champagne connoisseur and consummate drinking partner to the global digital marketing community…”
This is how Mike Grehan describes himself in his bio, but there’s so much about Mike that more aspiring – and even seasoned – digital marketers need to know.
He has been online for 25 years and a pioneer in SEO, “the most modern industry in the world,” but Mike says he doesn’t know “if modern industry and quarter of century actually go together in the same sentence.”
A self-confessed futurist, Mike is good at knowing what’s coming next. He’s been writing about search, machine learning, and AI as early as 2005.
“Forecasting… I can look at what’s happening in research work and the scientific field, and then think how long will it take before it actually happens, before it becomes a thing.”
Through all of these roles he’s taken on, he has touched the lives of thousands of other marketers in this industry – including mine.
So in today’s edition of The Search Engine Journal Show, I talk to Mike Grehan – an SEO pro you should get to know better.
About Mike Grehan
Mike Grehan is the CMO and the Managing Director of Acronym Media.
Previously, he was Group Publishing Director at Incisive Media’s Interactive Marketing Division where he managed websites ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, as well as produced the global Search Engine Strategies (SES) Conference & Expo (later known as ClickZ Live).
He is also currently Chairman at SEMPO, the largest global trade association for search marketers.
Listen to this episode and get to know Mike’s interesting and valuable insights on learning how to rank, information retrieval, and the death of SES.
He also tells us why we should move away from the term “SEO”, how to achieve sustainable success in this industry, and so much more.
- Which marketing tactics and efforts have proven to be the most impactful and brought the biggest growth to Acronym over the past 12 months? [2:03]
- Is ranking for Google today significantly more complex or different? [6:21]
- “Under Pressure” by Queen – a song that sums up the state of search today according to Mike. [7:59]
- On HTML being an “outdated” tech and the future of the web. [10:18]
- Mike shares his thoughts on the possibility of breaking up major tech companies, more regulations of Google, and more. [12:44]
- Getting in touch with Danny Sullivan in the early days of search, being one of the earliest speakers when Search Engine Strategies was getting off the ground, and eventually taking on a role at Incisive Media. [21:26]
- On working with Incisive Media’s “dream team”, changing things up at SES, and relaunching the ClickZ website. [30:45]
- Looking back, is there anything Mike would have changed about any decisions he’s made over the years? [32:34]
- Mike explains the reason behind the “rebranding” of SES to ClickZ Live. [34:09]
- The story of how Matt Cutts’ “epic return” and then-competitor Danny Sullivan’s visit to SES San Francisco came to be. [37:52]
- What led him to leave Incisive Media the night before April 1st. [44:24]
- Mike’s top public speaking tips: Stop trying to be somebody else. And if you forget to say something when there’s a slide up there… the only person who knows that you didn’t do it is you. [48:04]
- How does Mike stay so in tune with where all the trends are going? [55:12]
- Mike talks about some of his early written pieces on search that were way ahead of its time. [59:11]
- If you Mike wasn’t in search or marketing, he’d be in the music industry. [1:05:09]
- The best pieces of advice ever given to Mike. [1:06:25]
- The worst piece of SEO advice that’s still around. [1:07:53]
- If he could go back in time and give himself a piece of advice, it would be to “Stop always trying to be the first at everything. That doesn’t mean you always win. Just sometimes, if you get too far ahead of yourself, you lose not just your audience, but you lose yourself in what you’re doing.” [1:12:42]
- The key to sustainable success in this industry: “Get out of search. We know that things start with search. We know they frequently end with search. What happens in the middle is what we need to try and figure out now.” [1:15:15]
- Mike talks about how he overcome career struggles and what he learned from that experience. [1:19:12]
- What is next for Mike Grehan? [1:21:31]
Links from the Episode
How to connect with Mike Grehan:
- Mike Grehan on Search Engine Watch
- Mike Grehan on ClickZ
- How SES Has Become a Different Kind of Conference Experience (Search Engine Watch)
- New Signals to Search Engines (ClickZ)
- How Search Engines Work (ClickZ)
- Filthy Linking Rich (e-marketing-news)
- Search Engine Marketing: The Essential Best Practice Guide
- Olga Mykhoparkina
- Danny Sullivan
- Bruce Clay
- Greg Boser
- Bill Hunt
- Roger Montti
- Andy Betts
- Matt McGowan
- Jonathan Allen
- Laura Roth
- Marilyn Crafts
- Tim Weller
- Mike Moran
- Matt Cutts
- Brett Tabke
- Melanie White
- David Harry
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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita