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March 28, 2007

Todd Friesen – AKA – Oilman – Interviewed

It’s a funny world. Todd and I live less than 1 mile apart, yet we see each other more often outside Victoria than we do here in town. We do make the effort every 6 / 8 weeks to have lunch. The fact we see so little of each other in Victoria is a reflection of crazy travel schedules, and packed lives.

When we do get the chance to meet, I always appreciate Todd’s candor, and insight. Like is SEO Rockstars co-host, Greg Boser (aka webguerrilla), Todd is forthright in explaining what he likes, and what he does not like. I respect that.

Apart from his participation in SEO Rockstars, and his Oilman blog, Todd spends his time as head of organic SEO for Range Online Media.

Q. How long have you been working with SEO / SEM ?

Since 1999.

Q. What’s been your favorite technique that you can no longer use due to algorithmic changes at Google?

Everything still works to some degree. My shift in SEO technique was due more to my decision to move from blackhat indy status to whitehat corporate status.

Q. Has Google (or any other engine) ever made an algorithm change which made you very happy?

Back in the days of the monthly Google updates I was very happy very often. Today we honestly don’t even notice most algo shifts.

Q. If you could get Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask to each answer just one question about their algorithms, what would it be?

I honestly don’t know what I’d ask. I suppose I’d be curious about what’s next but I’m not sure they even know (see previous answer about how everything still works to some extent).

Q. Why analytics are important to you?

We use analytics to measure our success. Being able to tell a client how much money you’ve helped them make helps to ensure customer satisfaction and client retention. In a purely self serving view it helps show how SEO typically generates a much higher ROI than nearly any other online marketing technique.

a. how often do you look at them

We spot check on a regular basis and generate a comprehensive status report once a month.

b. how do you suggest your clients use them

Generally I don’t like clients to spend too much time in any analytics tool. There’s so much stuff in there that can be distracting and I’ll spend hours on the phone explaining and justifying stuff that’s not at all useful for what we’re doing. Traffic that converts to revenue is really what I’m after. If I can’t show a client that what I’ve done has made them money or accomplished a branding goal then I should just quit.

Q. What do none of the analytics tools do that you would want them to for you?

Rank checking, I mean true rank checking. Enquisite is as close as we have it’s a major step forward.

Author:  Richard is one of Metamend‘s founding members, and helped cultivate the business from a small start-up company into an industry leader. Richard is a pioneer in the field of Search Engine Optimization, and shares his vast knowledge of SEO around the world, speaking at key industry conferences. Richard is also the CEO of Metamend’s sister company, Enquisite Search Metrics, a state of the art system that offers detailed search engine traffic and search engine positioning reports, for free.