Interview with the very Interesting, Tony Dimmock

It’s been a while that the blog was inactive and this is because there were lots of things going at our end. All was planned one after another but somehow everything fell in to the execution bucket at once.

There was a change in our blog skin, some important announcements for people who are interested in hiring our team for SEO and Web Marketing services, an ebook that I have to launch and most importantly a really adorable baby girl that GOD gifted us with and a lot more. It is indeed difficult to manage when everything comes to you at once and you have a small team to handle, so the time was crazy but we are back in full action to info-train our readers.

I thought the best way make a comeback is by reactivating the SEO Interview section as this is a readers as well as my personal favorite.

Today I have invited one of the amazing celebrities in the search and web marketing industry. His approach towards the digital marketing business is very interesting and I am dead sure that you are going to learn lot of new things from this interview.

He spent 13 years in the sales business where he was selling IT Solutions to small, medium and large businesses then 6 years ago he took a huge turn by forming his own Web Marketing agency called Dimmock Web Marketing. The most interesting personality from UK in the search Industry, he is none other than Tony Dimmock.

Without further delay, here are my questions:

First things first, warm congratulations to you and your partner on the birth of your baby girl! Babies add a whole new dimension to our lives. Try to get some sleep and enjoy every moment you can with your newborn.

Secondly, thanks for interviewing me on – hopefully, my answers will give you and your audience a glimpse into who I am, why I do what I do and some tips on how to build your brand and dominate your niche industry online.

Onto your first question..

In my spare time and during the last 5 years of my employment, I intensively studied web marketing, SEO, usability and developed a love for all-things-Google. I also worked (for free) with a number of small business clients and on personal projects to build my experience. At this time I only had 1 kid, so I’d get up at 5/5.30am and put in a few hours before getting ready for work. I’d also put in 2-3 hours per evening when returning. My goal was to eventually start my own business.

One day I got into a heated discussion with my then boss and abruptly left my job. In hindsight, the timing couldn’t have been worse, as by this stage my family had grown with boy / girl twins (2 years old at the time).

So I came home, converted an old out-house tool shed, bought a cheap radiator and declared myself self-employed (and a little stupid), with no regular paying customers, 3 young children and bills to pay. We also didn’t have a company website for the first 6 months, due to the demand of new client work.

Fast forward 6 years and we’ve grown through many challenges (financial, clients, employees – you name it) while making many silly mistakes (not listening, ignorance and under-estimating  competition). What’s kept me / us going? My Dad’s wise words (God rest his soul) from his Wrestling days: “the possibility of defeat does not exist”. He’d instilled this mindset into me from my early years and it’s the ethos that governs all that I attempt to do today.

You forgot to mention Google+ 🙂

My philosophy is that if you truly love what you do, multi-tasking is a means to an end. I try to extract as much value as I can from every day and time management plays a very big part. With that focus, I try to allocate time in my diary for working on the business and in the business.

I pretty much live by this rule of thumb:  “If you want something doneask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.”

As well as running DWM, I enjoy helping others in my industry and being “daddy” to 3 under-12’s keeps me on my toes too!

My BrightonSEO presentation: covers this area in detail and focuses on 1) working out who your target persona is & the type of client you want to work with, then  2) pre-qualifying every potential new client against this yardstick.

The presentation includes a number of links to help SEO’s create target persona’s, questions to ask potential clients, a (UK) website to check a potential clients financial status and a book I recommend everyone reads called “Questions  that Sell” by Paul Cherry.

I strongly suggest that SEO agencies and consultants learn the art of saying “No” gracefully. If you begin working with bad-fit clients, either for the prestige of “big brand SEO” or simply to earn some good money, the honeymoon period is soon replaced by frustration, negativity and the unfortunate realization that you’re going to be working with them for a long period of time – and I can’t stress how demoralising that feeling can be.

My advice is to be true to your ideals when choosing clients to work with, value your time and don’t be afraid of turning business away.  The internet, Google & SEO / Web marketing isn’t going away anytime soon!

In the coming months, DWM will be focusing more on the area of selling SEO and web marketing, so I’ll be posting more on this subject and unveiling a website dedicated to it too.  If you or your audience would like to add feedback to my “Which parts of selling, account managing and pre-qualifying Internet Marketing & SEO clients do you struggle with or find the most challenging?” Google + post, I’d love to hear from you.

How people connect with each other (information, products, services and data) will define how the search industry adapts and grows. Relevancy is still the #1 reason why search engines and social platforms grow daily. Add to that everyone’s unwavering need for “instant access” and you have un-tapped potential that we really haven’t scratched the surface on yet.

Natural language processing, Google’s Hummingbird update and the Knowledge Graph try to understand how people, places and things semantically relate and connect to each other.

For businesses and brands to prosper in this landscape, they’ll need to understand implicitly and explicitly how their target audience engages, participates and connects with what they’re after and focus their social and content strategies on these core areas.

From a proof-of-authority perspective, I’d expect to see far more emphasis on entity (people and company) subject-matter-expertise, topical content that gains positive sentiment and shares and built-over-time social trust.

I’m seeing a widening divide between  a clients lack of understanding (especially in the SMB market-place) and the professional SEO consultants  expertise of winning online, which is why I’m also venturing down the SEO consultant training path.

Whatever the future brings, if the last 5 years are anything to go by, we’re in for a roller-coaster ride over the next 5.

While search engines continue to use Title tags, meta descriptions, page content and usability as indicators and sign-posts for indexation, UX and rankings, on-page SEO will continue to be vital.

Google’s growing algorithmic understanding of semantically-related content as a “supply” to a searchers “demand” (relevancy) dictates this.

The 3 most important on-page factors are, in my opinion 1) enticing, engaging title tags 2) content that addresses a searchers problem, challenge or requirement and 3) the use of intelligent media to communicate messages such as video, images and widgets etc .If these 3 are included on a page, social sentiment and shares (if promoted correctly to the target audience) should follow – why wouldn’t they?

I wouldn’t suggest building links solely for rankings. I would suggest building them for targeting relevant online traffic, business exposure and offline to online real-life relationships. With this in mind, my top 3 link building tactics would be:

1)      Fixing broken inbound links, especially referral websites that have historically driven traffic. This is a fundamental task to complete after website upgrades and migrations. Use Google Webmaster Tools, AHRefs and MagesticSEO for this task

2)      Studying social media profiles, interaction (RT’s, shares, +1’s, Likes etc), follower activity and community influencers.  Then developing relationships and approaching those with proven positive brand sentiment. If they’ve interacted with your brand or shared content, why not ask them for a review, editorial or content link?

Use FollwerWonk, Sproutsocial and Socialcrawlytics

3)      Turning offline activity into online sentiment, including events, charity / community work, open evenings, local networking / breakfast meetings, suppliers, manufacturers, industry associations and memberships. Use your eyes, ears and mouth, preferably your ears twice as much as your mouth!

Although Google indexes (and sometimes shows in SERPs) Tweets, Google+ posts, video and other snippets from platforms such as Pinterest and Facebook, back in January Matt Cutts explained that social signals do not (currently) have any direct impact on rankings, due to privacy and access.

That’s not to say that social signals will not be a defining factor in rankings in the future, but for now, social signals (especially on Google+) provide Google with entity proof (connection interaction and sentiment) and authority (subject-matter-expertise and insight).

For those who use social media to connect and engage with target audiences, build their brand, entice sentiment, win loyalty, drive online shares and promote unique, problem-solving content, they’ll be well ahead of the curve when search engines algorithmically find ways of using them for ranking causation.

That means that business owners should be investing their time and resources right now to do this.

This explanation sums viral content up perfectly: “Content that spreads very fast on the Internet, just like a flu virus would in real life, whether it’s an article, a picture, or a video. But it must be very funny, controversial or informational so that people feel an urge to blog about it or share it with their friends or colleagues”.

Great viral content includes: emotional triggers, new perspectives or understanding, eureka moments, message variants geared toward specific target personas, social interaction and shared “community” sentiment.

How can we achieve this? By defining who your target audience is, then researching their desires, fears, hopes, attitudes and mentality. Once you’ve done your due diligence, you can then investigate where they “hang out”, study their language, what they talk about and what / how they share. At this point, you should have enough research to write content that really matters to them. Then share, promote, entertain, inspire and educate. Analyse the data to see if you’re on the right path, rinse and repeat.

BrightonSEO is passionately organized by @KelvinNewman and the awesome team at @RoughAgenda. This year’s event had some of the most insightful and practical presentations ever. If you didn’t go to April 2014’s event, I’d highly recommend making the trip to next one in September. As a regular attendee, the presentations, networking and after-party are all worth it.

Some of the talks that stood out for me included:

Peter Handley – Quick Technical SEO Audit Checklist – an A-Z SEO audit resource

Mike Essex – The Content Marketing Blueprint For Boring Industries – how FTSE100 co’s make billions from it

Matthew Barby – Harnessing the Power of Influencers – “in-the-trenches” advice by a true pro (inc’s lots of tools too!)

Carolyn Jones – Link Prospecting: Step Away from the Search Engine – 72 slides and a great list of tools

Ammon Johns – Delete Google Analytics – a controversial preso. Reading between the lines, it’ spot on!

Rich Kirk – SEO in the Bigger Picture – as Rich says “The golden rule: build great experiences”

Just one tip?? Hmm, that’s a tough one.

I’d say, before venturing out on your own, think long and hard about why you’d want to set up your own business. It’s hard, requires an investment of long hours (certainly at the beginning and can eat up your social life (if you don’t learn to manage your time effectively). Oh and the buck stops with you – period!

For budding digital marketing or SEO entrepreneurs, three excellent interview-style posts (including my thoughts and comments) should give your readers some valuable insights:

How To Start Your Own SEO Business: Q&A with 14 Leading SEO Experts – by Krystian Szastok

7 Digital Entrepreneurs Talk Business – by Rob Duckers on The Meld

How to Build Credibility as a Start-Up SEO Agency – by Aaron Agius on YouMoz

Something like this:

“Where do you go to search for information on the internet?”

Normal answer is “Google”

“Which snippets in the top 10 do you normally click on?”

Normal answer is “Those at the top of Google and that are relevant to the information I’m after”

“Well, SEO helps business websites appear there and get clicked on. SEO also helps websites get people to take action, such as submitting an enquiry, downloading something or ordering products or services.”

Normal answer is “Oh, I get it. You must be busy then!” 🙂

Sir, Thank you for your time! It was a great experience for me and I am sure readers will also find it interesting. You can also follow Tony on Twitter and Linked-In.

Note: If you have any more questions from Tony, please write them in the comment section and I will request him to reply to your questions directly.

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