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Search personality Aleyda Solis: “linkbuilding is the most complex aspect of SEO”

18 January 2019

Aleyda Solis, SEO superwoman, you are one of my personal favorites in our field of work. But for sure not only mine! You have been awarded best Search personality 2018; top 10 digital specialists to follow; one of world’s top online marketing influencers; you are a speaker at practically every search conference that matters; you blog for the two biggest digital marketing blogs; wrote a book and in-between you are a teacher at two university’s and a school.

Tell me, what’s your secret?
I have a clone. Not really, I wish ? I just have a lot of coffee I guess and try to optimize my work as much as I can… besides optimizing sites for search I’m a life optimizer!

What else do we absolutely need to know about Aleyda?
This year I started a weekly YouTube video series called Crawling Mondays, where I share practical SEO advice, how-tos, reviews, interviews and much more to come!

Besides doing SEO and I’ve also co-founded a site called Remoter, with the goal to facilitate remote work, which I believe it’s fundamental to the future of work (I also work remotely myself, and found it to be life changer). We have a remote job board, feature tools that facilitate remote work, colivings for those who are digital nomads, remote work events, etc. You should definitely check it out ?

What gets Aleyda out of bed in the morning?
Coffee? You can definitely tell I’m a coffee lover here.

So, looking back 10 years in time ( you must have been around 16 years of age), was little Aleyda playing with code or was she already making predictions on the evolution of our field of work. And if she was, where they spot on looking at our industry now?
Haha 10 years ago I was 10 years older than that and had already started my first job as an SEO a year before -after being a Web designer and front-end developer for a while- ? At this point I was actually going to my first ever SEO event which was a SES in Miami, which was an amazing and eye-opening experience (about many things I didn’t know at that point) for an SEO newbie as I was. I was very excited but I had no idea I would still be an SEO at this point ? It had been quite a ride.

Some of the world’s best marketers are all very skeptic about the near future of Digital Marketing. Fili Wiese thinks we are all screwed by the filter bubble; Yono Alderson says we are too late to anticipate AI, our jobs become useless and we should all become Affiliate marketers, And Rand says we are all slaves to Google and get a bad deal out of filling their index. What are your thoughts about the future of search and the role of marketers within the process?

Google shared a few months ago in their anniversary post about how there are 3 main shifts that they expect (and planning for): Going from answers to journeys, from queries to predictive, queryless interactions and from a text-based to a more visual type of experience. And they have already started with this with the Google assistant providing an “on-going” conversational search journey by suggesting more searches, the visual input via Google Lens and the predictive experience with the “Discover” content suggestions… based on all this I can see how we can have a “predictive assistant” in a few years, with a “minority report” type of interaction with Google, with an assistant suggesting us what to buy or do, via voice and visuals based on our preferences and behavior while on the go. In this context, I see myself as a marketer looking to “optimize and maximize” whatever system drives this search experience to maximize brands results, there will be always opportunities and gaps to close, of aspects that are not (and won’t be) completely automated due to the human aspect of marketing.

In line of the previous question but looking further into the future. 2016+: Chatbots/apps, home assistants, smart machines and companies like Uber, Airbnb, USwitch etc. are taking over certain marketing processes. Because of this, the customer will not be in his own marketing process anymore. What is your idea about how e-commerce will be in 2035? How will our kids shop? Or will “online shopping” be a superfluous verb?

Sadly I’m not Asimov so I do not dare to try to predict so much into the future, however, I can see how most of the shopping then will be mainly online and therefore including the “online” term won’t be necessary anymore, it will be just “shopping”, “commerce”; by default online.

Back to the here and now, because the game is very real and heavy these days. If you should redefine the 5 pillars of SEO (technical, content, trust, offsite & branding). What would be the biggest changes of the past five years on Technical and International SEO?

The pillars of SEO are still the same, however, Google has “evolved” the way they’re assessed to keep up with the used technology, improve the results and provide a better search experience. In the case of International SEO, a few years ago the weight of the IP location as a localization signal was high, now Google relies in many other signals to show the right page to the relevant country and language, many of which we can specify directly by using ccTLDs, geolocating gTLDs or subdirectories/subdomains under gTLDs via the Google Search Console and using hreflang annotations.

In the case of technical SEO one of the big shifts has happened with the popularization of JS frameworks and usage of SPAs, that have made Google to evolve the way they crawl JS based sites -although we know that there’s still room for improvement since they take longer to render it, in two “waves” or moments-.

If you could get back one “SEO technique” from the past, what would it be?

Let’s go back to a pre-penguin time and give me all the links! I’m joking. I don’t like to look back to just thinking on something that cannot be changed anyway, and prefer to think on what we have now that we didn’t when I started for example: no hreflang annotations and no canonical tags… I’m actually very happy to have both now as they highly facilitate my work.

One of your fellow speakers at Friends of Search, Kirsty Hulse, also one of my favorites (you are both in the highest regions of the top 5 ?), is one of the greatest minds on link management, PR and Outreach. She lets us see that links still matter bigtime and that we can get them easily in tons of ways just by being creative. What is your biggest link achievement and what are your thought on building links in general?
My biggest link achievement has been to get a link from Google (!!) ? They linked from the Search Console Help page about international/localization best practices to my hreflang generator.

Links are still the way Google has to identify page popularity, and if you want to rank for anything competitive, then you definitely need them. I consider link building as probably the most complex aspect in SEO as it’s the one that you don’t directly control yourself and have huge respect for experienced link builders like Kirsty, Laura Crimmons, Gisele Navarro or Lisa Myers.

If you can give away one advise or secret to our readers, what would it be?
It’s time to start using Google Actions in case you haven’t. It can be as easy as to edit the templates that Google already give, this will not only allow you to expand your already existing presence through the Google assistant but to better understand your audience voice behavior and interactions through the analytics provided via the Actions Console.

Why should everyone see your Presentation at Friends of Search?
I’m going to show you how you can easily create Google Actions in just a few minutes using a Google Docs! This and much more ?