Interview With Fili Wiese

Lets Talk SEO: An Interview With Fili Wiese

Fili Wiese If you are practicing hands-on SEO and Digital Marketing, I bet sometimes you must have thought about finding a way to hire or be friends with someone from the inside that’s Google. The idea behind this was pretty simple, you will ask him for the drinks and ask him questions about why my website is not working, he will review it and tell you this is what Google is exactly looking for and boon! next black Friday, you will be the millionaire Jokes aside but seriously, how great it would be if you can sit down with the guys from the inside and discuss how SEO actually works and learn from the people who have spent their good time on the other side of the table. Well, the good news is, this is happening and I am excited to introduce you to Fili Wiese from Search Brother’s SEO consulting. Fili, thank you for taking time and answering our questions. I am sure people would love to hear from you! So, I will not waste another minute and straight jump on to my first question.

Question 1: I will start with the latest update, John M, responded to Glenn Gabe about the fact that Google will be doing more experiments with how they will roll out Passage based Indexing. My question is, what is your take on the idea of Passage based Indexing and will it going to be an indexing update or Google will make changes on how they will display the results as well?

Answer: What I’m reading into this is that Google intends to serve yet more relevant results to even rare user queries. Common, frequent queries such as “pizza near me” already return highly relevant results. I believe the official Google statement suggested about 7% of all queries to be potentially affected by Passage based Indexing which may appear a relatively insignificant number. In raw numbers that means after all about 250 million queries may be affected every day. At the same time, one has to bear in mind that Search is inconstant flux. About 15 to 20% of all queries are unique, meaning they never reappear. Another 15 to 20% is at any given time brand new, never emerged before. For all these reasons and looking back at my past experience, both working on Google Search and subsequently, after establishing an SEO consulting agency I’m confident that Passage based Indexing will have no tangible effect on the way SEO is conducted or websites are operated. Data driven content will remain, next to a compelling unique selling proposition the cornerstones of successful search engine optimization. So will Site Performance remain a critical success factor. While industry professionals won’t notice a perceptible change, users with very specific, niche interest may be more pleased with finding rare, relevant content in the near future more easily.

Question 2: Many professionals have their own way of doing keyword research and finalizing the list of keywords that make sense for there to target for their SEO campaigns and ranking for those keywords accordingly. I would love to know your process and want to know how you would have done differently?

Answer: In my experience keyword research as an exercise is rather in decline. When discussing advanced SEO, which really is just SEO nowadays, keyword research strategies are akin to highlighting the virtues of a vintage musket while preparing for a modern day tournament. Keywords are only as relevant as the content they contribute to. Terms such as keyword density truly belong to SEO dustbin and it remains to hope that as time passes publishers will be advised to embrace much more potent areas for SEO progress, such as unique selling proposition, user expectation management and site performance. 

Question 3: Is PageRank from Google still alive? (I mean internally?) Also, is it a good idea to judge the website based on their DA, DR or other similar metrics? And why?

Answer: Yes, PageRank is still a part of Google Algorithms. And no, judging anything based on DA, DR or any other abstract metric is just like reading tea leaves. The reason for that is simple: actual PageRank isn’t public information. Since Google does not share the value, the perceived value is of no consequence for the SEO industry. Does that mean you should stop linkbuilding? No! Links are still important, as I explain in my article on how to build links.

Question 4: If you have a limited budget for your SEO campaign, how would you divide the budget within different fields of SEO. For instance, what percentage of budget you will invest on content creation, on-page, link building and more.

Answer: Take this from the SEO guy: with truly limited resources, forget SEO for a moment and spend all budget on improving the product. This is the one critical area where improvement will translate to sales down the line. If there are even limited resources available beyond product development, I’d focus primarily on site performance. All other factors roughly alike, Google does favour a faster website. Lastly, once the budget situation allows, go for a top shelf, technical audit, preferably including server log analysis. That’s how real SEO is done.

Question 5: When it comes to cleaning up the link building profile, which is a better idea? Work on contacting with the webmasters and getting the shady links removed or go the easy way and update the disavow file?

Answer: Removing spam backlinks is always good, it does demonstrates to Google intent to follow Google Webmaster Guidelines going forward. However it soon becomes an untenable proposition, when evaluation of backlink profiles with hundreds of millions of backlinks and more. That’s when the Disavow Tool must be applied, and always at the domain: level. Be sure to test your disavow file before uploading it.

Question 6: Top 3 on-page factors that you think are getting more and more important?

Answer: Data driven content, snippet representation, site performance (including the Core Web Vitals).

Question 7: Core Web Vitals: How important they are how much they will impact on website’s rankings? Your opinion!

Answer: Core Web Vitals is another representation of Google’s relentless drive to provide a compelling experience to their users. In a nutshell, faster, more compelling, mobile ready pages will outperform pages that are slow and render poorly on mobile devices. In that sense Core Web Vitals are tremendously important.

Question 8: Fili, you have talked about structured data in the past so my question would be is it a direct ranking signal? And what are the common don’ts of it?

Answer: No, structured data is not a ranking factor. Structured Data however assists search engines to better understand, adequate rank and at times better represent landing pages in SERPs. Most commonly experienced pitfalls are marking up content not visible to users, disseminating misleading content e.g. fake reviews or applying structured data that misrepresents factual ownership. All of the above are structured data Don’ts. Making mistakes with Structured Data markup can be costly. Be sure to test your setup.

Question 9: Local SEO: If I ask you the 3 things that are extremely important for any local SEO to implement on their website. What would they be?

Answer: For a local business there are indeed three very important steps:

  • 1) Open a Google My Business account
  • 2) Add all relevant information to the Google My Business
  • 3) Maintain the Google My Business account information up-to-date.

Please note these are critical steps for a truly local business with a physical representation, opening hours, etc. For businesses with a multitude of locations, there are bigger fish to fry. But at that point, it’s not about local SEO. Much rather it is just search engine optimization we’re talking about.

Question 10: On the lighter side, if you get a chance to make a movie about SEO and search marketing, what would you name it?

Answer: “SEO: First Contact”. If you didn’t know, I’m a Trekkie.

It was amazing talking to you, Fili. Being from the same industry, I can say that this talk helped me personally and I can promise this’d be gold out there for people beginning their journey out there. Thank you so much for your time and wisdom.

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