Working with the vision to provide our readers with unique information, we have started conducting interview sessions on our blog to help you get common questions answered by the industry leaders.
Our first guest is Moosa Hemani, a renowned name in the search industry who belongs to Pakistan. He is an SEO consultant, blogger and holds good command and ethics related to his field and areas. He believes in helping others whenever needed. Previously, Moosa struggled but the learner inside him trusted his skills and had the confidence to perform every nail biting task. As a result of which, today, leading search gurus recognize and relate to him in a respectable way. Just to let our readers know that Moosa has also been one of our clients and we have had a good experience working with him :-). Let’s start our first session of the interview with Moosa Hemani.
Abbas: Hi Moosa! Thank you very much for offering us with your valuable time. We really appreciate your co-operation.
Moosa: Thank you for including me in your interview series and it’s a real pleasure to share my knowledge with other people. I really admire your work and will recommend you to anyone who is in need of services that you people offer!
Abbas: So …
Let’s start with your past. Can you please let us know how and when your SEO career started? What goals and objectives did you have at that time?
Moosa: It’s been five to six years since I first started working in the SEO industry and thanks to Shamim Rajani who offered me the internship as an article submitter in their company (at that time article submission was worth doing). I started working because I had to do something in life but the question that why would someone pay me for this copy paste work forced me to to explore the SEO game and how it worked. Upon finding the answer I was introduced to the whole new world of SEO and online marketing.
Initially I had no aim to excel at this job but to spend eight hours at the office and get paid at the end of the month. When I started to explore more and worked to seek answers as to why I was doing this in the first place, I fell in love with SEO.
Abbas: What are your major SEO interests? Do you consider yourself an all rounder in this industry or are you focused on just one specific area only?
Moosa: When you are playing soccer, you need to have knowledge about every position but there is one position where you can play best! Similarly, when you are an SEO strategist , you need to be well-informed about all the areas and aspects of the SEO industry. Outreaching and link building has always been my magnum-opus over other areas like content development, social media, technical SEO, etc.
Abbas: SEO is an industry that keeps changing with time and it has evolved in recent years. How can you compare the past, present and the future of SEO?
Moosa: I have worked under different banners and positions and after years of learning about how not to do SEO, I figured out that SEO hasn’t really changed over the year but Google and other search engines have progressed and gotten smarter with time while keeping the original purpose of their business intact.
Link building from press releases, article submissions, blog commenting and other similar areas was never a viable way but it was working just because Google was not that smart at distinguishing links. In my personal opinion, Google, in the future will continue to get smarter and will come closer to how REAL people think . If you are offering quality to your users and are not indulging in unethical ways, you better keep on doing what you do and no Google animal will be able to hurt you!
Abbas: As we know that SEO is a dynamic field and it has become a tough job nowadays. As a result many SEOs have quit the profession and it has become more expensive. Do you think that PPC can replace SEO as PPC can give you the desired results guaranteed? Is it possible that many business owners will start moving towards PPC rather than investing in SEO?
Moosa: I think this totally depends upon your goals and what you really want to achieve in the longer run. If a business is looking for immediate leads, then obviously there is no better option then to go with PPC and paid areas but if a business, in the longer run, is planning to reduce their marketing costs and get greater ROI then the wise option is to stick with inbound.
SEO alone is risky so if a business is planning a long term investment then they should consider including PPC, SEO, community development, social media and other inbound marketing channels as part of their overall online marketing strategy. In my personal opinion, if businesses start to merge their offline marketing campaigns with the online ones, the results could be phenomenal.
Abbas: I have heard a lot that for an SEO it’s important to make relationships with the industry leaders and experts, how do you think it is helpful and which SEO personality has influenced you the most?
Moosa: Not only in the SEO industry but in any niche you belong to, relationship building is the most important area where SEO’s and webmasters should invest their time because the outcome can be mind blowing.
Link grabbing in today’s world is difficult but if you have strong connections within your targeted niche you might end up having great links in your pocket which, otherwise is impossible. State of Search is a powerful blog in the digital marketing world and if you need to grab their audience by writing your piece on their blog as a guest author you need to have a good relationship with Bas Ven Den Beld. There are no write for us instructions on their blog!
There is a long list of SEO whizzes that have influenced me over the period of time but there are a few I really want to mention here:
Obviously there are more but the above mentioned people are always trending in my list because of their unconditional support which helps me in becoming a better professional.
Abbas: What blogs do you read on a daily basis and what do you recommend to other SEOs?
Moosa: I have a separate email address where I subscribe to all the blogs and stuff that I like to read. I am not going to recommend you any specific blog but try to get yourself active on Inbound.org and all the good stuff from the inbound world will come to you automatically.
Also, follow great minds and your Twitter feed will become your list of recommended blogs that you should read daily.
Abbas: As per the latest trend which is running that social media is the key tool for SEO as it makes your process more efficient, do you think that SEO is dependent on Social Media, if yes? Then how?
Moosa: I believe SEO is incomplete without social, so saying that you are working on SEO but skipping social will be stupid because if you are skipping social you are skipping on one integral part of SEO anyways.
So no, SEO is not dependent on social, it is a part of it!
Abbas: Once I was searching a term on Google. I don’t remember that exact keyword but it was like “best link building tactics 2013” which is a purely natural term and you know what Black Hat World website which was ranking on the 1st page of Google, it’s on 4th page now. Do you think that Google has yet failed to put an end to spamming? What are your views on black hat SEO, does it still live even in this tough and commanding position of Google?
Moosa: As discussed in the beginning, Google is working hard to produce search results that the user desires and which satisfy his needs but obviously its artificial intelligence which can not produce the results desired every single time.
In my opinion, what Google should put their emphasis on is swift action against the website that gets to the top through loopholes and I believe they are on it!
Abbas: Every SEO knows well about on-site and off-site SEO factors. But, do you think there are still other factors which may have been missed by many SEO’s while optimizing their website?
Moosa: I am sure many are aware of all the factors that are necessary to optimize a website as per the Google standards but what I’ve seen in Q&A’s and with clients that there are few things that people miss quite commonly which includes:
- SEO friendly URL structure
- CMS platform (especially for E-Commerce websites)
- Redirections and canonicalization
- Language selections
Abbas: What factors do you consider while auditing a website and how are they important?
Moosa: Website audit is one of the most painful parts of my job, you cannot leave it nor love it! In audits there is no chance of mistake and you cannot overlook even the smallest problem within the website.
I am in the middle of writing a post about this but here is the long checklist of SEO Audit by Bill Slawaski which might help!
Abbas: You have organized many workshops about the latest running trends in the SEO industry. Tell us Moosa how such conferences and workshops are important for an SEO?
Moosa: A tactics in the SEO industry are changing over the period of time and when the industry is continuously evolving and changing with rapid speed, conferences and brainstorming sessions are very important.
We had a session about link building in Karachi and the main purpose was to wake the webmasters up and make them aware of the latest tactics. These kind of conferences are great for HR people as well as they could find the ideal talent for their agency from the crowd and from the networking point of view its worth investing in.
Abbas: Google keyword tool is now over. What alternatives are you using while analyzing keyword ratio, competition and searches? Is there any free tool that you can compare equally with Google keyword tool?
Moosa: There are multiple keyword suggestion tools I have been using so Google’s Keyword Tool bidding us farewell didn’t break my heart. If you are looking for a tool that can help you choose the right keywords then keyword difficulty tool by Moz is a great option.
Abbas: Google algorithms and updates have destructed almost all link building techniques and now it’s focusing more on links earning. Do you think that guest posting can be the next victim of Google algorithms?
Moosa: Almost all lucrative tactics that use to work in the pre-panda world are not only dead but toxic and Google will continue to put restrictions on anything that will help webmasters manipulate the organic area.
In my opinion, if you are using guest blogging to gain links that point back to your site, I would say yes, Google is spying on you but if the major reason of your guest blogging is to get exposure that bring you links naturally then Google can’t hurt you (mark my words on this!).
Abbas: Please tell us the 3 basic techniques that you think are the most powerful in getting huge amount of traffic and additionally will it also help in getting a better ranking on Google?
Moosa: Three tactics that can help you gain more traffic and links, which later leads to good rankings in the SERPs can be:
- Industry Surveys
Do not go for ordinary surveys but do the work all by yourself. Pick the right topic, do some hard work, outreach great minds, collect data and present well. If every thing is perfect, a basic promotion of the content piece will make it a link and traffic earning machine for you!
- Community Building
Just work on building a great and engaging community around your brand and you will never care about what you rankings are! If you build a powerful community you shall see you don’t have to spend time on building links but your community will do that for you.
- Crowdsourced Content
This is also one of the ideas that can bring good amount of traffic and as a blogger you will get a chance to attract the new audience that can stick to your blog and help you bring some leads for your business.
Just focus on including the right people in your crowdsourced posts , this way you can win links and traffic like super easy!
Abbas: That was all about online marketing, but have you ever tried and implemented an offline marketing technique for your business?
Moosa: I see the line is getting blurred between online and offline marketing. I never did any offline marketing myself but if sending a t-shirt to the mailing address because of performing well in an online community is considered to be a step towards online marketing, then this is one of the most common tactics used by many online brands.
Check this image; I got a Tee from Moz for my good performance in the Moz Community:
I also wrote a post about why I love Moz?
Abbas: At last, would you like to give an advice or a message to the SEO’s who look up to you as a guru?
Moosa: The only advice I can offer is that you should get out of your comfort zone, expand your horizon and keep challenging yourself! This will not only help you to grow as a professional but it will also help you in getting satisfaction out of your work, which in my opinion is the most important part.
Hope you all enjoyed our first interview session with Mr. Moosa Hemani and got your questions answered. Feel free to post feedback, your comments as your opinions are highly appreciated.