SEO Experts: Expert Roundups on Expert Roundups
Brainstorming at work the other day here in sunny South Florida one afternoon we started talking about all of these roundup or “group interview” style posts and how they are gaining popularity in our niche.
Perhaps because the most successful post on inbound.org ever was a group interview style post. Either way, we wanted to learn more about group roundup style posts and what makes them tick.
Since I’ve been a part of inbound.org I’ve gained marketing knowledge equivalent of a few semesters in college and a plethora of great tips from group interview style posts.
Thus we decided to ask the interviewers of SEO experts what they had learned about doing interviews and what value these interviews added.
Here are some great responses from a few colleagues we’ve reached out to over the past week:
I’ve done a few interview-style posts, whether long one-person interviews (such as my interviews with Rand Fishkin about Inbound.org and the Moz rebrand), or smaller/shorter contributions from a wider variety of people (such as the time I asked SEO folks for the worst link they’d ever seen or how many times a blogger should tweet about a blog post).
Here are my key takeaways for these types of posts:
- Firstly, if someone’s been involved with a post, they’re more likely to share it via social media. This is especially great when you ask a lot of people to contribute to a post, as it means a fair few of them might share it. I don’t think Rand tweeted about either of the interviews that I did with him unfortunately (it would’ve been great if he did!), so obviously bear in mind that it’s not always guaranteed…
- Sometimes it can help you rank for certain keywords. When the Rand interviews were first published, they each ranked on page 1 for “rand fishkin interview,” possibly due to their freshness. The Moz rebrand one currently ranks middle of page 1 for “moz rebrand.” And at one point, the Inbound.org interview ranked for “inbound.org” in the #2 spot (directly below Inbound.org itself), which gets a few hundred searches per month.
I did few some interviews to SEOs and Internet Marketing experts both in my blog (www.iloveseo.net) and Moz.com.
And the interviews I did where both to individuals or a panel.
The ones I consider my best interviews were to Joanna Lord and Rand Fishkin in my blog and to Avinash and the panel *The state of Seo 2012″ on Moz.
Personally when I prepare an interview I usually follow the journalist method only I learnt in my years working in the Tv industry:
- find the best expert in a field or the most interesting rising “star”;
- investigate deeply the professional and private life of the interviewee, so to be able to create an interview able to make emerge the personality of the person I interview;
- study the topic and being strongly opinionated about it in order to create a strong and positive dialectics;
- if the interview is written, I write down as many questions I can, and then select just those ones that really are able to compose an interview that is not just a collection of questions and answers;
- if it is a video/phone conference interview, I always deserves me the right to deviate from the planned script (even if I don’t forget it completely), if the conversation offers some not previewed new direction.
Finally I revise the interview and let the interviewee check it out before I publish it.
Key takewaway: You get firsthand knowledge in a straightforward manner
Doing an article that you’re genuinely interested in may get you the knowledge that you can’t get anywhere else. For instance, there might be a hot topic on SEO that you want to know more about but don’t have the time or resources to dig deeper. Interviewing SEO experts will not only gain you more knowledge about the topic; oftentimes, the contributor will also share their own personal views. They will also submit their contribution in a format that is straightforward and succinct, ready for consumption to the mass public. This means that they will explain jargon, shed some background on the issue and usually include forward facing views or practical applications on the topic.
I have conducted a few interview posts in the last couple of years and have always found them to be quite popular in terms of attracting links. I personally try to switch up the format so that they are not the same as every other interview.
For example for a group round up on Peter Attia’s site I created a Google Doc and invited a selection of peers to share their thoughts on link building, rather than it being a straight forward interview round up post other participants could see the replies of their peers and ask for further clarity. This gave a more organic feel to the interview as if we were all sat around a bar chatting about a topic.
Another interview post I conducted quite recently was with Julie Joyce for the Hit Reach site. I have known Julie for a couple of years and rather than asking her the usual “What’s your favorite Link Building Tool?” or “What’s your biggest SEO Tip?” questions that popular members of the SEO community are asked for interview posts I asked questions about her and also researched some previous interviews in order to see if her opinions had changed at all.”
Actually there are quite a few benefits for Interviewing Influencers and here are few of them:
You get a chance to display your work to their audience and if your questions are really smart you will see your readership will increase over the period of time.
If you are going to interview a hidden talent or hard to find celebrity, it will tremendously increase your twitter followings and if you are smart you can engage with them and make your continuous users.
As influencers usually have a big fan base the chances of getting a natural links are more as compare to some other posts.
I once got a chance to interview one of the most active person of the Moz community and the results were mind blowing the Moz community after that interview was more open to me and it was easy for me to get a link from any moz member which otherwise might be very difficult.
I hope above given benefits and examples are enough to justify expert interviews but again there are some don’ts you should consider!
- Do not come up with same questions that someone has already asked him before.
- Don’t ask general questions as people are more interested in specific information.
The more unique your questions will be, the more amazing answers you can expect from the expert you are interviewing and if the final piece is interesting for the community, you are almost a step ahead form the magic.