How did the world of search engine optimization find you?
I grew up using local bulletin boards, and worked for one of Canada’s first ISPs as a teenager. As the web became more widely adopted, people asked me to develop websites for them, which evolved naturally into a need to rank those sites. Over time my work transitioned away from providing IT services and into web marketing.
How do you like being a Christian SEO?
I love it. I love my work, and I thank God for placing me in a position to enjoy my work. Man was created for work, and we are called to work on earth every minute as though working for Jesus Himself. It’s much easier to do that when you love the work you’ve been given.
Is it challenging maintaining your faith as a Christian in the SEO industry? For instance, what do you think about gray hat tactics?
I don’t think it’s any more challenging in SEO than being a Christian in any other workplace. There are varying levels of morality across the industry, some based on religion, some based on pragmatism, but I don’t think SEO is any harder or easier for staying true to my faith. There are temptations, and sometimes we sin, but just like a Christian florist or a Christian accountant, we want the pattern of our lives to reflect Christ.
I don’t think using a gray hat tactic is necessarily un-Christian, but it’s a matter of ethics in dealing with the client. They need to understand the risks. If we were to employ black or gray tactics and harm a customer’s site, we are not faithfully serving them. However, if the customer is fully aware of the risks that’s a different story. We still will refuse to do anything blatantly deceptive to trick a consumer. That’s out of bounds, and quite frankly I think if you have to trick someone it speaks volumes about the quality of what you’re offering.
Wow. Right on Ryan. What a great answer. So as a Christian, what is your favorite Bible verse through trials?
Truly, there are too many to list. The Psalms, of course are awesome. It’s easy for us to read David’s writings now from the perspective of knowing the end of the story, but we need to remember as we read that the man was literally fearing for his life, back to the rock, enemies surrounding him seeking his blood. God had promised him certain things, but it didn’t look like the promises would be fulfilled. Yet time and again, God was faithful to preserve David. I also like reading James, how the actions of our lives give evidence to our faith. If we are not faithful in trials, if we are not asking God for wisdom, it can indicate that we are still in need of saving. Every trial draws me closer to God and leads me to lean more on him.
What are the biggest misconceptions about SEO either from clients or from the industry?
SEO involves keywords, meta tags and lots of stuffing or trickery. That SEO can be taught in a day. That you can learn much of value in online forums.
I’d have to agree with all three of those appraisals as SEO myths. So what are your three favorite blog posts about content, social media, or search engine optimization?
Anything by Matt McGee, Stoney Degeyter, David Mihm & Aaron Wall. There are many others, but these are a few I would recommend to anyone at any level.
Agreed, What would you say are your three favorite tips for webmasters and small business owners for ethical search engine optimization?
• Keep producing content
• Keep a close eye on your internal linking
• Use your own voice – don’t be vanilla/corporate, have a personality