Loren Baker

Founder - Search Engine Journal

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Loren Baker is the Co-Founder at Foundation Digital and Founder of Search Engine Journal. At Foundation, Loren works with companies such as ESPN, AirBNB, SONY Pictures and American Eagle Outfitters to steer digital strategies, content production and development.

In 2003, Loren created Search Engine Journal, and subsequently established it as a leader in Internet marketing publications. SEJ is now the second most read search marketing publication online, employs a team of 10+ staff and has launched a global conference series, SEJ Summit.

Loren is also the host of Search & Deploy, a new podcast produced by Rainmaker.FM. Baker has been featured on CNN, NPR, BusinessWeek, ZDNet, PRWeek, TechCrunch, Mashable and AdAge, and is a regular speaker at SMX, SEJ Summit, Pubcon and other conference series.

Knowing that a lot of the crowd are practicing SEOs, or practicing marketers, you’re held to a higher standard, than maybe some of the other conferences.

Speaker Interview

Please introduce yourself and tell us why UnGagged?

I’m Loren Baker, I’m the founder of an SEO and content marketing agency, called Foundation Digital. I’m also the founder of Search Engine Journal, so I have about 15 years under my belt of content marketing, whether it be from blogging and seo; so I’ll be discussing a little bit of that at the panel tomorrow at UnGagged. I’m a fan of UnGagged, the conference itself, because I think it’s a breath of fresh air, and the conference series track where you have the ability to speak what’s on your mind. Knowing that a lot of the  crowd are practicing SEOs, or practicing marketers, you’re held to a higher standard, than maybe some of the other conferences.

What are your top tips and priority actions for overcoming issues associated with any big Google algorythm roll outs?

First action is don’t freak out. Sometimes you see a lot of jumping to conclusions, we’ve just recently had some Google changes that have been applied to to thinner content sites in the past 2 weeks, that was not announced by Google and well hidden within mobilegeddon. A lot of the time companies will jump to conclusions very quickly based upon what they read, based upon what they’re seeing, but really what I would say is look at your competitive data set; look at how the serps are changing across the board and how you have been hit to identify trends that may be a little outside, of what some of the reporting is saying is the issue, and could be trends more so on how particular parts of your site are responding and how they are performing at the top of Google results. One of the presentations today talked about basically should that page perform when it’s in the top ten in Google, there are in some instances where that page should not perform well, whereas other parts of your site may, so you may want to look into trimming some things down. But again, don’t jump to conclusions.

How can businesses with smaller budgets and resources best respond to big updates?

I would say with smaller budgets, one; look and see how your competition is doing after a large update. It could be an update that affects more so your vertical, whether through localisation, mobilization, or the inclusion of knowledge graph, for some of your more important terms. If that’s not the case, see how some of your competition may have risen from the results. Also, look into the difference between transactional and informational results in the serps as well. It could be that Google is adding more informational results, or more transactional results, when your page may be the opposite of such. So in that case you may want to change your content strategy to focus on one, more so than the other.

Are you aware of any gamechanger developments on the horizon that in-house or consultant SEOs should be aware of?

Google right now wants sites to open up their job escript, and their CSS to indexing. A lot of that has to do with Google trying to understand how the human experience is on the point, case and point; expandable content: so with expandable content, when you click the button, basically you see more content as a human, whereas Google, when they’re indexing the page, may index all the content. By opening up Java to the engine, and CSS, Google can get a better fee of how the human experience is. If you’re hiding too much content from the human eye, chances are, Google is going to take that content out of the indexable serps which could hurt your SEO. Whereas on the other hand, if you are giving the human more of a chance to see that content; whether it’s through scrolling or a typical carousel-type environment, maybe not. I think one of the biggest changes is Google’s accessibility to Java and CSS, and really pushing it. Also whether or not your CDN s allowing Google to access that as well.

In your niche sector, what’s the most annoying SEO misconception? Please feel free to set thing straight!

The most annoying thing I hear on a day to day basis is that links are dead. Certain types of linking may be dead, but for the main part, the internet is built upon hypertext linking, and links are what bring people to your site. So linking, as a form of SEO, is not dead. Linking as a form of generating traffic, bringing in the most targeted traffic, bringing people what they want is well alive and Google is rewarding sites that do this in the correct way.

Current favourite SEO tool or platform? Or can you give us the inside track on any sexy SEO related platforms, tools or developments coming soon?

You know, I love Majestic, always have. It’s also nice to see that some of the platforms like SEMrush, and others; are building out more of a suite. In the US, Spyfu is putting together much of an integrated suite experience, as opposed to just looking at comparative data, so that’s really cool. On the content marketing side, I’ve come to become a favourite of BuzzSumo, not only can you look into the kind of content that is being shared more actively; but also the key words, influencers and sites that are doing so, to really bring your SEO strategy and content marketing strategy together.

Why UnGagged loves them:

It seems Loren is everywhere! An incredibly popular veteran of the search scene Loren is a proactive marketer going from event involvement to consulting or conducting interviews. In fact for his Search and Deploy feature on Rainmaker FM he interviewed our very own COO Craig Rayner, please listen here: http://rainmaker.fm/audio/search/live-seo-events/. The creator of Search Engine Journal must like UnGagged, this is his third out of three!