Measuring Your Website: Interview with Thom Craver

Ahead of his Las Vegas 2016 session on measuring your website for site performance, Thom Craver gave an interview to UnGagged. From system administration to coding to marketing, few have the full 360-degree view of modern day digital marketing than Thom.

UnGagged: Tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in SEO.

Thom Craver: I had been building Web content for about 4 years and started my own design and hosting business. Pretty much every time I built website for a client, I’d get the inevitable question “So you built it. Now they’ll come, right?” and I always had that uneasy feeling in my gut as I sheepishly replied “uh.. yeaaaahh.” So I made it my business to learn how to get people to websites. So, naturally, I started reading everything I could find. Lo and behold, there were conferences and blogs and people discussing this all over. The business pivoted and I added SEO services. I later led a merger of my business with a local interactive agency and lead the SEO department for the merged company. That turned into measuring performance. It started as proof of the SEO we were doing, but quickly became a lesson in “well people are coming, staying, but not converting. Why?” Again, I pivoted. This time toward analytics and conversion optimization.

UnGagged: What will you be speaking about at UnGagged?

Thom: I’ll be discussing how to properly measure your website using quick, painless methods. I’ll get into tag managers and some neat hacks to go beyond simple pages and visitors and show quick and dirty hacks to measure all kinds of non-pageview events, and even individual users between devices, not simply anonymous, unconnected sessions.

UnGagged: In your niche sector, what’s the most annoying SEO misconception?

Thom: As sad as it sounds, I still find people who don’t believe meta tags are dead and who don’t think analytics is important, beyond the meaningless vanity metrics. While it’s “neat” and “cool,” there’s far too many companies that still prefer their gut reaction to the actual data.

UnGagged: What is your current favorite SEO tool or platform?

Thom: For SEO, I’m a big fan of Screaming Frog spider. They’ve advanced the product so much over the years and the new integrations are great. For analytics, the new Data Studio is incredible and will give Tableau a run for its money. Mostly because Google’s product is free. You can use it with Analytics, AdWords and other platforms and even raw MySQL.

UnGagged: What is the best thing about UnGagged?

Thom: The quality of the speakers and the lessons they share. These people live and breathe SEO and all the challenges that come with it. Agency or in-house, you’ll get the real life lessons – the stuff you only get from years of experience in the trenches. I’m honored to stand beside them.