I recently had an opportunity to interview Steve Deane who is one of the best SEO consultants and online marketing strategists from Ireland. Steve has a global base of customers and has had incredible success in optimization, marketing, planning and more. I encourage you to visit his SEO optimization site here and look around through his resources. Steve has also spent a lot of time teaching online SEO courses. Enjoy this easy interview and feel free to reach out to me or Steve Deane with any questions.
How did you get into the SEO industry?
I got into the SEO industry quite by accident. I was doing an accounting degree way back in 1999 when a friend introduced me to web design. He opened up a text editor, wrote a couple of lines of HTML, opened it up on a browser, and voila there was a website. It had a starry background and an animated gif of a spaceship flying across it. Awesome. I was hooked. I ditched the world of accounting, which I hated anyway, and from that day on I started coding websites. Flash forward to 2008 when I moved to Australia. I went for an interview for a web development role. Everything was going really well until he asked me a question which was to turn the course of the rest of my career. “Do you know SEO?” he said. “Er, what’s that?” I asked. He went on to tell me it was a method of getting websites on to page one of Google. That sounds interesting, I thought. Once the interview was over – I didn’t get the job by the way! – I went home and Googled “SEO”. That lead me down the path I am on now. Since that day to now, I have dedicated my whole career to SEO and making websites rank on page one of Google. 12 years on, I’m rather good at it.
What are the most common errors or issues you see when working with clients?
Shitty backlinks. Sorry, am I allowed to curse?
It’s fairly well documented that backlinks are hugely important when it comes to ranking websites. One of the biggest problems for clients is they have no idea that the quality of backlinks matters more than the quantity. For example, a link from a major newspaper website is infinitely more valuable than a link from a low-quality blog nobody ever visits.
Any advice you’d give to a client for a successful project?
If you hire a professional to do a job, then you have to trust in them and their process – otherwise why did you hire them? That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep an eye on the work and read the work reports. Micromanaging projects is not good for anyone. For example, I hire a bookkeeper and accountant to do my books and taxes. I trust in them 100%. Sure, I read my accounts, but I never get involved with the minutiae of the accounts. They are the professionals, not me. I hire them to take that job away from me so I can focus on doing what I do best aka SEO.
Do you see any difference between Irish businesses and American businesses approach to marketing?
Irish businesses tend to view marketing as an expense. US businesses view it as an investment.
Filip: That’s a great observation though I must say that many companies here in the U.S. have a very similar sentiment. The ones who spend wisely tend to do well while the ones who pinch every penny continue to suffer…
What is your non-work life like and how do you recharge?
I have a wife, two daughters (aged 4 and 6) and 2 dogs. As you can imagine they keep me very busy. When I’m not being dressed up as a unicorn or running around scooping up poop – from the dogs – I exercise. This to me is the best way to recharge. I do CrossFit 3-4 times per week. My other big passion is kitesurfing. There is no better way to recharge than being out in the wilds of nature skimming along the top of the water. I absolutely love it.
Thank you again for your time and input. I am confident that this information will be quite useful for many, including me!