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An Interview With Steve Wiideman, Co-Founder Of Wiideman Consulting Group

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Below is our recent interview with Steve Wiideman, Co-Founder of Wiideman Consulting Group:

Q: What is your advice to entrepreneurs?

A: If you’re an entrepreneur looking to scale up as quickly as possible, expect to work 70-90 hours per week for the first few years. Develop insanely precise time-management skills which means blocking out time on your calendar to work within specific roles such as Business Development and Sales. If you have no sales to work on during those windows, use them for networking and prospecting. Most-importantly, only hire team members with a proven track record of performance. Having inexperienced employees on the team can feel like working in a vacuum with all the questions, training and mentoring required.

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Q: What is SEO Audit?

A: We call our SEO audit an “SEO Strategic Plan” and it’s broken into several parts based on our client’s business model. The standard “one size fits all” audits we perform include the following:

What is Technical Obstacle Analysis?

The “tech report” as it’s called by our clients’ webmasters includes between 70-80 technical search engine optimization focal points in a table with columns for Priority, Criteria, Testing Tool Used, Google Developer Link, Video Walk-Through and Passed/Failed. Specific items addressed are those that our data has shown to improve keyword rankings over time, such as URL parameter handling and pagination, page speed, caching, and file compression, along with mobile optimization. The newest additions to our audit include Voice-Readiness and Google’s E-A-T/YMYL signals that became popular after the 2018 Google “Medic” Update. This report also includes screenshots, mockups and examples.

Competitive Analysis Report

Our team takes a deep dive into competitor metrics, such as the value and quantity of inbound links, age of the website (not domain), structured markup used, page load times, top-linked page, top content, and other focal points that are playing a role in competitors’ inbound traffic. Third party metrics are used as more of an FYI when second opinions are requested, but our team rarely uses them in gauging our own performance (examples include MozRank, AHREFS Rank, etc).

Link Analysis & Strategy

This forensic audit looks to identify potentially harmful inbound links and includes a Buzzstream-ready .csv file for our clients to begin the cleanup initiative quickly. A link intersect of the top 20-50 competitors will reveal where the industry earns links, which is also Buzzstream-ready in .csv format. Creative “link bait” ideas are put together by the entire team to help attract links versus having to perform outreach full time.

Keyword Discovery & Content Strategy

We offer two levels of keyword planning, one for SMB and another for enterprise. For SMB’s, we’ll run a keyword intersect from top competitors, and then help identify search terms their competitors are performing well for that our client is not, along with advice and recommendations on how to apply those learnings toward their content strategy. For enterprise, we recommend a full Taxonomy Plan, which typically takes 90-120 days to complete. This research takes in account all non-brand keywords from competitors organized into tabs in an Excel workbook, broken into keyword clusters within tabs based on user intent, with an end result being a new or modified information architecture based on how users search the Web vs how the business wants to present their content. We also look for questions in SEMrush’s new Keyword Magic Tool and in Storybase, which become the catalyst for a long-term content marketing plan with emphasis on Google Voice and Featured Answers.

Multi-Location SEO Strategy

Many of our local clients have multiple locations or are a franchise. In this situation, we’ll build an Local SEO Strategy to address data management, local landing page optimization, business listing-earning, and online reputation managements.

E-Commerce SEO Strategy

Based on the CMS of the website, our E-Commerce SEO Strategy will address how the website handles product categories, product detail pages, and marketing content. We’ll also look at comparison shopping engine feeds when applicable.

Those are foundation audits and strategies in addition to the special needs many clients have when they come to us.

Q: Where businesses get SEO wrong?

A: The biggest mistake we see businesses make is around complacency when it comes to page design and page-level SEO. They think their 1,000 words of text and stock image will be sufficient to outrank a page that is custom designed with unique imagery, video and helpful features. We also see a lot of businesses get stuck in “set it and forget it” mindsets, which isn’t something you can do in a race to the #1 spot (we learned that in school with the turtle and the hair story didn’t we?).

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Q: Core Values & Best Choice for Problem-Solving?

A: Our team hails from agencies and corporations around the globe, many of which treated customers or SEO best practices wrong, bringing us together with a sole desire for transparency and client education, which make up our core values. We don’t claim to be the best at problem-solving, but we do get a lot of referrals from peers and respected agencies who need thought leadership and senior expertise when troubleshooting keyword ranking issues or solving for a major CMS upgrade. With over 20 years of experience behind us, there’s really nothing we haven’t seen or any issue we weren’t able to solve for.

Q: What type of customer would benefit the most from your services?

A: Where we really shine when it comes to SEO is in the areas of e-commerce websites and multi-location or franchise brands. We’re currently responsible for the local and organic strategies for a combined 10,000 locations, all of which have seen upwards of 20% growth year over year. E-commerce is a favorite because we can calculate ROI much easier, multi-location is harder to track online to offline, but is still one of our favorite verticals.

At Wiideman Consulting Group, we’ve crossed the line between passion and addiction when it comes to search engine marketing. We are data geeks who love to test, experiment, and study changes in search engine ranking factors. We thrive from continuous learning and enjoy celebrating success, especially when that success is a client recovering from a Medic or Penguin update after a Core update. If we have our way, by 2020 the industry will have learned to be more transparent, business owners will feel more educated in what to expect from an SEO initiative, and SEO’s will be focused on doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

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