Charlie Williams from Screaming Frog will be speaking at SearchStars the 10th of October, in this post you’ll get to know him a bit better.
Q. Do you have any favourite quote?
No, I don’t. Maybe I should get one! I do like a lot of Ernest Hemmingway’s thoughts on the creative process, especially around simplicity and having a purity of purpose. For example, perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Overall though, I’d say I have more of a motto: simplification is amplification.
Q. Which digital marketeers do you follow for inspiration?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great SEO minds and love chatting with the team at Screaming Frog for inspiration.
Away from my own office, I love hearing what Will Critchlow and the folks at Distilled are cooking up. Dan Shure’s writing & podcasts are always a great source of ideas. Aleyda Solis, Stephen Kenwright, Ian Lurie and Dawn Anderson for general SEO goodness.
Larry Kim, Bill Slawski and David Mihm’s weekly newsletter get me thinking about ways to approach SEO. Plus Nick Eubanks for keyword research, Talia Wolf for conversion optimisation, Joanna Wiebe for copywriting, Sean Malseed for tools and Barry Adams for technical SEO. I’m going to have forgotten some!
Q. What blogs/vlogs/podcasts do you follow?
The afore-mentioned Experts on The Wire podcast from Dan Shure is rapidly becoming my go-to recommendation. It’s a cliché, but I regularly check out the Moz blog – don’t always agree with everything, but there’s plenty of great stuff, especially some of the Whiteboard Fridays
The Built Visible blog has some great dives into more advanced topics, and The SEM Post and Search Engine Land cover new developments. Otherwise, I tend to read from a lot of different sources, often from following recommendations on Twitter or from those I know.
Q. What´s in your digital toolbox? Any favourites?
I’m lucky enough to have access to a lot of tools. And, worryingly, I have over a hundred sites bookmarked (I just checked). Here’s some of my favourites:
- For most projects, access to a visibility tool, to see what’s working, analyse the competition and start keyword topic research, is vital. SEMrush and Searchmetrics are both great for this.
- Ahrefs also has some great keyword visibility data, and I also have it as a favourite for its main offer – backlink profiles. Alternatively, Majestic’s link data and metrics are hard to beat. I tend to use both whenever possible.
- For keyword research, as well as SEMrush or Ahrefs, I love using StoryBase (paid), Answer The Public, KeywordTool.io, Infinite Suggest, Term Explorer, Moz’s Keyword Explorer (paid), Google Trends, Seed Keywords, SEO Monitor’s Topic Explorer (paid) and SERPWoo’s Keyword Finder. These I use to find ideas and variants to throw into one of the big tools or GrepWords to get volume data.
- I’m spending a lot of time with Google’s Data Studio to create dashboards and reports; it’s a great way to use Google Analytics data (which is of course a vital part of any SEO’s toolbox)
- The collection of tools over at RankTank is not only helpful, it shows how you can build niche tools to suit your own work.
- And you’ll have to forgive me here, but I use the Screaming Frog SEO Spider pretty much every day. As well as crawling sites, I tend to use if for checking lists of URLs (such as for migration testing, or seeing if links are still live) and scraping data from pages or the SERPs. And I’d have said that before I joined the team!
Q. What do you think the next big trend in digital marketing will be?
A tough question. In SEO I think we’ll see a reinvigoration of technical SEO skills as search possibilities become more sophisticated. I also expect a big part of that to be a growth in the need for SEO to help with information architecture, as we try and create sites that can appeal at each stage of the increasingly segmented buying cycle.
I also believe we’ll see the amalgamation of PR and link building. Specifically, as cheap and dirty link building tactics lose effectiveness (and they haven’t yet entirely) and we understand more the influence of brand strength in search we’ll simply be hired to get attention. As this happens, our digital PRs and link builders will need to work together, and eventually integrate, to form units of excellence.