SEO Smackdown 3.0

September 30th, 2019

by Josh Janowiak

After two highly engaged and attended SEO Smackdowns, we brought back this popular panel topic to kick off the 2019-2020 season with a bang. Get ready for some heated debates, the most current information, and fascinating perspectives on the ever-changing and quickly evolving word of SEO. Our panelists discuss and debate current trends including voice search, algorithm changes, site optimization, maximizing Google My Business, along with many SEO tools and hacks.

Panel Moderator

Rebecca Dutcher

The owner of RED66 Marketing. Yes, the RED comes from her bold hair. And, if you didn’t know, the 66 was her jersey number when she was the first girl to play football at 8 years old. Rebecca has always had a passion for marketing, and building strong relationships with clients – by offering honest input and feedback, and has a firm belief in doing what you say you’re going to do. She is the incoming president of the American Marketing Association and belongs to the board of directors for GROW and FSA Counseling. She is also a member of Launch Terre Haute, The Startup Ladies and the GROW EmpowerHER program.

Meet the Panel

Jason Dodge

Jason Dodge is the founder and chief strategist at search marketing firm, BlackTruck Media + Marketing, where he works to ensure clients’ business objectives are translated into online marketing strategies that work. His passion for the ever-evolving world of search has only grown over his 17-plus years in the industry, eventually caving into his entrepreneurial nature and founding BlackTruck in 2009.

Named one of Grand Rapids’ 40 Under Forty Business Leaders, he is active in the community serving on the Executive Board of Directors for the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, the Leadership Counsel for Small Business Association of Michigan and a regular contributor to the Grand Rapids Business Journal.

Cayley Mosca

With 14 years of SEO experience in B2B and B2C markets, Cayley Mosca has served as both an in-house SEO resource as well as an agency partner. She has optimized through countless algorithm updates and has adapted strategically as digital shifted from desktop-only to mobile-first. In her current role at CDK Global, Cayley focuses creating and integrating best-in-class SEO tools and solutions for automotive OEMs and car dealerships’ websites, along with developing Managed SEO services at scale. She loves SEO for its balance of art and science and enjoys creating the perfect piece of content as much as writing structured data or diving deep into data to identify untapped areas of opportunity.

Caley Atkinson

Caley Atkinson is currently working at The Stow Company located in Holland, MI as a Digital Marketing Specialist. Caley has focused her time on building and delivering on the company’s digital success for eCommerce, Direct to Consumer and Retail brands. Caley’s passion has been in providing the best overall digital performance for the end consumer and to The Stow Company’s network of closet dealers.

She specializes in creating custom digital campaigns to help reach The Stow Company’s annual goals. While not at work, she spends most of her time with her two small children and husband on the lakeshore.

David VandeWaa

With a master’s degree in English, certifications in search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing automation, and nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing, David VandeWaa brings a deeply nuanced understanding to everything from high-level marketing strategy to the nitty-gritty details of implementation. He has significant agency experience, occasionally freelances as a digital marketing consultant, and has a publishing contract for a book on digital marketing in the legal industry. He has recently moved to an in-house content marketing role at OST in Grand Rapids to leverage his knowledge and experience for a truly remarkable brand that helps customers bridge the distance between insights, technology and strategy—in smart, meaningful ways that yield transformative results.

Panel Questions

  • Tell us about your experience – in SEO/SEM and overall web marketing, how did you get into it and what do you like most?
  • What are some of the trends you’re seeing in the website(s) that you manage?
    • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life)
    • Structured Data
    • Voice Search
    • One H1 per page
    • SERPS & Heading tags
      • Crawlability of your site
  • Any SEO quick wins you could recommend to companies who are just beginning to look at making improvements in their SEO?
  • What are your thoughts on SEO and PPC (SEM) going together. Does Paid search support organic ?
  • How have you seen Mobile First impact your website or that of your clients? What have you done to correct, or to ensure the site is ready?
  • What can companies do with their website or local “properties” like GMB for Local Search. How much of local search is a factor for small businesses who might serve regionally or nationally?
  • Can you tell us about Featured Snippets and Position Zero?
  • For those who might be managing a WordPress based website, are there any plugins you love to help with SEO, or offer any insights on any Schema markup?
  • IS Google the only search engine we should be concerned about? Or, how does a company ensure their website is relevant for all search engines?
  • What are other top factors in site ranking – besides content and mobile first?

Audience questions

  • How would you recommend cleaning up old blogs on a website? Should I delete them, setup redirects, how far back should you go, and do you have any recommendations for that process?
  • When removing old content, is there a value to setting a 301 redirect to a non-related topic,  if you don’t have good matching content versus just redirecting to the homepage to avoid the 404, or does it really matter? Will this have implications on SEO?  Is it a negative impact in Google?
  • If your content is performing well but its old, does google consider how old content is or just what the content says?
  • In regard to tracking structured data though UTMs, do you find that custom htmls are the best way to do that? 
  • How does SEO and pay per click work together?
  • What are the best ways to show up on the first page of Google Search results and more particularly, how to show in the top three organic listing results?
  • What can businesses do to enhance their local search results?
  • Is the Moz listing still a thing and if so, how does that play into search results?
  • If you don’t serve your customers at a local business, should you still claim a local business, and if so, how would you go about doing that?
  • We’re headquartered in Grand Rapids but we have sales reps in Ohio, Indiana and the Great Lakes Region, how should we register our Google business listing, and can we claim a service area?
    • So would you then recommend registering the home addresses of the sales reps in each service area?
  • You mentioned not using flippy boxes on websites, which is understandable on mobile platforms but can you use them on desktop versions and hide them on mobile?
    • We started designing a webpage with flippy boxes, is there anything we can use to replace them that also works well on mobile, or should we just eliminate the flippy boxes altogether?
  • Is ADA Compliance important and how does it tie into SEO?
    • Do we know what the implications will be for not being compliant?