Appreciation is a virtue. I try to be as much grateful as I can, especially during those crazy Covid-19 days, where being healthy and have a job are not grunted.
I feel I owe a big portion of my SEO career success to those who guided me, those who thought me everything I know, gave me the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, or motivated me to take an action by introducing a new concept that grabbed my attention.
But actually, there’s more than that. I’d love to take this opportunity and pass this knowledge on, to the SEO community.
So why you should keep reading?
Because I will give one thing I learned from each one of my mentors along the way, which I believe might bring you value as well. My hope is that same as I was inspired by those people and took an action to learn more, you would do the same.
I divided my mentors to 4 categories, based on their expertise:
1 .Best for Technical SEO
2. Best for SEO & Data Analysis
3. Best for Python Skills for SEO & Coding Motivation
4. Best for In-House SEO & Mentoring
Best for Technical SEO
Most of my technical SEO knowledge was earned by working closely with George and Malcolm. Those two gentlemen have an unreal amount of knowledge and experience.
They have thought me everything I know about JS based websites, crawling and indexing, working with servers, advanced SEO tools and much more. Here’s a fraction of what I took from each one of them:
Malcolm Slade, Director of SEO at Epiphany
Malcolm introduced me to spoof staging environment with hosts file.
I was working with Akamai and needed to test in their staging environment. Akamai allows you to test your rules and configuration on the staging environment before pushing to production.
You do that by spoofing your host file to trick your computer into reaching a specific IP rather than resolve on DNS. You can read more about how to use the hosts file to fake DNS here.
Malcolm – always will be my #1 SEO out there.
George Prodromou, Technical SEO Director at Ayima
George was the main force behind setting a comprehensive caching solution, when migrated from the old ‘Escaped Fragment’ to Dynamic Rendering solution (long story).
The diagram below, structured by George, demonstrate how to properly pre render and cache your content, with the use of an internal caching server.
This technique enables quick and efficient crawling for search engines and helps avoid cache misses due to content not delivered in a timely manner (happens when resources needs to be downloaded, parsed and page needs to be painted – all on the fly).
And that’s just a fraction of what George thought me, and his super advanced technical SEO skills that amazed me back then, and still amaze me today.
George – it will be my pleasure if we’ll have the chance to work together again, in the future.
Best for SEO & Data Analysis
Martin Sean Fennon, SEO Director at Ayima
One of the scenarios we’ve experienced in one of our websites, was the removal of one of our websites from Google SERP, one bright day. We started to investigate immediately but couldn’t find any clue that will lead us to the problem and the solution.
This is where Martin stepped in, and in no time figured this out. Apparently, the issue was with the ‘content-type’ header bug, which was miss-configured due to a bug in a release to production. I will write a separate post on this case study, to teach those who are not familiar with this potential risk.
Thanks Martin, for that and much more!
Best for Python Skills for SEO & Coding Motivation
Tom Pool, Tech SEO Director at Blue Array
First time I heard Tom speaking was at BrightonSEO 2018, where he presented this amazing presentation on Command Line Hacks for SEO. This presentation blew my mind, and I even had the chance to have a few words with Tom later this day.
Next week, I came back to office and started to play with those cool stuff Tom thought me, using a simple CMD to check things like HTTP header status, automatically sort / filter/ manipulate data in csv files via CMD commands, create and combine files, check internal links, log file analysis and more.
Then, it hit me. For the first time I thought about the power of combining data analysis and technology. And that was the first step that took me later to the next phase, of learning Python to improve speed, scalability, and automation.
Tom – thank you so much for sharing this knowledge with the community!
Hamlet Batista, CEO at RankSense
For me this is a love story. Thanks to Hamlet I fell in-love with Python (After my first wife, of course 😊).
I joined Twitter and found Hamlet there, pitching about the use of Python for SEO. Perhaps even saw one of his slides online, prior to that. Not sure exactly why, but his tweets built so much motivation into me, that I decided I need to learn Python, build a tool and show him my work.
Additionally, it had a perfect match with my SEO business needs, as we just received access to our log files, and had to have a tool that can analyze millions of log files (which is hard to do with so many separated log files by date and Excel, right?) fast and efficient.
So, I took 6 (different levels) online Python courses and implemented what I’ve learned by building two cool Python tools. You can read more about them here:
These days I’m refactoring the existing tools, and working on 2 new tools for Revenue Optimization for SEO (blending data from log files, Tableau, GSC API) and Automation for Technical SEO Competitor Research (blending data from SERP by keyword, first 10 blue links, crawled HTML pages for schema use etc., Google Page Speed API for speed metrics and more)
Hamlet – I keep follow you on Twitter and LinkedIn, the knowledge you spread to the world is just unbelievable…. So advanced and ROI oriented. Thank you for sharing!
Best for In-House SEO & Mentoring
Dudi Nakdimon, Head of SEO at Ladbrokes Coral
After working 5.5 years in a small startup as a product manager (and SEO + PPC + customer support at the same time, as happens in small startups), I decided that I need to go back doing SEO, because that is my real passion.
Also, reality made it happen, as this small startup, which was sold to a Silicon Valley based company two years earlier, has shifted his core business and left us behind. It is not unusual, though, to see big companies buying those small startups, just to absorb their knowledge and expertise, and then cut them off.
I learned so much and did so many things, some for the first time, and was lucky enough to lead with my friends a brand-new product in a competitive US market from scratch to 5 digits in just about 3 years.
So, I joined Dudi’s team as a technical SEO (and a team lead later on), and helped him with some BIG challenges, such as managing JS based websites with millions of users, for some of the biggest sport and casino brands in the UK market.
Dudi is one of the top SEO’s in the online gambling industry, with more than a decade of working in this super competitive market. But even more – Dudi is the perfect mentor for success, organizational political skills (how to get your SEO buy-in internally), the importance of SEO education and much more.
Dudi is a typical middle east persona; full of emotions, direct in language, and always devoted to his team and work. Our team’s slogan, hanged by him on the window, next to our desk, was: “Assumption is the mother of all ****-ups”, which demonstrates the level of depth Dudi has went into, always taking the extra mile.
If you think about it, probably many of our decisions are, unfortunately, based on assumptions, and not on facts. I learned from Dudi to always doubt, always ask questions, always validate and act based on facts and data.
I learned from Dudi how to communicate our SEO needs with senior management, and how to get them in, based on a comprehensive business cases, competitor research and data analysis presented to them.
I learned their language, what moves the needle for them, and try to educate them as much as possible on SEO – but in a simple way, KPI based, simple words and simple graphs. Follow the KIS rule (Keep it simple).
Just before we say goodbye
If you think any of the topics below worth its own piece, please ping me and I’ll make sure to go deeper into those areas and provide all details on those unique SEO case studies.