A Conversation with John Shiple, CEO of FreelanceCTO
By UCLA X425 Student Gayle Baigelman
Despite rumors to the contrary, John Shiple is not a nerd.
Yes, he went to MIT. Yes, he invented Pop Up Ads. Yes, he is a key player in the L.A. technology ecosystem.
But he also uses poetic metaphors:
“Think of this like architecture; I’m the guy who knows how to build the building, but you don’t want me to pick the paint colors.”
John made this and many other metaphoric statements during a discussion about developing effective SEO technology and structure. He described SEO as “a language to talk to robots so humans can understand you better.” If your structure is wrong, ultimately your content won’t matter (because it won’t be found).
“KLOUT is the beginning of our social FICO score.”
FICO scores are what lenders use to determine who to give credit to and at what rates. John sees a time when all of our personal branded social media portals will be measured and judged in a combined, very sophisticated manner, and the measurements will be used by multiple audiences in a variety of ways.
“SEO is a war.”
There are both ethical (“White Hat”) and unethical (“Black Hat”) people/methods out there, and that poses a challenge as people in the same business compete for the same keywords.
John provided insightful and useful information to our class in a style that was uniquely relaxed. In his role “translating tech into English” (he referred to himself as “a glorified translator”), John described a two-part SEO framework for our class. First, you need to set things up the right way (structure), and then you need to focus on how things are executed.
SEO is not only about Search Engine Optimization (how to rank high in search results) — it’s also about Ad Engine Optimization, Site Content Optimization, Monetization Optimization, and Reputation Optimization.
Structuring your site optimally for SEO involves page elements (titles, descriptions, metatags, etc.), and inbound and outbound links. The “Google robots” look at these items to try to understand your site. With all of that considered, ultimately the key to good SEO is to strive for high quality, fresh ideas and dynamic engagement opportunities.
SEO interpretation is very much a marketing/editorial/copywriting task. You want to use your well-researched keywords, utilize what John described as “short, magical phrases,” and LINK everything everywhere that makes sense. I’ll repeat, “that makes sense,” otherwise you will get punished!
John referenced several useful tools to help you through the quagmire of information (Google AdWords, Adsense, Webmaster tools, Search Engine Land, SEOmoz.org). Google analytics was cited as well.
According to dictionary.com, a “nerd” is “a boring or unpopular person, especially one obsessed with something specified.” John was an engaging, quietly confident and dynamic speaker who managed to impart the importance, creativity and complexity of all the aspects of SEO. There was nothing boring about his obsessions!