An Interview with Jim Spencer By Casey Yandle

A friend of mine on Twitter @cyandle sent me these questions to answer and post on my blog.  He is also posting the same interview on his blog, Creative Daylight so check his answers out too.

1. How long have you been working in website design and marketing and what attracted you to it?

JBS Partners started in 2002 providing website design and hosting services.  Thankfully the website business has grown as more services have been added to meet client demand.   The attraction to the work includes my interest in art and design, computer and technology as well as general business and Internet marketing.  These are all wrapped up in my website design and marketing business, which is pretty cool.

2. In your opinion, what’s the measure of a good SEO/PR/Blogging professional?

If you think about the design process for a new website, it moves along a design and development continuum.  The SEO work needs to start at the beginning so that the key word research can inform the information architecture, page structure and titles and content.  Clients are pleased when they start to see prospective clients hitting their website and filling out forms, even though we are still fine tuning or tweaking the not-quite-completed website.  Getting results out of the gate is a good measure.

3. Whose Blog do you read the Most?

Mine of course. Each article has to be drafted, written, proof read and then reread.  I used to read Aaron Wall’s SEOBook a lot and the SEOMoz blog.  These are good resources for general knowledge and industry trends.  Lately, I spend more time on IM and Twitter sharing and learning with others, which leads to reading a diverse range of blogs and websites across the Internet.

4. What’s your best “SEO secret” or blogging tactic?

No secrets here. Transparency and openness are the rule.  For some reason clients and SEO’s think that there is a silver bullet answer out there somewhere.  Some of these folks think that there is a lot of mystery.  Although there are a lot of moving parts, it is not a mystery.  The search engines are trying as hard as they can to think like humans.  My advice is to engage, participate and join in the conversation.  Write, comment, tweet, blog, interview and experiment.

5. Search engine algorithms are getting smarter, and a lot of people predict Organic SEO services will become obsolete. How do you plan to adapt?

My experience with clients suggests that they will continue to value and appreciate the blend of search and marketing advice that allows them to compete successfully in the market place.  That will never be obsolete.  There will continue to be best practices as well common practices that should be avoided.  We help our clients navigate these choices.

6. Please Describe the biggest challenge you face in your current job.

There are a couple of challenges, neither of which is insurmountable.  One is educating the prospective customer.  A lot of effort is required to explain abstract services to allow the value to be understood and then appreciated.

The next challenge is maintaining the momentum of a project.  Clients get distracted and project delays are introduced despite a genuine interest in the final results. I have even had clients tell me that they need to be nagged.  Calendar software is my friend.

7. Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in SEO, but doesn’t have a background in it, on how to get started in this field?

Read. You will quickly discern the garbage from the prize information.  Do.  There is no experience like experience.  Design, program, blog do these things and experiment.  Test, test, test, break things, fix them and break them again.  Make connections with knowledgeable people that will guide you and help you find the answers that you need.  Work for yourself or for an agency and then switch.  Understand both sides of that market.  Lastly, build your own properties to generate income.

8. If you could rank for any keyword phrase you don’t currently rank for, what would it be?

One could make a lot of money ranking for Viagra or similar terms, but I would be happy to rank for
boston website design or small business websites

9. Assuming you had never gone into website design and SEO, what would you be doing now?

Well, I was a systems administrator for a large mutual fund company and than a start-up, so I would likely still be involved with computers, networks, operating systems, domain name servers and the like.  And hopefully be in some type of customer facing role. I enjoy intermediating between people and computers.

If there was a departure with the past, I would likely be even more involved with Social Media tools (Twitter, WordPress, Linkedin, FaceBook, Flickr etc.) and helping clients understand and benefit of the new rules of marketing.

10. What’s Your Favorite professional sports team and why?

Living in Boston it feels quite natural to be a big Red Sox fan. I became a fan in 2004.  Before that the newspaper sports section was of no interest what-so-ever.  Now, I enjoy keeping up with baseball.  I have since learned that my grandfather was a Red Sox fan.  For some reason the other New England sports teams have not caught my interest, although I will watch play-offs.
Well that’s the end of our interview.

Thank you to @MelaniePhung for writing the questions for everyone.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@fairminder) !

Thanks to the following for their participation:

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