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Interview: Michael Rotkin President/CEO Universityloveconnection.com

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I was interested in getting some feedback from a conference attendee’s perspective and I ran into Michael Rotkin President/CEO of universityloveconnection.com and Hydroponicswholesale.com. Michael’s take on the conference was interesting to me given the nature of his sites.

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He has his online matchmaking service, which is an extremely competitive space and would be handled very differently than his other site which specializes in a much more niche area – gardening.

His SEO needs for those 2 businesses will be quite distinct. On one hand he’s working in a ‘people’ business where the primary goal would be signups for his program. On the other hand, he has a product oriented site where is directly attempting to market hard goods.

We sat down after lunch on the last day and had an informal Q&A about his impressions of SES San Jose 2005.

Since we’re both Mikes, we’ll use last names for the Q & A format:

McD: So as far as the conference goes, you had indicated to me earlier that you were here primarily seeking information about algorithms and the more organic techniques for SEO. Is that accurate?

Rot: Yes, that’s right. My primary motivation for attending the conference was to learn more about the algorithms and the link popularity. There were a few aspects of the algorithms that I was unclear on. I had attended a seminar here 4 or 5 years ago and the information about algorithms was pretty general. They didn’t have PPC then. But this year I learned a lot in the algorithm sessions, particularly from Dr. Garcia. Then I learned a little more after the Yahoo! party. After a few drinks a couple of guys were a little more loose lipped with some of their own methods and practices.

McD: So all in all, have you been satisfied with your investment (time, travel, money etc) in SES? Do you plan on returning?

Rot: Oh definitely. After the very first session on the algorithms, I came out of there and just at that point even I felt like if I didn’t learn a single thing beyond that, it was all very much worth coming.

McD: Can you share the top two or three things you’re going to take out of here, go home, and use right now?

Rot: Oh yeah, definitely. I actually started last night changing all my content as far as making it more user friendly. I made a real effort to put myself in the position of my retail customers. Trying to add more content that would better suit what they want to hear and what they might be trying to query in order to find my stuff. Anything on my site that is copied, anything duplicated on my sites from page to page, I’m removing that now. Link popularity was a big one. I’ve learned here a lot about link popularity too. I know now that I don’t really have to have 5000 links to necessarily do well. I’ve learned how to better check and evaluate links using things like ‘link:’ queries and how to evaluate them.

McD: There seems to be a lot of talk about consumer based or user generated content and how that can be/should be optimized. Are you planning on doing anything in this area? Do you plan to put an effort or focus on optimizing your content for specific search terms or phrases or do you plan to go at it from the angle that you’ll just focus on keeping good content as it naturally develops and letting it take care of itself for the most part?

Rot: Yes, I’m planning to come up with good content for each page on an individual basis and kind of treat them all as distinct opportunities to result for different key words and phrases. Before, I did not do that. More importantly maybe, I’m going to really be focusing on the first 15-30 words on my pages. I’ve also learned to focus on words that are nouns. Avoid verbs or action words and really hone in on nouns.

McD: Are you doing any PPC marketing now or have you had any experiences with that at all?

Rot: Actually, you know I tried it for about a month roughly a year or so ago. But I’m not really into that because I have so many competitors in my space that just drive it up too much. On the university dating site, I have about 450 universities listed with some extremely competitive terms. What I noticed was, that for one of the universities I was using for a keyword, it shot up from about 2 clicks to about 200 clicks in one single day. So, I knew that had to be spam and I’m just really more interested in the SEO side. I like doing the work myself and not having to worry about whether or not the clicks I get are real.

One thing I did learn in a conversation with John Glick was about the paid inclusion. To go ahead and use that as a test on your secondary pages to see what would actually happen so I will try to use those for some testing.

Mcd: Have you heard about the Google site maps and do you plan on using those?

Rot: I just did hear about those in the last session I attended on crawlers. That’s definitely plan to work on that tonight some.

McD: There’s clearly a big movement among the major engines to improve local search. IYP (internet yellow pages) superpages.com, sources like these are being picked up and used by the engines as a provider of data for local search. You don’t even need a site really to have a listing in those, and they are resulting in the regular SERPs now. The profile pages used in these superpages type-sites can certainly be another inroad to the SERPs.

Rot: I’m glad you brought that up. They mentioned that in one of the sessions I attended but it didn’t really register with me. I really hadn’t thought enough about local but that’s a good tip.

McD: Well it sounds like you’ve had a pretty good week. I’m glad you feel like you picked up some good info and direction here.

Rot: Oh yes, I’ve learned a lot and have plenty to do to keep busy. But there has definitely been a lot of good information here.

Mike is a manager at iEntry. He has been with iEntry since 2000.

Interview: Michael Rotkin President/CEO Universityloveconnection.com
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  • Jeff

    Good find Webpro!

  • seo-resource.net

    Wow we just had to comment that this article has helped me. This I am sure is only bits and pieces but it helps. Thanks

  • Brian

    I read your article that Mike Mcdonald wrote about you and would like to email you and have you review my website, in which you will be compensated to bring in traffic and unique vistors; By controlling our industry.
    Thanks Brian

  • http://www.bulgariasfinest.com Jim

    Local search has taken time to be upon us, nearly there

  • http://www.scrabblecheat.org Scrabble Cheat

    very interesting itw. I notice two or tree tips taht I may use. Scrabble Cheat

  • http://www.myvillagegreen.com marc

    Michael is great on Seo, we hired him 3 years ago and he helped is on Seo and Adwords become engaged