Search Engine Strategies (SES) San Jose is less than a month away and is always one of the biggest and most popular search marketing conferences all year. One of the speakers that will be featured at SES San Jose includes Michael Gray, President of Atlas Web Service. I had a chance to catch up with Michael to chat with him about a few of the topics he will be speaking on at SES San Jose, link building and SEO Rehab & Intervention - check out the interview below. 

[Manoj]: Do you think the importance of links has changed in terms of the weight they carry in an SEO Strategy?

[Michael Gray]: Well I guess that depends on the time frame you're looking at. Google's "Florida" update was the most significant change to the way links were evaluated. At that point trust/authority became the most important quality in a link's value. The tweak and make minor adjustment along the way but trust/authority is still the most important factor. IMHO they are placing to much weight on the trust factor which causes sites like Wikipedia to show up for more searches than it deserves too.

[Manoj]: We often hear about using link baiting as a strategy to attract more links, but is this a viable option for all types of businesses? What else can marketers do to attract links?

[Michael Gray]: IMHO spending time on link baiting and getting involved in social media is the most effective use of your time for link building. That said it's much easier for some topics/websites than it is for others. It's especially difficult for B2B websites or sites that have very little to do with consumers. If you aren't going to play the link bait angle the most reliable way of generating links is creating flagship quality that acts as a resource and is very linkable. Glossary's, How to Guides are two examples.

[Manoj]: Why has PageRank lost it's credibility over the years and do you think webmasters and marketers should play less attention to it?

[Michael Gray]: Pagerank isn't useless, but it's clearly broken, and nowhere near as useful as it used to be. Google has stated that in some circumstances they will actively go in and manually lower a sites page rank. This has a ripple effect on all sites "downstream". The key is to understand it's a quick down and dirty type metric. Use it in conjunction with Alexa and Compete, and when things don't line up it's probably a good idea to ignore the one that looks out of place.

[Manoj]: In your session: "SEO Rehab & Intervention" you guys will be touching on the topic of keyword density, How closely do search engines look at keyword density in their algorithms.

[Michael Gray]: Unless you are using an automated content creation tool, KWD density is a bizarre metric. You always want the KWD on the page but aiming for something like 6.8% density and 23.25% prominence ends up with a document that reads like a badly translated movie. When you have goals like that it's like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, it just doesn't work and the quality of your copy will suffer because of it. I'd much rather have a quality piece of content than a mediocre one with a higher KWD density.

[Manoj]: What are you looking forward to the most at SES San Jose?

[Michael Gray]: I always try to attend one or two sessions that are about a subject I don't normally deal with. It usually exposes me to some new ideas and things I may not have thought about before. No matter what level of SEO you are there's always room to learn something. Oh and did I mention the Google Dance? I actually got to spend some face time with some of the engineers on non search related products last time and made some suggestions for improvements.

July 28, 2008

Manoj has been in the Digital marketing industry for over 10 years with experience at some of Canada's largest companies: WestJet and Shaw Communications. Manoj first started in the search marketing industry with Enquiro Search Solutions, where he spearheaded web analytics, SEO Training and the development of cutting edge search marketing solutions for clients. Manoj is also an entrepreneur in the Mobile and Local Deals space.

Manoj is a Professional Speaker having participated at events such as Web Analytics Congress (Amsterdam), Emetrics, Web Analytics Xchange, WebTrends Engage, Internet Marketing Conference, Social Media Innovation Summit and Search Engine Strategies. He has also contributed to several leading online publications such as: Search Engine Land, Marketing Pilgrim, WebProNews, Search Engine Guide and the Web Analytics Assocation.

He founded and successfully sold Web Analytics World (a top 100 Digital Marketing Blog – and was voted #39th Most Influential Digital Marketer in North America – 2009 (see:


In the face of the tough competiton, Alexa is coming up with more and more user friendly and unique features. Ability to create own search enginem by giving access to the crawler is quite a novel feature in itself.

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Search Engine Guide > Manoj Jasra > Interview: Michael Gray on Link Building and SEO Intervention