Today, we are very honored to invite our UK ambassador Omi Sido. Omi is a seasoned international speaker and is known in the industry for his humour and ability to deliver actionable insights that audiences can immediately start using. From SEO consulting with some of the world’s largest telecommunications and travel companies to managing in-house SEO at HostelWorld and Daily Mail, Omi loves diving into complex data and finding the bright spots. Currently, Omi is a Senior Technical SEO at Canon Europe.
We’ve invited him to get to know him better.
Can you introduce yourself, tell us more about your specialties and why and how you started in the SEO world?
So, my name is Omi Sido. A lot of people know me because I am quite active online and currently I am Senior Technical SEO for Canon Europe. Before SEO, I used to be a Front end Developer and I used to do a lot of websites for big companies like Metfone Mobile. At that time, we talk about 6 or 7 years ago, there was nothing like digital marketing. Very quickly, I realized that internet would be big one day and traditional marketing had to evolved. With that in mind, when I was building those websites, I originally wanted them to be : first, findable and second, profitable. As you know, I’m still talking a lot about SEO being part of digital marketing and not a separate entity. The way I called it ranking to revenues. But basically that’s me, Omi Sido I normally talk about technical SEO, rankings and revenues. I’ll try to be as serious as possible!
You’ve been working for the Daily Mail, a very large online media and now for Canon Europe, a worldwide ecommerce website. What are for you the main differences in terms of SEO between an online media and an ecommerce website?
First, nobody ever asked me this question. The simple answer is, from a technical point of view, there is no difference regarding the type of website. I still have to crawl my website, using your software, at least once a month, I still have to check my GA at least once a day and I still have to check online visibility at least once a week. But saying that, there is a big difference in the business model. And I say often online, SEO should follow the business model. The Daily Mail business model is news which means they produce a lot of content every single day and they use tactics like clickbaiting. At Canon, we can’t do that, we need an educational SEO if I may call it like that. To be short, when it comes to technical SEO there is no difference but when it comes to content SEO, there is a big massive difference between Daily Mail because the business models are so far from each others that you can’t even compare them.
What are the 3 main lookout points when optimizing an ecommerce website like Canon Europe?
First, let’s go back to the business model. Canon is a manufacturing company. Only recently, we started selling our products directly on our website. In that way, we are still learning, trying to find what works for us. As you know, I’ve been working for a lot of e-commerce websites and companies so let me give you my top 3 tips:
- Permanently 301 redirect expired products URLs to the most relevant category. I hope I’m clear. I see it online and I really don’t understand why people don’t get it. Even if you exclude unavailable products from your navigation, consumers can still attempt to access this URL from bookmarks, blogs, affiliates links… On the other side, for users sake, don’t redirect to the homepage. It’s not only not good for SEO but it’s also very bad for users experience.
- To tweak and optimize category pages with keywords. Many SEOs don’t talk about category pages. So, in a way, treat category pages and landing pages regardless whether your site is a blog, an e-commerce or something else. Those pages are probably already ranking well or at top of the search. Therefore, make sure they provide the best user experience. On the other side, from a technical SEO point of view, category pages prevent individual pages from competing with each other in the SERPs. For example if you sell motorbikes elements, you should optimize the single product pages for something like brand, models, and after link them back to the category pages called motorbikes or motorcycles elements. This way the category pages will rank for “Motorcycles elements” and the specific product pages will rank a specific keyword so they are not going to compete in the SERPs. In another online composition, they are not called category pages, they are called hot pages for Daily Mail and we literally crashed it online!
- Categories and tags! Especially when we talk about duplicate categories and tags. When you have a category “Technical SEO”, you shouldn’t have a tag page “Technical SEO Tool”. If you do that, which one should Google rank first? The same goes for plural or single. We are going back with the elements. You shouldn’t be having an article appealing for two tags “Helmet” and “Helmets”. Fixing or plural, it sticks with you, for all your categories and tag terms.
What have been your biggest SEO challenges this past year?
To be honest with you, my biggest challenge in 2018 was migrating 56 Canon websites to HTTPS. This was my absolutely biggest challenge because I literally managed to involve the whole company in the process. I had this talk at Brighton SEO last year where I was talking about when migrating a website. During any migration including HTTPS migration, there is the idea of involving the whole company and educating them about SEO. This was my absolute biggest challenge last year and I’m proud to say that we saw an increase of 5% of visibility after migrating to HTTPS. But don’t ask me if HTTPS is a ranking factor or no, I don’t know. I’m just giving you the numbers.
You’re also working on side projects for clients. What are your next SEO projects?
With Canon or with clients, the biggest challenge this year is AMP. And it’s an old challenge to be honest. When I was working for Daily Mailing, I was the one who introduced AMP. We saw something like 14 % increased of daily visits after introducing AMP. This year, I want to do exactly the same with Canon or my clients. AMP is not new but the adoption is very low. There are a lot of pros and cons about AMP but whatever your opinion is, this year Google is introducing the so-called mobile-first indexing. So I strongly recommend people to start thinking very seriously about introducing AMP. I could easily say voice search and these stuffs but if the basic is not right there is no point looking up. The basic technical SEO should be solid.
My first tip is to really understand what AMP is. Many people don’t even know. And then just follow the rules letter by letter. Everything should be perfect. Google doesn’t recognize a page as AMP even for a tag that is already obsolete. But Google will still says “This is not an AMP page”. This is a very technical topic but it doesn’t mean that it is difficult.
You’re also very active on social media whether it is curating content, doing videos or sharing your best practices with the SEO community. What’s your strategy regarding personal branding?
Let’s start with obvious. As individuals, whether you like it or not, we all have a personal brand. You are Emma, he’s Peter… But personal branding for me, isn’t about a strategy. It’s about knowing who you are first and what you stand for and then finding ways to make that visible. Play yourself. It’s very simple. It’s all about boosting your passions, skills, understandings, visions online. This is the key to rising up in an overcrowded internet world. I’m not afraid to show my strengths and my weaknesses because people learn from me and I learn from them. When people see there is a human being, they like it.
What is Omi doing on his free time?
I’m crazy about football. I’m a big Chelsea fan. I watch football a lot. I love cooking, I’m not good at it but I like it. Recently I bought a house and everybody knows it via my Youtube channel. I’ve been doing a lot of building work. To be honest I don’t know anything about it and I’m learning everything from Youtube.
Finally, I would like to know how does it feels to be one of our ambassador? And what’s your most favorite Oncrawl feature?
It feels incredible to be an Oncrawl ambassador. I’ve been using Oncrawl and talking about your tool for a long time even before I knew you personally. In a way, to be part of the team, feels very stimulating. Reaching people, talking about this software, asking for their opinions, they ask me for my opinions… People know that I love SEO and Oncrawl is one of the best tool for technical SEO. Everybody knows that I am a big fan of logs analysis. Having a crawler and a log analyzer is a dream come true for every technical SEO around the world. The log analyzer is my absolute favorite feature and I hope it will evolve in the next months.
Thank you Omi for your time and your answers. It was very interesting to have you with us and to introduce you to our community. See you soon at Brighton SEO!
Feel free to watch the full interview or discover all our ambassadors.