Barry Schwartz: Q&A Session

Q&A Session: Barry Schwartz

Barry’s Q&A Session is happening on March 31, 2015 (1pm EST)

Barry Schwartz is the President of RustyBrick, Inc., a Web services firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is a leading expert in the search engine marketing and optimization community. The Search Engine Roundtable is the search industry blog Barry runs – it is considered one of the most popular blogs in the industry. He is a moderator at Search Engine Watch Forums, one of the most respected search resource sites on the Internet. He also moderates at Cre8asite Forums and few other forums.

Barry has written and contributed many articles to the SEO community, by publishing in Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal,, SEO Today, WebProNews, LilEngine and SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization). Barry is commonly quoted and cited in publications including Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, TheStreet,, eWeek and many others.

Barry is the CEO of RustyBrick, Inc., a Web development firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. The company develops Web-based backoffice solutions, advanced e-commerce sites, custom web software and applications and consults in search engine marketing and analytics.

Barry is the search engine roundtable weblog’s site administrator and is responsible for the management of the site on a day to day basis. He will be posting on all types of search engine related topics.

For Barry’s full bio, go to Barry Schwartz on

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Barry Schwartz – President of RustyBrick, Inc -Transcript:

Barry Schwartz is the President of RustyBrick, Inc., a web services firm specializing in customized online technology. He also runs The Search Engine Roundtable, one of the most popular blogs in the industry.


The Q&A Session with Barry was held on March 31st, 2015. This transcript has been edited for punctuation, grammar, etc.

How did you hear about Online Geniuses? And why do people comment in your blog blaming you when they lose ranking?

David invited me; I’ve known him for some time.I think some blame me because they see it for the first time on my site and then need to take out their frustration somewhere.

I mean do they think you have anything to-do with the Google algo?

I don’t know what they think.

What are the best practices for schema markup for SEO purposes? Should I put it on every page?

Be careful with schema markup for SEO purposes. Do not put them on “every” page, only pages that warrant it. Google has cracked down on a lot, and they’ve said you don’t put them on category pages, etc. It depends on the schema, but read the guidelines carefully.

So, put schema on Pages and Posts? Thanks.

For the most part, yes. But there is also business schema that you can use on contact us pages, etc.

Okay very cool, thanks. I was looking into getting schema hardcoded into the template files of theme post and pages.

Where would you point someone when they want to learn more about app store SEO etc.?

I do run a few sessions on app store SEO; there isn’t a whole lot out there on that topic. It is constantly changing, but I can recommend a few people such as Ian Sefferman and Justin Briggs on that topic.

Out of all the apps you developed which has been the most successful?

I am most proud of our Siddur App, Jewish prayer book – not sure what you mean by “success”?

I created a new website and am about to do a roll over. Any advice?

A roll over navigation menu? You want it to be search engine friendly? Use CSS, not JavaScript, although Google can index most JavaScript these days.

I mean, redesigning my website. I want to launch without hurting the current SEO.

Then you should be fine – just make sure the URLs of the roll overs in the source code are visible, if not, make footer navigation to the pages and submit XML sitemaps.

What drastic changes do you see happening to SEO within five years?

Probably the most drastic changes in SEO will be around how searchers consume search results (i.e. mobile is big now but soon wearables, cars, appliances, etc.), and I also expect links in five years not to be that important in Google’s algo.

I heard you don’t do SEO, you just write about it. Why?

I do not offer SEO services. I will help people an hour there or here with strategy, but I don’t do SEO services. I don’t do it for others because (1) it can skew my writing and objectivity and (2) I have a hard time selling something I don’t have 100% control of.

Any suggestions or hacks people are using to get visibility into their own analytics to actually see which keywords are driving traffic?

Not that much. I’d recommend using Google Webmaster Tools search queries report, and there is a beta out to some users called the Search Impact report, which shows a lot more data in many other ways.

What link building/promotional methods do you think will survive algorithm updates / Google feeling like they’re naughty five years from now that’s being used today?

At this rate, none – not even natural links. It is just crazy how wide the spectrum has gone with what is a valid natural link and what is not.

Favorite thing to come out of JewGlass?

Thelinks ;-0

What are you best practices for WordPress SEO? Favorite Plugin?

I am told Yoast rules. I build everything custom, I don’t like using open source packages. I want full control.I know Search Engine Land uses WordPress and Yoast. My other sites are custom built.

How important do you think SSL is for ranking nowadays? What’s your experience with that?

For ranking in Google, not so important. I migrated sites over and saw no noticeable change in ranking or traffic. But if you are building a new site, doesn’t hurt to start with HTTPS.

Did somebody really threaten to kill you over losing ranking?

Yes, but not sure if they were serious. I’ve been threatened many times over many search topics.

What’s the story behind it?

Most were over email; the one I was most concerned about was at one SMX event. Someone said they will come with a gun, find me and shoot me dead. No clue who it was, but they emailed several times with details of how they will do it. They never ended up killing me.

As a web developer, I want to ask what type of coding makes a template search engine friendly?

There isn’t a specific set of code that makes a template search engine friendly. The easiest thing is to test the page you designed using Google Webmaster Tools “Fetch and Render” tool, and it will output what Google is able to see and index. If it shows the content you want, then you are pretty much search engine friendly. Although this is a big topic I can write a book on, so hard to answer that in an AMA.

What’s your experience with GWT data being ‘estimates?’

The delay in GWT is annoying, but for the most part it’s pretty accurate. Some reports are not, but most of them are very useful.

Please don’t kill me… But why do you sell links on your site?

You want to buy some?

How much?

I think $350 per month 😉

In a post or just side bar?

Only side bar. Never in posts.And they are no followed.

Seriously Barry. You don’t care about organic?

I said that?

Selling links, I have to assume.

They are no followed.

Aaah, missed that part.

No problem.

And what’s your opinion about the groupon no-index test, showing not only organic traffic dropped, but also direct traffic due to the noindex.

Didn’t see it myself, but makes sense that no Google traffic would result in less direct traffic. Less eye balls. Less referrals and direct.

It was one day. You should check it out.

Willdo. Thx.


How much time do you spend reading old webmaster and SEO forums?

An hour a day.

That’s about what I spend inside an RSS reader. Hmm.


What do you think about the term “growth hacking?”

Won’t last.

The reddit AMA I did was a bit more active. 😉

Yes, r/BigSEO has 7k members. We have 180 in #ama.

I know. I’m kidding. Plus getting on slack is harder.

It’s all good… We are pretty new.

Was the /r/BigSEO AMA a good experience?

Sure. Was fun. Some really solid questions.

What’s a better back link for local business? Dmoz or BBB?

I would think BBB.

So,in regards to SEO Alexa 1000> which site would you give the most props to?

I’m not sure what you mean. I’m sorry.

I mean who’s doing a kick ass job at SEO?

I really don’t know. I didn’t do a study on the best sites by SEO.

Is Google transparent enough?

Yes and no. Sometimes too transparent. Sometimes not transparent enough. They need to be more consistent on their transparency.

We have our website for which domain rank is 42. In our domain, top ranks are occupied by domains like shopifu and bigcommerce. Domain rank 90+ Can we realistically compete with them for top fold? We are in 7/8 position now.

Domain rank is a metric from Moz? Trying to figure out which terms you are using.

Yeah,it is from Moz.

Oh, you mean Domain Authority.

Oops, sorry. Yeah.

I don’t use their tools that often – if you give me a keyword phrase, I can tell you if it is worth it.

Sure. Our website is www.zapstitch.comkeyphrase: integrate shopify and quickbooks online.

So you want to rank for

You got it.

How many peopleactually search for that specific phrase? 40 per month.

Seems like low search volume, but saturated in terms of pages trying to rank for it, including shopify’s app pages. I think it is attainable.

What are the weapons for the fight? Imean the domain authority and age is huuuge.

These days, links. I would just get people to link to you by building something interesting that gets exposure.

Is there a keyword tool that you personally use and recommend aside from Google’s? I’ve heard good things about Long Tail Pro.

Nope, I don’t really do keyword research and if I did, I’d use AdWords and Google Trends.

How much of an impact do you think CTRs in the SERPs play in rankings? And do you think that Google will move towards UX having more of an impact on rankings than it currently does?I know you mentioned Google moving away from links in the future in an earlier question.

Google says none, but they are always wishy-washy on that. I think UX does play a role, but not as much as link factors and content factors.

Alright. With mobilegeddon coming, I am of the opinion that Google will be moving towards UX having more of an impact than it currently does.

Oh, thought you meant UX on Google’s SERPs and how people interact with the search results page.

Sorry, didn’t make that distinction.

UX on mobile is going to be big on April 21st, very big and I suspect UX on desktop will happen also.

Alright, thanks everyone!

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