“It was a combination of really smart people and a leadership mentality that I looked up to, that allowed me to grow, learn and focus on something that I enjoyed… I’m 45 years old, and to have a mentor in my career, that keeps me engaged and opens up a different lens to look at the industry, it’s hard to find when you try to continue to grow in an industry like this.”
Over the years, Brian McDowell has shared a wealth of knowledge to the industry with his data-driven insights and presentations. In the process, he has earned the respect of the community with his kindness and helpfulness.
This enterprise SEO and digital marketing veteran has worked with some of the world’s largest brands, yet he remains open in “helping somebody else get to where they want to be.”
When asked what he wanted to be known for in the SEM space, Brian replied:
“Respect – for people and the process. Everything we do for our company, clients, the industry and our families amount to nothing if not handled with a level of respect for others and their abilities. Many say respect is earned but I disagree. Respect is given from the first handshake but can be easily lost. When you lose someone’s respect it is impossible to ever get it back. This is an important trait when you are dealing with multiple teams that require different approaches. Those who have my deepest respect undoubtedly know it.”
At a time when this basic but important concept is often overlooked, Brian reminds us of the power of respecting others and what we do. And this is why we definitely need to get to know him better.
About Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell is the Principal Digital Strategist at BloomReach. Previously, he was the Director of Search Intelligence and Co-founder at Conductor, as well as the former Lead SEO for Red Ventures and LendingTree.
For the past 13 years, Brian has been focused solely on SEO – providing enterprise-level SEO solutions with a heavy focus on ecommerce. But he actually started his career as a software engineer and web designer in the late ’90s.
You can read some of Brian’s work on the Conductor website, but you’re more likely to catch him speaking at a conference.
Since 2010, he’s been educating, sharing insights and reviewing case studies by speaking at events like Pubcon, eTail East, Commerce Next, Internet Summit, Search Exchange, C3, StartUp Institute, Inbound Marketing Summit, SMX, Market America International Convention and SEMCLT.
In today’s edition of Better Know an SEO Pro, I will be talking to Brian McDowell who shares his insights on enterprise ecommerce SEO, mobile search, and the power of respect.
- What is BloomReach? [2:45]
- Brian shares what’s working on BloomReach in terms of SEO, enterprise ecommerce, and mobile search. He also dives into the trends and opportunities that marketers can leverage. [3:46]
- As a data-driven marketer, here’s how Brian measures success in terms of SEO performance. [1:23]
- What works best when it comes to evangelizing SEO and educating organizations. [19:28]
- He shares his process for weeding out poor candidates when interviewing and hiring people for SEO positions. [23:45]
- On the biggest threats and opportunities in terms of enterprise SEO in ecommerce right now. [29:03]
- Brian recalls how his SEO journey began – building webpages in the early 2000s. He also talks about the other SEO positions he handled throughout the yeas. [32:28]
- How did Brian get involved with the creation of the Conductor platform? [38:37]
- On his proudest moments and greatest achievements as an SEO, including speaking at the Market America International Convention in 2010. [42:00]
- Brian’s first speaking engagement was at SEMCLT in 2010, attended by 50-60 people in the Charlotte area. In 2012, he was invited by Brett Tabke at Pubcon Hawaii. This opened the door for him to become a sought-after conference speaker. [44:12]
- For Brian, a good conference presentation should focus on fresh data. “Something somebody hasn’t seen, or even a process that people haven’t seen.” [46:40]
- Some key tips to successfully pitch at conferences and build a name for yourself. [48:17]
- Brian provides his top networking tips to make the most of the conference. [50:31]
- He’s also had his share of cringe-worthy questions from conference attendees. [53:03]
- On being constantly challenged and struggling multiple ways and how he deals with it. [54:28]
- Brian talks about the time when an SEO project didn’t go according to plan and what went down. [57:10]
- His favorite SEO campaign that he’s worked on and why. [1:00:20]
- Brian’s recommended resources for people who want to learn more about SEO. [1:03:51]
- If he wasn’t doing search or marketing, Brian would be coaching youth flag football and running a non-profit. [1:06:43]
- “Respect is a big word for me. I try to treat everybody that way… Handling things with respect, I would say, has gotten me where I’m at. Although I give it away freely, if you lose it, it’s pretty much impossible to ever get it back.” [1:08:44]
- The worst pieces of SEO advice that are still out there making the rounds. [1:09:11]
- If he could go back in time and do things differently, Brian would have gotten into SEO in the ’90s and gotten into the affiliate realm. He also says, “Always making sure that you spend enough time with your family, and never neglect that.” [1:14:50]
- A few keys to sustainable success for newcomers in the industry. [1:15:52]
- Brian built his own proprietary reporting set and considers it his most successful SEO automation project to date. [1:17:04]
- The techniques and tools he uses to reverse engineer Google’s algorithms. [1:20:20]
- These are the things Brian is most excited about in SEO right now. [1:25:39]
- What’s next for Brian McDowell? [1:29:08]
Links from the Episode
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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita