Interview with Daniel Norin

Daniel Norin with a cup of coffee

Daniel Norin is a Swedish SEO expert from Stockholm with broad experience in web design and many types of SEO.

He is a multitasking individual who can handle not only SEO, but also web design, database development and a wide range of IT-tasks. Daniel has also got some experience in the dark side – negative SEO. We are therefore going to ask him about some of his views of negative SEO and how to solve such issues. Further, he gives advice about how to stay up-to-date and some suggestions for SEO beginners. You can read more about Daniel Norin on his personal blog, DanielNorin.com (in Swedish).

Daniel is known for bringing a lot of energy to the table, no matter his position, task or project.

Status?: Me, Myself and I…just kidding, got a family of four.
Age and birthplace?: Born in Stockholm, 1980.
Started with SEO?: I started quite late with search engine marketing. I´ve worked as a web designer, database developer, IT manager, country manager etc before I came into SEO. The first SEO tasks was back in the days when I worked as a web designer in Hong Kong. I remember keyword stuffing a whole site and it actually improved ranking for a short period of time and I thought it was cool but didn´t really think about the real power behind SEO just yet.

Education

Mr Norin has studied computer science.

What is Daniel Norin best known for?

Great results, says Daniel :) People around me know I have huge interest in all fields of digital marketing. Being able to build what I have in mind to test the ideas.

Do you have any motto?

“To create, you need a pile of junk and some imagination”, says Daniel Norin.

Family background

I got the business mind from my dad as he was the CEO for Kone Elevators Sweden and later Hong Kong for too many years. I got my temper and impatience from my mum. What did my sister contribute with…? The social skills.

Professional Background

I started quite late with search engine marketing. I´ve worked as a web designer, database developer, IT manager, country manager etc before I came into SEO. When I started working for Getupdated Internet Marketing almost 6 years ago as an Art Director I released that this is not really what I want to do. Search is so much closer to the target group’s mindsets and you can apply the data in various ways.

How did you start with computers and SEO?

My first computer was an Atari 512 ST and still I can play some of the games on a emulator I have, favourite game is still SpeedBall 2. See a mash up of some of the best games for Atari St 512 at YouTube.

How to stay up to date? How do you stay up to date with Google and SEO in general?

In the morning I use a service called Superstart.se to combine different RSS flows from sources and also from subscribed keywords. It’s a way to see if I find anything interesting, then I read it straight away and perhaps I get inspired. Then of course I meet people in the field to talk about different solutions and new networks. And the key to real success is to have non-critical side projects to test my ideas when it comes to SEO. Some projects just doesn’t work and others are a success quicker then I estimated. You need to try new things all the time to get the 360 picture as there is a constant change. I´m into an html5 SEO period right now as it´s exciting how it could change the way we work.

SEO in Sweden vs other countries

SEO in Sweden is quite nice as the competition is still low for many markets (compared to UK and US) and also the knowledge is pretty low as well. So I can´t complain. But still it´s the most competive market in Scandinavia.

Negative SEO: We heard you have quite some experience in this field. Is that true? Can you tell us a bit about this market?

Ehhh yepp, not really what I talk about loudly but I have got a reputation for doing some things on the negative side as well. For me, it´s very interesting to see how you can affect search engine ranking in both directions. Whatever people tell you, it’s possible. Normal comment spam methods are easy to spot but there are some effective ways of doing negative SEO which is hard to track. One thing I have asked many lawyers is if it´s legal to do this but no one seems to know which is interesting. And yes I have some clients…no names ;)

Any advice how to handle negative SEO after Google’s latest update? Have they solved it all now?

Check out what could be the reason with common tools like Google Webmaster tools, Open Site Explorer etc. Was it really negative SEO (as it´s still rare) or did you actually do something to be penalized (which is often the case)?… If you really think it´s negative SEO then check out the backlinks and investigate. Normally it´s a lame Xrumer or Scrapebox attacks which are easy to spot.

Download a list of the backlinks (there is a tool in Webmaster tools for the latest links which is useful) you expect to be the reason and do reconsideration request to Google and Bing. You can try to combine your request with the disavow tools both for Google and Bing. It often takes time so have patience.

Tips for beginners: Do you have any advice for people new to SEO? What should they focus to learn firstly?

When holding educational SEO classes I always talk about the importance of content and structure. Know your audience and what and how they demand the content contra your business and use the values from the content. I found many newcomers focusing on cool tools to analyse everything they can, instead of pay attention to build great content. I also recommend having a strict plan to follow as that will make you work in an efficient way. See it as a normal project with milestones and action depending of the milestone outcomes. Another thing I often find is people’s lack of creativity. You can write a lot about anything! Many people are lazy thinkers…

CityModels: Your latest project has within 6 months become the #1 site for ‘model agency’ in Sweden. How did you do it? What have you done differently?

The key difference is that we first created the site as a social impact test for SEO. So it´s started off not being a model agency. Today we have around 59 % keyword share on top 10 in Google and plenty of keywords are in top 3 and still going strong. CityModels.se is easy as the content is made to be shared (great looking women and men). One of the things we have never done with the site is to work with backlinks. I’m still ashamed we have so few models but a huge queue that have applied ;) We really want to find good models with good set of pictures.

Can you tell us a bit about your blog, DanielNorin.com. What are you passionate about in this site?

I´m actually redoing it right now to match up with the responsive part and get a better visual profile. My passionate is often to show simple ways to build and optimize windows in different ways. But the idea about the blog is that it´s there to provide helpful articles about interesting things.

One funny fact is that the blog happened to rank second in Google.se on the word Spotify and also got a massive long tail like “free Spotify account” etc. It was when they had the invitation system. It was one of the fifteen sites with most traffic thanks Google traffic from spotify keywords.

How is it to work with Daniel Norin?

A lot of energy and creativity ;) I focus a lot to set-up the ways we work. I´m impatient by nature and lazy so I need to “optimise” these things and I got really good doing it in an organization. Automate what you can as the key focus is to have a lots of time to develop better things. One thing that people can react to is how high my demands are when working. It´s not about being in the office 7-17 it´s all about the output of the work which has to be on one of the highest levels.

Goals: Do you have any personal goals to complete by next year?

I have a website named MarketShare.se which is now in Beta2. It´s a site dedicated for marketing people. It´s a closed system which mean you need to be approved in order to access it. It has a lot of goodies like reviews of different marketing companies, marketing tools, unique articles etc. This is one thing I will push on harder as it´s a very good system to get “marketing control” in terms of value. Another project will be to launch CityModels in UK to cross combine certain effects. ;)

Future SEO: Can you name a few things website owners/SEOs should look out for the coming two years?

More personalized types of search results and more search result types. Google goes really Social why you need to set-up you automated social media accounts ;) I will have greater focus on link baiting vs Social impact and how to cross combine it with the user experience.

What do you do on your spare time?

I do a lot of photography and spend as much time with my kids and girlfriend as possible. One of my hidden interests is to make really nice food. I have both been in food-science classes, sushi-making classes and also in a real chief-school and good food is something extra. One of the biggest hits in 2012 was a panna cotta with mashed strawberries, licorice sauce and some caramelized popcorns on top. If everyone is dead silence while eating then you know it´s grand success!

7 quick general questions

1
QDo you use Google or Bing when searching for images?ANeither, Flickr, Deviantart or Shutterstock is my choice.
2
QAre you spending most time on Facebook or Twitter?AI still haven´t realised what the little bird can do for me ;) Rather Facebook or LinkedIn.
3
QDo you prefer working on Apple or PC?AWin 8 on a well-built PC is a monster ;)
4
QDo you rather go skiing or take a holiday in the sun?AMy personal record speed skiing is 114 km/h so I guess you have the answer. I love to ski and done it since I was 5. I actually hate warm weather as it makes me slow and lazy.
5
QWhich keyword would you like to be #1 for in Google.com?ABanana cutter, no damn I’m nr 1 already on that word.
6
QDo you use Blekko or any other alternative search engine?ABlekko has some really useful SEO features!
7
QIf you couldn’t work with SEO/web related things; what would u do?AI would work with people in one way or another. I spend some of my summer holiday as a volunteer youth camp staff for Kone Elevators, done this for the last 11 years and it´s one of the best moments during the summer.

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