Interview with Tomas Axelsson

tomas axelssonTomas Axelsson is a Swedish SEO expert from Borås. He is CTO for Getupdated Internet Marketing since 2007, a leading Scandinavian SEO and internet marketing company. Tomas has been working mainly with Scandinavian search engine optimisation for almost a decade and got an interesting background. Continue below to learn more him and how his views on Google and SEO in general.

Status?: Married
Age and birthplace?: Born in Borås, 1974.
Started with SEO?: In 2003, while launching migroup.se shortly after.

Education

Not much that is relevant to what I am doing. When I was about to start college I got a job as programmer, that was my dream so why go to school learning things that you already knew well enough to get a job?

What are you best known for?

Perhaps selling a SEO company to Getupdated? Note: Tomas Axelsson and John Bredal started www.migroup.se in 2004 and sold it to Getupdated in February 2007.

Do you have any motto?

The algorithms behind Google are overrated.

Can you elaborate a bit more about your thoughts around this?
Tomas Axelsson says: “I mean that people in general overrate Google’s algorithms. One example is Google’s duplicate content filter that people are too afraid of,
but in reality it’s very easy to get around this filter”.

Family background

I was raised in the “forest” outside a small city called Borås. I was thought early that if I wanted to have something I had to work for it, which I thank my parents for today.

Professional Background

I started my career as programmer around 2000 mainly programming in classic asp, the company I worked for focused on building e-commerce systems. Later on we started to build a CMS, providing hosting and doing SEO, after some years the owners of that company wanted to focus on other business so me and one of my friends bought the parts we were involved in (SEO, CMS and hosting) and ran it for some years. I think the site (www.migroup.se) that we had back then is the site that have been on top of Google on search engine optimisation (sökmotoroptimering in Swedish) the longest continuous period). In 2007 we got bought by the Getupdated Group (it was called Eastpoint at that time) and after working some time at Getupdated I got the title as CTO.

Computers/SEO

My father bought a Commodore 128 when I was eleven or twelve years old, since I was grown up in the country side, there was not much to do so the computer got very much of my time. Like most other kids I loved gaming, but quite early I started to do some programming in basic. After the C128, it got an Amiga on that I continued to do a little bit of programming.

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

I read blogs and follow how our clients are doing.

How do you find SEO in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries compared to UK? Any major differences how people work or what gives results?

I find the Swedish market very competitive when it comes to SEO; maybe the most competitive non-English speaking market in the world. Comparing to the other Nordic countries, we have without having too much resources in Denmark, Norway or Finland, throughout the years always been very successful with our clients in those countries using our Swedish resources. UK of course is more competitive than Sweden, but also different in some ways, for example in the Nordic countries the Google “Venice” update hasn’t the same impact as in UK.

What do you work with on a daily basis? How does a normal working day look like for you?

One day is very seldom like another one, that’s what makes my days so funny! I am involved in everything from link building to working on the system that does the invoicing. I guess one of my strengths is that I know how to do all the parts needed to be successful in SEO, I can put the server together, install the OS, set up the network, design the database, do the programming and buy the domains etc.

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

My first advice is being patient, successful SEO takes its time. Read a lot, there is many resources out there, but don’t forget to use your own brain more often than not. Make use of sound skepticism, there are very much rumors about SEO that are not true. Don’t forget, Google is not as smart as people think, I would say that algorithms behind Google in general is overrated.

Can you describe Getupdated?

Getupdated is an international vendor of SEO and other Internet marketing services, today we have about 130 employees around Europe. It think what makes us unique is that the whole group is working in the same system, so for example a client that we help with search marketing in France, UK, Italy and Sweden is supported by staff located in the countries but still they are using the same system. It saves us loads of money to have only one system to support and also, it helps the communication between the countries a lot.

How is it to work with Tomas Axelsson?

That’s tricky for me to answer, but I hope its ok. At the office in Borås where I spend most of my time we have a very low staff turnover, so I guess I don’t scare people at least.

What’s your leadership style?

I try helping colleagues at Getupdated to stand on their own feet and try to get them to figure out how things are working by themselves. Obviously, I’m willing to help when someone needs it, but I want everyone to try one or two times before asking me or someone else for help. This way I think is the best way to improve skills in the organization and also creates a stable organization that works even if there is no management around. In the office I am a little bit famous for the expression “Google it!”.

Goals: Do you have any personal goals to complete 2012?

This year I want to improve our production systems so that we get more out of our internal and external reporting, I think we can improve quality if things get easier to overview. I also want to help my wife out with her business, I think my experience in programming and marketing can be very use to what she is trying to do.

SEO Experts asks if Tomas can explain more about his wife’s business:
“My wife have started a business importing and exporting clothes and at this stage she runs it without any kind of website. I hope that I can put something together that can help her out, she doesn’t even have a web shop yet, just communicating with her clients via phone and e-mail”.

Future SEO: Can you name a few things website owners/SEOs should look out for the coming two years? Can you tell us about some of the main issues you see today that Google have a problem to tackle?

Many people speak of all the changes in the world of SEO. I don’t really see it that way, basically it’s all the same since Google introduced links as a factor for search engines. The algorithms of course have changed a bit over the years, but the basics is pretty much the same. I don’t think much new will happen within two years, we will see Google continue to fight spam and continue to personalize search results, but not in any way that will change the basics of SEO. Good links will still be good links, great content will still be great content if you have mind this you will be OK. The thing that we will have to do is paying more attention to social media since it will show up within or influence the SERPS even more that today.

What do you do on your spare time?

I don’t have much spare time, but I love to travel. My wife has a degree in archeology and I love reading books about history, so much of the journeys are to places with a rich history. For example in March this year we went to some towns in Iran like Shiraz (very famous for Persepolis), Esfahan, Kerman and Yazd. If you are into history, “Google it” and you will be amazed. I also love watching ice hockey and playing ice hockey video games on the PS3!

7 quick general questions

1
QDo you use Google or Bing when searching for images?AGoogle
2
QAre you spending most time on Facebook or Twitter?AFacebook
3
QDo you prefer working on Apple or PC?APC
4
QDo you rather go skiing or take a holiday in the sun?AIn the summer skiing, in the winter a holiday in the sun
5
QWhich keyword would you like to be #1 for in Google.com?A‘Google’, it would be an impressive achievement, wouldn’t it?
6
QDo you use Blekko or any other alternative search engine?AGoogle really needs competition so I welcome all new search engines, but I haven’t tried Blekko enough to have an opinion.
7
QIf you couldn’t work with SEO/web related things; what would u do?AI am one of those people who can’t understand that people able to be having a dull time because there is “nothing” to do, I am interested in too many different subjects for my own good. Perhaps I would be working with music, archeology or running a pub or all of them in the same time, I’m really not sure..

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