TopHatRank Blog #EpicDinner, Future of SEO, #AssHattery: Interview with Alan Bleiweiss
    TopHatRank Blog #EpicDinner, Future of SEO, #AssHattery: Interview with Alan Bleiweiss

#EpicDinner, Future of SEO, #AssHattery: Interview with Alan Bleiweiss

If you’re in the SEO industry and don’t know who Alan Bleiweiss is, you must be living under a rock. Alan is one of the leading experts in Forensic SEO, he has worked with huge brands like PetCo, NBC Universal, Mashable and many more. He is a top-shelf SEO Consultant, speaker and an author.

The first time I heard Alan speak was at PubCon Las Vegas 2010. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s just The World’s Leading Online Marketing Conference. When he spoke, I right away realized that this guy is a true expert, he spoke with confidence, everything was fact driven and straight to the point, he almost seemed dominating and we (at least I) were all scared .

The following year at PubCon Vegas 2011, I was fortunate enough to meet Alan in person. It was during #EpicDinner, an event that Alan organizes during industry conferences. He brings industry folks together for an evening of food, conversation and laughs.

This #EpicDinner  was held at Pampas Grille (Brazilian Steakhouse). Needless to say, I ate too much food and needed to step out for a quick smoke (Yes, I’m a smoker). When I stepped outside, I saw Alan (also enjoying a cigarette), so we chatted for a while and I came to know Alan to be a completely different person than the persona I saw on stage at PubCon. He is a very kind and caring person, grateful for the opportunities that he was presented in life and was all about bringing people together.

Since then, I’ve worked with Alan on a few difficult SEO audits for my clients, reached out to him for help and guidance with running my SEO Agency and over the years have gotten to know him on a more personal level.

Alan has a lot of things on his plate, but was awesome enough to answer a few questions for us. So here is a quick fun interview with Alan Bleiweiss….

Question 1
Let’s talk about #EpicDinner! At least once a year you put a lot of effort into bringing industry people together over dinner. People who have never attended one of your dinners might not have a full understanding of WHY you do this. What is the reason behind EpicDinner and why do you invest so much time into organizing this awesome event?


Without realizing it until someone pointed it out, I happen to have a passion for helping connect people who might benefit from meeting others. Whether it’s in business or friendship doesn’t matter to me. Just being helpful that way means a lot to me.

Couple that with the fact that I really just enjoy socializing with others over good food at industry events and the #EpicDinner concept was a no-brainer. And since I like to “go big or go home”, the effort involved on this scale is appropriate to all of that.


Question 2
The event is FREE to attendees, last I heard you had 130 people on the list for #EpicDinner during PubCon Vegas 2015. This must be super expensive, how crucial is sponsorship?


It’s free to attendees ONLY when we can get enough sponsorship money. I’ve been truly blessed the last few years in that enough sponsors have stepped up – some repeat – sponsoring several dinners, and others one-time. Yet it’s just worked out.

If I can’t get enough sponsorship money, people who attend may end up needing to kick in something. Early on it was entirely attendee funded, then it was a couple dollars each.
Since I like really good food, and attendees appreciate that as well, having an $80 or $100 per plate dinner end up only costing even just $5 or $10 per person really isn’t so bad. And if its free? Then its truly epic!


Question 3
Outside of being an SEO consultant, author, trainer and speaker, what else have you been working on?


For the past couple years I’ve been pushing through the creation of an advanced SEO training video course. It’s been a beast to put together, coordinate with my videographer and editor (Caron Modern Media is amazing as an up and coming videography source in the bay area by the way) and to polish it to my perfectionist satisfaction.

We’re almost completely done however and I hope to find a way to get it launched soon up on Udemy. Its somewhere around four hours of my knowledge broken down into more than thirty individual video lessons.


Question 4
You’ve been in the game (internet marketing) since 1995, how has the industry evolved? What is your forecast for the near future of SEO?


How has it evolved? I think it’s evolved in direct relation to advancements in technology coupled with advancements in how people interact online. So maybe it hasn’t evolved as much as it has adapted, and changed to take advantage of new methods for communicating brand messaging as well as new methods for reinforcing brand trust.

Of course what’s also true though is that mainstream marketing adaptation is always one, two or even three steps behind the curve, so many brands are still in catch-up mode. Yet the opportunity, the platform continues to move forward regardless.


Question 5
You’re also known for being a “Snarky Rant Specialist”, what is the main cause for these rants? Biggest AssHattery of 2015 so far?


The main cause is a natural outgrowth of the need we all have in marketing to find our unique voice, and where I invested significant time years ago in finding some of the best marketing voices that existed at that time, identified what I liked about each, and crafted my own. What’s critical though is that by nature I’m snarky and raw.

Of course I also believe through to my core that I need to continually reevaluate where I am, what I’m doing, what my motives are, and adjust as needed. So I’m not nearly as raw or unfiltered as I was a few years ago. Though every once in a while I let loose with a little shock-effect ranting, because it takes real effort to completely change what used to be our reality.

Biggest asshattery in 2015 so far? People attempting to take what various Google employees happen to say and communicating that in ways that imply it’s official Google statements, even though they’re just communicating their personal beliefs or limited understanding.

Sure, they’re Google employees. And yes, some in our industry believe Google is fully aware of what’s being said by those employees every time one says something. And that gets translated into meaning “that’s official Google”. Well, I don’t agree with that at all. I think its dangerous to imply that it is because too many people who don’t know better get more bad information and it doesn’t help anyone.


Question 6
Top 3 most common SEO mistakes you see on every SEO audit you perform…….


3 most common issues I run into when doing SEO audits are:

  1. Technical inefficiency / page speed issues / crawl allocation drains
  2. Topical confusion and disorganization
  3. Toxic link profiles


You can follow Alan on Twitter for SEO wisdom, industry rants or just to stay on top of things with him. The team at TopHatRank and I want to thank Alan for all of his hard work and help over the years!!!!

Arsen R

Founder and Managing Partner

Founder @ TopHatRank, Digital Marketer, SEO, International Speaker, Husband & Father!

Read more about Arsen

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