This month, our featured expert is Miriam Slozberg, SEO and social media consultant, author, and owner of Gemini Rising Ltd. We talked to Miriam about content being a driving force in the post-Hummingbird era, the challenges facing SEO, as well as the future potential of online reputation management. You can follow Miriam on Twitter: @msmir

Q1. Please tell our readers something about yourself and your SEO and Social Media services.

My name is Miriam Slozberg, and I am an author, social media and SEO consultant, and have had my online marketing company Gemini Rising Ltd since 2011. I have had many individuals ask me why I would still offer SEO since SEO is considered “dead” (which it is not, it has evolved, there is a difference). I always explain to them that my SEO services are completely white hat and involve community building and content updates and any kind of link building services that I do offer is completely white hat. Long gone are the days where you can spit out numerous links and watch your rankings go up. I also offer social media management where the objective is for businesses to develop a strong social media presence, and entrepreneurs developing social media influence. I was also noted as one of the top 50 industry influencers according to AGBeat Magazine.

Q2. Considering Google’s efforts to stifle link building, is Social Media a saviour?

I believe social media is the lifeline to SEO nowadays. Without it, SEO alone would be dead. However because of social media playing a vital role, this is why SEO has transformed. In other words, absolutely!

Q3.The idea that “content is king” has been decried by some experts and the online SEO community is convinced that search engines are looking for something more. In the Hummingbird era, can content still be the primary driving force in SEO efforts?

Content will always be king, however if you note from what I said in my first answer, SEO today relies on community building. This means content alone without any kind of interaction (social media likes, shares and comments) will be meaningless. Content with no interaction will not rank higher on search engines. Content such as blog posts, forum posts, social media posts, etc. that receive reception, especially comments that contain relevant keywords (not stuffed obviously) will help with rankings. Contextual links in content with a lot of reception will have the advantage of ranking higher. I also want to add that individuals that have large networks and higher Klout scores because they are very interactive online will add more SEO juice to links that they share on their networks than those who have less of a network and a social presence.

Q4.What would you consider to be the biggest challenge SEO will face in the future? Anything on the horizon that SEO specialists should be worried about?

At this point, it is difficult to say however Google can always surprise us. I personally feel that if you are delivering interactive content with contextual links placed the white hat way, without keyword stuffing links and content then you will be okay. The only thing that I can easily see happening is that individuals are aware that social media is playing a vital role in SEO. This can increase the number of fake social media accounts building fake networks as well. It already has happened, including fake blog comments in the mix. Search engines will be able to sniff this out at some point and penalize those who have been using this tactic.

Q5. Is real-time Reputation Monitoring going to be the biggest thing in 2014? It has gained momentum, but can we expect it to really take off in the New Year?

It is still difficult to say however, with businesses and business owners having an increased social media presence, reputation management will be needed more and more. I cannot say if it will necessarily take off, but it will become more needed in time.

Q6. What is the most common blogging mistake you come across that drives you up the wall?

I still see a lot of bloggers keyword stuff their content. They should be aware that they will be penalized for that. I know you asked about the most common mistake but I want to add a few more points. There are also a lot of bloggers that create posts no more than 100 words, and that will barely be noticed. On the contrary I do not like bloggers who create posts that are novels either. A post that is not link or keyword stuffed that is from 300 to 700 words is ideal.

Q7. If you have to give our readers one crucial social media tip, what would it be?

Never share content that you would not want your boss or clients to see! We are talking about anything overly controversial, negative, violent, graphic, and definitely never feed into online trolls. That alone will kill your reputation.

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We would like to thank Miriam Slozberg for taking part in our ‘Expert Interview’ feature and sharing her knowledge with us.