Chrus-Shepard
Experts Interview

Interview with Cyrus Shepard – SEO Consultant & Web Strategist

Cyrus is well known name in the Digital Marketing industry without a doubt. He is been very active in the SEO community & worked in Moz previously as a Content Astronaut. He is also a good Speaker and Marketing Evangelist in different events like MozCon, SMX – Search Marketing Expo, Marketing Festival, Marketing Nation Summit, MnSearch Summit and more.

Currently he is running his own firm called Fazillion.

Cyrus Shepard

He is indeed one of my favorite & I follow him since long & learn a lot from his content. It was really pleasure to take the interview of this fantastic guy!

Below is the transcript of the interview.

Hiren: How did you get into Digital Marketing?

Cyrus: Like many people, my career happened by accident. Several years ago I started building websites, but had no idea how to market them. Like a lot of people, I started looking at online ads as a way of generating traffic, but realized I was going to run out of money quickly. Then I stumbled onto SEOmoz and SEO Book (the two big websites of the day) and fell in love with both the process and community of SEO.

Hiren: Tell me some more insights about your new company “Fazillion”?

Cyrus: We’re a very small digital publishing company. Basically, the company gives us an excuse to publish our own content, and monetize a portion of it. For years, I’ve produced content for clients and employers, but I get so much more satisfaction when producing content that I own and have 100% control over.

Hiren: What’s your opinion of Digital Marketing in 2016? Where are things heading? What should people focus on currently?

Cyrus: What keeps changing in digital marketing is that it keeps getting more competitive, and previously free platforms are becoming more expensive. In the old days, you could write a good blog post and it would rank for years. Today, you need to keep updating your content and keep consistently delivering top quality experiences to your audience, lest you become irrelevant.

Some things haven’t changed. 90% of produced content isn’t seen by more than a handful of people. My advice is always the same: Produce less content, but produce better.

Hiren:  What was your first job? And when was it that you realized you wanted to be in marketing?

Cyrus: My very first job was at the age of 14 years old in the corn fields of Iowa where I grew up. We did a job called detasseling which is a right-of-passage for almost all Iowa teenagers. Later in college, my friend and I started our own detasseling company, which was my first business.

Later on, I attended film school and started writing screenplays. I wasn’t that good at it, but the act of writing taught me a lot about marketing, and I believe it’s an essential skill. After I failed as a screenwriter, I was looking for something else to do. That’s when I found marketing and realized I already possessed many of the necessary skills to be successful.

Hiren: Cyrus, mention those 3 Advanced Onpage tactics, which should be included in Inbound marketing?

Cyrus: My three best On-page tactics:

  1. Use the actual keyword phrases people are using to find your page on the page itself–in the title, in the H1, and in the call to action. You can get these from Google Webmaster Tools.
  2. PageRank sculpting is a dead art, but a lot can be accomplished by paying attention to your first few links on the page. Take advantage of that link juice by linking to your own most relevant content.
  3. Improvements in user experience almost always lead to improvements in rankings, either through accident or design. Work to lower your bounce rate, improve page load times, and increase conversions.

Hiren:  If you were to mention the top 3 link building tactics, what would they be?

Cyrus: Admittedly, I’m not much of a link builder. My preferred method is to build useful resources that help people so much that they HAVE to link to them. The actual process of getting content in front of people when you don’t have an audience is something even I struggle with. Believe it or not, I still use a lot of old-school distribution channels like press releases and Stumbleupon paid discovery, because I hate writing personal outreach emails.

Hiren: Which are your most favorite SEO tools, and why?

Cyrus: Webmaster tools, MozBar, Screaming Frog, Moz Local, Excel, Keyword Explorer. I obviously have a strong Moz bias, but these are the tools I use daily.

Hiren: If you had to identify the TOP most ranking factors, what would they be?

Cyrus: Easy, because Google has identified them for us:

  1. Content
  2. Links
  3. RankBrain

We could discuss each of these for hours, but that might have to wait for another discussion. 🙂

Hiren: what was your proudest SEO moment? What client did you totally knock out of the park and took their business to the next level?

Cyrus: Hard to say, but I remember being extremely proud when Moz ranked #1 for “SEO” for a short time (because of some updates we did on the site.) It’s one of the most competitive keywords out there, and being #1 even for a short period was pretty sweet.

Hiren: Who is Cyrus’s idol? From whom do you seek guidance?

Cyrus: Often when you have a mentor, you hear their voice in your head when faced with challenging situations. In SEO, that voice in my head is often Rand Fishkin. For guidance, I’m fortunate because of my former position at Moz I know a lot of top people in the industry. So when I have a question, i can often go direct to the best person in the field for advice.

Hiren: If you had the power to change something in Google for one day, what would that be?

Cyrus: Show the secret algorithm to Cyrus. I have one hour to memorize as much as I can. After that, I return to the real world with my newfound knowledge. (Interestingly in this fantasy scenario, I’m not convinced I would learn anything significant)

Hiren: What do you do when you are not doing SEO?

Cyrus: I’m a huge movie and science fiction buff. (My wife and I both went to film school). Most nights you can find me with a good book – I still dream about writing that great screenplay. In the day I like to run and lift weights (really light ones 🙂

Hiren: Which are those 3 things the world doesn’t know about Cyrus?

Cyrus:

1.I can balance almost anything on my foot
2. I’ve hitchhiked over 6000 miles back and forth across the United States
3. I may or may not be an alien (probably not. I can’t remember)

Hiren: How does your workspace look like? Can we have a picture?

Cyrus: Oh dear, it is SO boring right now.

Cyrus_desk

You may contact Cyrus over here Or you can reach to him on social channels.
TwitterGoogle+LinkedinFacebook, SlideshareYouTube, and Inbound.org.

Thank you Cyrus for being a sport and answering the questions. The internet marketing world will look forward to this interview as a valuable source.

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Article written by:

Myself Hiren & I am an SEO and online marketing consultant. Making creative digital strategists to produce innovative and unique, data-driven campaigns about industry trends. I love startup life. when I'm not learning everything about digital marketing, you can find me to doing workouts in gym.

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