Meet the influencers: Barry Adams
We continue our monthly series of digital influencer interviews by having a chat with SEO consultant Barry Adams; a renowned keynote speaker, Chief Editor of State of Digital and a specialist in #TechSEO and #NewsSEO.
Where did your story begin?
It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… actually, it wasn’t that long ago and not all that far. I’m originally from the Netherlands where I spent the first 30-odd years of my life, before moving to Belfast.
I was an IT guy back in Holland and sort of gravitated towards what was then the novel and unexploited Word Wide Web. I didn’t actively choose to specialise in SEO, it just sort of happened and I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly.
How did you become so influential?
I never set out to become influential—I just wanted to share what I know, because that’s how I learned it myself. Reading SEO articles and listening to conference talks were always my main sources of learning, so I decided to pass that on with my own blog posts and conference talks. I’m currently a regular columnist for Search Engine Land, a recurring speaker at BrightonSEO and Pubcon, and ofte get asked to speak at international events all over the world.
Do you have any golden rules/mantras for life or work?
These rules may sound cheesy or childish but they’ve served me well over the years:
1. Always be the hardest worker in the room. Nothing is given for free—you have to go out there and make things happen.
2. Work smarter. Personally, I know I have about 6 or 7 productive hours a day. If I worked a 9-10 hour day, I’d get sloppy and tired and would end up having accomplished much less at the end of the week.
3. Be a lion, not a lamb. Take ownership and responsibility for yourself in every way—your actions, your thoughts and your emotions. That, for me, is real power: controlling how you react to the world around you and not letting others affect you.
What are your three biggest tips for building an audience?
1. Authenticity. I know this a cliché in marketing but people eventually catch on to a faker, so stay true to yourself—who you are, what you do, and how you do it.
2. Add value. This has always been the core of what I do. I make my blog posts and conference talks as useful and insightful as possible, to really help people become better at their jobs.
3. Be a pro. To build an audience you need a platform, and you should treat the platform itself with respect.
What are your favourite tools/software?
The tools I use almost every day are DeepCrawl, Screaming Frog SEO Spider, Google Search Console, Sistrix, LittleWarden, and Majestic. There are dozens more tools that I dig in to as and when needed, but the aforementioned make up my basic stack.
What do you feel is the next big trend in social media and content marketing?
People are getting fed up of the same hyperbolic crap on social media and I expect a bit of a backlash against it. People will start filtering their content consumption and focus more on the authentic—not the glam Photoshopped fakery.
The growth of voice assistants is bound to have an impact on content. I predict a growth in how-to guides and generally useful content, created specifically for voice assistants.