Interview With Ex-Googler Pedro Dias #65

SEO Podcast #65: Ex-Googler Reveals The Truth About Search Quality & Predicts The Future Of SEO #65

Episode #65 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY features Pedro Dias, an ex-Googler turned independent SEO consultant. Pedro shared so many insightful perspectives on SEO and search quality.

I invite you to subscribe to the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY to keep learning SEO with me and the SEO experts I interview.

Interview With Ex-Googler Pedro Dias #65

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You can listen to episode #65 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY below.

Interview notes

I had the honor of interviewing Pedro Dias, an ex-Googler turned independent SEO consultant, on my podcast. Pedro shared so many insightful perspectives on SEO and search quality.

Background on Pedro Dias:

  • Started out studying web design and working in advertising agencies before joining Google in 2006
  • Was hired by Google’s Ireland office to work on the Portuguese language market
  • Went through a 5-6 stage interview process focused on practical web development knowledge and mindset fit
  • Began as a contractor doing search quality evaluation and then converted to full-time employee in 2007
  • Helped build internal tools for detecting spam and policy violations within search results
  • Led search quality efforts for Portuguese language market, identifying issues and trends
  • Left Google in 2011 and co-founded an SEO agency in Brazil with other ex-Googlers
  • Agency grew to 70-80 employees working with major brands and ad agencies
  • Shifted focus to independent consulting, working within client product teams rather than marketing
  • Recently moved to London in 2020 and started new solo consulting business
  • Current clients include eBay, MercadoLibre, publishers in the UK

Key Quote:

“Your brain is more important than the tool.”

Pedro Dias

Perspectives on Search Quality:

  • Quality is subjective and dynamic, based on user expectations rather than dictated by Google
  • As expectations evolve, what was once high quality content may degrade over time
  • Google assesses quality via user behavior changes to algorithm tweaks
  • English language results often higher quality given more usage volume and scrutiny
  • Search quality team started by testing changes with English results first
  • Then collaborated with analysts fluent in other languages to understand local market issues
  • Had to balance removing low quality results with potential tradeoffs of few alternatives
  • Tough to dictate hard rules when violations didn’t fit neatly into existing guidelines
  • Group of analysts would meet to decide right course of action in these gray areas

Thoughts on Web Accessibility:

  • Many SEO best practices originally came from web accessibility guidelines
  • Alt text on images, semantic HTML headings, keyboard navigation all tie to accessibility
  • Critical to experience site through screen readers and keyboard, not just visually
  • Tools like Lighthouse help audit accessibility, but insufficient on their own
  • Need to study broader accessibility principles and design inclusively
  • Apply SEO on top of solid accessible foundation

Perspectives on UX and SEO:

  • User experience includes information architecture, accessibility, usability
  • Plan logical IA early on – helps avoid constant site migrations later
  • Organize IA based on business vertical, audience, product complexity
  • Don’t overcomplicate IA on large sites or keep too simple on niche sites
  • Use sitemaps, subfolders vs subfolders based on UX purpose
  • Apply SEO expertise on top of UX best practices, not the other way around
  • Know real user needs before chasing SEO tactics
  • Breadcrumbs useful for IA but ensure they fit appropriate context

Thoughts on the Future of SEO:

  • AI will augment technical SEO work but not replace strategy
  • Leverage AI for assistance with data queries, analysis, etc.
  • But human insight still required to determine goals and approach
  • Don’t let tools drive strategy – they don’t understand nuances
  • SEO expertise will still be vital even as AI capabilities improve

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Want to become a guest or provide ideas for the show?

If you want to become a guest on the show or you want to share ideas, feel free to contact me. I will be happy to hear from you. Contact me at [email protected].

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