21 June 2019

From programmer to contributor to the "SEO Bible"

Claudio Fiorentino, Head of SEO at Mamadigital, is part of the team of intrepid professionals who worked on the Italian edition of The Art of SEO, the most comprehensive book on SEO available today.

They call it the "SEO Bible": a work of nearly 1,000 pages written by three of the world's most notable experts on Search Engine Optimisation (Eric Enge, Jessie Stricchiola and Stephan Spencer). The Art of SEO, published for the first time in 2009, is finally available in Italian thanks to an up-to-the-minute translation that is already sold out just days after being released.
The 15 chapters of the imposing tome were adapted by a team of the finest professionals in the fields of SEO, CRO and Content Marketing from all over Italy, who not only translated but also added to the original edition with exclusive appendices. The team included Claudio Fiorentino, Head of SEO and Research Senior at Mamadigital, a web marketing agency that joined mashfrog Group in the spring of 2017.

Claudio trained on the job, so to speak: he started out not as a Search Marketing professional, but rather as an ORACLE analyst/programmer who was drawn to SEO "on the road" and developed his passion by participating in industry events and working alongside web professionals. His work as an SEO specialist officially began in 2011, and he quickly became an expert on the functioning of the main search engines, especially Google.  
Claudio's involvement in the Italian edition of The Art of SEO is a testament not only to his reputation in the industry, but also to his in-depth knowledge of a tool that is a must for anyone involved in SEO: Screaming Frog. This tool and its uses and advantages form the focus of Claudio's appendix in the Italian edition of The Art of SEO. Claudio's contribution, titled "SEO Analysis using Screaming Frog", can be found at the end of chapter 6.  

"Screaming Frog simulates a search engine scan, showing us everything a search engine sees when it looks at a website and providing all the information needed to optimise it."

Screaming Frog analyses all of a site's URLs, highlights all types of errors and provides crucial information for on-site optimisation: metadata accuracy, non-optimal H1 (title) or H2 (description) lengths, lack of alt text for images, duplicates, non-responsive images, and so on. In short, it comprehensively screens the website to assess its "health" in the eyes of a search engine.
This simulation produces a considerable amount of data to be processed and interpreted, data which provides the starting point for subsequent optimisation efforts aimed at improving the site's ranking on search results pages. After all, this is the challenge facing SEO professionals: making sure that a site is promoted (and not penalised) by search engines and that it is displayed near the top of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in order to attract more organic traffic – crucial in order to maximise business opportunities.

"In my chapter, I show how to use Screaming Frog and how the data is presented, but above all how to read it, cut through it and interpret it."

It is precisely this ability to interpret and capitalise on the data extracted from the tool that determines the added value of an SEO resource. Claudio adds that the latest releases of the tool also provide important information on the architecture of a site's content. What does this mean? It means that by using Screaming Frog, you get an outline of the site's structure in its current state, allowing you to understand how much pages or business sections can be promoted through optimisation and an appropriate internal linking strategy.

"At Mamadigital, we use Screaming Frog every day to support our SEO work. We consider it especially crucial in managing the migration phases of websites, even complex ones."

The tool is useful in the phase preceding the migration – when all the optimisation instructions are provided and can be passed on to the development team – during the migration itself, and in the following phase, when checking redirects to the new site.
The stakes are high, as Claudio explains: when a migration is managed properly, a site can maintain its trust (the authority and reliability of the site in the eyes of search engines) and therefore maintain the rankings it has achieved over time.

What challenges lie in store for SEO?

"What's next is a future where voice search dominates", comments Claudio. "This is a significant shift in user behaviour that will have a considerable impact on the work of SEO specialists. To grasp what the user is searching for, we'll have to think less and less in terms of “dry keywords” and increasingly in terms of complex syntactic constructions typical of spoken language. Industry experts are currently defining guidelines for optimisation based on voice search, but it's clear that anyone involved in SEO will inevitably come up against this issue in the near future".