An Interview With Jordan Koene : Head of SEO & Searchmetrics Evangelist.

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to meet with Jordan Koene. He was transitioning from Head of SEO & Content at eBay to Searchmetrics Chief Evangelist (now Vice President).


Q: What major trends do you see with search, SEO in particular?

A: Less is more from a content perspective, and what content you do have will be more credible if it has external supporting material.

Historically, it’s been a lot of “Content is king! Develop more content!” We’re shifting away from this and towards “You know what? Let’s remove a bunch of content and see what happens.” Especially with big, bloated websites that have tons of legacy content bogging things down. We’re going to start tackling the challenge of “How do we get rid of ineffective pages without harming the user experience, and still maintaining our growth trajectories?”

Also, there’s the data game. As search evolves, Google is looking at more and more elements of Authorship and identity to validate the relevancy of page content.

So, less content but more validation.

Q. Regarding onboarding new enterprise clients, how do you convince executives within big companies to sign up for your tools and to use them?

A. The most important thing is building champions within the company you want to build a relationship with.

One of the keys to being successful within a company is to have 5 advocates – people who will fight for you and support you. Of those advocates, 2 should be peers at the same level as you, and the other 3 will be above you. This is true regardless of company size. The only difference between large companies and small companies is the number of options for connecting – if you don’t get along with people at the smaller company it’s going to be a tough road.

And, it doesn’t matter where you are in your career, you can always reach out and learn from people.

Q. How do you approach building teams?

A. It’s less about skills and more about drive and initiative.

Does this person have the drive and desire to chase this purpose or vision that we’re going after, and what can they do to prove it so we want to hire them?

Q. As a marketer, how do you overcome communication challenges with engineers?

A. Talk to your customers and the people who use the product.

Engineering is probably the most removed from the customers, so marketing needs to find a way to get the customer in front of the engineer so the user can demonstrate what the most pressing issues are.

A lot of your company success is about identifying how to connect with your customer and doing that on a regular basis. Everyone does it their own way. A great way is to take your customer to dinner. And just sit and talk with them … over dinner. An entire dinner. And learn about your customer needs and goals.

Q. What is a ‘Marketplace’?

A. Most Marketplaces don’t actually house products, they just facilitate a transaction.

The only things under their control are policies and platforms. We can make technical improvements to the platform that improves the user experience, or we can force policies that permit or restrict behaviors. And the only way to improve either of those is to know what the customer needs.

Q. What do you see as some of the upcoming trends in Marketplaces?

A. Exploiting niches. Being able to do something great within a specific area.

Also, we’re starting to see micro-focused discovery and recommendation tools that address inefficiencies in already popular platforms, like Netflix. These band-aids understand the user better than the marketplace itself.

Jordan Koene was recently Head of SEO and Content for eBay for 4 years and is now an SEO guru for Searchmetrics – an SEO platform. He’s a master at online and social commerce and you can get to know him better and connect with him on Jordan’s website.

Tradecraft is a 3 month immersive Growth Marketing program designed around startups. I trained in all things growth under Graham Hunter.