Aaron Bradley - The Search Community Honors You

Feb 16, 2018 • 7:06 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Honor An SEO/SEM

Aaron Bradley

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series - feel free to nominate someone over here.

Aaron Bradley lives in Vancouver, Canada and works for Electronic Arts. If anyone mentions the name Aaron Bradley to another SEO, you immediately think schema, markup, structured data, rich snippets and all that jazz. He doesn't take that reputation lightly, he is constantly sharing new findings about his expert topic with me and the community on a frequent basis. He writes articles on the topic at industry web sites, he speaks around the world about the topic and he helps his colleagues do better in the area through solid, clear and factual advice.

I cannot tell you how many times I've covered something new about schema, markup, structured data, or rich snippets because Aaron Bradley first spotted it and shared it on Twitter or Google+ or on some other community. He is always at the forefront of this topic, before most people even know about what schema is all about.

He obviously knows all about SEO, but he really made his name with schema. He is a super smart man, generous with his time and caring with other people.

He was nominated two times, by anonymous people. Here are those nominations:

In short, for his continuous effort to enlighten everybody about why structured data is important, what's new and how it should be used.

He started doing this back when hardly anybody knew about it, and those who did declared him crazy for sticking with it.

Even now that he's working for a huge corporation he still creates the time to find the latest news in the most obscure corners of the web. He reads more than should be humanly possible and keeps finding the energy to regularly post about the latest facts while also giving mind blowing presentations about them.

Most of the time he's the first one to do so yet he doesn't even demonstrate the slightest bit of arrogance for being the never ending - humble - front-runner he is.

Hooray for the all round nice guy that has been educating all of us for so many years.

He put on the SEO map the semantic stuff

Aaron Bradley Bio: I was born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Over the course of time I’ve moved progressively westwards, eventually ending up on Canada’s west coast itself, in Vancouver, British Columbia, where I’ve been since 1999.

I’ve had essentially three digital careers, each spanning a decade. My first job that involved a computer was as a technical services librarian, for the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College (CFCSC) in Toronto. It was at the tail end of this job that I eased into my next career, as a web designer, as it was for the CFCSC Library that I created my first website in 1995 (in Notepad).

In 2005 I turned my attention from designing websites to optimizing them for the search engines, and I’ve been an “SEO” ever since, although like most search engine marketers my work has evolved over time to encompass a range of related realms, like analytics, information architecture and content strategy. And for many years my attention has been increasingly focused on the world of linked data (“the semantic web”) and its increasingly important role in search.

I currently work for Electronic Arts, where I’ve been since 2014. I can’t speak highly enough of the knowledgeable and skilled colleagues I’ve been able to work alongside, and of course of my own talented and dedicated team.

On the personal side I’ve had the incredible good fortune to find the woman of my dreams, Donna, to whom I’ve been married since 2001. And chief among my hobbies is one I share with her - cooking. While there’s not a drop of our Italian blood in either of our families, she and I often quip that we must be Italian, as we like Italian food so much.

Favorite thing about the SEO community? The thing I like most about the SEO community is that there is an SEO community, one where people are eager to share information, engage in lively but generally respectful debate, and get to know one another professionally.

This is hardly the case with many or even most marketing disciplines, and I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned and of the great people I’ve been able to connect with over the years by participating in this community.

One piece of advice to the SEOs out there? Quit thinking in terms of search engine results, and instead think of the search engines as providing responses.

Search engines, previously an index of web documents, are increasingly becoming a knowledge base of real-world facts, and that’s an irreversible and accelerating trend.

The relative rank of each entry in that list - those “ten blue links” - is still important, and linked document summaries will continue to be an important way by which users access information, but in many ways that list of unadorned links is a window into the past.

The present and future lies in what surrounds and, in some cases, enhances those unadorned search result snippets: Google Knowledge Panels, featured snippets, video (and image, and news, and recipe) verticals, Google Posts, and the data about an entity that turns a search result snippet into a rich result.

In short, the trajectory of search is away from a document index where search results provide a description of documents to a knowledge base of things where a search response provides information about things, where that information is culled from both that index of documents and from other, increasingly varied, sources.

That’s a pretty lengthy answer for what readers may have expected to be a pithier and easily-digestible “piece of advice”, so I’ll try to distill it down to a single phrase.

In the course of optimizing your content, always be asking yourself, WWGAD (What Would Google Assistant Do)?

What you want to be known for in the SEO space? At this point it’s probably inevitable that I’ll be known for my work in the area of structured data, as it is something I’ve been focused on for many years. If so that’s a fine legacy, and that work has given me the opportunity to get to know and share information with some exceptional people, both in the SEO community and beyond.

But if I had my druthers I guess I’d like to known as a guy who, in his practice of SEO, was always looking forward rather than backward.

To learn more about Aaron, check out his personal site at seoskeptic.com, he is very active in the Google+ Group Semantic Search Marketing and you can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series - feel free to nominate someone over here.

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