David Iwanow - The Search Community Honors You

May 22, 2018 - 7:24 am 0 by
Filed Under Honor An SEO/SEM

David Iwanow

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

David Iwanow is currently 36 years old and lives and works in London. He spends his time with his wonderful fiancée Fiona, who keeps him grounded, since she is not part of the SEO industry. He was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia.

David is someone who is friends with almost everyone I know in our industry. He is super active on social media, always can be found at industry events, he is constantly contributing content to the industry publications and sharing his knowledge, freely and openly with everyone in our space. He even runs his own meetups locally, which is a huge deal.

He has been involved in the industry since before it became an industry, in 1994. I don't think there is anyone in the space that has met David that can't say a nice thing about him.

We are lucky to have him as part of our industry and community.

Saijo George nominated David and wrote:

David is very passionate about SEO and was one of the founding members of a monthly SEO meetup group in Melbourne. Without him, we might not have such a passionate bunch of SEO's hanging out and sharing info with each other in the southern hemisphere.

He really is quite knowledgable when it comes to SEO and is such a down to earth, nice guy.

David Iwanow Bio: David has been a web user since back in 1994 which sometimes makes him feel old, back then it was a very simple web. There was no Google it was just WebCrawler, Go.com, Lycos, Infoseek and every week or two you would download a new build of Netscape Navigator which would offer new exciting features such as support for images, background colours, JavaScript support, div tags, coloured font, animated gifs and later QuickTime video support. I actually mostly got into SEO by chance I returned to Australia in 2007 after a stint in London on a working holiday visa, and my mum's wedding celebrant business was struggling to gain traction, so I set about learning about Google Analytics (measure) and AdWords (targeted keywords) along with rebuilding her a brand new website with FrontPage. I was lucky that I had seen some early SEOs working in London such as Mike Hatcher when I was working at Belushi's London Bridge as assistant manager who shifted our dependence on HostelWorld for all our bookings to our own site by optimising page titles, but also involved a very slow and manual process of doing queries and logging ranking results in an excel document, he now works at Hive Minder.

Back in 2006 in London I saw the raw power and potential of SEO then and decided I needed to start to learn more about it, back then it was heavily focused on reading as much as I could such as Aaron's SEO Book and forums such as WebmasterWorld. When I was back in Brisbane I was actually forced into making a decision to do SEO full-time after I was let go from my outbound sales job at WebCentral, I knew enough about SEO to get my sites ranked well enough in Google but most of the jobs I was applying for back then were mainly sales roles which required me to relocate to Sydney or Melbourne. I decided that I was going to give it a go on my own as my parents had run their own businesses so really how hard could it be? I was lucky enough to get a NEIS government grant to ensure I could afford to pay rent and afford food and set about spending the next 6 months researching the market, building my product offering and a huge amount of cold calling to agencies looking for them to handle freelance work. The early insights was that many web agencies were selling in SEO services to clients for many thousands of dollars a month only to do dumb things like failing to add redirects, not add page titles, use # in URLs so it looked like a single page website, mix internal links between www & non-www version but the scary thing was that many were not even using basic SEO tracking/reporting methodologies. I had many pointless meetings and presentations over this first year but it helped me understand a lot more about my competitors, where was the gap in the market but also created some of my strongest industry connections.

It wasn't until my first big US SEO conference at SMX East in 2008 that I had my first chance to meet and hang out some SEOs such as Kate Morris, Brent Payne "BigWatah", Judith Lewis, Brent Csutoras, Bruce Clay, Lauren Vaccarello, Katie Greene, Andrew Goodman, Marty Weintraub,Thomas Rasinen, David Szetela, Randfish and many more amazing folks. It was actually twitter that allowed me to stay in contact with many of these amazing folks over the years. I was always impressed how open and willing to share tips/help along with mentoring these folks offered over the years, much of the many mistakes I could have made was reduced by having amazing and supportive marketers just a tweet away. I would have to say I've been working to improve my social interactions as I used to be an angry SEO when I got started back all those years ago and one role model over the years is Wil Reynolds who reminds me to be a better person along with a better marketer, if you get a chance to spend a few minutes with the man at any conference or event he is inspirational.

Over the years I transitioned from agency contracts to my own clients to eventually taking the big plunge from working for myself to working for a comparison search engine in 2011, which I ended up leaving after a few months when I overspent on AdWords due to a rookie error restarting all the campaigns including the paused ones along with not discovering our Yahoo rep had enabled the publisher network and tanked the profit margin for that month. I decided then I didn't want to be a general web marketer but accepted my technical skills wasn't enough so I joined NextDigital a large web development agency based in Melbourne, Australia. It was actually only after a year that I transitioned to Razorfish where I worked on Suncorp one of the biggest insurance companies in Australia and helped on other projects such as Aussie Homeloans and Australia Post with a focus on content marketing and link building. This was an amazing team but I had a desire to see the world which took me to Amsterdam to join ebay classifieds group as SEO Product Manager looking after Benelux region which included Belgium and Netherlands. I decided to leave Amsterdam after 3 years to join a digital agency in London, and quickly discovered that it was a "challenging" place to work which provided me with a new challenge that I hadn't previous experienced. So after 1 year of working with some amazing clients such as Expedia, OKA, BetterGyms and WorldRemit and some amazing SEOs and project managers I made the decision to go back inhouse as SEO Manager for Schibsted Media Group staying in London.

At the start of this year I received a promotion and after 11 years doing SEO full-time I can now be found working with Schibsted Media Group as Global SEO manager looking after our 50+ marketplaces in 22 countries around the world, which presents a whole bunch of new challenges with a combination of legacy and next generational platforms across 16+ different languages.

Favorite thing about the SEM community? I would have to say the favourite thing is about our industry is how we are so quick to adapt, I do think we do have a bad habit of being a bit eager to jump on things and sometimes need to take things into perspective or take a step back. I'm also guilty of sometimes following the stamped as it's easy to get drawn into a tweet storm on a topic that is close to your heart. I also love how many amazing folks in our industry don't take themselves too seriously all the time and SEO is something of a big family.

One piece of advice to the SEMs out there? Measure, wait and make decisions based on data where possible..... also its's great to share learning's where possible and stay positive.

Favorite things in general? I would have to say travel is probably one of my favourite things to do for sure, I moved to Europe so travel would be easier and I love exploring and capturing moments with my camera. I do also try and work on writing more on my travel review site which is more of a place for creative output but I'm a bit behind with around 150+ articles still partly finished in draft.

What you want to be known for in the SEM space? After returning from 6 months in NYC where there I was lucky enough to attend a few SEO meetups with some smart marketers like Frank Watson, Barry Schwartz, Ted Ulle, Matt McGowan, Vinny O'Hare, Christopher Hart and many more. I enjoyed this so much when I returned to Australia I re-started the SEO meetup group that meet once in 2008. I would hope that one of my legacies would be for helping expand SEO Meetups from a single event to a regular monthly event held in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. I did explore expanding the meetups to Europe but it's usually just more informal events such as #SEOsteak which is always a great relaxed event. I would have to say SEO Meetups wouldn't have grown to what it is today without the dedication from the local organisers Andy Henderson, Joe O'Brien, Rick Thompson, Chris Dimmock, Michael Jones, Chris Burgess, Peter Mead and Woj Kwasi. I would hope the idea of being more open, encouraging and trying to ensure everything you share is supported by examples/data is taken on by more folks in the digital marketing industry.

To learn more about David, check out his travel blog, follow him on Twitter and 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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