Profile of the month – Rafiq Phillips, SEO Specialist at MIH Internet Africa
Can you please provide a brief summary of your professional background?
I’ve been professionally involved in the Internet industry since 2001, have never worked on anything that wasn’t online. Googling my name should reveal all.
What does your current role at MIH Internet Africa involve?
Officially, I provide SEO services to various MIH companies in South Africa. Unofficially, I break down digital marketing silos.
What is the secret these days to good SEO? And how do you make sure you stay on top of this constantly evolving ‘science’?
I wish there was a secret to good SEO. I believe good SEO is like shampoo. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. SEO is an ongoing process and it shouldn’t be seen as a once-off exercise. To achieve optimum results your SEO strategy should be integrated into the overall marketing strategy and be aligned with the business goals. Testing is also vital. One should not disregard the ‘small stuff’, or rather tasks that impact SEO that are not difficult to implement, as sometimes they make the biggest difference. Staying abreast of the latest SEO developments is fairly easy if you follow the right people on twitter I’ve also had the opportunity to attend many leading online marketing conferences like SES San Francisco, SMX East and will be attending SMX Advanced in Seattle this year.
What makes a good blog and how does one convince visitors to share ones blog posts on social media sites?
I believe you shouldn’t have to convince visitors to share your blog posts on social media sites. Rather provide your visitors with the tools to easily share them. Earned Tweets, Likes and +1′s convert better than those that are forced with retweet competitions that can and usually are perceived as social media spam.
Do you think blogs can be an affective affiliate marketing channel? How can web masters and affiliates use blogs to drive results for their merchants?
Yes I know it can. I’ve been blogging since 2005 and have had numerous successful results from affiliate marketing campaigns as a blogger. I believe affiliates, web masters and bloggers should try and understand their audience before attempting any affiliate marketing exercise. Knowing your visitors, email list or social network audience’s interests and spending habits is vital. Once again: Test, Test and Test.
Do you have any tips to affiliates that are new to the industry?
I’d like to consider myself a blogger rather than affiliate and would say that patience and timing is key to your success. Grow and engage with your audience, build a community and the affiliate revenue will follow.
You are involved with the women’s online shopping site, 36Boutiques.com (an MIH website), affiliate program which is currently running on AdMarula’s network. What have the results been like so far?
The AdMarula Advertiser interface is quite complex in some areas, but the results have been better than some tests we’ve run on other South African affiliate networks. The ability to reach online communities in South Africa that we wouldn’t via other channels has also been a surprise. I enjoy the fact that you are able to pick and choose which affiliates run your campaigns unlike the ‘black box’ approach other affiliate networks have.
What is your favourite quote of all time?
I saw a quote below a graffiti artist’s work many years ago that stuck with me: “The world is in the palm of your hands. It’s yours.” With the evolution of the mobile phone, today it truly is.
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