Interview With Danny Dover, Globetrotter, Writer, SEO

In the last four years, Danny Dover moved quickly through the ranks of one of the SEO industry’s most prestigious firms. He recently left his position at SEOmoz to become senior search engine optimization manager at AT&T, where his focus is organic SEO for Yellowpages.com.

Dover’s first book hit shelves in March. Last week, the 23-year-old Washington native spoke with SEO.com on the telephone.

Danny Dover in Egypt

Danny Dover on a recent trip to Egypt.

With “Search Engine Optimization Secrets,” Dover said his goal was to “level the playing field.”

“There are a lot of people who want to know about SEO, from small brick-and-mortar businesses to large corporations,” he said.

According to Dover, his book explains everything he knows about search engine optimization, including how the pros do link building, the best metrics for measuring results, how to land SEO clients and how much to charge for SEO services.

“I asked people what kind of SEO book they wanted to read,” Dover said. “No. 1, they wanted it to be actionable. No. 2, they wanted advanced knowledge.”

He admitted he doesn’t know what the future holds for the SEO industry.

“It’s a ridiculously broad topic,” Dover said. “The definition of SEO is even up for debate.”

But getting discovered today means websites must rank highly in search engines.

“It’s part popularity, part relevance,” Dover explained. “Your website has to be both popular and relevant.”

There are reports in his book that detail ways professionals conduct SEO, including an audit of an SEO site.

“You can see what it is that we were charging all this money for,” Dover said. “I learned a lot from writing those reports and now we’re distributing it to the public.”

He said his book is for beginner SEOs “who want to take it to the next level.”

Speaking to SEO.com, Dover stressed the importance of engaging in white hat SEO.

“If you want these rankings to stay at the top, white hat is the way to go,” he said. “With black hat, there is a potential for getting higher rankings, but there is also a chance your entire domain could be removed from the index.”

College Dropout

Dover has come a long way since leaving the University of Washington about three years ago.

“I dropped out so I could pursue SEO full time,” he said.

That was after one of his professors used one of Dover’s articles as the basis for a test question. The professor didn’t realize the blog’s author was a student in his class.

But establishing relationships with his older colleagues hasn’t been easy.

“At first it was kind of rough just trying to get some respect,” the 23-year-old said.

Though obsessed with the Internet as a child, Dover said “at the time, I didn’t know what SEO was.”

“I certainly haven’t found a better way to study the Internet than to study SEO,” he said. “Next for me is learning more about the different channels of Internet marketing.”

So Dover is brushing up on social networking, affiliate programs and pay-per-click campaigns.

Happiness Audit

A career in SEO has allowed Dover to travel the world in his spare time, espousing his views on technology and philosophy.

“The beauty of being an SEO is that all the work I do is online,” Dover said. “All I need is an Internet connection.”

Along the way he performs regular exams of his lifestyle he calls “happiness audits.”

“It’s an audit I run through every month to decide if I’m on the path I want to go along,” Dover said.

He said he has “gained a lot from really simplifying my life.”

“Almost everything I own fits into a suitcase,” Dover said.

While Internet executives may shun the tenets of minimalism, some 23-year-olds will also ignore his advice.

“I’ve talked to a lot of very smart people about what makes them happy,” Dover said. “The pattern I saw over and over again was that it was experiences that made them happy, not possessions.”

Still, as a bachelor, he joked that “at some point there is going to be a girl who is going to completely derail my system.”


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11 Comments

  1. Paul Kaufman says

    Enjoyed the interview (and I already met a gal who derailed my system – but tangents can be cool too!)

    Just ordered Danny’s book. As a speaker and consultant on SEO topics, I enjoy reading from industry pros. Thanks!

  2. Ty Pule says

    I am interested in reading the book. Danny Dover states that the book is for beginner SEOs. I would like to see Danny write a book for advanced SEOs. Very interesting article.

    • Corey McNeil says

      To quote from Danny’s first page of his new book, “This book is for the SEO who already know the basics of SEO and want to take this knowledge to the next level so they can make more money”.

      The book came in the mail Saturday from Barnes & Noble. I bought it so I can do an online review, but figured it would be more geared to beginner SEO. I figured I would be able to skim through in a few hours or maybe a day or two.

      So far I really am impressed. I am surprised with what I have found so far, but will make sure to follow up here when I finish the read.

  3. Lisa Nguyen says

    This is absolutely what I believe, that simplicity is the key to happiness and success. I had everything and left it all behind. I packed my book bag and moved to New York. When my brother passed away I realized that those material things are not as important as I once thought and to be honest were weighing me down. I had no problem getting rid of my stuff. I like to keep things clean neat and organized. Hence my mind will be too. I love this Danny Dover Book I found my freedom.

    • Ty Pule says

      I have started to read the book but I could not wait and had to take a quick peek at some of the pages. I can tell you that the book is worth buying and that is saying a lot coming from a SEO consultant that has been doing advanced SEO and web design for 14 years.

  4. Danny Dover says

    Thanks everyone.

    @Ty – Did you read somewhere that the book was aimed at beginners? If so, it sounds like I need to update something :-)

    @liseogirl – Sounds like you have your priorities straight. I wish you the best of luck.

    If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact to me via my e-mail on the About page on my website.

    Cheers all!

    • Ty Pule says

      Hi Danny – I actually read this in the SEO.com story, “He said his book is for beginner SEOs “who want to take it to the next level.” Maybe I am reading this the wrong way? Regardless, I bought the book yesterday and I am excited to start reading it.

  5. George Henry David says

    Great interview, Thanks for sharing it. I’d like to find and read his book completely. . .

  6. Johnson Boles says

    Thank you for sharing your stuff on blog. it’s doubtless that we’ve similar interests. something are very helpful to me.

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