Interview With Creator of SearchRank, David Wallace

Interview With Creator of SearchRank, David Wallace

NowSourcing President, Brian Wallace, interviews SearchRank founder, David  Wallace, no there is no relation. Find out just how David got to where he is today. With his innovative   thinking and drive – David has become an influential leader when it comes to  search and online marketing. He will also discuss the future of infographics, and a  few of his favorites to date.

 1 – You’ve got a great reputation in the SEO world. For those readers that  don’t already know you, tell us a bit about your background?

Believe it or not, I was not introduced the “the computer” until 1996 when we purchased our first PC – an AST 133mhz machine running Windows 95. After a few months of “playing around” with this new toy, I thought that there has to be a way to make money with this thing.

After about 6 months, I signed up to be an affiliate of a company that designed websites after attending one of their seminars. It was pretty straight-forward: I’d land the customers, help them decide what they wanted to do and the company I represented would design and host the sites. That worked well for a few months until the web design company forgot what their purpose really was and rather focused on seminars to sign up more and more affiliates (they made a lot of money with affiliate sign-up fees). Long story short – they began to lapse badly in their design work so I bought a copy of Frontpage and learned how to design sites myself.

As far as being a marketer I actually stumbled into search marketing quite accidentally after first starting my “online” career in web design in 1997. We owned (still do in fact) an Arizona construction and home improvement portal that we were trying to market but with zero budget. Therefore I relied heavily on performing what optimization techniques were available to my knowledge base at the time, most likely derived from writings of folks like Danny Sullivan and Jill Whalen. As a result, we were successful in getting that site to rank well in the search engines that were around at that time (no Google at this point).

So, we began to offer these types of “SEO” related services to clients, at first for very nominal one-time fees, until a light bulb went on in my head and I discovered the “retainer” model. We went from a small local web design company whose clients pretty much resided in our own locale – Arizona, to an international company serving clients not only across the nation, but around the globe as well.

Almost 15 years later, my company continues to focus its energies on managing search and social media marketing campaigns for our clients. We also continue to run our own niche websites including that Arizona home improvement one I spoke of earlier. The two I am most excited to currently work with however are Disney-O-Rama, an “all things Disney blog, and Infographic Journal, an “infographics only” blog.

2 – Why another infographic site?

Prior to presenting in the most recent PubCon conference in Vegas, I was looking around for suitable places to submit infographic work. Because I was speaking on the topic of infographic marketing via social media, I thought I’d include a list of sites that accept submission of infographic work. The results I came up with were scarce so I thought, “Why not launch our own?” So we did.

Now, Infographic Journal is not another, that is a self-serving infographics site, but rather a blog where we select some of the best infographics and data visualizations to post on a daily basis. We also accept free submissions of infographic work to be considered for publishing. It’s been a lot of work thus far and the site is still pretty new, but I personally feel that Infographic Journal is the most active site, next to of course, in featuring infographics all in one place on a daily basis.

We soft-launched the site in September 2011, finished its look, feel and structure around the middle of November and really began to publish content on a daily basis in December. In December alone, we published 157 infographics and as of the time of this interview, we have over 220 published infographics. Not bad for only a couple months of hard work.

3 – What are your goals for the site?

To take over the world, what else? No, but in all seriousness, we simply want Infographic Journal to be one of the top sites in its niche. I know it will take some time but I firmly believe that it will eventually hold a top spot as far as “infographic-only” blogs/sites go.

I certainly realize that companies are creating and marketing infographics for their own sites and benefit, but I want Infographic Journal to be a place that combines the best of the best in infographic work, all in one place and then of course provides credit (and links) to the original source and/or designer.

Ultimately, once the site is established, we hope to attract advertisers and possibly even companies who need help in marketing their infographics via social media, link building and the like.

4 – What’s been your favorite infographic so far?

Anything your company has done! All kidding aside, I have enjoyed pretty much all of the infographics NowSourcing has created as they are of very high quality. But I would have to say one of my favorites thus so far has been the “Alternative Holidays: Festivus For the Rest of Us” not necessarily because it is the best one but rather because I am a huge Seinfeld fan. Other than that, I like the infographics that are either humorous in some way such as “Geek vs Nerd” or informative such as “Anatomy of a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign.”

5 – If you’re like us, you’ve probably seen a lot of tech infographics. What’s the most imaginative industry you’ve seen an infographic so far?

If we are referring to what is currently on Infographic Journal, I’d have to say that “Complete Guide to Energy Efficient Home Lighting” did a great job providing useful and entertaining data on a most boring subject – light bulbs. I mean, who wants to know anything about light bulbs? We turn them on when we go into a room and hopefully remember to turn them off when leaving. We hate having to change them and if most are like me, we put those tasks off until the weekend “honey-dos” or something. Whoever designed this infographic did a great job compiling what most would consider boring information into an format that made it interesting to read and visualize. I actually read through the whole thing as well as shared it all over the socialsphere.

Infographics like this prove that just about any industry, no matter how un-exciting or boring they think they might be, can take advantage of this new type of content marketing – visualizing data.

6 – Where’s the future of infographics going? Interactive? Mobile? Video? All of the above?

I think all of the above. We are already seeing this. The vast majority of them will most likely continue to be these large graphic representations of data simply because they are so effective. In our short attention span of a world, a well designed infographic enables people to easily digest data at a much faster rate than say, reading a blog post or even watching a video.

How about infographics that tease the user but then lead them to a more instructive video? Or an instructive video that then provides a checklist format infographic? I can see them all working together in the scope of content marketing.

7 – Anything else we should know?

Anyone who is reading this who would like to submit infographics for consideration to be published on Infographic Journal can visit and follow the instructions to do so. I’d say that 99% of everything that has been submitted to date has been published so there’s a great opportunity there to gain more exposure for infographic work.

We’ve already received inquiries about advertising on the site but at this point, we are not offering anything. Personally, I’d like to see the site earn some Google PageRank first as well as graduate out of the “new site sandbox” Google won’t admit to, but still has in place. I won’t go into that now as it is an entirely different subject. It shouldn’t be too long though as I feel the site is growing at a good natural pace. We will probably do some more aggressive marketing of the site in the near future which at that time, I’d feel better about actually offering services to paying advertisers.

In the meantime, we will continue to collect and feature as much of the great infographic work that is taking place out there that we come across and continue to accept free submissions of infographic work as well. If you want to support us, please make sure to subscribe to our RSS feed and additionally follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And by all means, if you like anything you see while on the site, share it socially on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and any other social networks you frequent. ~