Callum Scott – Marie Haynes Consulting Interview


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SERPWizz Interviews – Callum Scott

Callum Scott

Marie Haynes Consulting

Callum Scott is a Senior SEO Analyst at Marie Haynes Consulting Inc. He specializes in analyzing and recovering sites that have seen traffic drops following Google algorithm updates. Callum contributes regularly industry publications and has spoken publicly on how to help websites recover from Google’s Core Quality Algorithm Updates at conferences such as DMSS, in Bali.

Check out Callum’s: Website, LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, Email

What are some of the biggest challenges/obstacles you faced when starting out with SEO, and why?

There is simply so much to wrap your head around and a lot of differing opinions out there! I was fortunate enough to have a great mentor and teacher with Marie Haynes who has an amazing amount of experience in determining what works and how Googles algorithms are changing with each update.

Tell us about your favourite/most successful link-building strategy – how quickly do you typically see results from this method?

We don’t actually do any link building in house, but a lot of our business is removing unnatural link penalties so we do see a lot of evidence of what _doesn’t_ work anymore! For all our clients we recommend the same thing, producing top notch content and doing legitimate PR for authoritative mentions. More and more, these are the links that seem to help move the needle.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

I take a walk, meditate, and generally just step away from my computer for a bit.

How do you choose who to reach out to/partner with? Where do you find them, and what approach do you take when reaching out?

We have partnered with a few different companies over the years for referring over work that we don’t have the capacity to help with. So far these connections have all come about organically through connections and relationships within the industry.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

My main area of expertise is analyzing and recovering sites that have seen traffic drops following Google algorithm updates, so we have seen a lot of techniques getting touted that, yeah, they may work in the short term, but long term don’t pay off and can get a site into real trouble. I don’t think there is anything wrong with using grey hat techniques for short term growth, but it is really sad when the client had no idea that thats what their SEO was doing for them, and they hadn’t been made aware of the potential risks involved.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?


What do you think about link swaps?

As with all things links, it is about scale and patterns. Honestly, they might work to some degree in the short run at a low level, but we end up having to disavow these links when removing manual actions. Probably not something to “focus” on for long term growth and they can get you into trouble.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

Cast Iron cookware lol!

Tell us one thing about SEO that most people don’t know?

I honestly reckon that most folks who work at Google don’t entirely understand how the algorithms produces the results they do. Some Googler’s like Martin Splitt have even said that they deliberately haven’t tried to understand the inner workings!

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — what would it say and why?

An artist called Martin Creed has already done it with his installation “Work No. 975” in my hometown of Edinburgh. It’s a giant neon sign above the National Gallery that reads “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT”. I would walk past it every day on my way home from high school, definitely worth taking a look at!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their SEO service provider journey? What advice should they ignore?

“Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it”

Describe your link-building team. How many members are there? How do you measure and track progress?

None, we don’t do any link building.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Find your passion, and take things at your own pace. Try not to compete with your peers, your journey is your own.

What careers advice would you give to your 21-year old self?

Buy bitcoin! haha!

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months?

Plants, all the house plants!

Tell us about your business. What does it do and what value do you add?

We primarily work in analyzing sites that have seen traffic drops following Google updates and guiding them to recovery. We also remove manual penalties for sites, mostly for unnatural link building, and have a few ongoing clients that we provide consulting for. Our main value is working with and monitoring a large number of clients and being able to spot trends following Google updates. Since we don’t currently do any implementation, link building, content writing etc. we are able to focus 100% on analysis and current trends. This allows us to get a clearer picture of what is or is not working which helps us stay a bit further ahead of the curve.

Where do you see the SEO/link building industry in the next 5 years?

Google started out with using links/PR to separate itself from the crowd and become the giant of search it is today. However, since the first Penguin algorithm we have Google put less and less emphasis on links and put a lot more effort in understanding content and site quality so they can provide users with the best result for their query. There are a lot of buzz words out there, but honestly focusing on really understanding what the searcher intent for a query is, and creating content that provides the best answer to target queries will continue to take more and more prominence.

Tell us about someone you admire and why you admire them?

Bill Slawski is probably my favourite SEO out there. So down to earth, honest, and incredibly smart.

What one song can you listen to every day non-stop?

Keep on – Jackie Venson

How has Covid-19 changed your industry?

Luckily for us, not really. Seems to be if anything more busy as companies focus on their online sales efforts.

How has Covid-19 changed your company?

We are working remote now and have had to develop new training methods for onboarding new team members.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Somewhere I haven’t been before!

What’s something exciting you’re currently working on/learning that only a few people know about?

We are doing quite a bit of research into how Google could be using the knowledge graph and entity understanding within organic search.


Heather Wilkinson


Heather Wilkinson is a globe-trotting content creator and PR enthusiast who’s finally put down roots in her native UK. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her pretending to care about Minecraft for her son’s sake, while secretly reading the latest Ace Atkins novel (or sleeping – her second favourite past-time).