Last week I asked Yousaf Sekander, who is the Group Head of Search & Social Marketing at ElevateLocal, one of our SEO Agency customers from the UK, if he would be interested in giving an interview on how they are using the cognitiveSEO toolset in their SEO endeavors. He agreed to give us the interview, and as a result here are the Q&A’s :

Please tell us a bit about yourself and the SEO agency you work for.

I have been in the IT industry for just over 7 years in a professional capacity but I have been dabbling with computers since Windows 3.1x days. I worked as a freelance developer for a number of years and then joined Xerox Global Services as a multimedia developer mainly building e-Learning applications using Action Script. In 2010 after graduating from university I joined Elevatelocal, a digital marketing agency based in UK where I am currently the Head of SEO.

How do you find the SEO landscape in 2012?

In short, pretty interesting! As you know, there is a lot going on in our sector. Recent developments in the search industry have worked in our favour as our SEO strategies have always been social centric and because the SEO landscape is shifting towards that direction we are in a really good position. We are placing our bets on local search.

What made you decide on using cognitiveSEO?

CognitiveSEO is an intuitive tool but more importantly it is probably one the best tools out there that provides actionable SEO data and that is why I use it. Also with the latest updates in Google’s algorithm, CognitiveSEO is a must-have tool because of its granular link analysis.

Can you please give us a short story on how cognitiveSEO helped you get new clients?

Recently we were approached by a few businesses that were affected by the latest changes in Google’s algorithm. One of the business owners was very enthusiastic about SEO and she had a pretty good understanding of it. When we brought up the issue of rogue links, she requested us to give her a quick demonstration of how we go about identifying rogue links. We used CognitiveSEO for the demo, one of the reasons why I wrote a quick post on identifying unnatural links.

Can you share with us a secret of yours? What is the best link building strategy that you use(in terms of ROI, links acquired and time spent)?

It is a multifaceted question so to keep it simple I will give you a really short answer. I focus on building good relationships and I am hot on guest blogging. But one of my real secrets is database driven re… (“not provided” :) )

I would like to answer one of your questions. Please shoot!

“What is the most used feature of CognitiveSEO?” (Yousaf asked)

As a pattern that we see among most of our users, they are using the “Backlink Reports” for day to day backlink checking. For their sites and the major competitors, they are using the “Campaigns”, where they set them, on re-crawl and let the system take care of all the hassle, by tracking their link profile weekly and their rankings daily. These are some of the most used sections of the cognitiveSEO toolset, now.

Thank you for the interview!

My pleasure.

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