Boost Your SEO: 5 Proven Steps from a 27-Year Search Specialist

Boost Your SEO: 5 Proven Steps from a 27-Year Search Specialist

Discover expert advice from a seasoned search specialist on enhancing your SEO strategy and staying ahead of consumer trends with 5 actionable tips.

Duane Forrester is a 27-year search marketing expert who recently shared valuable advice at a Yext Summit. His insights are crucial for anyone looking to enhance their SEO skills and stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of search marketing.

Duane Forrester is a unique search marketer with experience on both sides of the search box. With 27 years in the industry, he spent nearly ten years as a Product Manager at Microsoft. During his time there, he played a key role in building and launching Bing Webmaster Tools, creating the original Bing Webmaster Guidelines, and collaborating with various teams such as Core Search, Spam Teams,,, and

Five Steps To Become A Better SEO & Predict Future Trends

Duane noted how in 2022, AI was not a hot topic of conversation. Fast forward just over a year, and now everyone is buzzing about it. He highlighted this as a prime example of how SEO is an industry that evolves rapidly, a pace that has always been the norm.

The developments in AI are just another chapter in a long history of changes, not all of which are immediately apparent to the search community. Machine learning, neural networks, and AI have quietly played a role in Search for many years, often operating behind the scenes and not always clearly understood. This underscores the importance of staying informed and continually learning in this field.

Duane said:

“…this industry requires a dedication to continual learning. All the time, there’s always something new. …Big steps, small steps, but it is constant.”

He suggested the following activities for attaining a strong SEO footing and maintaining it.

Research 60 minutes per day

Follow known experts

Use official sources for SEO guidance

The value of developer resources

Anticipate consumer trends

1. Research 60 Minutes Per Day

Duane recommended setting aside time for research.

He explained:

“…dedicate at least 60 minutes a day, an hour, to reading new sources and the official blogs, heck even the unofficial blogs, get in and read those things.”

Some may think that spending time on researching SEO, something they already know, is excessive. However, Duane is correct and I will explain why.

Back in 2005, I was taken aback when a Google engineer disclosed that Google was utilizing statistical analysis to detect unnatural links. This revelation was eye-opening and made me realize the importance of reading research papers to keep up with the latest developments in search engine algorithms.

I reached out to Duane and he mentioned that researching everything is crucial now due to the rapidly changing landscape of SEO. He even pointed out that SEO might evolve to a point where it's no longer accurate to label it as such.

If current trends continue, we will all have to consider learning a new profession. The field of SEO may undergo significant changes in the near future.

In conclusion, if you are not putting in the effort now, there may not be a future for you in this industry. The time to act is now. A new opportunity will be emerging soon - make sure you are ready to seize it.

2. Follow Known Experts

Duane emphasizes the importance of keeping an open mind and learning from others. With 27 years of experience, he emphasizes the value of reading and absorbing different perspectives. If it's important for him, it should be important for everyone else too.

Duane recommends:

“Follow known experts on Twitter and LinkedIn threads, Bluesky, TikTok, wherever they have an account, go find it. If it’s on medium, sign up. If it’s on Substack sign up.

Use Official Sources For SEO Guidance

Make sure you’re getting direct access. You don’t want to rely on what someone said they read. Go read these things yourself. It makes a big difference in your understanding. Listen to the podcasts, watch the webinars, follow their YouTube channels and acknowledge you will be drinking from a fire hose.

Duane stressed how crucial it is to gather information directly from search engines. He recommended keeping official sources like Search Central, Developer blog, and Webmaster Tools bookmarked and checking them daily. Additionally, he suggested exploring alternative sources that are not commonly used by most people. Here's what he had to say about these alternative sources:

When it comes to SEO, it is important to focus on search engines like Microsoft, Google, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, Baidu, and Naver. You might wonder why Yahoo is included, but they have been making significant changes in their search engine over the past year and are expected to continue improving in the next 18 months. Keep an eye on their developments as they are investing in this area for a reason. They believe there is potential for growth and consumers are likely to agree with them.

Duane recommended checking out developer-focused resources at Meta, Amazon, Apple, TikTok, and OpenAI. These companies are at the forefront of creating customer experiences that influence consumer behavior. For example, Shein changed the game in clothing marketing by bypassing search engines and directly targeting consumers on social media in a way that resonated with them.

Duane mentioned the importance of checking out what developers are up to. Companies like META, Amazon, Apple, TikTok, and OpenAI have special places where developers can explore their newest products and services. It's worth taking a look!

Anticipating Consumer Trends

It is crucial to pay attention to these companies as they play a key role in developing customer experiences and understanding how these experiences influence customer actions and behaviors. These companies are the main sources where such experiences are introduced, discussed, and where developers can actively participate.

I found it interesting how he emphasized the impact of technology on customer experience and behavior. He often referred to Apple and Meta in terms of how they shape customer behavior and how money is directed towards consumers.

During our discussion, he brought up the idea of a potential ad-free AI search and highlighted the need to consider the shift in advertising funds.

"Let's talk about how the concept of "staying on top of your game" relates to the expanding landscape of "search" on new platforms like ChatGPT and Perplexity.

Understanding how these platforms are evolving and thinking about their business models is crucial. For example, if ChatGPT introduces an ad-free search experience and attracts their current 100 million active monthly users, how will this impact existing search models that rely on advertising? How will this change the way teams within brands work, the skills that are in demand, and where advertising money is allocated?"

Do you notice his approach? Duane observes current technological trends and predicts their future impact on job demand, advertising, and consumer spending.

I've been friends with Duane for nearly two decades, and he consistently provides insight by connecting present events to future outcomes. His thought-provoking questions help us anticipate the direction of the industry.

His Yext keynote wrapped up with a comparison to hockey:

He said, "Instead of skating to where the puck is, you should skate to where the puck is going to be." He emphasized that the best hockey players always anticipated this and made their moves accordingly whenever they were on the ice.

Skating to where the puck is headed can cause you to miss the mark and lag behind. Instead, focus on skating to where it will be to stay ahead and on top of your game. You can achieve this by staying curious, constantly learning, and nurturing a strong network.

Don't miss out on Duane Forrester's keynote speech - watch it now!

How to Keep Up with SEO Best Practices

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Artem Samokhvalov

Editor's P/S:

Duane Forrester's insights offer a valuable perspective on the rapidly evolving landscape of SEO. By emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and research, he highlights the need for professionals to stay abreast of the latest advancements in AI, machine learning, and consumer trends. His advice to follow known experts, utilize official sources for SEO guidance, and anticipate future trends provides a comprehensive approach to enhancing SEO skills and staying ahead of the competition.

Forrester's analogy to hockey, where players anticipate the puck's destination rather than its current position, underscores the importance of forward-thinking in SEO. By identifying emerging technologies and consumer behaviors, professionals can position themselves for success in the ever-changing industry. His emphasis on exploring developer resources and understanding the role of companies like Meta, Amazon, and Apple in shaping customer experiences further demonstrates the need to look beyond traditional SEO practices to gain a competitive edge in the future. ahead.