Andy Drinkwater of Andy Drinkwater Ltd tells us about technical SEO and audits.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Andy Drinkwater: To start with, in 2020, everyone was very worried. No one really knew much about this virus and what it could do, so we remained cautious. A year later, and we have had some challenges to overcome. Two extended family members lost to Covid 19; one had to spend 6 weeks in hospital with it. It has been tough.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Andy Drinkwater Ltd.
Andy Drinkwater: Andy Drinkwater Ltd is the rebrand of my SEO consultancy company. I have been an SEO consultant for more than 21 years now, but I fell into the role by accident. Back in 1999, I formed a startup with my brothers and took on the early role of understanding what was needed to start to rank in this small search engine called Google. Back then, the process of ranking was very different, and through the years, I have seen every update to Google and how to deal with them.
How does Andy Drinkwater Ltd innovate?
Andy Drinkwater: I specialize, and my key areas are those of technical expertise within SEO and auditing websites to see what needs changing to them. Through this process, I am able to help companies overcome ranking or branding issues that might be holding them back from competing within their niche.
This means that I must constantly test against updates from Google to ensure the data I am working with is always current.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Andy Drinkwater: The pandemic didn’t actually accept the business – if anything, it grew and thrived. There were many businesses who were taking advantage of the huge lockdowns all over the world and spent this time improving what they had and giving themselves a lead for when the world was getting back to normal – and it has paid off for them.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Andy Drinkwater: I haven’t really had to make any difficult choices, but I have learnt many lessons over these last 12 months. Probably the most important lesson is to plan and prepare because we never know what is around the corner. No one saw Covid 19 coming, and had I run my business differently; I would have been in a difficult situation. This would have impacted my family as well as my business.
Keep your eyes on expanding or becoming a business that people are always going to want to reach out to when something goes wrong. As it stands, I never go looking for business, and I do have to turn it away sometimes. It is a nice situation, but I never rest on my laurels because we don’t know what other challenges we might have to deal with next.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Andy Drinkwater: I use more than 35 different tools when auditing a website, and these are all geared to help me understand what is happening when a site starts to struggle. Without these, I would be making guesses, and that is just never going to work for anyone.
I tie this work into a templated audit process of my own making (but I have shared it with the community) to ensure that no stone is left unturned. Every site gets the same tests, and the outcomes are what I work with to advise companies what needs correcting.
As I work on my own, I don’t have others that I need to manage, but I am very strict with my own work and getting it done.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Andy Drinkwater: I have thousands of competitors – probably tens of thousands. Everyone who offers SEO services to a company is a competitor, and as I offer my services worldwide, I am competing in even bigger markets.
However, through my own tests, videos and contributions, I have been recognized by different groups in the top 100/200 SEO’s worldwide. I tie this in with my name, which I have spent years building, to continue to keep myself in front of everyone who needs to see me.
I continue to do this and am always helping others and continue to remain active on Social Media (mainly Twitter) and LinkedIn.
Your final thoughts?
Andy Drinkwater: The last 12 months have been an eye-opener. It’s been interesting in a sad way because we have lost far too many lives, but I do like to see how we continue planning to deal with it.
My final thoughts are that to deal with Covid, people should get vaccinated and try not to worry about scare stories, although I understand that can be awkward.
For businesses, small and large, make plans. Plan for scenarios you can’t yet envisage because you just don’t know what might happen. Play through these scenarios and look at different outcomes. If you never have to put these scenarios into play, then nothing has been lost.
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