About Doc

Updated March 10, 2015

Doc Sheldon

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Hello – I’m Doc Sheldon. Let me tell you a bit about myself.

I retired from my business management consulting firm in 2003 and began studying SEO seriously a couple of months later. In 2008, I began marketing my services to clients in North America and the UK. I later expanded my operations into Latin America, as well – primarily in Mexico and Central America – and then finally, I expanded into Oceana.

With years of professional writing and publishing behind me, it seemed logical to take up SEO copywriting while learning the basics of search engine optimisation. But as soon as I stepped into that arena, even with just a basic understanding of search, I saw that most copywriters (and clients) had no idea how search engines really worked. So I saw an opportunity.

I began focusing my studies on data indexing and information retrieval (an incredibly boring way to pass time) and soon decided that semantic search was the only logical direction for Google to turn, as their index was growing exponentially.

So I began focusing on semantic markup languages and reading everything I could find on how algorithms classify and index data. I taught myself how to mark up content, primarily focusing on RDFa, until schema.org was adopted by the Big 3. I studied the use of Ctags, OpenGraph, Good Relations… virtually any means of augmenting the search algos’ ability to glean context from pages via structured markup and meta data.

Did I become a semantic expert? Not by a far cry! One thing I did learn, though, was that there were far too many opinions on the best languages and taxonomies to ever hope for a consensus. I suspect that same realisation may be what drove Google, Bing and Yahoo to put their heads together on schema.org.

A couple of years ago, unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that much of the time I’d spent in learning semantic markup had been wasted. Learning algorithms had already evolved beyond what most of my markup could convey to them. Semantic search, while still only taking baby steps, was already here and getting smarter at an amazing rate.

So I changed my direction slightly. I focused on trying to determine what Google’s algorithms’ limitations were, what their next direction was likely to be and how to best take advantage of that. And it has led me in wonderful directions.

In spite of all the moaning and groaning after every search update, the essential elements of SEO have changed very little. We still address the same aspects, we’ve simply had to be a bit more attentive to details. Some techniques that used to work a treat have now become passé or even toxic. But what we do hasn’t really changed – just how we do it.

That’s my passion… determining how to do it… with minimum risk and maximum benefit. And with just a bit of luck… maybe a step or two ahead of the search engines.