Marcus Tandler featured on a panel session at last year’s a4uexpo in Amsterdam, providing insight on how to get the better of Google’s Penguin search engine algorithm.

Marcus is a Partner at the German-based online-marketing company Tandler.Doerje.Partner, which has a strong focus on SEO services for large companies and websites looking to improve their rankings within the Google guidelines.

Ahead of June’s Performance Marketing Insights conference we spoke with Marcus about the future of search and the topics he’s expecting to take centre stage in Berlin.

What are you expecting to see as the hottest topic at Performance Marketing Insights: Europe, in Berlin this June?

Marcus Tandler: In regards to SEO the big topic right now is penalty relief. Lots of affiliates have been hit by Google Panda and Penguin or manually penalised for buying / selling links and are looking for effective strategies to get their sites back on top of the search results again. The former Googlers Kaspar and Fili are talking about these issues at PMI and will share some great tips on how to get rid of pesky penalties.

Another hot topic remains how to deal with mobile traffic, best practices for responsive design and what to expect when more and more wearables like Google Glass and smartwatches hit the streets. People just search a lot differently when they are searching on their mobile or with wearables.

Don those future-gazing goggles and share your thoughts about where search and social will be in 2020.

MT: I think that thinking as far as 2020 is kind of a longshot, since internet years are just like dog years! Sure, with Facebook buying Oculus Rift we might see social networking turning into a virtual reality networking platform, which is making a lot of sense in my opinion.

In regards to search I would expect search engines to be finally able to really understand questions and provide useful answers. Searching with a wearable, you just don´t want to scan through results – you want an answer right away! Search engines need to understand conversational search to become a real Star Trek-like assistant that can give you answers to things that matter to you, even when you don´t ask.

As an investor and a shareholder in a few German-based companies, what is it that you look for before investing in a business/startup?

MT: We don´t invest in companies, we invest in people! A good team is the most important thing these days. We are mostly looking for businesses where we can also provide additional value besides just giving money – we are smart money investors.

If you only need to know three things about improving SEO, what would they be?

MT: SEO is no voodoo – you actually just need three things to be successful with SEO:

1)    a crawlable site – search engines need to understand what your site and individual pages are about and need to crawl through the site without running into major roadblocks.

2)    good engaging content that satisfies the questions that searchers are asking.

And ideally your site and content are so good, that;

3) people recommend your site to their friends and peers. Almost every natural link is good, whether it is a link from a website or a link on a social platform. Don´t obsess about link value for SEO – just focus on links that send traffic to your site!

You are obviously an SEO and marketing guru, so what words of advice do you have for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

MT: SEO is all about experience these days. So get started with some projects of your own! People say and write a lot of things – don´t just regurgitate, build your own experience.

Tell us about the most interesting project that you have worked on recently.

MT: I spend most of my time working on at the moment. In the past 18 months we´ve built an award-winning software that helps webmasters make better websites and practice sustainable SEO. We´re a team of 26 SEO savvy superheroes here in Munich already and we´re still growing. It´s been quite a ride so far and I really enjoy putting all my SEO experience into this great software.

What is the most exciting SEO fact you have learned this year?

MT: Using Google+ is definitely worth the time. It´s not about these social signals being a potential direct ranking factor, but instead its impact is apparent to anyone logged in as they search. Like Rand Fishkin once said “If you’re in my circles, you don’t even need to do SEO anymore. It’s cheating!”