Green for Gamora – green for SEO Chicks. I see a direct correlation to the ass-kicking female lead from Guardians of the Galaxy and all the SEO Chicks rolled into one. There’s the brains, the sass, the dexterity, the resourcefulness, the do and the green. It wasn’t clear from the clip if she would be able to increase the visibility of a site online however I get the sense she’d be able to do it by sheer force of will. Much like Lisa 😉
Gamora was still green after she was sprayed with orange goop on being taken to jail withoug the garish yellowing you might expect. Stylin’ the SEO Chicks look to the end. She’s part of a band which *seems* to be led by a raccoon. On her own she is feared and known far and wide – much like Lisa and Julie you might think. She’s pretty kick ass, killing guards and I think ripping one apart to get a device she was after. They didn’t show the gory parts in the 17min I saw.
But the 17 minutes did provide some other nuggets – Gamora is strong and independent and when it is suggested she use sex to achieve an end, she doesn’t just refuse – she gives the kind of withering look I imagine Julie could give anyone who crosses her 😉 Our SEO Chick in the flesh so to speak is the best traits of each of the SEO Chicks rolled into a killer on a galactic scale.
Is this movie awesome? Well, the 17min I saw in 3D demonstrated that 3D could be used to great effect to enhance a movie rather than be a gimmick. The clip of the prison scene was engaging and interesting and left me with a positive feeling towards seeing the full movie.
Will Guardians of the Galaxy teach you a new approach to SEO – possibly. The idea that a criminal can also be moral I am sure will strike a chord with some SEOs (but none of the SEO Chicks of course). That something you did for one reason can take on a life of its own and come to be something else is absolutely relevant. That someone who seems to be bad can actually be good will also have meaning.
Will you enjoy this film? Absolutely. Is this a bit silly? Sure but it is a bit of a break from me talking about SEO… sort of!
Oh yeah – The search is on for Europe’s top search and digital talent, as the European Search Awards 2014 is OPEN for entries! You know you want to get your shizzle on and show off how absolutely amazeballs AWESOME you are, don’tcha? DONTCHA???
Now in its third year, the European Search Awards attracts hundreds of entries from the leading search and digital agencies and professionals throughout Europe. Categories include Best Use of Search, Best Pan-European Campaign, Best Mobile Campaign and Best Agency. Trust me – HUNDREDS and we have to read ALL OF THEM so get creative and make sure you cover off the IMPORTANT points people! The awards, which are organised by Greater Manchester based events agency Don’t Panic, are open to companies based worldwide who are delivering work in Europe.
So come on – IMPRESS ME! Yep, that’s right, in addition to judging every UK Search Awards so far, I’m on to my second European Search Awards judging panel and I’m looking to get all judgmental and reward awesomeness!
The deadline for entries is 17 January 2014(ish), and the shortlists will be published on 14 February. But you know, it isn’t just me who is getting involved in this awesomeness… there are a HUGE number of other judges. So many that here is just a smattering of the judging panel which includes:
• Jose Truchado, Director of SEO, Expedia
• Judith Lewis (ME of course), Founder, deCabbit Consultancy
• Danny Goodwin, Associate Editor of Search Engine Watch
• Gianluca Fiorelli, Founder of LoveSEO
• Kaspar Szymanski, SEO Consultant
• Bas van den Beld, Founder, State of Digital
• Bastian Grimm, Managing Partner, Grimm Digital
• Fernando Maciá Domene, CEO, Human Level Communications
BOOYA! The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Friday 28 March 2014 after the brilliant and amazing RIMC conference (which you’ve already bought your tickets for, right?)
Don’t Panic launched the UK Search Awards in 2011 and the European Search Awards in 2012 and the inaugural US Search Awards took place in Las Vegas in 2013. Ya, the US is well behind the rest of the world 😉 JK!
And now for a word from our sponsors…
The European Search Awards are delivered in partnership with headline sponsor Manual link Building and in association with Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference(RIMC) and SEMPO. The PR is handled by PR Agency One.
For more information about the European Search Awards, please visit www.europeansearchawards.com
In 2007 I was much more obnoxious (and had more free time) and I wrote a post about whether chimps could take over our jobs.
I’m still sure that they could definitely perform certain functions in this industry, besides being DAMNED cute even if they are fairly deadly, but what about some of the new roles that have come about or gotten more important in the past 5 1/2 years? Could a chimp do those too?
Damn right she could.
Create sites that are great and useful, totally relevant, and constantly updated with new and brilliant content that people love, socialize, and editorially link to? Um, no, but can you do that either? Enough said.
The beauty of chimps, as well as any other animal, is that you truly can ask them anything. They may not answer but you don’t have to get all cranky about it. In fact, some of their answers may be much less evasive than those of other popular SEO figures. Chimps may actually know what they’re talking about, too. Chimps can type (better than some of you, you lazy sods) and use sign language so I imagine a chimp AMA would be enlightening, entertaining, and you’d come out of the whole experience a better SEO. Just don’t ask them anything stupid like “how does a monkey get an Adwords account?” because remember, a chimp is not a freaking monkey. Are you a monkey? NO. Neither is a chimpanzee.
Answering Questions On Quora
First of all I would like to say that in doing some research for this piece (because it’s so scientific) I came across the best chimp question ever outside of “Can a chimp impregnate a human?” which was “Would a chimpanzee enjoy going on a roller coaster?” My god, the imagery!! The answer is obviously yes, by the way. The difference in an AMA and Quora is that questions on Quora are much funnier and the answers given by people who are total idiots are really fun to read. A chimp could totally give a senseless answer that would make you wonder if you were actually the moron. You know those people who say things like “well it depends on 200 factors, none of which I can really talk about because I could get into trouble with Matt Cutts but I do have it on good authority that those 200 factors are subject to change but again, I can’t say any more. I’ve said too much already.”?? Well, a chimp could absolutely outclass those losers. A chimp could answer much more definitively and could back it up because who’s going to mess with one of those big hairy bastards?? They’ll rip your arms and genitals off, and don’t you ever forget it. You’ll read their answers and you’ll damn well like them, then follow them on Quora because they’re experts. And you don’t want to lose your arms and genitals.
I think that a chimp would excel in this area because they are very good at waving their arms around, loudly chattering, and looking like brats. They also seem to be photographed in diapers or toddler attire on a regular basis, again fitting the profile of some online fussy pants. An online rant isn’t too different. You think a chimp’s post is crap or adds no value to the topic? Go ahead and tell her that and stand back. Hell hath no fury like a chimp, um, told that her post is crap or adds no value to the topic. Chimps are known to occasionally turn on people that they love, so imagine if they don’t like you and you talk some trash. You’re dead meat. They’ll get in your car after maiming you and probably get into a bit of a fender bender which YOU will end up paying for of course because I bet you didn’t think to add them to your insurance policy did you? Fools.
Any animal known to regularly fling poo is an animal that could be brilliant at negative SEO. Research has just shown that female chimps can get really nasty in female-on-female interactions (I swear to God that is not a dirty story) so imagine what they could do if a competing site, run by a female of course, continues to beat them no matter how many networked links they buy or how much content they spin. They will take it DOWN. They could bang out fake negative reviews on their internet-connected typewriters (since they like typewriters, being all old school) and diss you on Twitter. If their avatar is seductive, chances are they’ll have many male SEOs in the industry backing them up, too.
Credit goes to ebaumsworld.com for this wonderful image.
Chimps are brilliant at making a mess but can they clean one up? No, but how successful are your damn link cleanup jobs??? Have you just restored your site to its former pre-Penguin glory? Have you done fewer than 18 reconsideration requests? Ok then. You can hush.
Chimps are great users of tools, and can make weapons out of lots of things and not just their own poo. That horrible chimp Travis (who names a chimp Travis?) was known to drink wine from a stemmed glass, something I still haven’t mastered. (Note: I am not making fun of anyone Travis hurt. Only Travis himself.) They can also ride on segways which some of our local police can’t handle without running someone over. Any chimp who can do that can build a tool to knock someone’s teeth out or tell you what your percentage of brand anchors is.
Chimps ARE fiercely protective, so this would be a natural fit, plus they’re terrifying when they’re angry, like some of you. If they could figure out how to be online most of the time and set up brand alerts, I’m pretty sure a chimp could kick ass at this job. You talk junk about a chimp’s online member community, you’ll probably end up having your genitals ripped off.
I’m sure there are many others tasks and jobs that are suited to the chimp mindset and lifestyle (open air offices will always be a plus and they may smoke less than some of your coworkers…maybe) so will we be in danger of being replaced? Who will be the first to hire a chimp intern and try it out? Is that tax deductible? Could using chimps for SEO become the new thing, and if it can and does, will we need to rebrand the term used for it in a few years, causing tons of SEOs to have to change their titles? How can we get on top of this potential new chimp movement and future-proof our link building strategy so that we don’t get kicked out of Google???? Will “use of chimps” be added to the Webmaster Guidelines violations???
I’m going to have to take a Xanax now.
I would like to welcome Bridget Randolph to the SEO Chicks blogging team. Bridget is originally from a small town in Virginia (US) but went to the UK to study (at Oxford none the less, clever cookie). Once she graduated she didn’t want to leave so she pursued a job in the UK, she is now working as a SEO analyst at Distilled UK and loves it.
I first met Bridget a few months ago and realised what a smart chick she is, so when she asked if she could do a guest post on SEO Chicks about the much debated book “Lean in”, I said “heck yeah”. Once I read the blogpost I realised she is right up the SEO Chicks street and should be a regular blogger. We offered her a place on the team, she accepted, and TADA here she is. Don’t miss her first post with the review of the book Lean-In by Sheryl Sandberg. Also make sure you follow Bridget on Twitter.
Bridget, welcome to the SEO Chicks blogging crew! May the force be with you!
The SEO Chicks have got an exciting addition; the lovely Jackie Hole! In fact, we don’t really know why she wasn’t already an SEO Chick from before. How did that happen, she sure “feels” like one of us.
If you have been to any conference the past 2 years you MUST have seen Jackie, she has basically been to pretty much every conference in Search for the past couple of years. A travelling SEO if you will. I believe the Icelandic have adopted her after several RIMC conferences, she must be an honorary Viking by now (surely). See pic to left. Jackie runs her own SEO & PPC consulting business and has over 8 years experience in search, working for several agencies in the UK. As most SEOs she had a “former life” where she was a chef and a musician, naturally ending up in search via the passion to figure out what the heck the search engines are up to. Jackie is also a State of Search blogger and editor and a very good writer. Hence we convinced her to join the SEO Chicks, by twisting her arm, shoulder and anything else needing twisting. She obliged happily which in itself is a testament to her insanity, which we like.
Wouldn’t you love to have access to the algorithm that makes or breaks your website’s success?
I’m sure we’ve all dreamt of getting our hands on the algorithm, while trying to improve results or understand a sudden change. Unfortunately, with only a few people in the world actually having access to the full algorithm, and none of those people being SEOs, we all have to try and work it out for ourselves.
But why should we stop dreaming? I asked my fellow SEO Chicks what they would do if they had access to the Google Algorithms, just for a day.
The ideas are fantastic. I can imagine Googlers reading this and rushing to make the algorithms even more secure, knowing what we might get up to if we could!
I hope you enjoy these and would love to hear your ideas in the comments.
To kick it off, it’s a strategic approach from Julie Joyce:
First of all, I’d change it so that a good link would weigh more in terms of importance than a horrible link. A footer link on a 2 page site that hasn’t had more than 40 visitors in 3 years should not count as much as a link on a relevant site that is well worked into the content, shows great social signals, and encourages clicks. Since we’re dreaming here, I’d also remove the webmaster guidelines that say you shouldn’t buy links. Tons of people buy links but if they buy good ones, those should be fine. I wouldn’t let bad links penalize a site though. I’d just not count them.
Secondly, I’d separate the QDF signals for various industries. I don’t think that freshness is as important for certain niches as it is for others and I think that it can encourage some sites to continually produce new content for that reason alone, which can, in some cases, simply create a bloated site.
I’d also roll out updates in a manner that wouldn’t have so much collateral damage. Turn the dial low and then crank it up a bit instead of “accidentally” blowing away a non-EMD site when we’re targeting EMDs. In conjunction with this, if a site was indeed unfairly penalized, I’d create a much more efficient method of evaluating it and restoring it.
Last of all, (and yes I know this isn’t 100% relevant) I’d fix the Adwords system so that once I was doing well and the account was running really smoothly, it wouldn’t suddenly crash and cause me to have to jack up the budget just to do well again.
Next up, the incredibly imaginative Hannah Smith:
The easy answer would of course be to ensure all of my lovely clients rank 1st and their nasty old competitors languish in post page 10 obscurity. That would just be selfish of course, plus as it would only last a day it wouldn’t really make much of a dent in real terms.
As such I think I’d like to break Google, albeit for just a day. Google has a strangle-hold in terms of monopoly and I’d like to try to change that – (NB this is pretty unrealistic given I’ve just a day, but whatever).
We’ll call it Hannah’s Hostile Takeover day. On Hannah’s Hostile Takeover day Google will become worse than useless.
The SERPs will appear unchanged.
However, regardless of whether you click on an organic or paid result you’ll be auto-magically redirected here.
Should you elect to type in a search query related to this then the SERP will be compiled entirely of links to sites devoted to jokes about ‘your mum’.
I expect this will cause people to hit the back button to return to the SERP. When they hit ‘back’ they’ll see the following message:
“Whoops-a-daisy – looks like that wasn’t what you were looking for. Try Bing instead.”
Many will elect not to do this. Instead they will try again with Google.
Still failing to find what they’re looking for they’ll hit back and see this message:
“Oh horlicks! Looks like that wasn’t what you were looking for. Try Bing instead.”
If they are particularly tenacious and still refuse to visit Bing they’ll be forced to try to complete an impossible captcha in order to search again. Try as they might they won’t be able to solve said captcha.
I would hope that the net result is that many people will try Bing. Some might even like it. Some might continue to use it because they are still a bit sore about the Google messing them around like that – after all they are very busy and important. Google lose a little market share.
And if anyone is left using Google, Nichola Stott says:
To be honest, I’d probably leave well enough alone. Google employs some extremely smart engineers who are immersed in particular component aspects of the algorithms, day-in-day-out and it takes these engineers some time to build a strong update. It would take a hell of a lot more than a day for me to get to grips with even the simplest components.
Instead I’d like to see what factors really are included within the more erroneous factors, such as engagement metrics. Is in-SERP CTR a factor? Are dwell times and page views per referred visit a factor? If so to what extent are known characteristics identified and extrapolated to make meaningful inferences for sites without Google Analytics?
Oh and at 4pm I’d throw Meta keywords back in, just for shits and giggles.
Nichola’s final idea definitely appeals to Judith Lewis:
*hahaha* That would be so funny – from 4pm you would throw the world into chaos.
Which is, in fact, what I would do if I had the algorithms for a day. I’d create a table called “friends” and one called “enemies” and friends would get automatic 1st page rankings whereas enemies would find a rotating penalty based on search volume from -3 to -90.
I’d then have a “random weirdness” list which took obscure conspiracy theory sites and gave them top billing on one in every 3 relevant searches.
Then I’d add in a dash of social metrics, forcing in a random twitter profile every 7th search.
At the end of it all, any SEO who only chases the algo would be in hospital and the rest would be laughing down the pub.
But SRSLY I agree with Nichola. Not only is that sucker the size of a small planet in complexity but the guys who are at the coalface are working their butts off trying to make things work properly and with the best intentions for user experience.
And finally, my day would go something like this:
First off I would put on a witches hat and let out an evil cackle.
Next, I would try to understand the algorithm so that I can learn from it and use this knowledge in future. Because once I’ve understood it enough for my liking, I would delete it! I would then replace it with a simpler algorithm that is much more aligned to how my mum thinks it works.
Results would be displayed according to which letter of the alphabet the domain starts with. There would be 26 pages to choose from each time you search and you would be shown results from a random letter of the alphabet each time you search, in order to keep things fair for all letters.
On each results page the websites would be sorted according to ‘popularity’ (because that’s how my mum thinks it works!). I would get some awesome developers in (and maybe some technology from the future) to take in to account popularity based on the sentiment of within everything written online, everything written offline and every single thing spoken out loud across the world.
If I had time, I’d even make this location based so that those websites with positive discussion locally to you would perform better than they might in other locations.
Websites could then improve their results by improving their popularity – this could take in to account the other common myth that results are based on how much you pay Google – those who start giving loads of money to charity could become more popular and get better results.
One other thing I’d like to do is slightly more frivolous. I’d like to see the pages livened up a bit with a random image on every results page, preferably a Lego minifigure, or a rubber duck. If I was feeling generous, I’d let users pick from a category of images that they want to see on their SERPs – from lolcats to memes to pretty landscapes!
At the end of the day, I hope I will have learnt a lot, had some fun and made the general internet user think about Google from another perspective and not just lap up everything the internet says.
Oh, and Google would have to start from scratch again, which would hopefully mean some things don’t get put back in the algorithm, it wouldn’t have so many elements to it and they can work in new and improved metrics.
I think it’s safe to say that we could cause five days of trouble for Google, their users and SEOs between us. But what would you do?
So it’s that time of the month (shut up!) when I need to write something clever here but you know what? I’m out of clever today.
However, recently I’ve been having fantastic conversations with my link builders about ways to keep our job interesting, and we’ve been coming up with some insanely silly discovery ideas and search terms, none of which I will repeat because the best ones are offensive and would make us look highly unprofessional. Sometimes we are. I’ve also been really, really enjoying some of the truly poor comments that I see on sites and that led me down a nostalgic SEO-Chicks comment-path, which is here for your viewing pleasure…wow, we had some good ones!! 3,389 ones to be exact.
Here are my favorites.
“You are freaking weird!” by Rob Kerry, going by evilgreenmonkey back then, which Lisa once confused with a donkey so the poor man had to endure that for donkey’s years.
“Some men find that attractive Lisa – just ask the trainer at my gym *winks* *LAUGHS*” by Judith, the little scoundrel.
” wish I commonly misspelled only 100 words.” by David LaFerney
“I am lovely, aren’t I?” by Patrick Sexton.
“ha ha I’m laughing so hard I might wee myself…how’s that for attractive?” from, you guessed it, Lisa Myers!!
“I don’t mind kicking you up your backside by the way…” (this may have been mine)
“That white cat reminds me of Steve Winwood for some reason.” again mine, and possibly the oddest one I can think of.
“Sometimes the same word is an entirely different product…
chips — crisps
fries — chips
There are many other examples.” from g1smd. Truly he’s a soothsayer.
“WHAT? Do I look like a girl that likes PINK? I also had a question whether we made SEO chicks t-shirts in pink, now why the fuck would we do that? The site is green, why would be have pink t-shirts. If you can’t figure out that I’m a girl and you need colour coding you need your eyes checked.” yeah, Lisa again there.
“Does the flash drive for women come with a hook to hang a dish-cloth on maybe?” Ciaran Norris. Yeah watch out Australia, he’s coming fer ya!
“Decent post.” from someone called Daz. (thanks for the accolades Daz!!!!)
“I love your site. They really look very nice. The articles provided are long enough to provide great content but not so long as to be totally engrossing, if you know what I mean…. ” from Kuvashan. Hey thanks!! We never wanted to be totally engrossing. Also not sure about what the “they look really nice” refers to but I am frowning at you.
“I would have your balls on a plate” from Lisa, again, sigh…
“I have a mother your age, and I can tell you for a fact that she would regard you as an old cranky pants.” Ah, Jane Copland!!! My lovely Kiwi bear!!
“I’m done with this conversation. I have a daughter your age, and I can tell you for a fact that she would not have the same mindset for any type of business. If she did, she knows she would also get a spanking,…. just like the one you and others need as well.” from the “who could forget him??” master Doug Heil. For the record, he didn’t get the pleasure of spanking any of us.
“I’ve seriously Tronned myself into the tertiary level navigation. Not even John Rambo could find me…” from Nichola Stott.
““maybe Tamar Weinberg?”” from Tamar Weinberg, in an infinite loop of commentizing.
And to conclude let’s revisit that most epic of photographics, the one of us as Spice Girls.
On May 30, 2007, Lisa Myers wrote the first post for the new SEO Chicks site. At that time we were three: Lisa, myself, and Anita Chaperon. Lisa was working for Base One, I was working as a contract SEO for a company in London where Anita handled PPC. I’m not sure that any of us had written much back then (I’m pretty sure that I’d only written one online article, and that was about a band called Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!) but we felt there was a dearth of visible female writers in SEO at the time so we decided to fix that.
We’ve been through several changes at SEO Chicks over the years, most notably with our regular bloggers who currently consist of Lisa, myself, Judith Lewis, Hannah Smith, Nichola Stott, Annabel Hodges, and Anna Lewis. Past bloggers included Anita, Jane Copland, Stephanie Weingart, Donna Fontenot, Rebecca Kelley, Sarah Carling, Shimrit Elisar, and Rebecca Weeks. We’ve had a redesign but hey, we kept the green shirts (we just got newer ones.)
Last year for our 4th anniversary, Sam Murray even donned a lovely wig for us. See? We totally know how to rock a celebration.
For this anniversary I thought I would spare you the links to past posts that I thought were awesome, and focus on what this blog means to me and has meant to me throughout the past 5 years. I am going to channel my innermost sappiness.
First of all, every blogging opportunity that I have currently can be traced back to SEO Chicks. When we first started, a few people (all male, ahem) made some derogatory remarks about the concept of an all-female blog with “chicks” in the name, finding it too cutesy and thinking that we wouldn’t be taken seriously. Back then, the original three of us worked for other people. Today, Lisa and I own our own companies. I write for Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, and my own company blog on a regular basis and have contributed to Search Engine Journal, Search Engine People, Search Marketing Gurus, and State of Search. I kind of love this writing thing. Lisa’s accomplishments are too numerous to mention but she has spoken at just about every conference that I know of, co-founded State of Search, she’s organized the beJaysis out of some after-conference parties, and was last year’s Search Personality of the Year at the UK Search Awards. She has been the driving force behind this blog, both in terms of handling the setup, pursuing the redesign and logo, and trying to organize a group of women who are doing a billion things every day. She’s the backbone of the blog, and when you mention the SEO Chicks, I can almost guarantee you that she’s the name that pops into someone’s mind.
We have some serious talent on board. Nichola runs her own company, The Media Flow. Judith Lewis (another one I have to give props to for promoting the hell out of the site and just generally being a serious sweetie pie), Anna Lewis, Annabel Hodges, and Hannah Smith are all very visible in the search world and work for some rockin’ companies themselves. They speak at conferences, write about the industry, and can hold their own with anyone.
I also have to say that the best part about this blog is not the blog itself…it’s the group. It’s the truly amazing support that we get from each other, and it’s the friendship that we have formed with each other. We are each thrilled with another one of us is successful and it’s very genuine. It’s annoying for me to be in NC and not be able to see everyone more than once a year, but that doesn’t seem to matter the second I see them all. I just wait for those drunken conference-party phone calls really. Oh, and the chance to take photos in the toilet again..what the hell started that anyway??? Anna, get ready for it sister.
Anyway, to our readers and those of you who have supported us through the past 5 years, we’d all like to say thank you. Thanks for reading, thanks for coming up to us at shows and parties and actually seeming happy to meet us. To the rest of my co-bloggers, thank you for continuing to be there. </sap>
Even though we’ve seen massive shakeups in the link building world lately, links are still what a lot of clients want. Link building is our main business (so that’s lucky for us) but when we have quoted projects where link building takes a backseat, no one is interested. Due to excessive client demand, more and more SEOs (and people with zero experience who see the chance to get in there by doing something that honestly does not require excessive knowledge) are getting into links. In many cases this means that they say they build links, but in reality, they outsource that to someone like us. In some cases, it’s a lot of idle talk from people who think that it’s easy work and stop doing it after they get a proper link building job. In other cases, we’re hearing a lot of chatter from people who don’t have any real link building clients.
I am here to tell you that link building is a practice, not a theory. It’s maddeningly tedious work and I never intended to run a link agency, but hey, here I am, and I do quite love it. I just don’t like to see something so difficult and painstaking become glamorous because I don’t think that it’s an honest portrayal of the reality of working as a link builder or running an agency.
For example, there’s the issue with my own beliefs and opinions vs keeping people employed. I’ve turned down one client due to thinking that what he wanted me to promote was extremely unethical, but I also take on clients that might bother someone else but don’t happen to bother me. We are extremely lucky to have enough work to keep all of us employed but if I lost half of my revenue, would I take on a client like the one I turned down, if it meant keeping all of my people employed? He’s a bad example as what he does for a living is something that I consider to be life-threatening behavior, but let’s say I didn’t believe in the politics of a certain group (like the Republican Party.) If they offered me $10k a month and the alternative to taking that client was firing 4 link builders, I’d like to think that I would take it. It would make my dad happy at least.
Managing an agency like this is also quite different to doing the link building itself, as I’m lucky in many ways that my days are not spent chasing link targets. However, the idea of not having to bear the responsibility for all of it is quite appealing at times. I have a great office manager and some seriously kick-ass staff, but I still can’t truly turn off when I go on vacation. Clients still email me, people still have questions about their hours/need time off/want my opinion, and the buck definitely stops here. I’ve worked for people who would throw me under a bus to make themselves look blame-free but I’m not that kind of person, which means I usually stress out over just about everything. I’m the one a client will bitch to if they hate what we’ve done, and I’m the one who will lose money if they refuse to pay. I’m the one whose reputation is screwed if I really mess up.
How much to educate? How to recruit? These are tough questions. We don’t hire experienced link builders because, well, we’ve never actually interviewed anyone with link building experience. We train everyone in-house and everyone gets the exact same basic training whether they go to work for our link team or our content team. Some of them are interested in SEO, some of them don’t give a crap. As long as they perform to the standards we’ve set for each person, I truly don’t care. I LOVE it when someone expresses an interest in SEO though, and I love answering their questions and seeing them get excited about something that I feel quite passionately about, but I also understand that to some people, a job is just a job. Recruiting, when we work this way, is also a bit tricky as it’s hard for us to know what to look for until the person walks in the door and talks to us. Sadly, we aren’t a profitable enough agency where I could offer a competitive experienced SEO salary, but hey, why would anyone like that want to crank out link requests and write guest posts all day? Our hiring, even though I complain here and there, is one of the things that I am happiest with, as while I could not lay out what it is about a person that makes me want to hire him or her, I just kind of feel it.
And ah, all that extra time for me to spend researching since I have to keep 20 people plus the clients informed…yeah that is fun. Honestly, it IS fun, but it’s a lot of work. If a client calls my mobile and asks about the latest update that was just written about 30 minutes ago, I better know about it. If we do anything that gets totally devalued by an algorithmic update, I need to put the brakes on asap and regroup. I sometimes spend 75% of my day reading articles, talking to other SEOs about things, or writing (and doing my best to make sure no one else has just written the exact same thing.)
Being responsible for the brand when I am not the only one controlling it is also problematic at times. I’m very lucky that this is not a current issue but we’ve had clients who worked with other agencies for various things (including different types of link building other than what we were doing) but when rankings dropped, guess who got blamed? That’s right. We’ve been blamed, we’ve had clients leave in a huff, and we’ve had to figure out problems caused by OTHER people working on the accounts. It’s hard enough to figure out where you’ve gone wrong, but figuring out where someone else did…that’s a serious pain, and it eats up loads of time.
Lest you think it’s all sadness and rain here, I will say that running an agency is still something that I love. At its worst, it’s still not as bad for working for someone else who’s a total jerk. I recently had dinner with a friend and former colleague at a place where we used to work, and she said that she had no idea of how bad that place was until she was free of it. It was honestly like an abusive relationship where you later wonder why you let that guy smack you around. If our kids have a school performance, we’re there. If we need to do something non-work related on a Friday, we can do it (although we usually pay for it Saturday or Sunday nights) and that is very important to me, having children and a dog and a cat and a rabbit and chickens. Something is almost always going wrong somewhere, and if we had to work a strict 9 to 5 M-F schedule, there’s no way we could survive. To me, all the hard work pays off. It’s just not easy. We’ve made massively stupid decisions, had horrible tax issues our second year (due to not knowing what we were doing the first year), had personal financial stress because we’re self-employed and even though the company does very well, we’re still SELF-EMPLOYED, which seems to kind of screw you in the eyes of some banks. (I’m not sure how that is any worse than working for a company where you have no say and can easily be fired, but whatever.) None of us have formal business training (actually one of my employees is about to get her MBA so I may hassle her a bit more) but we’ve learned as we’ve gone along, and we’re still learning.
If that’s the kind of life you want, go for it…just don’t underestimate what it takes to succeed and to stay successful.
I would like to officially welcome Anna Lewis to the SEO Chicks blogging team. Anna is a Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai, she has a degree in Advertising and a passion for SEO and particularly analytics. This girls gets numbers! When I first met her at a meet up event in London it soon became clear that Anna LOVES what she does, she is super enthusiastic and passionate. Just the kind we like at SEO Chicks. She is also the right kind of crazy, which is a must to be on this blogging crew.
We are honoured to have her in our blogging team and we’re looking forward to reading her posts. Welcome Anna!