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February 14, 2007

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesday Part 10

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing_9 This week since I'm over here in London, I decided to focus on two great women internet marketers from the UK.  I'm hoping to have a treat for you later, since I'm planning to catch up with the two of them later this evening, I might even manage to capture some video interviewing these two lovely ladies.  If the timing works out, I might post it later this evening (I'm going to try - but no promises!).

One of our talented women represents one of the top companies in the industry over here in London.  The other women works for a UK based internet / digital marketing firm.  Both women are great fun to hang out with and really know their stuff when it comes to this market space.  Today, let me introduce you to Marie Howell of Bruce Clay and Lisa Ditlefsen of Base One Group.

Marie Howell
Marie_howell_1 Marie's been in the industry for 4 years and is the face of Bruce Clay in the UK and Europe.  I first met Marie in Chicago out the lunch that SEO FanGirl held and I knew I wanted to feature her in this series.   When I got the confirmation I was coming to London, I thought, what better way to feature her, could there be?

Marie worked as a freelance consultant for European businesses before going back to university and doing a second degree to be a teacher.  She taught in an award-winning school and headed up a department there.  Marie considers instructing, presenting, crowd control, raging hormones and serious multi-tasking plus speaking in tongues and very long hours were (and are) all part of daily life for for her!

Now for some Q&A with Marie:

Bruceclayeuropeuk Most successful professional accomplishment?
That's a hard one.  I could opt for doubling a sports client's online revenue within 60 days of taking on the contract, or working on behalf of the British Council and presenting a paper and findings to a Government Minister and 70 members of her senior staff in Bogota, Colombia. Or, probably what I consider to be my most successful accomplishment happens on a daily basis:  teaching online businesses to optimise their websites and show them how to be successful online marketers, giving them the tools they need to attract qualified traffic, converting them into sales and watching their companies grow and prosper.  I love helping clients and making their businesses grow!
Why do you like/love this industry?
I love the fact that this business it is ever-changing and your knowledge is ever-augmenting:  there is always something new to learn and new SEO experiences to be had.  I love the challenge and the 'thrill of the chase'.  This industry gets hold of you and entraps you totally: you are enticed into it, seduced completely by it and then develop such a passion for what you do that you know you will never manage to leave its sultry sheets! lol! 

I adore helping people.  It is delightful and so rewarding to know that you have made such an impact on someone's business.  When they see their rankings increasing, visitor numbers increasing and their personal wealth growing, they are ecstatic:  it is fantastic to see that and be instrumental in that.
What aggravates you most about this industry?

When SEO people hold parties at the same time – how do you choose which one to go to!   No- seriously - I get upset when I hear of clients who have been 'burned' by so-called SEO's.  You hear tales of guaranteed no.1 rankings, promises of fortunes to be reaped, vast sums of money being paid over month after month, and nothing the client site has a minimal level of work done on it, if anything, and the promised first pages do not happen or, if they do, it is for keywords that people aren't actually searching for.  It aggravates me that these companies have trusted their 'seo' and they have been given a shoddy service.  That is part of the reason I appreciate conferences like SES so much as it brings together so many talented people and allows for growth and learning by all and sets a standard for the industry.  On the flip side of this, it is also fulfilling both personally and professionally when you spend time with these clients and explain the methodology that goes in to optimising their site and you get them to understand what you will do for their site through an iterative process of hard work, continual effort and dedication.  It is about becoming a part of their business for the life of the contract (if, indeed, the contract ends) and investing in them to make their business grow.  So an initial 'aggravation' to use your word becomes beneficial and rewarding collaborative effort.

What big "thing" do you think will prevail in 2007?

Social networking is continuing to ‘kick it’ so far this year and I believe it will increase exponentially with a myriad of new sites and opportunities.  Capturing this phenomenon and adapting it for SEO purposes is developing well – for an expanding number of industries.  What started as an experiment has become rewarding for several different verticals and I think this will be honed over the coming months to address other sectors, too.

What do you think of the term "LinkBait"?

Linkbait as a concept is fantastic, in terms of a link magnet:  it is an integral part of the site development process.  It is imperative that it has integrity and offers value to the user.  As such, I consider it vitally important and have a creative team which works to devise effective 'linkbait' for the companies that we work with. It can bring quality, natural 'votes' to a credible client site.  I just consider it a catchy way to get users attention:  as part of a smart marketing plan and to generate much-needed links to some of our clients.

The term can also have negative connotations if associated with spamming or just gaining a 'headline', as has been suggested of late.  However, Linkbait is just simply something to grasp people's attention for a sufficient time by offering them something of value to them at that particular moment – whether information or just fun.  Link baiting can, if creatively used, bring an incredible amount of exposure to other resources or other services that the client offers, hence cross-selling or cross-promoting. Of course, effective linkbait will assist in "Backrub" behind Google.

What's your favorite blog to read (doesn't have to be a Search Blog)?

I am, of course, a true and loyal Bruce Clay Blog fan :)   It is my daily delight!   I love to read Rand & Rebecca & Co, I thoroughly enjoy Lee Odden's excellent Top Rank Blog  Jim's Sterne Measures and Loren Baker's SEJ but also some 'other interest' blogs such as the Brian Fitness Blog which always has some excellent articles and the French Business Garden Blog to name but a few.  But being an European SEO business at the heart of Europe, it is also vital that I keep up to date with what is going on in technology and marketing areas over here so I also check out daily news sites like the Financial Times media & tech area and Digital Media Europe amongst others.

Right now, how many women bloggers do you read?
Well, Lisa starts my day but there are some fantastic ladies out there that I read on a regular basis…Amanda Watlington is one incredibly smart and incisive lady, Webmoxy is awesome, I love Meg Walker's new blog plus, of course, there is this crazy redhead - who I finally got to meet in Chicago - who is pretty cool too! :) MBL is an excellent way of investigating new blogs (and keeping all of your communities under one roof) and I am constantly expanding my frame of reference there, too.

What made you get involved in this industry?
Hmm…the truth is via something pretty dumb that I did, actually.  A number of years ago I had this great idea to set up a very cool product based website:  did vast amounts of market research and study, sourced some fabulous products, negotiated great rates, created a supply and distribution chain, organized staff, had this incredible CMS based website designed and created, uploaded the products, did marketing due diligence, etc, etc, Thought I had everything covered and then sat back.  For some bizarre reason, the orders didn't come flooding in (just a trickle, actually)…. I had overlooked one vital component of any online business:  SEO.  I hadn't designed for the search engines, I had just taken at face value what the web designer said and trusted him.  This was at a time when SEO was just a bud in morning sunlight, gradually and tentatively unfurling in the UK.  Still reeling from my ignorance, I started to learn and grow…. And I am still learning today which, more importantly, is what has made me stay in the industry!

I worked as a freelance consultant for European businesses before going back to university and doing a second degree to be a teacher.  I taught in an award-winning school and headed up a department there – so instructing,  presenting, crowd control, raging hormones and serious multi-tasking plus speaking in tongues and very long hours were (and are) all part of daily life for me!

Now for some fun!

What's "SEO Biker" all about?

The name kind of evolved slowly and it is pretty boring story really.  I have been riding for years, everything from customs to sports to sports tourers, and it is seriously 'my thing' (except in the dead of the British winter as it is just too cold and too dangerous, with the UK population being half asleep at the wheels of their cars!).    As not many ladies ride over here, I have long been referred to as a 'biker babe' (a biker babe is a girl who rides on the back of her man's bike – and they knew it would irritate me as this was not the case!  I am a biker not a biker babe)  When I became heavily involved in the SEO world a few years ago, the SEO kind of attached itself and seobiker was born!  (The SEO has since metamorphasised to stand for something other than search engine optimization but it would embarrass me too much to explain, so I will leave it to your imagination!)
Is it true that there are more black hat SEOs in the UK than "Non-Black" Hat?
My pure, virginal white hat would not allow me to investigate the dark side, so I would have to say that upon that score, I am in complete ignorance!  I have met some extremely intelligent UK industry people some who travel to the US shows and some who I know you will encounter at SES London very soon.
If Mike Grehan, David Naylor, Rob Kerry, SEOIdiot (Paul Madden) and Ammon Johns were competing from Mr. SEO UK, who'd win?

Now that's a tough one:  Yorkshire's Dave is seriously cool and very outspoken and frank - Mrs Naylor is a very lucky lady (as is he!).  Mike Grehan  is incredible:  seriously intelligent and so respected!  Anyone who hasn't downloaded his Search Engine Marketing book and has it on their desk needs to pull their fingers out and get ordering!    Personally, I have spent many nights curled up reading his creations– beautiful writing style – or hearing about his travels with the fabulous Joe Morin (we will miss him in London)! I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting Paul, Rob and Ammon properly but am hoping to run in to them at SES London.

Gorgeous males in the industry you ask?  Tough one!  I would have to start with Rory De Niro who is the hottest guy ever, but there are so many others:  the delightful Lee Odden, the gorgeous Ben Hadley, Joe Morin, Rand Fishkin, the fabulous Mike Sack, Neil Patel, Dave Naylor & Matt Baillie to mention a mere snippet!  I am looking forward to meeting more hot men of SEO, however, SEOFangirl is the one with the full rundown and, Li, having met the lady in person, I know that SEOFangirl is not you!

That's right, but hey SEO FanGirl is my pal around buddy here at SES London! :)

Now lets meet Lisa!
Lisa Ditlefsen
Lisad Lisa has been in marketing for 6 years, with 2 of those working in the Search Marketing industry and currently works for Base One Interactive here in the UK.  At Base One Lisa heads up the SEO & Web Analytics group within the company.

Lisa also owns and blogs at  SEO Blog UK.  She and contributing writer, Bethan Jenkins, both contribute great information about the search industry on the blog.  Along with her SEO Blog, she also has a photography blog, where she posts some great picturse.

Now for some Q & A with Lisa:

Baseone Most successful industry accomplishment?
The first time I got one of my clients a No. 1 placement for a competitive keyword on Google. 

Why do you like/love this industry?
I love the fact that it’s no definitive right or wrong answer in the search industry. A lot of the work is coming up with a strategy that is right for your client, convincing a client that it’s not all about quantity but quality. It’s no point in having a hundred no1 in the SERPs if 1) people don’t click through due to badly written title and meta tags or 2) they don’t convert because the keyword is too general. Ok here I go again, basically I love this industry because I get totally carried away talking about it, I can honestly say I love my job. 

What aggravates you most about this industry?
Nothing really aggravates me, huh who am I kidding. Actually it’s a little annoying that still in 2007 you get judged for the way you look as a woman. I guess I have a bit of an “Erin Brokowich syndrome”. It a lot more men than women in this industry, and most of them are not judgmental at all. 

What kind of impact do you see social media having on SEO?
I’m excited and a little scared about the whole Social Media, especially Social Search. I’m all for social bookmarking and rating a site to boost their placements in the SERPs. BUT when it comes to incorporating that kind of social opinions into the search engines I’m worried it could go all wrong. I read a post the other day on SEOmoz that brought up a very fair point, if personalised search becomes part of the algorithms doesn’t’ that mean that the web becomes smaller and smaller. Although you visit a site and give it the thumbs up doesn’t mean you want that site to show up in the SERPs every time you search for anything remotely similar?! I’m sure, at least I hope, the big search engines have already thought of this possibility, and already have an answer to it. For me the whole point of the World Wide Web is that you can end up surfing websites that you have never heard of/thought of visiting. Will social search put an end to that?
Do you feel Search Marketing and Search Marketers get/have a bad rep, from outsiders of the industry?
They don’t really have a bad reputation YET in the UK. It’s amazing how few actually knows about Search Marketing in the UK, it’s growing very rapidly but a lot of people working in Marketing still have no clue that search marketing is a separate industry.
Why do you blog?
Because no one at work wants to listen to me ranting about SEO. No seriously, I only started blogging about 5 months ago. And although I don’t post every day I have found blogging very useful in a lot of ways. A few times I have had a SEO problem or questions and I have posted it to my blog and within a few hours I’ve had someone giving me a few pointers to what the problem could be. The SEO industry is very closely knit, people help each other out, and I love that. 

What’s a typical day like for you at your company?
I work for an Integrated Marketing Agency within the Interactive team, where I head up the SEO & Web Analytics section. We are three in my team, one Web Analytics specialist and a Junior SEO. It gets very busy as we do monthly reports for each client including web analytics, PPC stats and SEO analysis. I usually do all search engine optimisation on my own and my team report on stats and progress on a monthly basis afterwards. I’m going to be recruiting another Junior SEO in April, which I’m really excited about.

First thing I do when I get in is to go through my emails, then I read SEOmoz and a few other blogs. Then I might have a quick update with my team and sort out workload before I start the days tasks. We run quiet comprehensive PPC campaigns for quiet a few large clients (Saab & BBT being the largest), this takes a lot of managing. I also have an average of 1 new website to fully search engine optmise every month (this month I had 3 which was very hectic). One thing I always try to do though is take an hour lunch break, go for a walk or more likely to the café and have a liter of coffee and far too many cigarettes. (trying to quit smoking now..)
Who’s your favorite blogger to read?

I really like SEOmoz and Rand Fishkin's posts, he is a SEO genius. I also read the 14th Colony Scout blog. 

Right now, how many women bloggers do you read?
I always laugh at Rebecca’s posts on SEOmoz.
Who do you feel is a leader in this industry and why?

Again Rand Fishkin deserves a mention here, he has grown his business in record speed and he’s incredibly knowledgeable and well known in the industry already. Half of the time I disagree with Rand on his theories but I still admire him and basically thinks he rocks! Obviously you still have the SEO veterans (not referring to age!) such as Danny Sullivan, which I also really admire.
And now it's Lisa's turn to have  little fun with the Q&A: 

Do all the blackhats really come from the UK?
No not at all, not sure why everyone keeps on saying that. In fact I don’t know of any blackhat SEOs. If they do come from the UK they hide pretty well.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which 2 SEO Guys would you like to be stranded with?
Rand Fishkin if I could choose anyone. And if he had to be from the UK, I would choose Ammon Johns.
Lily You also do photography, what are some of your favorite pictures you’ve taken?
Yeah I studied photography part time last year (City & Guilds), it was quiet hectic though as being a single mum in full time work whilst also studying took some serious dedication. But I loved the course, photography is my creative outlet. I do take a lot of pictures of my daughter, Lily, my favorite photograph I’ve taken is a black and white photograph of her holding a ball. 

Thank you to both Lisa and Marie for their patience in dealing with me and my time difference till I got over here to the UK!

Susan (from Bruce Clay), could you please make sure Ms. Lisa is not totally shocked because of how early I posted this, I really wanted to shock her :)

As always, visit our Women of Internet Marketing category to read all about the prior features we've had here at SMG!  Next week, we'll have week 11 and two more great women.


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Yet another set of impressive interviews. Well done Li!

Hey Marie, I hope you've had enough fun for all of us at SES London!

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