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September 26, 2007

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesdays Part 21

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing We're back for another edition of Women if Internet Marketing, this is "Part 21" this week.  For the past interviews that have been conducted check out our Women of Internet Marketing Section.

This week I've got two veterans of the industry.  One currently works for a search engine, the other has her own radio show.  Both of the women I got the privilege of meeting while I was at SES in San Jose, since they both attended the Women's Luncheon that we held at the Grill on the Alley.  Today, let me introduce you to Laura Lippay of Yahoo! and Cindy Turrietta of EMarketing Talk Show.

Laura Lippay
Laura_lippay Laura has a really unique background, from working in a circus to doing SEO at an agency to now working for a search engine company, she has quite an interesting background.  Not only that, she's got this fun personality that is just infectious that you can't help but to smile and have fun around her.

I learned a little bit more about Laura from a great interview that Lee Odden on TopRankBlog.com, and also from her Yahoo360 blog. She is definitely a unique person with a very interesting background, would you believe she worked in the circus before she came into search marketing?  See, I told you interesting!  Now Laura is the person who is charge of Search Engine Optimization Program and Process at Yahoo!

Q:  What brought you into the Search Marketing Industry?
A:  I started off after high school as an Advertising Design major but dropped out of that when my skating career took off.  After a few years of traveling and skating, I knew I had really liked a class I took in Advertising Design where I drew a frog, pixel by pixel, on the computer, so I ended up going back to school as a Graphic Design major.  During my first semester I was sitting in the computer lab telling the guy next to me that this drawing and package design stuff was kinda boring and all I really wanted to do was be on the computer. This was the very moment that I learned the meaning of the term “multimedia” and I walked out of the lab and changed my major to Multimedia on the spot. Classes ran the entire gamut from scripting and code classes to video classes, audio classes and 3D animation and I absolutely loved every single class. I surprised myself by graduating with a straight 4.0 GPA and realized I must be onto something.

Shortly after school I moved to San Francisco I held a few positions at a marketing company over 3 or 4 years starting with web development end ending with managing the entire internet side of things.  I was immediately addicted to SEO as soon as I caught wind of it and left there after a few years to try my hand at consulting.  I hated working by myself, so I moved on and went to CNET where I worked with a few awesome folks whom I still keep in touch just so I can hear about the progress of the tools we started there.  Then I got a call from Yahoo! one day and I’ve been helping to build an SEO foundation here ever since.

Q:  Most successful industry accomplishment?
A:  What I’m most proud of though would be kick-starting the SEO programs at Yahoo and at CNET and watching them both take root and grow.

Q:  Why do you like/love this industry?
A:  I love the people and the energy around it, and of course, the rewarding feeling of SEO successes.  I’m a Gemini, and Gemini’s like variation, newness, spice in their lives, and that’s what this industry provides.  I’d be willing to bet there are more Gemini SEOs than other zodiac signs.

Although I often wonder myself why I like this internet & project management stuff so much, since I used to be more of an artist and athlete and all I live for is to laugh. 

Yahoo_purple_logo Q:  What is the favorite part of your job working for Yahoo?
A:  The experience of working with literally thousands of really smart people. You can solve practically anything here if you get the right minds together. On top of that, add the great challenge it is to work with dozens of the top websites in their industries, and build a functioning system underneath it all to make it all flow together – it’s a huge challenge and I love it.  I admire W. Edwards Deming for going over to Japan and teaching a whole country how to optimize their processes.  If I can quote Wikipedia, “Dr. W. Edwards Deming taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs (by reducing waste, rework, staff attrition and litigation while increasing customer loyalty). The key is to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits and pieces”.  If he can teach that to an entire country, we can apply those practices through an SEO program at a single company.  Oh, and I have an insatiable love for SEO tools & data.

Q:  What's the biggest difference between working for a Search Engine, rather than an agency or as an in-house SEM/SEM?
A:  In my position the job itself isn’t as different as one might expect. There are a lot more people here that already know what SEO is, and the basic principles of SEO, which is nice.  Really, the biggest difference for me in this company versus others is the campus-like feel, the great perks like free wireless shuttles, bands playing in the grass, tons of free classes on all kinds of things, and the vast amounts of delicious data that we have and subscribe to.

Q:  It's kind of ironic being an SEO/Usability person at a Search Engine company, what's the hardest/difficult part of your job?
A:  When I first  arrived it was finding all the right data systems, tools, publishing systems and people to put together to make the program and processes start to work.  From there it was getting buy-in from a lot of different people, which takes effort and patience, but it’s critical.  Today the hardest part of my job is probably passing the Sansome Street office that is only two blocks away from my apartment on my way to work when my average commute is about 3-4 hours a day.  But for this experience it’s worth the commute.

Q:  What advice would you give for other women starting out in this industry, based on your own experience?
One book that really gave me some insight and helped my transition from circus skater chick to professional corporate chick is called Be Your Own Mentor; Strategies from Top Women on the Secrets of Success.  I’ve also found people throughout my life who are my industry “heroes” in a way – people who I’ve really admired and leaned on for learning SEO techniques, industry advice, management styles, and more. If you’re really into what you’re doing, find those other people who get just as excited about your industry as you do and have had their own successes, and make contact with them.  Email them and introduce yourself, have a cup of coffee, have get-togethers, join groups, forums, newsletters, mailing lists, etc. – whatever fits your style. Most of what I’ve learned that has got me to where I am today is from actively and constantly learning from other people.  I often stop to ask myself, “what would so and so do?”

Q:  Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A:  Mark Morford. The stuff that guys writes makes me jump up and down in my seat and pound the desk in hysterics. My soon-to-be husband, Chris, also just started a blog, called So Sayeth the AntiChris. Reading what he says makes you laugh at first, then go “WHAT?!” and then laugh again. 

In the industry I am always checking out tons of blogs, but I most regularly listen to the Daily Search Cast and IT Conversations podcasts because they allow me to still keep my learning cap on when I don’t have an internet connection.  I’m an information junkie of sorts.

Li Evans and Laura LippayQ:  Social Media - overhyped, great for search, approach with caution?
A:  Delicious in every way.

Q:  Ask or MSN?
A:  Ask’s tools and MSN’s maps.  But c'mon, you know Yahoo!'s the best! :)

Now for some fun.... *Rubs her hands together*

Q:  You use to work in a circus, what was the most bizarre memory/moment you had working there?
A:  There was the week in Richmond Virginia that the entire 300+ crew caught a really nasty virus and people were throwing up all over the place backstage and on the floor so they brought in doctors and antibacterial soaps and cases of water.  There were often streaking clowns, animals going bonkers, broken bones, flying-through-the-air mishaps and hospital trips, and there were all kinds of pranks and practical jokes going on to pass time.  If nothing else, I’ll have great stories for the grandkids.

Q:  Mike Grehan, Danny Sullivan or Joe Morin?
A:  Joe Morin.

Q:  Lastly, keeping with the circus theme, I'll give you some of the "Acts" name who'd you would put as each:

  • Ring Master: Marshall Simmonds
  • Clown that drives that little tiny weeny car: It’s not the size of the car, it’s the size of the yellow shoes, right Rand?
  • Lady who rides on top of the elephant: Natasha Robinson has that sort of grace
  • Tiger/Lion Tamer: Scott Smith
  • Clown that squirts the audience with water (either from his flower or that bottle they carry):  I can’t help but to chuckle thinking of Dave Naylor with a little red honky nose and a squirt flower.
  • Fire Eater: Dax Herrera
  • Acrobats who leap from swing to swing:  Employees in the Silicon Valley
  • Tightrope Walker:  Roger Montii

Wow!  Laura, you amaze me!   Thank you for sharing your experiences with the Search Marketing Gurus audience, I greatly appreciate the time you took.

Now, lets get to know our next woman in our two part interview, Cindy Turrietta.

Cindy TurriettaCindy_turrietta_2
I got a chance to meet Cindy at the Women's Luncheon we had at SES in San Jose.  She's one of those people who I kept hearing about, but had never gotten to meet until that August afternoon. Cindy (or "CindyT" as she's also known) has been in Search Marketing since 2002. For 5 years now she's been helping clients in a number of way to optimize their websites

Cindy found herself in search marketing a couple of years ago when she had a desire to make a career change.  Her love for computers, the internet and marketing, lead her to find herself at a crossroads in her career. Wanting to continue on her computer and communications path, Cindy decided that Internet marketing was what she wanted to do.

Cindy use to work with another "Woman of Internet Marketing", Lisa Barone, while she was at Bruce Clay.  These days Cindy has her own search marketing consulting company, Affordable Search Engine Ranking, and even has her own radio show called "EMarketing Talk Show".

Q:  What do you consider to be the most successful accomplishment?
A: Developing a popular talk show on Internet marketing, helping a couple turn their business into a huge success

Q:  Why do you like/love this industry?
A: it's challenging and the people are friendly and always willing to help

Emarketing_talk_show_logo Q:  Tell us a little about how your TalkShow, Emarketing Talkshow came into existance?
A: Summer 2004, I met the founder of World Talk Radio through a photographer friend and became interested in developing show on the subject of Internet marketing. I asked Brooke Schumacher if she would be interested in co-hosting and together we invited Todd Sarouhan to join us.

We recorded their first eMarketing Talk Show episode on March 11, 2005 with Catherine Seda. Other industry leaders such as Shari Thurow, John Alexander, Nacho Hernandez soon followed and the show was born. These industry leaders have helped to make the eMarketing Talk Show what it is today.

Q:  What is the favorite part of your putting together your TalkShow?
A: My favorite part is brainstorming with the guests to put their segments together. I get to chat with them and learn who they are and in the process become prepared to chat with them on the show.

Q:  You've been around this industry for quite a while, what do you think has been the most significant changes to affect it?
A: Haha, what are you trying to say Li? That I am old?! Ok, well I do turn 50 next year. Let's see, the most significant change since I've been studying SEO is really the evolution of Web 2.0 with the advent of Blogs, podcasts and more user generated content. Besides the SEO benefits of dynamic content they have given voices to the masses.

Q:  What advice would you give for other women starting out in this industry, based on your own experience?
A: Research and develop a niche service for a niche market. Get good at something, be a master and try not to be a jack of all trades. Outsource when you can.

Q:  Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A: Well, ok I admit it, I love to read Matt Cutts because he usually has something interesting to read and Lisa Barone because she has a way with words (and I used to work with her and she is such a sweatheart).

Affordable_search_engine_ranking_lo Q:  Paid Links Debate - overhyped, great for marketers, approach with caution?
A: Overhyped? Maybe. Great for marketers? Can be. Approach with caution? Absolutely.

Q:  Podcasting or Vodcasting?
A: No question, a picture is worth a thousand words. Seriously, I think video is in although not everybody watches so audio still has it's place especially when watching isn't an option and listening is.

Now it's time for the "fun" part of the interview

Q:  What was the most bizarre thing you've had happen on your talk show?
A: Haha! I think that has to be when Amanda Watlington was our guest and we were experiencing technical difficulties. Little did we know after a discussion about what to call her, Dr. Watlington or Amanda, that although we couldn't hear anything, she could hear our every word.

Q:  Nacho Hernandez, Todd Sarouhan, or Andy Beal?
A: Not fair, they are all nice guys!

Q:  Sit right back and you'll hear a tale.... Think Gilligan's Island here for me (but today we'll call it CindyT's Island) :)         Who'd you cast as each of the following?
A: Gilligan - CindyT  (since it's your island you get the lead role!)

  • Skipper? - Terry Plank
  • Professor? - Matt Van Wagner
  • Ginger? - Cat Seda
  • MaryAnn? - Rhonda Schwen
  • Mr. Howell? - Daron Babin
  • Mrs. Howell? - Brandy Shapiro-Babin

Daron and Brandy as Mr. and Mrs. Howell, now that's a hoot! :) Thanks Cindy for letting us have a peek into your world this week.

Thank you to both Laura and Cindy for making this round of interviews truly enjoyable!  Stop back next week for edition #22.  Until then, read up on our many other women in this industry by checking out the Women of Internet Marketing section here on Search Marketing Gurus.


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I came across your blog and getting an inside view of Yahoo and SEO was interesting. Working in an office and only seeing the Yahoo home page and then using it as a tool sometimes makes us forget that there are people behind the scenes ensuring that we have a good experience.

Thank you for reminding us that there is a human element behind the Internet. :)

All the best,

Laura says, "I’d be willing to bet there are more Gemini SEOs than other zodiac signs."

YES! Well, Gemini usability folks anyway, who were once SEO's :)

Awesome interview with Laura.. She's my sister and my Mentor. I've alway's been proud of her accomplishments.

Quite interesting post.

Nice to hear sucess stories and people enjoying their work, great read, well done

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