Rachel Howe is someone I know through the social media platform Brazen. Back then it was a virtual place to meet other Young Professionals. Recently I had a client who asked me for a SEO recommendation so I scoured through LinkedIn and contacted Rachel to gauge her interest. Long story short, my client hired Rachel and everyone is happy. Since SEO can be an intimidating subject, I’ve asked Rachel to share her thoughts in the following interview:
1) Tell us a little bit about how you got started in SEO.
Well, what can I say? I don’t think anyone can say that they grew up wanting to be a search engine optimizer when they were a kid. Especially since the internet is less than half a century old! I did what I think most people who entered the profession ended up doing, I kind of fell into it. When I was a kid I used to want to be an artist or a veterinarian. I quickly realized that I was no good at science and biology. And, while I enjoy art and have taken a few college art classes, I knew that it wasn’t something I was passionate enough about to do day in and day out (not to mention when you’re putting yourself through college, being a starving artist just won’t cut it.). So, I studied marketing. I could see myself as a businesswoman and marketing combined my interest in using my creativity and business interest. I had no idea what I wanted to do though. When I graduated, I ended up working in the corporate setting for a couple of years. I knew that I couldn’t keep that up. It was just too draining. So I did things I liked like writing and marketing. I set up my own blog and started blogging about internet marketing. Soon after I got my first agency job at a small agency here in Milwaukee. And the rest is history ☺
2) What are some misconceptions about SEO that you’d like to clear up?
I think the SEO industry is interesting because there are people out there that give it a bad rap. There are “black hat” SEOs that try to game the system and make a quick buck, which are the biggest culprits. But there are also people that just think that you slap a few title tags on a site, stuff some keywords on the page and voila! The site is SEOed. While that would be great, it also does the profession a disservice. It is a profession for a reason. People make their livelihoods out of it and a lot of work goes into doing great SEO. It’s a large combination of things including understanding algorithms, code, marketing principles, PR and having good business sense. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, so my hope is that by bringing transparency in combination with education, we’ll shed more light into this up and coming, complex industry.
3) On your site, you talk about creating meaningful connections vs. solely driving sales and leads – why is that important?
A lot of people will tell you they can make you a ton of money with SEO and get you to the top of Google for “xyz” terms. The chances of them delivering on that is low. Yes, it is definitely possible, but there really are no guarantees with search engines. Things change all the time and you can only really estimate and put your best foot forward. Even if they could get you to the top and let’s say they convert here and there. Are they repeat purchasers, or just a bunch of one-timer purchasers or visitors? Because if all you get is one time purchasers or visits, you’d really be missing out on a valuable segment of your market, which is repeat purchasers. And going after that is a better use of your marketing dollars and time.
If you think about how search engines like Google evaluate websites, it’s really almost like evaluating a business as if it were the brick and mortar itself. You have to be a good, credible business in the real world and that translates on the internet. Which is largely due to the relationships you build and how you run your shop. So, it’s really important to think about the broader perspective when you get into marketing your business online, or anywhere for that matter.
4) If you had to sum up what you do in one word, what would it be? Why?
Marketing. At the end of the day, great SEO is more than just getting higher rankings. It’s helping people market their products and services.
5) Describe to my readers what it’s like working with you & why they should hire you!
I like to think that I’m easy to get along with and at the end of the day, I want to help people with marketing and growing their business. I think big picture, but I’m also practical. I don’t tell people what they want to hear, I tell them what they need to hear so we can focus on getting results. If you want to work with someone who’s honest, hard-working and cares about getting you results over a paycheck, then here I am! (of course, I want a paycheck, but you get the point 😉