What’s it like to be an SEO Chick – an interview with Lisa D

Posted by in Uncategorized & Miscellaneous on August 6th, 2007 24 Comments

When we decided to re-launch Apple Pie & Custard, one thing all of us at Site Visibility were in agreement about was that we wanted to interview some of the characters of the SEO blogosphere.

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Lisa D & Ammon Johns

One of the people who immediately sprang to mind was [tag]Lisa Ditlefsen[/tag] of [tag]SEO Chicks[/tag], her and her female compadres have made a major impact on the Old Boys Club of SEO in the last few months, and we were keen to learn more about what she had to say.



You are one of the many faces behind SEO Chicks tell us a bit about how the site came about?

The idea of SEO Chicks came about after a LondonSEO event back in March this year. I met [tag]Anita Chaperon[/tag] for the first time and we had a nice chat over a beer. On the same evening we met a high profile SEO dude (I won’t name and shame, he knows who he is) that was pretty condescending to say the least. He told a story about some women from MSN that showed up to his course which he referred to as “just some pretty bimbos that didn’t have a clue” and then actually pointed at me and Anita and said “like you two”.

Now I’m sure he mean it as a joke, but we weren’t laughing. So we started talking about the pros and cons of being a woman in a mainly male dominated industry. Although I must stress that MOST SEO blokes are lovely guys. But we realised we do tend to take the back seat when it comes to blogging, events, and basically getting out there.

The day after, I emailed Anita and asked if she would be interested in setting up an all female collaborating blog, and it all went from there. We wanted to gather chicks from all aspects of the Search Industry; PPC experts, programming, SEO, SMO, blogging etc etc.

We soon got [tag]Julie Joyce[/tag] on-board and the plans started rolling. Just a few weeks before [tag]SMX[/tag] I realised both me and Julie were going to SMX, and that this would be the place to start spreading the word. We got some t-shirts made up and off we went! And so far it’s been amazing, we have had so much support and interest from all over the world.


Some people assume that search engine marketing is a bit of an all boys club, do you think that’s really the case?

Well I think it used to be, I think maybe women took the backseat for a while and were silent learners, just observing and waiting for the right moment to pounce…lol….. No seriously it can seem a bit of a boys club sometimes, I think you have to be a certain type of woman to get noticed for the right reasons.

I do find some people looking at me like “err what is this blonde chick doing here?”, on the positive side when you do say something remotely intelligent they get really impressed =) It’s not really the high profile SEOs that has the “boys club” attitude. At SMX I met [tag]Michael Gray[/tag] (Graywolf) and [tag]Todd Malicoat[/tag] and they were just the coolest and most genuine guys. I’m also a BIG [tag]Rand Fishkin[/tag] fan, he’s my Obi One Kenobi You can just see Rand playing Obi One!



Recently a number of high profile female Bloggers all seem to have appeared on in SEO scene within a short period of time of each other, is this just a co-incidence or is it the positive influence of Veterans like Jill Whalen & Elisabeth Osmeloski?

It’s all due to the SEO-Chicks, lol, no I think it’s just the time for us to come out of our “nest” and kick some butt. Err can I say butt on your blog? Lol

[tag]Jill Whalen[/tag] and [tag]Elisabeth Osmeloski[/tag] are both great SEOs and I think woman like them have lead the way for other female SEOs to follow .One of my favourite “veteran female SEO” is Donna Fontenot (aka DazzlinDonna), She Rocks!


You seem to have made quite a big impression on the industry by attending conferences and events, do you think that’s helped your profile as a Blogger and a professional?

Yes it has definitely helped me both as a blogger and a professional. The value of conferences is just priceless when it comes to networking and learning from other SEOs. I think most of my really valuable SEO tips and hints have come from the networking, not the conferences themselves. The great thing about the SEO industry is that it’s no set right answer, solutions is dependent on communication and discussions with other SEO professionals.

We are all learning new things almost daily, and sharing experiences is so valuable. It’s a fantastic industry to be in, it’s a great mix of creative marketing and technical know how. My very cool fellow SEO Chick, Julie Joyce, wrote a great post about the SEO industry the other day

Attending conferences and events was also how I met my fellow SEO Chicks Anita Chaperon, Julie Joyce and Judith Lewis. And I regard them all as good friends now, it’s rare to find a industry where people are so friendly.


You work for a digital marketing agency how do you think search integrates with some of the other digital marketing channels?
The agency I work for actually does Marketing Communications and Branding as well as Digital Marketing. A very subtle plug there =)

When it comes to digital marketing, search should always be a part of the online marketing strategy. Its a lot of advantages working in a agency where you get to be involved in a project from the word go, this way you can actually implement a Search Marketing strategy, and carry it through in other channels such as email and banner advertising.

A lot of our clients previously didn’t realise the benefits and impact search marketing can have, so being on the “inside” in an agency gives you a great opportunity to educate about SEO, and in turn get new clients. We are just launching a separate Base One Search website next month (www.baseonesearch.co.uk) and I’m seriously excited.


You progressed quite high in the UK SEO industry and have recruited a number of Junior Search Marketers, what advice would you offer for those just starting out?

Get involved offline as well as online! If you can, do attend conferences, if your company won’t or can’t pay for the conference pass do still attend the after parties. Try to locate any local SEO communities, like www.londonSEO.org They will arrange get togethers where you can network for free, I actually think I have learned just as much at the London SEO events as the conferences. But don’t tell my boss as he might not send me to any more conferences.

I would also highly recommend getting involved in the industry blogs and forums, like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, SEOmoz, SEOChicks (ha ha another plug). And most importantly; If you have questions don’t be afraid to ask!! There is no such thing as a stupid question, a cliché but it’s so true. You will get nowhere from being afraid to ask.

I got a lot of help from the guys at SEO Refugee when I first started out. And they never made me feel I asked a stupid question.

Oh and lastly when you get a SEO friend, stalk them, lol just joking. Rob Kerry (aka [tag]evilgreenmonkey[/tag]) has helped me out a million times and he has become a really good mate. He is probably sick and tired of me IM’ing him all the time.


Which 5 Search Blogs could you not live without?

I love blogs, if I had my way I would spend half my time just reading and writing blogposts. Here is a selection of my favourites:

www.seomoz.org – this was the first blog I started reading and I am a still a big SEOmoz stalker (I mean fan..)

www.seo-chicks.com – of course, no seriously my fellow SEO Chicks are very knowledgeable, we try to write 3-4 posts a week so it’s always something interesting to read.

www.wolf-howl.com Michael Gray (aka Graywolf). Now this is the nicest SEO ever, he has been in the industry for ages but still has time to talk.

www.stuntdubl.com because Todd Malicoat is a genius. Full stop.

www.seo-scoop.com [tag]Donna Fontenot[/tag] – simply a female SEO that rocks!

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