This is the first opportunity of taking the Interview of any Search Specialist in my career and on this website. I wanted to start with someone I know, admire, a friend, and who is always available to help me whenever I need.
So, today we have Dana Lookadoo, who is being featured as one of the top SEO Women’s, an excellent female SEO Bloggers, and a speaker at various search marketing conferences. From the profession, she is an SEO Consultant, blogger, trainer, speaker, author and founder of amazing Yo! Yo! SEO!
If you are true lover of SEO community, regular blogs reader, and a Twitter addict. You must have come across Dana Lookadoo talking around. OK! Let’s take some valuable tips from her.
Kumail: Give us a brief overview of your day-to-day life and how do you manage loads of work?
Dana: Each day is very different based on workload. A very large portion of my time is dedicated to SEO and serving as part of the online marketing team for a major corporation. I balance the rest of my “workable” time handling other client needs, primarily with a focus on SEO audits and training. Coordinating with alliances and my work partners regularly is also a priority.
- I don’t check email until I’m ready to work.
- I only check email periodically throughout the day, or if I’m in a specific “client mode,” my email is filtered by their name.
- I’ve been working to break my always-on addiction and have disabled Facebook and Twitter notifications from my phone.
- I only have Skype on when I can be “disturbed.”
- I just don’t write as many blog posts or have to postpone interviews, lately. (My goal is to plan more writing time into schedule.)
- I don’t listen to music unless I’m in a creative mode or am taking a break to dance around my office!
I can tell already that this sounds incredibly boring, other than the dancing part, that is. But, I get a heck of a lot done!
I do schedule time each week (often at night) to stay current on the latest happenings in search. When in the kitchen or while stretching in my workout room, I’m often using Apple TV to watch YouTube and the latest Webmaster videos by Matt Cutts or Barry Schwartz’s weekly search updates.
I work a lot, probably too much. In the past year, I’ve had to cut back on some of my online social activities in order to attain a work/life balance. To do this, I schedule blocks of time offline and on my bike or doing other activities that are nourishing to the soul and body.
What’s crazy is that I LOVE all this. I just wish the days were longer!
What is success in your eye?
Professionally: Having a good reputation.
Personally: My Dad was a man of incredible integrity. He died when I was 4, and I want people to say the same things about me that they said about him:
- He (she) never knew a stranger.
- He was (is) a good man (woman), someone you can trust
What difficulties did you face in the beginning of your SEO career, and how did you solve them?
I was spread too thin between running a Web development and hosting company and trying to figure out this search engine thing. That was in 1999-2000. In 2003, that issue was solved for me in that I started a new company focused primarily on SEO. I still did some Web dev but integrated SEO as the foundation for all planning. To get there, it meant focus, focus, focus.
Here, let me repeat. Focus! Do not chase shiny objects or try to be a jack of all trades and master of none.
I read your blogs and Twitter stream and saw you almost attended/spoken most of the conferences. What is the key advice you want to give SEOs on attending such conferences?
Listen. Network. Listen some more. Ask questions. Keep listening.
We each have two ears and one mouth. Many people go to these conference, if often feels, to hear themselves talk. I get the most out of conferences by asking questions and listening to what others have to say.
What do you like most about SEO? And, what do you like least?
Most: That every day is different and that it’s constantly changing.
Least: That things are changing so fast. (Oh the dichotomy!)
What are the 3 things you tell/guide clients when offering SEO Services?
- People first! Write quality content for your audience rather than search engines.
- Think “digital content optimization” or “digital asset marketing.” SEO is the foundation for all your online marketing efforts.
- You can’t ignore the technical aspects of ensuring your website is crawlable and accessible. Some companies get the people, content, and marketing aspects correct but ignore that there’s a huge “Disallow: /” or meta “noindex” blocking key pages of their sites.
How does your work affect businesses and how you build long relationship with ‘SEO’ clients?
One of our longest relationships with an ongoing client been since 2009. With other clients for whom we do SEO audits and consulting, we remain in contact and keep an eye out for what’s best for them for years. By offering value, being transparent, and training them to understand best practices, they become better at this online marketing thing, and we get to see better results – more traffic, higher conversions, increased online visibility, etc.
You are an inspiration and favorite of many SEOs (including me). Who is your inspiration or you admire someone?
Gosh, I’m a little bit speechless with this one. THANK YOU! I’ve always said to myself, “I don’t care about success as much as I care about inspiring others.” Maybe that life-long goal has come to fruition? I hope so and appreciate your saying so.
I have been inspired by soooo many people. In an interview on aimClear blog, I outlined my top five women I admire in online marketing and why. But you asked about inspiration. Two men come to mind:
- Alan Bleiweiss – Alan is there whenever I need him, in and out of SEO. He’s blessed my life in so many ways, and we get to work together now and then. Oh, ya, he rants. But I suggest people listen to the core of what he’s saying about SEO and follow it.
- Steve Plunkett – Steve also feels like a brother. I know he’s got my back if ever needed. His #whitecoatseo approach is something more people should pay attention to. He takes a scientific approach to SEO and has testing and data to back up what he says.
Both Alan and Steve have high ethics and don’t even tip-toe into areas of SEO that are high risk. They focus on what’s sustainable - quality content – what’s best for the user and not just for the search engine. I model a similar approach and appreciate both of them for being voices for such in our industry and in my life as close friends.
What are your goals and how you planned to achieve them?
This could be a blog post on its own! Seriously, I really do need to narrow down my goals. I have so many things I want to do, side businesses I want to start, volunteering I want to participate in, places I want to ride my bike, etc.
Internet marketing goals? There are two areas about which I’d like to become an expert without ever using that term about myself:
- Deeper knowledge of Google Analytics, to know it like the back of my hand like Annie Cushing. How? I tap her brain every time we talk and plan to read and watch everything on Annielytics and what Annie writes on Search Engine Land.
- Master the art of conversion optimization (CRO). How? There are a number of resources I read and follow. This is my “side passion” – focus on user experience and landing page optimization. I completed one course and received certification for such with MarketingExperiments and have another to complete, once time frees up. Two people I admire and follow what they share on the topic are Tim Ash and Bryan Eisenberg.
- Side note: I believe the art of conversion optimization and focusing content and design on personas is a key aspect of online marketing and SEO.
What do you think about me in SEO, and what are the key pieces of advice would you give me here?
You are creating content and blogging! You’re getting involved with the industry, making connections with leaders and ensuring your voice is heard. You’re doing what it takes to become known in the search industry and in search engines. Job well done.
Advice? OK, you asked. My English-teacher-red-pen comes out here… I’d partner with or hire someone to proof English and grammar. Your ideas are well formed.
Other than that, I yearn to blog as much as you do. You’re doing what I say do but don’t do myself. Job well done, again!
Thanks so much Dana for your openness and time. If you have any further questions, please use the comment box below.
Image Source: FlickrInterview of Dana Lookadoo, An Internet Marketing Specialist! by Kumail Hemani