After attacking her post about
Monkeys Chimps doing SEO, I decided to ask Julie Joyce for an interview. With a name that sounds like the name of a 5:00 News Weather Reporter, Julie co-owns Stroud (a SEO/SEM company) and Link Fish Media with her husband. She is extremely talented in the field of SEO and is a big music fan.
So at around 12:30 AM the other night I put together all the questions I had for somebody I definitely look up to and respect.
#1 How did the 2 Seo-Chicks meet?
There are actually 4 of us who consistently write for the blog… Lisa and I just have the biggest mouths. I had briefly met Lisa at a LondonSEO party back in February of this year. I immediately liked her since she seemed completely insane and was Norwegian. How can you NOT like a Viking? It truly feels like I have known her forever now. She is one of my favorite people in the whole world and I completely adore her. Sounds sappy, but I seriously do. I’ve known Anita Chaperon for much longer, as we met around 18 months ago and worked together for awhile. Anita is the woman I wish I could be…very logical, never acts like an idiot in public, always has perfect hair, never says the wrong thing, etc. Those two got to talking at a later LondonSEO and decided to do something in the industry, and Anita mentioned my name as being a good third person so there you go. I actually just met Judith Lewis for the first time in person when I was in London a few weeks ago. It’s amazing how well we all fit together. They’re all women that I am friends with, and all women that I would have hand-picked if I had started the blog myself.
Lisa deserves a ton of credit for putting everything together and constantly being the face of the blog.
#2 How did you get involved in the SEO world?
It was actually kind of an accidental thing… A vacancy opened up on the SEO team where I was working, and they asked me to do it since I was the only person in the office with anything other than a straight technical background, having an English degree. I’d actually spent time on almost every team there at that point so it was one of those things where it’s not truly being asked whether you want to do it or not, it’s like an order that’s given in a nice way. It turned out to be something that was very intuitive for me as well though, and then I became the head of the team and learned more in a year than I thought was possible.
It was a very lovely turning point in my career because I was really sick of programming at that point and couldn’t imagine doing that for the next few years.
#3 Was it very hard to start your own company?
Is it very difficult to work with your husband in this industry?
It was insanely easy actually, but we were very lucky. My husband Jay landed a major client without really trying, so the financial backbone was there. It soon became a matter of whether I should stay at my old job and keep that security, or take a chance and join him. I don’t think that starting a company is usually as easy as it was for us. We’ve just started another one as well, called Link Fish Media, which handles large-scale link development work. Starting that one and working out the details was a bit harder than starting Str0ud, simply because we ended up hiring a few people to work for us.
Many people have asked how it felt to take such a chance, but Jay is the one who made the leap and I took longer to join him, so it honestly was not all that scary or difficult. I can recall a few moments of panic in the beginning but now I’ve gotten used to it. I actually worked with Jay at my previous agency as well, in the same tiny office! So we’re very used to each other and it generally works out.
There are certainly moments when we want to kill each other, but we try to never get too involved in the same exact things at the same time. I do tend to be slightly less nice to him than I would be to someone else because I’m so comfortable with him, which is why he drinks so much and does a lot of groaning in the corner with his arms wrapped around his knees.
However, that’s a nice outlet for me since I don’t feel the need to tiptoe around him and be nice when I really want to strangle him.
#4 What are your most favorite conferences to attend?
Do you find it easier or more difficult as a female attending these conferences?
I thought that the first SMX in Seattle was the best one so far. I’ve been to several different ones but that one had the best food (and good vegetarian food) and it was in one of the best cities on earth so I’ll pick it as the top choice. I think that it’s quite easy to be a female at a conference. I wouldn’t recommend eating a cream-filled eclair when you’re the only woman in a circle of men though. It’s certainly not a predatory industry, not that I have seen.
You don’t tend to have guys lurking around dark corners waiting to jump out at any halfway-decent female who wanders past, like in social work. I haven’t met anyone at a conference who’s been a jerk or rude or anything, so I don’t think my being female really has any effect on anyone else honestly, other than the guy who kept saying Lisa and I were like hot smart cheerleaders.
#5 Do you think Classic SEO is dying?
It does feel that way at times.
Of course my version of Classic SEO was cloaking the bejaysus out of most sites. I hated to let that go…there’s a big focus on new media now with everyone into social media marketing and optimizing videos and podcasts and voting on sites, etc. SEO has become more fun though, I will say that. It’s become more challenging, but it’s also easier to find help when you need it now, with the proliferation of really quality blogs out there with knowledgeable people actively writing about what they do. Forums were bigger back when I started, and there was a sense of not really wanting to let anyone know who you were so that you wouldn’t leave the door open for someone to figure out what YOU were doing and either do it better or report you.
I think that has definitely changed, and for the better.
#6 What do you think is next in this ever-changing industry?
I’ve actually thought about this for quite some time. I wish that I had some idea of what could be next, but I honestly don’t. I thought social media would have gone a bit sour by now so my opinion on things like this is mostly invalid.
The beauty of this industry is its constant change, and I think that being able to accurately predict the next change would take some of the fun out of it.
Of course, I’m saying that because I lack vision.
#7 Do you think that tools like Facebook are better than the constant challenge of using Digg, Reddit, etc?
I do, yes. I love Facebook.
I make fun of it, certainly, but I absolutely love it. I love boring other friends with the minute details of my life, but I don’t find theirs boring. I’m really not a huge fan of sites where people vote for things. I think they are great for many reasons, but I am not that interested in what everyone else thinks is great when it comes right down to it. My likes and dislikes are quite different from most people that I know, so unless the majority of the people who use those sites start liking old punk rock and Philip Roth,
I’ll stick to poking Lisa on Facebook.
#8 Where do you see yourself in this industry in 5 years?
Hopefully being driven around town by some hot young SEO geek who has good taste in music and likes to buy boots for me as a token of his appreciation for being employed. One who makes perfect iced lattes and cleans the house in under an hour.
Is this a serious question? OK…I honestly have no idea.
I’ve not even been in SEO for 5 years yet, and 5 years ago I never would have predicted being the owner of two SEO companies and traveling around the world all the time.
I’d hope that both companies would still be going strong in 5 years and that I would still be in the thick of things.
#9 Whats your advice for me as a newbie “Chick” in this industry?
First of all, I think it’s great that you’re willing to call yourself a newbie.
This industry would go nowhere without new people coming in, asking questions, and shaking things up. As a female new to the industry, I would advise you to never dumb yourself down, but also never go overboard trying to prove anything.
Just be who you are, and everyone will respond to it.
People will argue back and forth over whether being female even matters in this industry, but whether or not it does, don’t ASSUME that it does. Wait and see. Maybe you’ll be treated differently or badly because of it, but give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
#10 Are you ever planning on inviting new chicks to write for the blog?
We really would love to! We have a new guest post series that’s about to debut, and we have several invitations out there already.
We’ve received some seriously fantastic comments from other SEOs about the the blog being something enjoyable to read, so we want to maintain that no matter what. We’re definitely not set on never asking anyone else to join, but we’re trying to let things happen organically.
I think that the guest post series will be really nice, since we’re very interested in other women writers. We like the offbeat, as you may have noticed. We never want our blog to become a stodgy one, where you almost fall asleep reading it.
If the right blogger came along, I think we’d let her in provided she agreed with absolutely everything we said and promised to talk about how lovely we all are whenever possible.
So much thanks to Julie and the rest of the SEO-Chicks for keeping the HOT in SEO and attitude in Blogging.