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#34: Casie Gillette

Episode Summary

We talk with Casie Gillette, Sr. Director of Digital at KoMarketing. We discuss:
  • How she got her start in marketing working for an online dating site in the mid 2000s literally handing out flyers in clubs, which actually led to her first SEO job which is ultimately where she fell in love with it
  • How she got to KoMarketing, how she left and then boomeranged right back
  • In-house versus agency
  • Her biggest SEO challenges
  • Convincing clients to get recommendations implemented
  • How she learned to be a confident public speaker
  • The recent SEO’s are assholes kerfuffle
  • The importance of SEO training and education

And much more.

Episode Transcript

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Jacob Stoops: Hey everybody this is Jacob stoops here again with the Page 2 Podcast and I am joined by Mr. Jeff Louella. Jeff, how’s it going?

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Jeff Louella: Hey everybody. How you doing?

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Jacob Stoops: Good. Jeff you changed it up that time.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah.

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Jacob Stoops: We, it’s like, Hey, how are you, hey,

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Jacob Stoops: Hey, like out. What is it out Borland

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Jacob Stoops: And yeah, that’s funny. We’re getting better.

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Jeff Louella: You’re getting better. And now I’m trying to figure it out.

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Jacob Stoops: And we are also joined by Casie Gillette, how’s it going, Casie.

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Casie Gillette: Hey, howdy, I think you’re too old time reference might be overlooked.

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Casie Gillette: Cast. Yeah.

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah, Jeff reminds of Al Borland

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Jeff Louella: Yeah, his

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Jacob Stoops: Side hobbies, and he’s do-gooder.

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Yeah.

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Jeff Louella: Just like out

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Jacob Stoops: Um, so, Casie is the Senior Director of digital at KoMarketing and is really awesome guests. I’ve said this, I think, to a few guests. So I don’t want you to feel like you’re not at all special because you are special and

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Casie Gillette: You sound like my mother.

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Right.

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Jeff Louella: Very special

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Jacob Stoops: But know when we were setting out to when I was setting out over a year ago to do this podcast. And when we kind of sat down for for season two.

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Jacob Stoops: You are definitely on the on the list of people that we wanted to talk to in in there’s a there’s a massive like we basically want to talk to everybody in SEO, but but

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Casie Gillette: It does really, really making me feel good here.

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We’re definitely

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Casie Gillette: I made Season two. That’s exciting. Thank you for having me. Yes. You made it to season to

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Jeff Louella: Meet you in

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Jacob Stoops: Season Season one was entirely just me trying to figure figure stuff out live on the internet. So anyways,

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Casie Gillette: That’s our job. That’s our job is search marketers anyway.

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Jacob Stoops: Well, yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s basically 25 hours of me just gabbing gabbing online and I decided to bring Jeff in to talk with me so

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Jeff Louella: Just for my intro

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah.

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah. So in terms of what we’re going to be

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Jacob Stoops: Covering today. So we’ve got a great agenda, first and foremost, we’re going to talk to. Casie about her background and then we are going to cover a little bit of SEO news, surprise, surprise, there was another kerfuffle in the industry.

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Jacob Stoops: Always industry seems to always have a kerfuffle probably once or twice a week.

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Jacob Stoops: That will talk about a little bit of drama and then at the end of the show. If anybody has stuck around to the end.

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Jacob Stoops: We’re going to talk about building a team and SEO training and how to go about that and the importance of doing that.

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Jacob Stoops: So definitely, definitely a great agenda today so Casie, the hallmark of the show, kind of like we’re superheroes is the the origin story of great SEOs and the the backgrounds, the trials. The tribulations. Um, so tell us about yourself. How did you get into SEO and just, who are you

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, loaded question. Um, you know, I was one of those people who didn’t know what SEO was we didn’t know what it was in 2005 I’d never heard of it. You know, I was out of college, I was bartending.

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Casie Gillette: thought, gosh, I guess I should probably get a job in marketing. My parents paid a lot of money for my college education.

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Casie Gillette: And a guy that I knew that that I had just met through the bar had approached me about this job in marketing. I was like okay well what it ended up being was. It was an online dating site.

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Casie Gillette: And but this is 2005 so like online dating wasn’t really a thing. And what we had to do was go out to clubs and hand out flyers for

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Casie Gillette: Dating site, which is awful. Right. That’s just an awful job but fast forward about six months I had stopped doing that, after

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Casie Gillette: Month, I think. And he reached back out and said, Hey, I have this job. We have another job doing SEO. Are you interested. And I said, I don’t know what that is but sure.

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Casie Gillette: And that was it. You know, I was so fortunate because the company that I ended up working for at the time was huge. They were about 150 people in it had people like Jenni Halas and Garrett French and Andy Beal

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Casie Gillette: These people in JP Sherman these people that you know

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Casie Gillette: As these you know industry thought leaders. Well, that’s where they also started out. So I had these amazing people to train me and to teach me. You know what SEO is and

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Casie Gillette: I think like most of us, I just fell in love, you know, you start doing it like, Wow, this is this is exciting and it changes and that’s cool. And, you know, here we are 1314 years later, whatever year it is. Now, I don’t know.

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Jacob Stoops: I hear that it’s going to be 2020

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Jacob Stoops: Oh, that’s

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Jacob Stoops: A new decade or still the same decade people

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah.

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Casie Gillette: No, no, it’s tricky.

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Jacob Stoops: So how did you get to KoMarketing and not only then, how did you kind of climb the ladder to senior director

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, well, just run

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Casie Gillette: I had when I was down in Carolina. I was ready to move up, back, back up north. I was like, I gotta South here.

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Casie Gillette: So I applied to a job at KoMarketing actually and I just, I loved what I loved what they had to offer. Well, at the time, there were only three other people

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Casie Gillette: So I ended up moving up here. There were four of us in total just really small, which was so fun. You know, it was a whole new experience. I went from this big company to a very small company.

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Casie Gillette: And that was really exciting. Now that happened around 2009 2007 2008 right before the economy collapsed.

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Casie Gillette: And you know, we started to lose a lot of client, right, we just didn’t have a lot of business and I was approached to go in house.

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Casie Gillette: Start, you know, start an SEO team there help run the digital marketing team and so

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Casie Gillette: I went and did that for a couple years. And that was really cool. I never thought that I would want to go and house because

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Casie Gillette: You know when you’re on the agency side. It’s so fun right there. There’s all these different things always happening.

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Casie Gillette: But the opportunity was really great. You know, I got exposure to like running TV ads and radio ads, you know, building a social team building a community team so that stuff was really fun.

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Casie Gillette: But I stayed in touch with the marketing guys because they were so fantastic. In a few years into that they said, you know, do you want to come back.

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Casie Gillette: I don’t know. And, you know, Derek, who, who runs KoMarketing was like, well, moving the office downtown. I was like okay now I’m listening.

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Casie Gillette: You know, I live in the city. And I always had to drive out there and my whole dream of moving to Boston was I didn’t have to have a car and I didn’t have to drive. Anyway, so he was making my dream come true.

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Jacob Stoops: There it is.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, so I mean that’s, you know, I’ve kinda, you know, I’ve been at KoMarketing twice. Now, I’ve been back seven years. So a total of 10

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Casie Gillette: And you know, it’s just, it’s been fun to watch. It’s been fun to help grow the company, the guys who run it are fantastic. We have such great people on the team. We’re really meticulous about who we hire and how we hire and I think because of that we’ve been able to be successful.

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Jacob Stoops: So I’m going to apologize in advance because I’m, what I’m hearing is so you were at KoMarketing in then went in house somewhere and then back to KoMarketing.

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Casie Gillette: Correct.

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Jacob Stoops: Okay, because I was thinking I was like wait, you’re at KoMarketing, but you’re also in house.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, I’m very to I’m multitasking. Yeah.

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Jacob Stoops: OK, so the, it seems like the first time you were doing a lot of off offline TV and radio and and then a little dabbling in in the social space and

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Jacob Stoops: I guess what is so different outside of being downtown different this time in terms of like your role.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah. Well, I think one of the things that was really exciting to me was I got to come in and build a team. And that’s honestly one of my absolute favorite things about my role about this industry.

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Casie Gillette: You know, I do a lot of speaking events. And the reason is, I love that part. Like I just love when someone comes up to you and says,

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Casie Gillette: I’ve never thought about this this way or like, Oh, this is so helpful or, you know, you write a blog posts and someone says,

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Casie Gillette: Oh, I use that and I sent it to my team like it makes you feel like, okay, I’m doing this for a reason.

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Casie Gillette: You know, there’s a rewarding element to it. And as part of coming back. My role here was to build a team who you know we got, I get to teach them SEO. I get to teach them marketing.

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Casie Gillette: And you get to watch them all grow up and become really good marketers and I love that. I think that’s really fun and exciting.

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Jacob Stoops: So have to ask always have to ask this comes up, like every episode, I’m in house or agency.

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Casie Gillette: So I am an agency girl.

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Casie Gillette: I do have to say like there are benefits of being in house one a lot easier. You know you you’ve talked to people who work at agencies I. In fact, I remember when I was coming back to the agency world and

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Casie Gillette: I know it’s like, well, how could she

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Casie Gillette: Like, why don’t you do with clients, but I don’t know like I don’t know about you guys, but I love the challenge, right. I feel like there’s always new challenges and like

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Casie Gillette: When you’re in house you’re only exposed to a minimal amount of things, whereas on the agency side, you know, I have 10 clients. And so I’m seeing all of these different situations.

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Casie Gillette: Just the learning element in the space. We have to keep up. You have to be constantly learning. And I think at the agency side, you get a little more exposure to that because you do have the different things. So for me, if agency, but I certainly understand why people like being in house.

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Jeff Louella: Do you ever feel that you can’t get everything you want to get done.

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Oh, yeah.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah.

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Jeff Louella: We have a set amount of hours where, you know, not sure what that is but you know every

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Jeff Louella: Client is different, but

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Jeff Louella: They’re my I’ve always been an agency. I’ve never been in house and the one thing I always dreamed about was actually being able to just

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Jeff Louella: Sit there and like being internal meetings and hammer own like I have one client who’s blocking right now blocking Google

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Jeff Louella: And and they have been for the last six weeks and their dev teams like, well, we’re just trying to block acts like during the holidays, they’re blocking extra crawlers coming to the site because they’re so fragile.

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Jeff Louella: So sad.

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Jeff Louella: And I just wish I can be in those meetings every day and showing them and I do send reports as don’t know if it gets to the dev team because I’m working with marketing team and

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Jeff Louella: The thing. So sometimes I do dream about being in a house, but, um, but, as you said, like we have 10 different clients. So I just focus my time. Other places where I need it but

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, well, and I also found that, you know, working in house was cool because it’s like, hey, I want to do this. Okay, I’m just gonna go do it.

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Casie Gillette: And if you have that autonomy. That’s fantastic. But I was there for three years. And so, and thankfully I did have three different websites that I was working on. But like

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Casie Gillette: If you’re only working on, let’s say one website. And it’s not like a giant e com site. It’s just a, you know, maybe it’s a B2B site, whatever it is, like, there’s only so much you can do.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah.

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Casie Gillette: There’s only so much for me. I started to get a little bored and it was nice because like I said I got exposure to these other things, but it can get a little enough. Yes.

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah, I’m sure. I think like you, like you said, You’re an agency girl, I think, like, I don’t know what it, what it is, but I feel like it’s just

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Jacob Stoops: bred into your personality in terms of which side of the fence you you fall on

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Jacob Stoops: Some people tend to lean in house. Some people tend to lean agency for different reasons I’ve said many times I’ve been in both situations and

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Jacob Stoops: For whatever reason, I just tend to thrive more in the agency lifestyle as crazy as it is, it can get. Sometimes I’ve been in house, a couple of times. And each time I, I just, I really didn’t like it.

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Jacob Stoops: Made me. It was a function of just the particular opportunities and what was going on in house at the time.

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Jacob Stoops: But there have been times in my agency life where I’m I think just like Jeff like man, the grass looks really, really green, it would be great just to just to work on one web

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Jacob Stoops: All the time and do it really, really, really well. And then you get on the you get on the in house side and you’re like, Okay, I’m working on this.

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Jacob Stoops: And now what do I do with the rest of my time.

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Casie Gillette: Right, but

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Jacob Stoops: It is nice to be able to like have in developed close relationships with a lot of different stakeholders within the, within the company like it’s nice to

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Jacob Stoops: For example, in my last last role, I was able to just get up and walk two desks over and say, hey,

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Jacob Stoops: Aaron, who was a developer, like I’m trying to get this thing implemented, but like, I’m seeing this error and he would fix it on the spot and go okay great that’ll get pushed live tonight and stuff like that was

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Jacob Stoops: Invaluable. And not only that, but just walking down to to another floor to talk with one of the other teams.

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Jacob Stoops: And get an understanding because they handled customers directly and like working directly with them. I mean, there were a couple of times where we work directly with them to actually create pieces of content.

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah subject matter.

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Casie Gillette: That’s like one of my favorite things I talked about that a lot is like when I was in house we talked to the customer support team every week.

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Casie Gillette: Right. And it was so awesome. Knowing here’s what people are asking for. Here’s what they can’t find like here’s what the second yeah so that there are those benefits. Yeah, but

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Jacob Stoops: Like I said, I just, I made for agency. I like the I like the challenge. I like the diversity and I feel as if

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Jacob Stoops: The competition with other agencies.

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Jacob Stoops: In addition to the competition with your clients and their competitors. Yeah, really.

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Jacob Stoops: Really drives me. I come from a sports background so I’m super competitive and not to say that if you don’t come from other backgrounds. You’re not competitive, but I feel like for me that’s

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Jacob Stoops: Plays plays into it. So like I i like to win. And for me, I can see is giving me the best chance to kind of

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Jacob Stoops: Scratch that competitive edge.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel.

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Jacob Stoops: So you do public speaking. What’s, what’s that look

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Casie Gillette: Like

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Casie Gillette: Well, no, it’s fun. Honestly, um, I don’t know. I don’t even remember how I got into it, or why, but I just know like once I was up there. I was like, oh yeah, this is for me.

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Casie Gillette: There’s just something to be said about

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Casie Gillette: You know, you’re being in front of your peers and having them listen. It makes you have to up your game. I never ever ever want to go to a conference and disappoint people

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Casie Gillette: And because of that, I think it’s really forced me to make sure that I’m talking about the right things. I’m learning the right things. I’m focused on the things I’m passionate about. I think that’s a huge one.

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Casie Gillette: When I first started speaking I talked about link building about a year into that. I was like, if I have to talk about link building one more time. I’m going to jump off the stage. Like, I can’t, I can’t talk about it anymore.

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Casie Gillette: But I needed to find something else that I was passionate about right and and also you have to find something that not everyone else is saying, although there’s a lot of it right

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Casie Gillette: That in the space, and I’m sure I’ve done it, too. But I just, I just love it. I love what the camaraderie of conferences.

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Casie Gillette: I will say that I have made some amazing friends through conferences that I go on vacation with now that I talked to you in real life that have become like close lifelong friends that are never would have gotten to do that without speaking. So it’s just fun. I just really like it.

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Jacob Stoops: Have you do you get nervous or you just one of those natural, natural because like I feel like it was

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Jacob Stoops: All a couple of couple of guests ago I can’t remember exactly who it was. Alicia or Leisha Anderson or Andrea Bergman, it was like, Nope, I just stepped right up there and it’s it’s easy.

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Casie Gillette: It’s nice. I get nervous. Yeah, there’s a moment not I’m not nervous like

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Casie Gillette: A day before I’m nervous for like that 20 minutes before, but the moment that I’m on the stage. It’s fine. Totally fine. Like the moment that I’m up there. Your adrenaline’s poverty, like, all right, I’m in

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Casie Gillette: And you can’t be nervous up there. So, but, yeah, there’s about I usually don’t eat before I can

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Casie Gillette: Just gotta go.

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Jacob Stoops: It. Go ahead, Jeff.

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Jeff Louella: I’ll just say I don’t speak a ton bone. I do. I usually start off with the dad joke.

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Jeff Louella: When the crowd. As soon as I get them the laugh. And I’m like, all right, I’m good. But, but if they don’t laugh. I’m like, Oh, no.

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Jeff Louella: Luckily I’m so good. They always

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Jeff Louella: Get the greatest dad. Exactly.

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah, I have this I have this thing and it’s sometimes applies to speaking, but mostly singing in public, where

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Jacob Stoops: It’s literally like, like you said 20 minutes before I’m set to like go on and go on. It’s not like I sing in like these massive arenas or anything. My wife and I sing it a benefit concert every, every color. Yeah, yeah, it is cool.

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Jacob Stoops: But even as small as the as the venue is I have this thing where, when I go on for about the 20 minutes before and even sometimes as

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Jacob Stoops: As close to performing as literally like the song comes on and I’m about three seconds from having to open my mouth. Forget all the lyrics, they just go out of my head.

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Jacob Stoops: Really, yeah. Yeah, it’s like a complete blackout really like scary because like there are times when I’m standing out there. And all I’m thinking is not how well I need to sing more like what do I say

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Casie Gillette: What am I even thinking

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Jacob Stoops: What am I singing and then then the music comes on and I’m still I’m starting to panic. Now, like Panic, panic. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. And then finally,

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Jacob Stoops: I remember like it was yesterday. I opened my mouth words came out and they were the right words and I went along by I went along my merry way and

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Jacob Stoops: For anybody that has that kind of public phobia. The idea of public speaking can be nauseating like nauseating. So I guess what advice would you give to people that struggle with the idea of getting up in front of their peers.

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Casie Gillette: Well, what I was gonna say was, I mean what you just talked about is just the benefit of muscle memory, right, like we talked about practicing. I know there’s people who will say, like, you know, I don’t practice my presentations. I do.

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Casie Gillette: I run through them like you know me I don’t I try not to go, word for word, but like

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Casie Gillette: I run through that thing 20 times because I want to know that when I get out there that if something goes wrong, right, if I can’t see my slides. If there’s technical errors or whatever’s going on, you know, whether it’s fear or whatever that I still know my materials.

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Casie Gillette: But one of the things we do here is we start getting people like some of the trainings that we do involve people giving presentations.

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Casie Gillette: Because you’re only in front of maybe five people or 10 people or whatever it is you start small.

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Casie Gillette: I tell anyone you know who’s looking to get into public speaking. Look at a local event like I started just doing word camps that were here in Boston.

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Casie Gillette: Events like that, or just like local SEO meetups where you know people give you an opportunity new speakers, they’re expecting new speakers, where you don’t. They don’t care if you mess up, right. Those are the things that that for me, it’s like know your material and start small.

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Jeff Louella: You have done a couple when I used to live in Philadelphia and we had a pretty vibrant SEO Meetup group. They’re called SEO grill and

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Jeff Louella: I got to speak there a couple times and I do small events. A lot of times I used to run a homebrew club making beer.

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Jeff Louella: So I would I would do presentation. Yeah, you know, a it was funny when I decided to start a club. I was like, I don’t want to do work after work.

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Jeff Louella: And I enjoyed the air and me, my friends who started brewing were like, you know, we want to meet other people to do it. And then we started a club and then that grew to 300 people

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Jeff Louella: My guy, and it was insane. Like we were just at this one bar on the Tuesday night would just be packed to the gills.

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Jeff Louella: The guy would never have any traffic on the Tuesday night before, and so it was a good time. But from there. I learned a lot of just, again, if you know your material like if I talked about SEO or if I talked about home brewing, I can. I don’t need slides, I can just talk about it, but

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Jeff Louella: But yeah, when you’re in front of a bunch of people, it can be be scary. So, but where did you get from like

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Jeff Louella: The confidence. You know, you start off bartending. You’re saying, and then now 10 years later, you’re in stage, you know, Mosque on

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Jeff Louella: And then there’s many of us who’ve been doing SEO just as long. And, you know, haven’t gotten past the meetup groups.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah, so

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Casie Gillette: Honestly, I again I’ve just been really lucky, like the support of the community, I would say. So even when I first started doing like I did an SMS show and it I

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Casie Gillette: One of the benefits. I was working in house right and I do think there’s a benefit when you’re in house that if you’re looking to speak, they’re more open to having you right

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Jeff Louella: Now big brand behind. Yes.

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Casie Gillette: Yep. And so that was really helpful. But at that show I met a couple people, you know, Elizabeth awesome Alaska who worked for third door for a long time. Greg Finn.

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Casie Gillette: There, people who just became my friends, but they also were these huge support systems. And so they were encouraging me to start writing for Search Engine Land. Right. So they got me doing that.

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Casie Gillette: You know, they would encourage they would help me with my pitches. Right. So I’ve just been really lucky I think in that the people that I have surrounded myself with or gotten to know have all been so supportive

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Casie Gillette: You know, even I was doing. I got invited to do search love one year in London.

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Casie Gillette: And a friend of mine, Aaron Friedman, who I had met through another show like we spent the night before our sessions just practicing with one another.

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Casie Gillette: And so, those kinds of things. Just, just really help. I don’t know. I’m not a shy person.

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Casie Gillette: I think that that makes the biggest difference is I know people in the industry will talk about, you know, I’m very introverted, or I’m very extroverted like I am an extrovert. I just very much am I enjoy being around people.

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Casie Gillette: I like conferences, I’d like being in crowds. So that part I think certainly helps because you know when you’re just out there just being loud, like I am. I don’t know if that helps or not, but

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Jacob Stoops: Funny. My wife is exactly like that, and I am. She is like the type of person that never met a person that she couldn’t talk to and like immediately make them like her, and be her friend and I am like, I’m a nice person, but I am

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Jacob Stoops: The opposite where like when I get into big crowds situations. It makes me like twitchy uncomfortable super uncomfortable.

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Jacob Stoops: Which is the yeah I then find it odd that I choose to do a

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Casie Gillette: Podcast right out there.

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Casie Gillette: Talking to people. I mean, I will say this, like, I don’t love I’ll be the first to say that I don’t love networking events like where you’re just with a whole bunch of strangers, but like

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Casie Gillette: I just like myself up for it. So you just, I just get mentally prepared and then you’re just you’re in, you know, I’m fine. Once I’m in it, but

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Jeff Louella: Yeah, I mean, it was tough moving like

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Jeff Louella: I know you. It seems like you’ve moved around a little bit, but I lived in Philadelphia for 42 years

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Jeff Louella: Wow started to move to Atlanta and pick up the family and move and it was really tough for my wife at first.

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Jeff Louella: But she is that type of person to you can put her in a room, she starts chatting with people and I think she’s actually impressed herself with how she can. She’s like 1000 friends now.

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Jeff Louella: And and the ones in there going, like I have a couple people. I kind of talk to you.

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Jeff Louella: I’m still I’m like texts with my friends back home, but it’s and she’s out every night, so it’s it’s interesting how

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Casie Gillette: I

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Jeff Louella: Put yourself in that position, and then you can like, get out there. Yeah.

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Jacob Stoops: You don’t it, Jeff, you’ll have a few more friends.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah. That’s what the internet’s great

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Jacob Stoops: So Casie, what are some of the biggest challenges that you run into operating in the agency world.

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Casie Gillette: Um, I mean, I do think, you know, it just thinking about the team, you know, thinking about hiring. It’s so competitive right now, you know, especially, you know, we’re a smaller agency. There’s a little under 30 a few of like 30 of us.

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Casie Gillette: And when you’re trying to hire that like 123 years person. It is like just a battle.

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Casie Gillette: Axe and especially here in Boston, where there’s a ton of companies and a ton of tech companies and even just a ton of agencies, right.

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Casie Gillette: A lot of the big digital, you know, the big agencies, you have like digital us and you know those places who are now trying to get in the game, and they’re willing to pay a lot more

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Casie Gillette: To have those 123 years like I think hiring has certainly been a challenge. And we’ve been really lucky.

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Casie Gillette: Make our team is amazing. We’ve been able to get some really good people in, but then you have people who are constantly recruiting them away.

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Casie Gillette: So it’s like a battle. It’s like such a battle right now from that perspective.

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Casie Gillette: But then you have clients and you know to Geoff’s point earlier, there’s only so much time right there’s only so much time, you only have so many resources. I have a client right now that I adore. I love them to death.

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Casie Gillette: Unfortunately, when the search results changed in June with that big update. They weren’t penalized. But what happened was the search results themselves shifted so much

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Casie Gillette: That they went from being in you know the position one at the top of the page that didn’t have a lot of elements to now they’re

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Casie Gillette: In position to be ahead of them are now sponsored products and a map and the Knowledge Graph and people also asked box and so their traffic just tanked. And when you see that like

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Casie Gillette: It’s just gut wrenching because, you know, like I’m doing everything I can to help this client, but I can’t get them back there, right, like unless those search results change like I can’t get them back there.

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Casie Gillette: So that stuff is is just, it’s so challenging and frustrating because you have these clients that you love and you want to help them but

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Casie Gillette: Sometimes you just have to say like we have to change our, we have to change our strategy right and i mean like a complete one need to change our strategy. So I think that that’s a tough one.

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Jeff Louella: I mean it’s tougher all these days with Google putting so many other elements on the page. Besides that, besides just organic and it is surprising. Sometimes when I still do well. And there are other things on that page.

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Jeff Louella: But you know Google’s tracking all that, too. So they’re also going to be changing those features around a lot. Yeah. And I do

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Jeff Louella: You know, I think it’s really important to start spreading out into other mediums.

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Jeff Louella: Cuz you’re going to have video links are going to have image links and it’s like if we don’t optimize our images or maybe add videos like those are areas we can get to

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Jeff Louella: I think figuring out a track it all is another aspect. Um, but, but one of those is like there’s gonna be 10 listings above you, that are just not organic. And how do we get into those listings

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Casie Gillette: Right, and even, like, you know, for that same client. I mean,

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Casie Gillette: One of the first things we did. We’re like, All right, let’s get like FAQ schema on the site right like they have FAQs the search results are showing FAQs. Like, let’s get this up. Let’s test it. Let’s see what that can do so.

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Casie Gillette: We’re really trying everything we can think of here to help with that. But sometimes you know there’s there’s only so much that we can do. But yeah, I love your like, but like you have to diversify. Some people just don’t want to hear that, though.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah, and it’s hard to diversify. Right. I mean, one reason when Jacob asked me to come on to the podcast was like something I always wanted to do, but I know it’s a lot of work to do it.

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Jeff Louella: And it’s like there’s a whole bunch of new algorithms. I got to learn because it’s like to get your, you know, a podcast even

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Jeff Louella: Show up like it’s learning right it’s like you on iTunes. We don’t show up yet. But there’s ones out there that haven’t been talked like having the three episodes and haven’t been uploaded in 10 years entered like number four.

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Jeff Louella: It’s like why so that’s not the that’s not Google. I feel like if it was Google. I don’t understand it but

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Yeah.

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Jeff Louella: Exactly so. So

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Jacob Stoops: When people don’t want to hear it. How do you approach that because I feel like I’ve said it like 80 million times the implementation, especially on the agency side is our biggest problem and then

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Jacob Stoops: Changing hearts and hearts and minds and figuring out from a psychological perspective, what can you do or say to get people to kind of come around to your understanding of a situation or the reality of situation, how do you, how do you go about that.

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Casie Gillette: I mean, one thing that I take a lot of pride in. And that, you know, specifically here at KoMarketing is like we have really good relationships with our clients.

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Casie Gillette: You know, I have a client that I’ve worked with since I started here and she’s like her fifth organization and she just brings us with her everywhere she goes, it’s so awesome.

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Casie Gillette: But because of those relationships we are able to be very direct about it, right, like, one of the things that I really do pride myself in is

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Casie Gillette: I’m not. I’m never gonna lie to my clients right so like that example that I told you where search results shifted

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Casie Gillette: You know, I said like, look, we can keep trying to get back, we can keep trying to get back for this keyword all you want, but unless this changes.

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Casie Gillette: There’s nothing that we’re going to be able to do. But here’s the data that shows here are the other things that we can do right so

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Casie Gillette: In fact, one of the one of the girls who works here put together this sheet yesterday, this data set for this client that specifically looks at their competitors.

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Casie Gillette: We’ve been trying to get them to do a couple things.

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Casie Gillette: They’ve been a little bit hesitant to do it. She pulled all this data that’s competitive data search volume data like potential revenue data that now we take that and we present to them like here’s the actual financial impact of doing this.

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Casie Gillette: And I think that helps the one thing I always tell people I’m like just show them competition just show them their competitors.

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Casie Gillette: Like, especially when you’re talking to the C suite. If you show them like here’s what your competitors are doing. They absolutely are always like, Well, why aren’t we doing that.

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Casie Gillette: So I do think that helps is, you know, just just being honest and direct, you know, using the data you have, and, you know, if you can get buy in from from the upper level that that goes such a long way.

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Jacob Stoops: Do you find that they believe their data or the data that you provide them.

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Casie Gillette: I do it. But, you know, the one thing I do like is I think our clients are very smart. That’s actually something that’s changed that’s gone wrong.

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Jacob Stoops: Like I wanted to rewind that the

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Casie Gillette: The one thing that has definitely shifted over the past, you know, seven years, specifically for me being here is our contacts weren’t always

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Casie Gillette: Search savvy and now they are much more savvy when it comes to understanding SEO paid search, whatever it is. So our clients, not only they will question the data if it’s if it’s wrong, or if they have questions, but they understand it. And I think that is really, really helpful.

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Jacob Stoops: What do you think is led to that higher degree of understanding

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Casie Gillette: I mean, I think, just as the guy was so much more well known.

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Casie Gillette: Right. I mean, there’s still people who don’t necessarily know, but you know 10 years ago was like this little thing that maybe someone did. And it was such a niche. Whereas now, it’s a thing that they teach in college, which is amazing.

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Casie Gillette: But I think there’s just so much more awareness of it and people who who need to understand it.

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Jacob Stoops: You guys ever like I like even five years ago, I had never once on in like a traditional medium heard anybody like refer to SEO. So it was like the thing that I do for my living is like this super

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Jacob Stoops: Secret sort of thing to the to the public. And now, like I’m driving around done listening to in I’m in Columbus, so it’s 97 when the fan my sports radio and when you start to get the commercials in the ads there a company’s advertising SEO services. And I’m like,

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Jacob Stoops: Holy crap, this is becoming more mainstream whereas five years ago, like, no, you never saw it. I even today I’m ups. I’m upstairs and I’ve got a TV.

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Jacob Stoops: That can play I can play the YouTube and YouTube ad came on and it was for a digital marketing and SEO company. And I was like, well, about a year ago, I didn’t see much of that going that going on.

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Jacob Stoops: So you’re right it is becoming a little bit more, more.

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Casie Gillette: What we do it was on Jeopardy jeopardy. We’ve made it. Yeah.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah, one of my

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Jeff Louella: Favorite my favorite podcasts is a radio lab. And for the last two months or three months they they’ve been brought to you by wicks

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Jeff Louella: And all they’re talking about his mixes SEO capabilities.

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Jeff Louella: And I’m just like, oh, this is my favorite pocket. Like they their whole podcast is about like breaking things down. I wish they broke their average

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Jacob Stoops: Amy and knowing them, which just shelled out $25,000 to Marie Haines bolting like for winning the the wicks SEO contest and

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Jacob Stoops: Like

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Jacob Stoops: I was like holy shit if I didn’t know there were, there was 25 grand on the line, I would have been like, all right, I’m in. I let me let me get in there but

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Casie Gillette: I you know I appreciate it, that it goes to someone like her, though, who actually knows what she’s doing. Right. That, you know, I think she made a comment today, like, you know, she had eight people working on it for six months or something like

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Casie Gillette: But, you know, you see someone, it’s like okay this is a person that I know is smart. I know knows what they’re doing like better than some, you know, shady person.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah, well, when they ran a competition. Last year I know with a Patrick stocks, he like it was it came down to between him and someone else and

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Jeff Louella: You know, there was a lot of shady stuff going on on on some of those people were being bought and and and that was part of the rules and he couldn’t buy links so i know i don’t think Patrick was I think the guy who won.

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Casie Gillette: The other guy did yeah and it’s

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Jeff Louella: So it is an interesting thing. I give wicks credit because SEO is love like that again, there were competitive so

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Casie Gillette: That they’re on it to

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Jeff Louella: Totally like if we’re not in it. We’re crap.

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Jacob Stoops: I couldn’t believe the size of the font, though, man. I was like,

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Jeff Louella: That

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Jacob Stoops: You’re serious about this 25 G’s. Cool, man. So Jeff,

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Jacob Stoops: Let’s move to the next segment. What’s in

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Jeff Louella: Right.

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Jacob Stoops: Let’s get to the drama.

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Jeff Louella: Yes, more Twitter drama. So there was a post by think I’m gonna probably announce it will just say, Holly cuz she what’s her name on there but

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Jacob Stoops: I think you’re

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Jeff Louella: Blocked yeah girl Ziploc

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Yeah.

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Jeff Louella: But she pretty much came out and was saying in the first two pages of Google never surface any personal blogs or personal websites anymore.

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Jeff Louella: And everything it’s worthwhile like a question, you look at

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Jeff Louella: You know, it’s just being optimized bunch of bunch of SEO assholes. And that was a word to use, and I thought it was awesome. But at the same time right there was like you know as SEO assholes were kind of going out and saying there was a lot of different post out there so

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Jeff Louella: I know someone like Joe Hall, kind of like some of us aren’t assholes. And we took the time to learn the algorithms and stuff. And I think there was a lot of battle going back and forth between

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Jeff Louella: Is someone who is not so familiar with SEO and if I could see you know like you type in

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Jeff Louella: Anything and not anything but anything that’s like a probably a broader keyword. You can have a major company show up for it.

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Jeff Louella: Especially if it’s like something you’re trying to sell you know if you’re typing in iPhone or something like that. Like, you’re going to get a big brand, whether it’s apple or BestBuy or somebody there. And yes, they all have SEOs working for them.

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Jeff Louella: But it was the outrage was kind of interesting with it, where I mean john mule Mueller posted about it like you want to know what people thought

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Jeff Louella: You know bills. Yet all the big name as you guys out there, Bill slough ski, um, you know, there was an interesting conversation. I don’t know what your take, was it on

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Jeff Louella: Jacob, but it was really interesting kind of post between it because I really feel that, yes, there’s big brands out there. I think I understand why there’s big brands out there. I don’t think it’s anything. It could be. It’s not shady. It’s a grower trying to optimize for that.

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Jeff Louella: I do feel like there are some bad SEOs out there and they probably are doing bad things. But overall, we’re all trying to make our clients site more for the customers.

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Jeff Louella: And that’s why Google showing them over other people and that’s kind of what I feel that’s going on but I get her pain.

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Jeff Louella: Why, she’s, she’s like, if you don’t know that. And you’re just a blogger and you wonder why your blogs loss efforts traffic or isn’t getting the traffic. It means like, of course, you’re just gonna blame the people who specialize in that so

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Casie Gillette: I mean, at the same time, though, if you’re just realizing, like you’re so behind

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Casie Gillette: That’s why you’re not showing up anymore. Right. I

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Jeff Louella: Mean

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Casie Gillette: This started changing how many years ago, I personally don’t have any patience for that so

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Casie Gillette: I just don’t like one. I try to stay out of the SEO dramas, just like again I just other things that I’d like to do

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Casie Gillette: And usually it’s just people I think sometimes people like to argue

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Casie Gillette: I do think in one of the things I do

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Casie Gillette: Love about the SEO space and the people in it is that people are very protective of it right and it goes back to what we were just talking about were five years ago, people maybe didn’t know as much about SEO as they did. So I do think people are very

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Casie Gillette: protective of the Community as a whole, protective of what we do because we’ve always had to be a little bit defensive about it because let’s be real, like when I started the ship were doing was not like well as shady. Right. You’re just buying links and

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Casie Gillette: And it worked. And it was awesome. And you know there are people who are still figuring out how to game the system and at the

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Casie Gillette: End of the day, like, yes, like we’re not personally. It’s not like I’m doing over here doing anything shady, but I am working really hard to innocence game that algorithm. Right. I want my client site there and so

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Casie Gillette: What does that mean, well, it means you have to have a brand presence and it means you need to have content and, you know, yeah, these personal blogs don’t necessarily have that. So maybe they shouldn’t show up.

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Casie Gillette: And what are you trying to show up for so

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Jeff Louella: I don’t know i just i and i can show them like I didn’t want to get into because I’m anti drama myself, but I can show her where there’s personal blogs meeting some of my clients that

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Are driving. Yes.

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Casie Gillette: And it goes to the it goes to the sense of diversification exactly what we were just talking about, you know, for people who maybe you don’t have a big brands like you need to be looking at, you know, social or whatever it is, or medium or these

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Casie Gillette: Other platforms where you can gain

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Casie Gillette: Visibility because, I mean, even for my clients. I’m like, look how much time you have left in Google here, right.

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Casie Gillette: Time is limited for alive. So, you know, whether you’re a blogger not have enough people to sell things to complain, but

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Jeff Louella: What I find interesting.

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Jacob Stoops: About this is like, just like you guys said there are certain queries like across some of my clients were like

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Jacob Stoops: Half of the results are product pages and half of the results are articles.

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Jacob Stoops: blog articles resource articles, things like that. And as an SEO. It’s like it’s really interesting to try to figure out what Google thinks the real intent is. Is it informational is it transactional

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Jacob Stoops: But I would say to like the first comment about how, like, okay, Google never almost never surfaces blogs and personal websites what and my Google Pixel is going up as I’m saying saying this, so I’m

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Jacob Stoops: Always listening Google

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Jacob Stoops: It’s let’s just actually in inaccurate and I’m for, you know, I hate to to rail on this particular person. I don’t know what search that they were doing, but like honestly the last place I worked like we grew our traffic in about a year by like 100% and almost all of it was like

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Jacob Stoops: A blog. Yeah. And that brought in a lot of business. So like, there’s that.

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Jacob Stoops: The second part of this is the, the kind of more kerfuffle were like, Okay, well, just because there are people online that that optimize things to show up. We’re, we’re all assholes. Well,

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Jacob Stoops: Now you something like I feel like there are some because there are two sides of the fence one on one side of the fence. You’ve got people

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Jacob Stoops: In I think rightfully so, defending the industry and the people in it as not all assholes. Okay. And that and that’s true. Like, we’re not all assholes. But there are some assholes. It’s just like other place on Earth. There are things in there. There are not assholes in any profession ever

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Casie Gillette: So, you know, there’s people that are in this industry that I like very much but they’re still assholes.

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Casie Gillette: Right, yeah.

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Jacob Stoops: There’s, there’s even that. But then there are

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Jeff Louella: People on

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Jacob Stoops: The other side of the fence. And this is where I feel like for me in terms of my opinion because I believe that when

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Jacob Stoops: We’re all being generalized as assholes. We have a right to push back. But there are people on the other side of the fence and

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Jacob Stoops: I don’t understand it quite as much and I’m trying really hard that in one case like Tom Raynor who was a was a previous guest on the show and sometimes has

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Jacob Stoops: Some, some opinions on this, this type of stuff basically getting upset at the people for defending the industry and pushing back on on this type of stuff in there were other people saying, hey,

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Jacob Stoops: You’re missing the point. You’re missing the point. And I agree, like, okay, what what’s great about this country is that people are allowed to have

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Jacob Stoops: Opinions and there is freedom of speech and that’s awesome, but there’s not freedom from accountability. Right. You have the right to say whatever the hell you want

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Jacob Stoops: And so to other people. And you mentioned earlier that Twitter is great for our Twitter wouldn’t exist if people didn’t arch. You didn’t argue

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Jacob Stoops: Yeah, absolutely. So anyways,

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Jeff Louella: Okay.

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Jacob Stoops: Anyway, so let’s so let’s move on. Let’s

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Casie Gillette: We can hang with us all day.

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Jacob Stoops: Let’s quickly. Let’s get into kind of the team building want to be respectful of time. So let’s jump into the team building component and deep dive on that really quickly. So, Casie. How do you build a good SEO team.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, so this was something that I was asking.

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Casie Gillette: You know, five years ago, six years ago, like I said, when I came back to KoMarketing. Um, there were probably about eight people eight or nine people that were here at the time and you know we were growing and I realized that once you hit that 10 to 12 mark.

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Casie Gillette: You need things like processes which like I hate my life just like God, like, all right, we need to do something like how do we actually make this scalable.

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Casie Gillette: And so I started talking to just different people in the industry about how they have grown their teams, you know, I was talking to will Scott

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Casie Gillette: Talking to Mike Arneson about like what they do for training and, you know, just thinking what these people were telling me I was like okay like

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Casie Gillette: What we actually have to do is, is give people the tools that that are going to make them successful but also you have to give them the process to lead them there. And I think that’s something that I struggled with a little bit

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Casie Gillette: Because I just don’t love having to tell people to do something a certain way because especially with search. There’s so many nuances, you know, and I see people who are like, Okay, well, you told me that I have to have 60 characters. And so I have 16 and I’m like, Oh, no.

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Casie Gillette: I just had

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Jacob Stoops: Somebody today asked me how important the little green bubble is in the Yoast SEO plugin.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah yeah yeah yeah that’s fine. So like you have to consider all that but I mean one of the things that that we realized is

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Casie Gillette: One. You just have to we start people slow

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Casie Gillette: But we also give them that you know we give them templates for things and we give them the tools they need and we give them the information they needed and

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Casie Gillette: You know, now we have managers who are helping and there’s people above them who are we’re guiding them through the process, especially people who they don’t have any experience with SEO. Right. They don’t know what it is. So I would also say the one thing that we have certainly changed.

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Casie Gillette: Is focusing on the user. And that’s one thing that I tell people the team now especially new people.

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Casie Gillette: When it comes to things like keywords is I always tell them like think about the user first. And that’s something that even that I feel like has changed.

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Casie Gillette: But you have to really think through all of the nuances that come with search and and that’s tricky, but I think when you’re building your team, you know, you learn it as you go. I’m still learning new things every day.

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Jeff Louella: Yeah. It’s funny, I always tell

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Jeff Louella: There’s different everyone has different ways of doing things.

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Casie Gillette: Right.

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Jeff Louella: When it comes to the title tags. Like, I’m kind of the anti like pipe between like keyword pipe keyword pipe.

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Jeff Louella: And just I’d rather it read something better and. And at the end, it’s not even like I don’t like pipe client I like you know by client or something, some so read, you know, it’s like

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Jeff Louella: A new Nike sneakers. But, you know, from whoever and it’s

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Jeff Louella: And it just little things like that were getting people in brand new and SEO and they read a lot of articles you just end up seeing it, like, way more robotic than it needs to be. And

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And yeah.

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Jeff Louella: Jake’s working on a lot of training stuff where and our work and it’s kind of, it’s tough to get the full gamut of everything you do.

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Jeff Louella: In there, so we’re trying to build a slow kind of library of videos and that when someone new comes in, they can go through them.

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Casie Gillette: It’s a great idea.

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Jeff Louella: I think just the relationships between

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Jeff Louella: People senior people and junior people is where I think a lot of team building needs to come from. So

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, and I mean even thinking about

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Casie Gillette: Like, how are we starting them so like we don’t just immediately drop someone into like doing keyword research. For example,

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Casie Gillette: But what we might have them do is optimize a page which forces them to figure out like how do I find the right keywords and how do I make sure that

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Casie Gillette: I’m you know I’m whatever I’m changing still relates to the user. But it also forces them to go look at search result so

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Casie Gillette: You know, kind of easing them into all of the elements before saying like, all right, like I’m going to have you go do this, this full scope of keyword research or whatever it might be.

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Jacob Stoops: How do you when you’re bringing people into the team, right, there’s

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Jacob Stoops: Just like in sports, right, there’s, there’s the X’s and O’s. Right. But then there’s also an element that’s a little bit more on definable called chemistry right and fit.

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Jacob Stoops: Within the team structure. So when you’re bringing people in and it doesn’t just have to be intro people, it can be mid level and senior people

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Jacob Stoops: What are the characteristics of a person that you look for in terms of that person’s fit as you’re constructing your team. Yeah.

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Casie Gillette: We said, I mean as an organization, we sat down about two years ago.

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Casie Gillette: And it tried to answer that question because we were we, you know, we really wanted to take hiring, we really take it seriously because again we’re a small team. So the people that you’re hiring. You’re putting a lot of investment into that person.

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Casie Gillette: And what we figured out is the people that were looking for, they have to be self motivated. I think that’s the biggest thing is like, we don’t have time. I don’t have time to micromanage people and also who likes that. Like nobody

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Casie Gillette: Can nobody likes that. So you have to be an element of being self motivated and in this industry where things change, like we’re talking about, you need to go figure. You have to be curious. Right. You have to go figure out

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Casie Gillette: Well, I looked at the search result yesterday, and now I’m seeing something different, like why or like last week, my client was here and now they’re not why

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Casie Gillette: So I think between being self motivated and curious. Those are such like key elements for us in the desire to learn is a big one, a really big one. So I love when we interview someone

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Casie Gillette: Excuse. Excuse me. I love when we interview someone and they say,

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Casie Gillette: Yeah, well I’ve been doing this but I’m really interested in this. So, you know, I went in took like the Google Analytics test because I wanted to learn about it right or

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Casie Gillette: I went and looked at HubSpot x because I wanted to learn about it. That’s the stuff that really intrigues me and I’m like, all right, this person, this person is going to be a good fit. So

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Jacob Stoops: Are there ever and I want to be. We’re running out of time so I’m squeezing squeezing questions. Are there ever people that check those boxes, but then come in and still are in a culture fit and how do you, I guess. How do you figure that

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Casie Gillette: We, we haven’t we haven’t had that honestly it we’ve been so lucky. I met. Oh.

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Casie Gillette: But we do like when the people come in, like, we’re very we work in an open office.

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Casie Gillette: Right. And I’m very just apparent like the questions that we ask are, you know, the questions I asked her what type of environment. Are you looking for. How do you like to be managed. How do you learn

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Casie Gillette: You know what, what is your, your dream job. What you know those questions, kind of, they can give you a lot of insights into that.

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Casie Gillette: But we also will have, like, it’s not just the leadership team who’s interviewing these people. We have their peers come in and talk to them.

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Casie Gillette: We have a, you know, middle managers come in and talk to them. So, you know, at the end, we’re all deciding does this person seem like a fit. And I think that helps

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Casie Gillette: Okay, we’ve had like one, maybe, maybe there’s like one

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Casie Gillette: So we’ve been lucky I guess.

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Jeff Louella: Awesome. So if you know you ain’t got a couple drinks and you’re talking to the bartender and the bartender says

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Jeff Louella: Hey, I want to follow the same steps that you did. I want to get into SEO. What kind of advice would you give them to go like come from, like, you know, bartender waitress or, you know,

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Jeff Louella: Any type of job into the SEO world.

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Casie Gillette: I tell people all the time. Start build a website.

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Casie Gillette: Even though they’re not showing up in search results.

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Casie Gillette: You know, start playing around with WordPress. I think WordPress is the easiest place to start.

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Casie Gillette: But just building your own site. I think that’s your best test environment you’re never going to learn more. That’s how, like, I didn’t know HTML. When I was coming out of school.

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Casie Gillette: I just started playing around with it. I started building my own websites. I’ve read like I got like HTML for dummies. I own I bought SEO for dummies.

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Casie Gillette: Me.

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Casie Gillette: You learn this stuff by doing it.

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Casie Gillette: And that’s never in that goes

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Casie Gillette: Back to the start of our conversation on being in an agency where you have these different places to play and explore and

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Casie Gillette: I would say just go and I tell the team here. Like if you want to learn. People are like, oh, I want to learn HTML, you can, it’s, it’s not really that hard.

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Casie Gillette: There’s plenty of places to do these things, but go start go start playing around and read. I mean, I read an hour every day. So every I pay attention to what’s what’s whether it’s on Twitter, whether it’s on my feed Lee feeds. I still read every single day to learn what else is new.

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Jacob Stoops: Reading is very, very important and underrated skill in this industry.

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Jacob Stoops: Well. Casie I’m know you’re running out of time and have a hard stop wanted to thank you so much for coming on. Where can people find you.

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Casie Gillette: Yeah. Thanks for having me. This was fun. You can find me on twitter at Casie G. You can find me. I always say this, I’m LinkedIn. I’ve never on LinkedIn. Don’t find me there.

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Casie Gillette: Find me at KoMarketing com

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Jeff Louella: Cool, thank you so much.

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Jacob Stoops: For coming on and I know our audience will will love your episode. It was a great, great discussion.

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Casie Gillette: Well, thanks. It’s good to talk to you guys.

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Jacob Stoops: Thank you.

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To talk to you.

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