TSA: After conducting these interviews for over a year and half, I have come to learn that people get into search through all sorts of different ways. Could you tell us a little bit about how you found your way to search and SEO?
Aryn: In 2004, I started grad school with the intention of leaving the entertainment industry for either advertising or publishing. I graduated in 2006 with an MA in English and immediately found a job with a sample sale website. That was my first experience with online marketing and content management systems. A few months later, I interviewed at The Search Agency and was hired as an SEO Content Editor.
TSA: Google’s Panda Update has dominated industry news since its initial launch seven months ago. How has it affected your approach SEO Content?
Aryn: It hasn’t drastically changed my approach. My content strategies typically begin with an existing content optimization phase. The goal there is to ensure it is both keyword rich and useful to the customer. The same holds true of content for Panda. My second phase of optimization often entails creating new content, but only if the content is appropriate to the site, targets important keywords, and will engage the customer as well as the search engine. My goal has never been to add content just for the sake of adding content. It must have a purpose, which is the same rule Panda enforces.
TSA: Beyond Panda, what search trends, developments or new services do you find particularly exciting at the moment?
Aryn: I’m interested in the growth of semantic search results. We’ve been prepared for this in SEO Content for a few years and have already adjusted our practices to incorporate secondary keywords in content. I’m also intrigued by the growth of mobile and am curious to see how that will alter the role SEO Content plays in sites that people are viewing on phones and tablets.
TSA: I spent a little time on your blog Sound Money Matters and thanks to you have already started planning my holiday budget. What inspired you start the blog?
Aryn: I’ve always been frugal, and I enjoyed reading how other people view money. However, I noticed that a lot of personal finance blogs were written from a small town or Midwestern perspective and much of their advice was difficult or impossible to implement in a high-cost, urban, coastal setting. It was also largely written by men. I wanted to write advice that was useful for urbanites and for women.
TSA: Any smart money tips everyone should know?
Make a budget, even if it’s just rough categories for spending, but base it on prior spending, not on what you think you should be spending.
Start your holiday budget now. Trim your gift list as much as possible to keep your budget manageable. Remember that gifts don’t equal love. Choose something the receiver will value that you can afford, not something that will impress the giver with your generosity even though you went into debt to buy it.