Interviewing Alessandra de Castro

Date: 18/09/2021

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Introducing

Alessandra de Castro
!
Born and raised in Brazil, Alessandra immigrated to the US in 2009 while pursuing an academic career in Music Theory. Destiny had different plans, though, and led her to a dramatic career change to internet business, ultimately landing into Tech SEO. Now with 9+ years of SEO exposure, she can prove transferable skills make a difference.

We asked her everything from how she first got into SEO to what empowers her to be the brilliant woman she is 💪🏽

How did you get into SEO?

After I left academia and had no idea what to do next, my bilingual skills got me a job at an international publishing website where I worked for several years. There were many opportunities to learn about online businesses beyond content localization: analytics, web taxonomy and site structure, content management, and hands-on experience with a few marketing channels, for example. SEO was at the company’s core, deeply ingrained in the product and everyone’s mindset. From there I went on to specialize in Content SEO, but always curious about Tech SEO.

After a few years I switched to e-commerce still as Content SEO specialist, but it was in the technical arena that new learning opportunities really happened. I followed closely the Tech SEO team and absorbed everything that I could. When a Tech SEO position opened, I went for it, and here I am now!

What is your favourite SEO task?

Auditing and analyzing data! I enjoy diving into crawl reports. In big enterprise businesses with hundreds of thousands of pages, different page templates, and a lot of people in different teams working in silos, you will very likely find SEO issues.

I have a good eye for detail, developed mostly in my previous career path, and finding hidden patterns among the huge amount of SEO data feels pretty much like analyzing complex music scores to find out the harmonic and melodic patterns that make it work (except that in SEO these hidden patterns are what usually breaks it!). I also have some training in data visualization, so when possible, I like to reveal better these patterns and bring data to life through visual dashboards.

What is your go-to tool or resource that you can't live without?

I cannot work properly without a good crawling tool! I’ll be happy with any tool that allows URL crawling at scale with advanced features such as custom extractions, custom HTTP headers, JS rendering, segmentation, among others.

What is something you learned in SEO that made you have an 'AHA' moment?

Basic RegEx rules. I am by no means an expert – I use cheat sheets and often ask my husband (a software engineer) to help! Even the basics have allowed me to elevate crawl data to a whole new level by either unlocking more information through custom extractions or consolidating crawl reports through URL rewrite rules.

What is your proudest industry achievement?

My official switch to Tech SEO came amid a new baby, a pandemic, and a large-scale, complex project at my company. Not sure yet how I survived, but I did among lack of childcare, sleep deprivation, and a lot of anxiety. I learned to prioritize and do my best with the limited focused time I had. Despite the adverse circumstances, I got an award at my company as a recognition for my cross-team work and Tech SEO contributions.

What advice would you give women who are starting out in SEO?

Be curious and always up to date with SEO news since the industry is always changing. Follow closely who knows more than you, especially if they are open to share knowledge, and learn from them as much as you can. Finally, don’t be shy to show off your accomplishments (a work in progress for me, by the way!).

Give a shout out to a woman in the industry who inspires you and tell us why

I admire people who share knowledge, so Areej AbuAli is the first woman who comes to mind! The whole purpose of the WTS community is sharing and exchanging. The mentorship program is such a great example of that. Another inspiring woman is Aleyda Solis, who also does a great job sharing knowledge. Her list of SEO learning resources, which is widely shared on the web, and her Crawling Mondays series are great examples. Thank you both and keep it up!

Finally, what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are?

An open mind, no fear of change, passion for learning and making progress.

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Thanks Alessandra for a truly insightful interview, you can learn more about her and connect with her on LinkedIn.

To view more interviews with brilliant women, check out our Interviews page. If you've enjoyed reading this interview, then we'd love for

YOU
to share your story with the world! Simply fill this form here, we welcome brilliant SEOs from all walks of life! 🙌🏽