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Interviewing Crystal Carter

Welcome to a new Weekly Interviews edition where we'll interview brilliant women in our industry and share their stories with the world! Anyone is welcome to share their story by simply filling this form, we encourage women from all walks of life in our industry to do so.

Introducing Crystal Carter, Senior Digital Strategist at Optix Solutions. Crystal is a Digital Marketing professional with more than 10 years’ experience working on campaigns and projects with clients around the world. With a passion for research and mastering the latest digital tools, she strives to put her clients at the forefront of the digital landscape. We asked her everything from how she first got into SEO to what empowers her to be the brilliant woman she is πŸ’ͺ🏽

How did you get into SEO?

I've been working in Marketing for almost 15 years now, but I have been online since the dark days of dial up! That combination has meant that my marketing style has always been very 'digital-first'.

So when I started out in the public sector and then working for Tomy as a marketing executive, I was managing content and websites, but without knowing that I was doing SEO. When I started working with an eCommerce retailer, I became much more aware of the importance of search and the on-page techniques that you can use to get in front of new users. And from then I was pretty much hooked.

I have a wide-ranging marketing background, and am lucky to able to share this experience with my clients, but SEO is my favourite. And working at an agency suits me because I get to do lots of SEO all the time.

What is your favourite SEO task?

I have occasionally been referred to as the 'Schema Queen'. And to be honest, implementing structured data mark up is probably my favourite task in general. It is something that is constantly evolving, high impact, scalable, beneficial to most clients, and is a great way to enrich content for users. On top of that, Search Console makes it really easy to measure the impact.

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

Because I'm such a fan of structured data, I am completely heartbroken that Google's Structured Data Testing Tool is being retired. I use that about three times a day and it's helped me to get some amazing results for my clients and my team over the last year or so.

Beyond this, I am particularly fond of some of Chome Dev Tools, particularly the Waterfall feature, which is great for troubleshooting which part of the page is slowing down the speed.

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

Optimise for Crawl Budget. There are so many sites where businesses are wasting precious crawl budget indexing tags, categories, attachments, and other pages that bring absolutely no value to the business or the user experience.

I've heard Google say that this isn't a big problem for smaller sites, but in practice, every time I've implemented crawl budget optimisation, we've seen improved results - even with a few hundred pages.

What is your proudest industry achievement?

I've yet to win any awards and I haven't done a TED talk yet, but I've been building up some speaking credits. So after speaking at my team's conference, Optix Digital Trends, I've guest lectured at Plymouth University Business School, University Of Exeter Business School and will be speaking at the Digital Gaggle conference in Bristol. I think it's really important for there to be a plurality of voices represented in industry spaces, so I'm pleased to be able to play my part.

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

Document your achievements.

I've worked in a few different industries and one of the best things about working in SEO the goals are very clearly defined and you either hit your targets or you don't. This means that if you make an optimisation that improves conversions, increases rankings, or improves sales, it's generally very apparent.

So when you get good results or fantastic client feedback, don't keep it to yourself. Write a case study, post on social, share it with your team on Slack, but make sure there's a record of it. After a while, you'll have a nice little bank of evidence and stats that you can use for discussions about promotions, securing new clients, or putting on your CV for your next career move.

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

I wrote a blog post on this very topic just before I found the Women in Tech SEO group. And recently, Areej AbuAli's tireless advocacy for women in the SEO industry has inspired me to become more active in supporting networks like this. Cindy Krum's lectures and passion for mobile optimsation are what pushed me into the technical SEO sphere and have been instrumental in my career development. Lily Ray's algorithm roundups and E-A-T strategies are just phenomenal. And I am ever inspired by the depth of knowledge and joyful geekery that exists within the Women in Tech SEO network.

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

I am really fortunate to have a strong support network of people who value my opinion, appreciate my ambition, and encourage my creativity. My family, team, and community are what keeps me motivated. I have not always had this kind of support, but I'm getting better at nurturing these relationships and helping others to do the same.


Thanks Crystal for a truly insightful interview, you can connect with her on Twitter and 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! πŸ™ŒπŸ½