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Interviewing Emina Demiri-Watson

Date: 22/03/2024

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Emina Demiri-Watson
! Based in Brighton, Emina is a seasoned digital marketing professional specializing in SEO, email marketing, automation, and social media. With over 15 years of experience in the field, she currently holds the position of Head of Digital Marketing at Vixen Digital. Outside of work, she is a proud mum of an 8-year-old powerhouse daughter! She is an avid reader of fantasy books and enjoys fishing in her spare time.

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

How did you get into SEO?

I got into Digital Marketing in general because of my love of tech and comms. But SEO, in particular, really came into focus after my first ever BrightonSEO. It was back when they held it at the Brighton Dome. I remember all these people talking about Pandas and Penguins. I worked for a charity then, and my SEO skills revolved around Yoast and SemRush. It was all so exciting! There were so many people who knew so much and yet were very honest about not knowing anything. And working together to figure it out.

What is your favourite SEO task?

That's a tricky question, actually. These days I do a lot on the strategy side which is brilliant but then I love tinkering and writing. I love the feeling when you figure out a technical issue that initially looked daunting. Being married to a data scientist says it all about the data side of things. Love a great dashboard! But then, I've always had a passion for writing. Unfortunately, these days, it can be a challenge to mesh what I consider to be excellent writing and the SEO side of it. But let's not get into that...

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

I'd say it's the INDEX MATCH formula for Excel/Sheets. I used VLOOK UP until my smarty pants husband saw me and suggested I switch. It makes pulling data from different tools so much easier! On the actual tool side, I'm still surprised how many people underestimate Search Console! Or worse agencies who don't train their staff in using it!

What did you learn in SEO that gave you an 'AHA' moment?

On the content side, it was creating my first-ever pillar page. I was first introduced to it through Hubspot (I'm a massive fan of it!). The first one I did was competing with a bunch of .gov websites, and I ended up ranking in second position. It really put into perspective the importance of topical authority. On the technical side, there are so many examples! I still have AHA moments with that every time I check a robot.txt file or use Inspect.

What is your proudest industry achievement?

I used to run a course called Digital Organisers that trained people to use digital tools for social good. My proudest moment was getting a LinkedIn message years after this ended from one of my students telling me she had just got her first senior job and thanking me because she would have never gotten into this without my course.

What advice would you give those starting out in SEO?

Radically accept you'll never really know. Yes, everything does depend, sometimes you do all the "right" things and it still doesn't work and imposter syndrome is rampant. Get through it by being curious and passionate about the process rather than always dwelling on the result. Yes, results are significant, but you learn a lot from failures. I know it sounds cheesy, and to be honest, even now, I find it hard to implement and not get down sometimes. But that's ok too.

Give a shout-out to someone in the industry who inspires you, and tell us why

So many! I'm not trying to get brownie points here, but Areej AbuAli must be on top. Her work with Women in Technical SEO is amazing! It took me years to join the community (yes, imposter syndrome and not taking my own advice here!), but when I did, it opened up a whole new world to me. Big thanks! Of course, Lily Ray, Aleyda Solis, and Lazarina Stoy are all powerhouses in the industry in their own way. I have gained massive knowledge from them over the years! There are others I only "met" recently, but they've already made an impact. For example, Monserrat Cano (I love the passion and the directness and can totally relate to it!), Natalie Slater (whom I got to meet face to face at the last Brighton SEO), Brenda Malone (always there with amazing technical insight), Dana DiTomaso (for her deep understanding of analytics and that God-awful GA4), Tory Gray (for her wittiness and great content on LinkedIn)... I could go on here! Last, by not least, Ying Wang - a Digital Marketing Manager at Vodafone, a friend and recently a mentee. I hope I can match her passion and determination and live up to the high expectations!

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

Be kind to yourself, and it's okay to ask for help. I always go back to Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and its tools. If interested, particularly check out the whole area around dialectic and radical acceptance.


Thanks, Emina, for a truly insightful interview! You can connect with Emina on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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