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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?
I started out as more of a marketing generalist, working at a luxury hotel property in Boston, MA. As my role grew and expanded, ownership of SEO became part of my ongoing responsibilities – but it wasn't until I decided to go freelance that I really started to enjoy it, dive deeper into it, and truly "get it." For me, SEO is the perfect blend of creative and analytical writing.
What is your favourite SEO task?
A lot of us say "keyword research," I know, but it's true! It really is a treasure hunt, combining what you know about your target audience and looking for patterns in their behavior to "strike gold," so to speak. Then, of course, there's the actual writing! I really enjoy creating content that's delightful to read – while still naturally hitting the mark in terms of keywords. It's the best sort of creative challenge.
What is your go-to tool or resource that you can't live without?
I feel like I've tried every keyword tool under the sun, and I always come back to KeySearch. It's so simple, affordable, and just gets the job done!
What is something you learned in SEO that made you have an 'AHA' moment?
True story: I used to absolutely DREAD doing anything SEO-related as a hotel marketing manager. Trying to follow our chain's recommendations while staying within the brand guidelines meant we never really ranked organically for anything apart from our hotel name! It seemed to me like a losing battle against the bigger industry players, eg. TripAdvisor, Expedia, Booking, etc.
Even hotels with established brand recognition lose out on a LOT of bookings (and pay a LOT in commissions) to Online Travel Agencies, due in part to how much they own non-branded hotel-related keywords.
My "aha" moment came when, as a freelancer, I started building ground-up content strategies for my hotel clients with SEO in mind. Looking beyond "hotel in (whatever destination)" and targeting more specific, long-tail keywords. Hotels have so much untapped opportunity to play in this space and create content that captures early-stage travel intent before a user ever lands on an OTA.
What is your proudest industry achievement?
Seeing sustained growth from organic search for my hotel clients – and heck, even my own site! The hotel industry has been hit hard by COVID, so helping clients bring in steady, sustained traffic and recover their bookings has felt more meaningful than ever.
What advice would you give women who are starting out in SEO?
Write like the wind! Find a niche or specific industry that you know and love – and start writing about it. Create helpful, relevant content that addresses their pain points. You know, start practising what you preach! ;) When you're just starting out, showing that you can drive traffic, leads, and conversions for yourself will show clients that they can trust you to do the same for them.
In my case, this meant writing a blog on hotel marketing. When I worked in hotels, I never felt like I had a go-to resource or even much of a network to bounce ideas off of... the role is so specific and often, a department of one. When I started Five Star Content, I decided to create the type of resource I wish I'd had: approachable and helpful, with my own (corny) personality sprinkled throughout! Thanks to my blog, the majority of my 1:1 clients now find me through Google search.
Give a shout out to a woman in the industry who inspires you and tell us why
I love following Chima Mmeje on Twitter – not only does she drop useful insights and expertise, she shares it all in a way that's fun, humorous, and real.
Finally, what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are?
"A rising tide lifts all ships." There's room for everyone at the table!
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