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Interviewing Marianne Sweeny

Date: 11/04/2021

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Marianne Sweeny
, Principal Consultant .
Based in Seattle - USA, Marianne is a Search Information architect (an IA that has strong SEO, UX and content strategy chops). She has applied this unique skill set at digital marketing agencies for the last 10 years. Most recently for a cross discipline internal agency for BrightEdge, a content marketing SAAS company, where she works with Fortune 500 companies and smaller clients as well. Marianne is passionate about dissolving the silos between SEO, information architecture, user experience and content strategy to create a more unified approach to solving user needs for an optimal user experience.

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?

While a Web producer at Microsoft and studying for a graduate degree in information science, I noticed an intersection in how sites structure was used for relevance ranking by search engines. Deeper exploration of this brought me to SEO and the other methods to influence content position on search results.

What is your favourite SEO task?

Content Gaps and Opportunities analysis where I look at client site content ranking keywords, develop and assign an client-specific taxonomy to illuminate where SERP strengths and weaknesses are and then showing clients how to leverage to strengths to compensate for the weaknesses.

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

Along with the usual suspects mentioned by others, Ranks NL Webmaster Tools is most useful for text deconstruction along with ranking and social data. SEO Tools for Excel to expedite addition of useful page-level data points.

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

Initially, that search engines use site structure and content structure as a relevance weighting factor. Where a page appears in the site is meaningful. How close a page is to an authority resource on the site is meaningful. Recently, how neural language models have made online search technology semantically sophisticated so that it can understand and connect concepts as well as generate "quality" content on topics and entities.

What is your proudest industry achievement?

Representing the intersection of SEO and UX in stellar company on the SMX Advanced 2014 Periodic Table of SEO panel with Matthew Brown and Marcus Tober. Best presentation award at OmCap Berlin 2014.

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

Extend your view beyond SEO. Read, follow, explore information architecture, content strategy and artificial intelligence. Attend webinars (and conferences) outside of the discipline if you can. These disciplines are becoming increasingly more important to SEO success.

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

Wowsers, this is a hard one because there are so many. Dawn Anderson for keeping me company in the geeky semantic search engine and SEO space. Areej AbuAli for organizational leadership brilliance and how much she has accomplished with this organization in such a short period of time on top of being a strong Tech SEO. Aleyda Solis for trailblazing international SEO, stellar tool and generosity of spirit.

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

Question authority, Jesuit education and infinite curiosity.


Thanks Marianne for a truly insightful interview, you can check out Marianne's website and 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

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