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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've started ages ago, 20, and it did happen as a casualty. I was still at the University, and I needed money. So I started working as an editor in chief of one of the first online Italian magazines, for a big international company, because of my knowledge of languages. After a while, I started noticing that the articles that I decided to produce were receiving so much traffic from search engines that I got inquisitive.
So I founded my own magazine as an experiment, and it was a success (sold it in 2013). From there, I rapidly became the editor in chief for all the EMEA for the same company but with what became fundamental for my career: I wasn't an "editor in chief" in the traditional sense anymore, but an "SEO editor in chief" responsible for bringing traffic and money from markets I knew very little about. This experience gave me the confidence I needed to specialize in multilingual SEO and Localization Project Management from an SEO standpoint, and the rest is where I am today.
What is your favourite SEO task?
Experimenting. I love spending time studying new ways to get results and use unconventional ways, especially if they help me debunk myths or standard but useless practices. I love when I'm able to intertwine SEO and other disciplines (and this happens quite often because of my specific career path), not necessarily within the marketing funnel, and get something out of it.
What is your go-to tool or resource that you can't live without?
Ahrefs is one of my favourite daily tools. But in fairness, I think that search engines are overlooked: they are compelling in giving insights in the planning and executing phase: they work as predictive tools for competitors' analysis and check what's going on and the gap my clients can fill. The direct observation of the landscape where you operate it's crucial and too often missing because we rely too much on tools.
What is something you learned in SEO that made you have an 'AHA' moment?
Three big things changed my approach to SEO over time:
SEO is all about ROI, and businesses need to see results. Traffic means almost nothing if you don't bring money or some sort of reward to the company you're working with and for. This means you need to understand the practicalities, be flexible in how you approach decisions and prioritize things. It means negotiating, speaking to different stakeholders, and learning new skills constantly to make sure you can communicate what you're doing correctly.
SEO is all about processes: without processes in place, chaos is always waiting around the corner. Processes are not only needed to streamline your job but also to communicate properly and to adjust in an agile way. I saw this in my own projects: limited budget and people, but a solid plan that brings us stunning results.
SEO is a definition and an acronym that means everything and nothing. There is no "SEO expert" per see, but different SEO industry professionals that must work together towards the same goal. The all-rounder SEO does not exist.
What is your proudest industry achievement?
I'm always reluctant to talk about my achievements because I'm a big believer in doing rather than showing.
If I've to mention something, I'd say that my career choice is the biggest achievement. I've chosen to be a freelance consultant as a career in 2000 and never looked back. I've built a career out of my skills and interests in SEO and languages and help out companies you read about in the newspaper. I've launched my own projects, and every day the content we produce and the tools that we've created help people in different ways.
I don't want to be considered an expert, a guru, a model: I want to do my job at the best of my capacities and be able to say "well done" and "you made the right choice" to myself every day.
What advice would you give women who are starting out in SEO?
Create your own opportunities, get specialised in a particular area within SEO and learn how to distinguish between good and bad resources. Too many newbies rely on gurus, SEO experts of any kind that in reality only add noise to an industry that is already complex and fragmented; the best professional gift that you can do to yourself is to build your own skills by experimenting, trying, and failing. Build your own professional critical conscience without giving too much credit to advise that most of the time are just marketing tools.
Do not underestimate the power of networking, but choose wisely who you want to network with. Look out for gems within the industry, people that perhaps don't appear on the "best SEO" lists because they don't spend their time online showing what they're doing and instead are focusing on doing incredible stuff.
Finally, be true to yourself and always choose clients and projects making sure they fit with your personality and are not toxic. We cannot negate that we work for money, but we also need to remember that mental hygiene must always be the top priority.
Give a shout out to a woman in the industry who inspires you and tell us why
To stay true to the advice I've given above, I don't want to recommend anyone in particular. Public recommendations can be a great networking tool, but too often they create a vicious circle. Hence, I tend to recommend professionals privately to avoid fuelling people's egos.
Finally, what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are?
My motto in life has always been: smile to life and life will smile you back. I've always tried to live with this in mind. That's why my biggest empowerment comes from always choosing what's good for me, anytime and no matter the consequences. This also means living a healthy lifestyle, from any point of view: eating healthy food, exercising, travelling as more as I can, choosing the people I want to be surrounded by, keep learning, failing to find motivation. At the end of the day, we need to live our own life, not someone else's.
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