Micah Fisher-Kirshner: How did you get into SEO and how long have you been doing SEO?
Clint Borrill: By chance actually. I started at my current company, Balsam Brands, in more of an operational role. At some point I mentioned that I wanted to get more involved with the actual (ecommerce) websites themselves. There were gaps on various teams, one of which was the SEO team. I was given the opportunity to get more involved with the SEO function and began helping out with various SEO projects. Over time, I began spending more and more time with Greg Moro and the SEO team and today that is primarily where I focus.
Micah: What would you say your strengths (or preferences) are within the SEO field?
Clint: Having only been in the field for a few years, I think I still have a ton to learn. But as a result of my previous role, I worked with a number of the different functions throughout the company, and therefore have a good understanding how integrated all the various functions are. I think this puts me in a good position because I have a decent sense of how SEO can be impacted/influenced by the various functions and vice versa.
Micah: Who inspires you in the SEO space?
Clint: Anyone I can learn from. I really appreciate being able to connect with other SEOs and learn about their experiences. It is always interesting to hear about what others are doing and how they are doing it – what challenges they experienced and what solutions they explored. Being able to personally connect with others and have real conversation is always great. You end up with tangible takeaways that really can impact the work that you are doing.
Micah: Why did you decide to join Balsam Brands and what’s it like doing SEO for an ecommerce company?
Clint: When I joined Balsam Brands my primary focus was helping to build out our international team in the Philippines. At the time, I had no clue what SEO was really about. Once I started getting involved it was a matter of learning as you go and that trend still continues today. Getting to work on a webstore like Balsam Hill is a privilege, but it also comes with a little (self-inflicted) pressure. We have experienced significant growth these past few years and that in itself has its challenges. That growth brings about new priorities, new projects and new experience – all of which are good things.
Micah: What advice would you give to SEOs to advance their career into the top tier?
Clint: Take on projects that outside your comfort zone. Take on projects that require you to seek out advice and guidance from external peers and partners. You can go to all the conferences you want and read all the online articles you want, but nothing compares to hands on experience that requires you to work with other team and functions in order to get things done.
Micah: If you had a say, what factor would you wish to modify/add/remove with Google’s algorithm and why?
Clint: I would change the layout of the SERPs to make more of a distinction between paid listings and organic listings. I know that it wouldn’t help them in terms of revenue generation, but I think that they could put more effort into showing users what is a paid ad and what is potentially a good organic result.
Micah: Why are you personally helping to build BayAreaSearch?
Clint: The Bay Area has been good to me in a lot of ways since I arrived here in 2011. Balsam Brands, my colleagues and professional network have all been very supportive and helped shape the path my career has taken. I would like to do what I can to help build the profession of SEO and the SEO community. I hope that I can do that with BayAreaSearch.
Micah: Thank you Clint and best of luck in your continued SEO career!
Background by President Micah Fisher-Kirshner: We’re doing a series of interviews with local SF Bay Area SEOs (starting with the board) as a launching point for future blog posts. If you’re an SEO in the SF Bay Area and would like to be interviewed, please contact us here.