Micah Fisher-Kirshner: How did you get into SEO and how long have you been doing SEO?
Season Hughes: 6 months – I am completely new to SEO. But it’s something I’ve always been interested in. I have a background as a Taxonomist and it’s important to consider the customer and search engine experience when building navigation. Before making a decision, I’d consult the SEO team and shape my taxonomies based on their input. I was ready to try something new, and Atlassian was willing to take a chance on training someone with my background.
Micah: What would you say your strengths (or preferences) are within the SEO field?
Season: I’m learning Technical SEO. It’s exciting to have completed my first technical audit of two of our Atlassian properties. I’m also extremely interested in schema: as someone who loves metadata and organization, I feel like it’s an interesting balance between SEO and taxonomy.
Micah: Who inspires you in the SEO space?
Season: I’m lucky to be part of a strong team at Atlassian. My manager, Kevin Indig, has been very patiently teaching me SEO concepts from the ground up. I’m inspired by his passion for SEO outside of work, speaking at conferences and writing a newsletter. Mark Argyle has taught me a lot about the importance of content. At my previous job at TripAdvisor, Matt Storms, Allison Myers, and the entire SEO team were invaluable allies in building navigation and considering the customer experience. And I’m inspired by the knowledge, wisdom, and humor of the board and members of BayAreaSearch.
Micah: Why did you decide to join Atlassian and what’s it like doing SEO for a known brand?
Season: SEO itself is a crazy, changing world and on top of that, we’re doing SEO for multiple products and teams… keeping up with it all is challenging, overwhelming, and delightful. I joined Atlassian because I used their products (Jira and Confluence) and was looking for a transparent culture that supports employees’ growth and allows them to just be themselves. I have not been disappointed.
Micah: What advice would you give a beginning SEOs to advance their career?
Season: I would say to them if you have no idea what you’re doing and you feel like the rules are always changing, then you’re exactly where you should be. Read, a lot. Find a community where you can ask questions. Learn different tools and find out which ones work for you. And I’ve found that the best way to know if you’ve learned a concept is to try to explain it to other people. That’s why I started a beginner SEO blog at https://seasonhughes.com/.
Micah: What would you recommend reading? Any communities recommended?
Season: I started with Ahref’s How to Learn SEO (and Stay Sane). It’s valuable reading in itself, and it links to a ton of different articles, all of which I have printed in a giant stack on my desk. I’m still going through it. BayAreaSearch is the only community I’m active in, but I do pay attention to SEO news on Twitter, and I have a feed on Feedly of different SEO publications. The ones I keep up with the most are Search Engine Roundtable, Moz, and Tech Bound.
Micah: If you had a say, what factor would you wish to modify/add/remove with Google’s algorithm and why?
Season: It would be interesting to see Google’s algorithm become even more personalized to individual users. For example, if you are visually impaired, sites that are optimized for accessibility would rank higher for you. Or the definition of the authority of a page would vary for each user. For example, in library school, we were never allowed to use Wikipedia as a reference, but for Google, the site has high authority.
Micah: Why are you personally helping to build BayAreaSearch?
Season: I’m new to SEO and I’m eager to learn more. I’m strongly introverted, so being involved in a networking organization helps push me out of my comfort zone and grow. And above all, I believe in the dedication and passion of our board and out members, and it’s something I feel proud to be part of.
Micah: Thank you Season 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.