Meet your marketer: Emma Still

Today I discovered an awesome news: Tweaker, the project lead by Chris Vrenna, did another LP, called “Called The Time Eternity“. If you never listened to the previous two albums, you missed a lot. Chris Vrenna is sort of a genius to me.

So, it is with this in my ears I’m gonna present to you the chat I had with Emma Still, a nerdy ballerina now part of the SEER interactive family. Emma is moving from California to Philadelphia, and you can read more about her on her blog here. She is a regular on twitter, and I discovered her because her tweets are funny, relaxed and I enjoy this attitude in my stream.

So, I decided to ask her few questions, just to have the chance to know her a bit more.

Have fun!

Emma Still

You define yourself a “nerdy ballerina”. why is that?

I described myself as a nerdy ballerina on Google+ because I danced classical ballet for most of my life, and have since transitioned into the ever-nerdy SEO that I am today.

Embarrassing, feather-eared, tutu-donning proof: (note from Alessio: I did not change the title of the image, because “emmalinaballerina” is so sweet, I was not able to change it without feeling a bad man)


When and how did you decide to enter the digital marketing world?

I got into the digital marketing world after graduating from college with a degree in traditional marketing. I was hired as a sales and marketing rep for a company that sold emergency remediation services, which wasn’t necessarily my preferred cup of tea. I decided to turn the role into something that I could really get excited about and started focusing on the business’s online presence in addition to my other responsibilities. After that job, I moved to California and was hired with an Internet marketing company on their SEO team. At the time I only had very basic knowledge of SEO and the more I learned, the more I fell in love.

There is a lot of discussion about “what is SEO”. What is your take on this?

Whew, this is a loaded question. You’re right, there’s been so much discussion about what SEO is lately. Should SEO still be called SEO? Should we be “chasing the Algorithm”? ( What should be the tasks of an SEO’s job? ( What is SEO?( As with many debates, there may not be a right or wrong answer. A lot of this comes down to perception of the acronym.

Technically, SEO stands for search-engine-optimization, so to me, this means any task that can help optimize a website to be favored by a search engine. As we know, this can include a variety of things from social signals, to on page factors to off page factors, and so on.

Google has forced our industry to change, and we’ve been forced to adapt. To me, that’s what makes SEO interesting. Occasionally we are expected to be coders, creative marketers, PR specialists, UX/UI designers, content strategists, social ‘gurus’, etc. People come from all different professional backgrounds, and are still able to be successful in SEO. It’s what can help make up a well-rounded team.

Can things like design, UX, PR, and social help SEO? Yes. Does it mean that those things are SEO? No.

Which is the most common error you see when you look at your client’s site for the very first time?

I mostly see the easy to pick out errors first, meaning basic on-page missteps. Too-long titles or descriptions, giant list of meta keywords, spammy link title attributes, etc. I see a lot of clients still stuck in the old-school SEO mindset.

If I say “inbound marketing”, you say…

A picture’s worth a thousand words 🙂


Name 5 books everyone should read and why.

I’m proud to say that I do read a lot, but I don’t typically read books as often as I do online media. Is that sad? I wonder how long it’s going to be before physical books will be ‘obsolete’ and everything will be in an e-version? (Ever read the book Fahrenheit 451? Like THAT! …hey, there’s one! ) So how about I tell you a couple of my favorite blogs? – Geraldine doesn’t write directly about SEO, but the blog itself is a “love letter” to her adoring husband, Rand Fishkin, if you’ve ever heard of him. I always find myself getting lost in her stories and envious of her writing skills. If I’m ever feeling like I’m losing my voice or need some inspiration, I turn to her blog. It’s glaringly obvious that she is comfortable in her own skin and has a real way with words. Oh, and she’s hilarious… and romantic. All things that I aspire to accomplish in my writing. Sean Revell has great content on his blog and also accepts some great guest posts (yes, those do exist). I’m a big fan of irony, sarcasm, and satire and Sean’s site is chock full. This is a blog I’ve only come across recently that offers some sound advice especially when it comes to blogging.

And since I’m totally lame and only named one book, if anyone wants to suggest some must-read books, I’m all ears.

Let’s say I would like to take you out for dinner. What do you like to eat and in which place?

I really really love all food. But my favorite type of cuisine is Asian. I love Thai and Japanese food, particularly Panang curry or Pad Siew. I have found no restaurant comparable to the Thai restaurant where I worked in high school in my home town in New York.

Ask yourself a question and give yourself an answer. What’s the most frustrating part about SEO?

Undoubtedly, the most frustrating part about SEO is seeing the bad guys do well. Seeing shady practices work is really disheartening and even more difficult to explain to clients.

Name 5 must-follow people on twitter.

Aside from you, of course? 🙂 Twitter has been one of the platforms that has allowed me to learn so much about SEO and form some nice relationships with others in the industry. One of the first people I can recall following on Twitter when I got into SEO was Joel Klettke (@cstechjoel). Joel has been responsible for many laughs to be had in my office, and I don’t think we’re alone on that one. Follow Joel for lots of SEO laughs if you aren’t already. Annie Cushing is always dishing out the goods when it comes to analytics and data (@AnnieCushing). Gotta give a shout-out to my manager Mike Wilton (@mwilton13). He’s such a genuinely great guy and is always sharing valuable content. I’d also say that @content_muse would be a good chap to have in your ‘following’ list. Anthony is always producing some quality content, in my opinion, and sparking up some good Saloon discussions. Lastly, for some great, honest, entrepreneurial goodness, I value Mackenzie Fogelson’s (@mackfogelson) knowledge being dropped in my Twitter feed.

If tomorrow you start working as CEO for Google, what kind of things would you do?

Well, I would probably start by doing my best Scrooge McDuck impression:



After that, I would be sure to keep G on track with its main goals: providing the best, fastest, and most relevant results for users. Google starts and ends with its users, and I think sometimes, as self-centered SEOs, it can be easy to forget that.

Heavy metal or electronic music?