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SEO Copy, Google SPYW, & Salamanders: The Heather Lloyd-Martin Story

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Interviews  /  SMX West

If you’ve spent any serious time on the search marketing conference circuit, you’re no doubt familiar with Heather Lloyd-Martin. Maybe you saw a flash of her signature red hair when you poked your head in the Speakers’ Room, or watched as she dazzled crowds, trading hats from lively moderator to panelist to presenter (averaging 327 words per minute)… or perhaps you even hung out and talked shop together at some fabulous networking event. Whatever the context – you know her, or at least of her – and if you plan to hit up any cherished SEM gatherings in the future, odds are you’ll find her there.

But like many industry rockstars, Heather’s work goes well beyond that which she puts into speaking gigs and PowerPoint decks. She’s an accomplished author and SEO copywriting pioneer with well over a decade of professional experience under her belt. SuccessWorks, Heather’s SEO copywriting firm, cross-trains in-house copywriters from companies of all sizes and types– Fortune 50 retailers to travel destination sites. A keen focus on leveraging strategic content to increase online visibility makes the SuccessWorks team one-two-punch-tastic.

On the advent of SMX West, aimClear had the pleasure of sharing a candid Q&A with the lovely Ms. Lloyd-Martin, who will take the stage on Day 3 to discuss The “New” Killer Content. Our interview topics ranged from “Hi, who are you?” to Google Search Plus Your World (SYYW) to must-have online tools to amphibious childhood memories. Read on for the full scoop.

| aimClear: Welcome, Ms. Heather! Let’s get the formalities out of the way– who are you and how did you end up in the online marketing realm?

Heather Lloyd-Martin: I wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I didn’t think that you could make a living as a writer, so when I graduated college, I took all sorts of marketing jobs that allowed me to write – but I was stuck doing other things (like answering phones) that I really disliked.

One gig was working for a company that made industrial freezers for fishing boats – and I would write their marketing copy (it’s hard to make a “screw compressor” sound interesting, but that’s exactly what I did!). My then-boss loved to go online and surf around (this must have been about 1995,) – and I realized that there was more opportunity in the online world than there was in my current job. So, I quit so I could “become an online writer.” Did I have any freelance gigs lined up? Nope. Did I know anything about writing online? Nope. I just quit and figured that I could make a go of it somehow…

Fortunately, I was blessed to meet a lot of other first-generation search marketers who were just starting to get their online feet wet. Jill Whalen is one – and we started the RankWrite newsletter together in the late 1990′s. RankWrite was the first newsletter that discussed how to write good SEO copy, and people still mention that they remember reading it years ago. Things blossomed from there, I got on the SES speaking circuit…and here I am today. I’ve been doing this for about 14 years now – and wow, time has passed quickly. I feel so blessed that I get to have fun doing exactly the type of work that I love to do!

| aC: Inspired! So. You forged your mark in the industry about copywriting. There’s been some rumbling in the industry that on-page content will become devalued, if not minimized – in light of Google Search Plus Your World. What do you believe will happen? Has SPYW completely screwed the SEO pooch? (On the flip side of the coin: Are you excited about forming a community in Google+?)

HLM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. :) I’ve heard that SEO is dead, we’ll all be out of jobs soon, blah, blah. Here’s the thing: Good content is ALWAYS important, and has been since the beginning of content time. People don’t link to crappy content. People don’t share crappy content. Crappy content doesn’t convert. I’ve said it before – yes. the opportunities in SEO copywriting will change (for instance, we weren’t writing tweets 10 years ago). Content, however, will also rule. And if you want to maximize the ways that folks find your content, that means knowing how to create solid SEO copy.

I think that the last few Google changes have been wake up calls to those folks who haven’t focused on content. Having said that, I feel for the small business owner with a zero budget trying to keep up with Google+/SPYW. I’ve heard a number of folks complain, “I don’t have time to do this myself. I don’t have budget to outsource. I don’t have time keep up with all of these changes.” I definitely feel their pain.

(And yes, I’d love it if you added SEO Copywriting to your Google+ circles.):)

| aC: Noted ;) . What is it that excites you about SEO copywriting in particular, more so than, say, reg’lar ole’ writin’?

HLM: I dig reg’lar ole’ writin’, too. But SEO copywriting is just…different. I think it’s because so much of my career has been wrapped around keyword-based writing. I watched SEO (and SEO copywriting) “grow up” – and it was a blast to be a part of it. Having said that, I find myself wanting to write about things that have nothing to do with SEO copy, marketing, or the search engines. That’s good – I think it’s healthy to shake things up and do different things.

| aC: Indeed. Guilty-pleasure time! Tell us 3 websites you visit daily… NOT work-related.

HLM: Ha! Great question! I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been surfing for fun. But when I do want to kill some time, I love checking out…

  • MindBodyGreen – Yoga and wellness tips.
  • Budget Travel – For when I want to plan my next getaway.
  • Facebook. If I’m bored, I’m here.

| aC: Groovy. Okay, now tell us 3 work-related websites, services, or tools you wouldn’t ever want to live without.

HLM:

  • I love HootSuite – I love how easy it is to schedule tweets and track conversations.
  • SearchEngineLand- Great writers, great information.
  • GetItDone App- This app has helped me organize my entire life. Really. Considering all of the “stuff” in my brain, that’s a major accomplishment.

| aC: Right on. The morning of Day 3 at SMX West will find you on the The “New” Killer Content panel. Give the readers at home a sneak peek at what you’ll serve up!

HLM: So many marketing teams see changes like Panda, SPYW, etc. and say, “OK, I give up. I have no idea how to leverage existing content, or build new content.” So, I’ll be talking about ways companies can create quality, sharable content, leverage their opportunities and develop sustainable content strategies. The panel has a really great speaker lineup – I’m excited and honored to be a part of it.

| aC: Excellent! Looking forward to it. Now, last but most certainly not least: Favorite ethnic cuisine, foreign city, and amphibian, GO!

HLM: Fave ethnic cuisine: Indian. The spicier the better. If it’s not making my mouth burn and my eyes water, it’s not worth eating. Fave foreign city: It’s a tie between Amsterdam and London. I LOVE Amsterdam, but London always feels like home. If I can combine a London/Amsterdam trip, I am a happy girl. Fave amphibian: Um, never thought of this one. I did have a pet salamander named Sam when I was 5… :)

| aC: Well  now if that isn’t the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. Right on. Big thanks, Heather, for this special glimpse into your life & upcoming preso @ #SMX West. Let’s get some Gobhi Aloo and Chettinadu kozhi varuval while we’re out there. Safe travels!

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One Comment

  1. Dennis Miedema on February 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I always love SEO interviews like this one, because I tend to compare my train of thought with that of the person being interviewed just to see if I spot anything I didn’t know. It’s kind of a test to see whether my knowledge is “on par” with the industry and let me tell you: nothing surprised me here and that’s a good thing haha. You can’t go wrong by focusing more on good content and leverage of that good content no matter which changes Google implements. I should emphasize the leverage of GOOD content, because writing (or spinning) 5 versions of 1 article is NOT good content!

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