In this week's episode, Sarah chats with Gus about how to navigate a career in SEO as a new parent, sharing actionable advice and tips.
Gus Pelogia is a journalist turned SEO, working and living across the world since 2011. He’s currently an SEO Product Manager at Indeed, the #1 job site in the world with over 250 million unique visitors every month. Every day, he writes tickets for small and large initiatives and works in a cross-functional team with writers, UX researchers, engineers and product managers.
Where to find Gus:
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Sarah McDowell 0:06living across the world since:
Hi, Sarah. Hi, everyone. Nice to finally be here on the CEO mindset we met a few months ago. And they've been waiting a long time to come here and talk about SEO and parenting. So very happy to be I mean, it was wonderful meeting you.
Sarah McDowell 2:01
And I said beforehand. Thank you so much for being patient. But we got you on the podcast, we just we just popular guests. People want to be on this podcast. What can I say?
That's not a bad thing. Right. Exactly.
Sarah McDowell 2:18
Exactly. But yes, it's wonderful to have you on and I'm very excited about this topic. How are you doing? How's their house? We're recording on a Monday afternoon. So how is your Monday started? Or you will get?
Yeah, they started good. Got to wake up I think around six and little one was still asleep. And we might discuss a little bit about this later. But I if I wake up before her first thing I do I go down to the kitchen and have some coffee. And or I go straight to do a bit of work depending on the day or I guess my personal time in that first hour. So today got to read nine book night and you know, get prepared the little bits before before they started.
Sarah McDowell 3:03
Wonderful. I mean, sounds very organised. Sounds very like yeah, structure routine. So So yeah, right. That's kickoff, then. And the first question is, SEO is a new parents. So that is the topic, why is this important? And why did you want to come and talk to our audience about it's?
Yeah, so I think every parent or at least a new parent will will feel what I'm feeling. Things get very hard in the first year. You know, you don't know exactly what you're doing. You have a big shift on your hours, you might be awake at night, even though you want to sleep. And you know, you're learning a lot of things you're going to the doctor you are giving medicine, your baby gets a little fever, you know, everything you're learning absolutely from zero. And you're dealing with someone who cannot do any of those things and fully depends on you. So there are very few moments of relaxation. And I think combining a few other things such as working from home, when they started I was at a company that was somewhere else here in Ireland quite apart from me. So working from home was my standard. In fact, they never went to the to work at the company per se. And you know you're hearing there's a cry from sometimes from tooth to forehand and you are trying to consolidate work and everything my wife has was on maternity leave. But because you're at home, you do know how difficult it is. It's not easy to say sure I'm working I'm gonna say here she's doing her work. There's it doesn't really work like that. So we will be doing things together. She was of course fully on maternity leave so she'll be doing a lot more things but I do feel like this trust that you should be feeling as well. So, you know, middle of the day, sometimes I would take two, three hours to deal with something or would go together to take her to the doctor and, and things like that, you know, preparing lunch or cleaning the house and trying to share as much as you can from all of these? Well, our girl had lots of colleagues, so she would cry for hours and hours and hours, day and night. So it was a very tough period of my life. Very, very lovely. Lots of things are great, and I'm very happy to be a parent. But it also drains all the energy that you have. So you have to learn how to deal with different things and how to, you know, organise your life in a way that you can still deliver as husband deliver as a parent and deliver at work.
Sarah McDowell 5:54
Lovely. So there's a couple of things that you touched on that I'm going to sort of highlight and bring up and just want to say that part two, so after the break, we'll sort of delve more into the strategies that you've put in place to help you navigate this. But what I'm hearing is that you can't you can't switch off as a parent, especially if you're working from home, you can't just be like, switch off parent mode and turn on working mode. Right. And I feel like that's one of the biggest things that you were saying they're like, you just you just can't, right.
Yeah, that's pretty much it. So it could be you know, anytime of the day, you're always alert. Yeah, they're, you know, very few moments that do that, I would say, Sure, I'm gonna go for beer, or I'm gonna meet my friends and just not relaxed because even in the rare moments, we would have this opportunity. So let's say it's a Friday night, and the I have a friend that is visiting, you would always have to be a special situation, right? It's not just sure I'm going to go with my mates to the pub. There'll be I have a friend that is in the city this week. Okay, he's, he's free Friday night, okay to negotiate at home and say, Okay, I'm gonna go for drinks. But I know if I come back home, let's say 11 or midnight, and my girl is not sleeping. It's my turn to take it over. Yeah. So you know, my wife was there for many hours, she was on her own. And, you know, it couldn't have been acquired or not. Evening. So I know, even when I'm out relaxing, I'm always thinking, I should not relax too much. I should maybe drink a few 0% beers and some water and come back home a little earlier. Because you don't know what's waiting for you. And I know it is. It is waiting for me. I wouldn't come back into Oh, sure. I had a few drinks. I'm too tired. I'm gonna fall asleep. It's not an option that you have. Yeah. So you learn how to control everything. Even the fun moments are a bit more managed. So you don't fall on? You know, don't fall short on on the duty.
Sarah McDowell 8:03
Yeah, yeah. 100%. 100%. And I suppose another thing is that you, you can't control what stresses or challenges that you're going to face. Right. And I suppose that's another thing that you touched on as well. So like, so obviously, challenges always appear at work. But also with having a child a newborn, like challenges can arise as well. So I'm guessing there was times and there is still times where challenges sort of pop up on both sides. And it's about navigating that as well.
Yeah, it's like algorithm updates happening every other week. Wow. Thank you, you know, they're, you know, you know, they're coming to some extent, right, you know, that, you know, eight, nine months, they're gonna start crawling, and around one year, they will be walking or, like, you get some guidelines about things. But they don't happen the same way for every baby. And some of them will come before some of them will come later. So you, you think you're prepared, you tried to be prepared, but it still comes as a challenge. So you will always need to, you know, be alert and trying to find different ways to do things. So it's like, oh, she's not sleeping. When you do this, you start trying like crazy things, right? There was a time that I would keep going. We used to live in an apartment and at the time, and I would go down, walk up and down the stairs, just holding her in my arms until she would fall asleep. So it could be a half an hour of going up and now and you stuck in the middle and you're doing a little dance and she and singing something like the neighbours all knew when she was awake, she was awake because you could hear from anywhere in the building. And, you know, everyone was very accommodating. I never heard the reply from Anyone, I asked them a couple of times today, and we can hear it, but we get it. You know, we, we had it before, we know how tough it is like, there wasn't even a flinch off. I don't know, bed mode or anything towards us, which is very comforting. Because, you know, they know how it was a while ago when they had their own kids. Yeah. So it's, it's nice to have those people around the people, people have empathy, and people are being together.Sarah McDowell:
Yes, I understand. Is that are there any other challenges that you can think of? So we sort of said about the juggling of it all. And you said about sleep as well and feeling tired? So I think we've covered quite a few challenges. But is there anything else that you can that you can think of?Gus:
I think for me, one thing that there was a bit I can say it was just a challenge, or it was already my way to solve the challenge. But all the time that I had for this, this first year, maybe it was or work or parenting, there was very limited time for anything else, even to watch a football match at home, it was something that I would really have to manage what I want to do and when they wanted to do it. But like working sometimes she let's say if she was sick in a weekend, and you know, I would be taking care of her the whole morning, I would start working late or the night before, if we knew that our girl would stay home, I would already put a plan with my wife and say, Okay, I'm going to work from eight to 12 and the work from one to five, and we have lunch in between or had this meeting between or can I change this and that so we wouldn't have to plan our day, the night before. And every, like free time that I would have would be would be essentially about work. So every free time that we have that it was not parenting, it would would be about work. And I will try sometimes to put things together, right? So if I'm walking up down two sets of stairs, for her to fall asleep, I'm also thinking about the presentation, I'm gonna give it tomorrow. And I'm running those steps in my head. I can't see. Okay, so I have 20 minutes. And this is how it's going to happen. Someone's going to question this part, they this slide doesn't have this or so you start looking into how can I fill the gaps and still make this time that I'm not in front of my computer? That I'm not reading anything that I'm not talking with anyone at work? How can they still put a little bit of work there? Because at the end of the day, will be very hard to manage? How many hours actually worked? Yeah, because maybe I worked from, and then oh, five to seven, and she woke up at seven, I will be with her until 11. And then, you know, we worked from 11 to two and my wife took it over after that, and I had a meeting at 9pm. So your day gets like broken down into a lot of different pieces. And if you think that you were, I would always think that it wasn't working enough. So I would make sure that even if in my head my calculations at all, I did, you know, seven hours or eight hours, and I delivered everything that someone would expect me to deliver, I would still push a little extra mile because I did not want to have a question of adults that I was not doing my work.Sarah McDowell:
Okay. Okay, so bit of pressure. It sounds likeGus:
Yeah, but a lot of the structure would come from me actually, like I would see around, like my managers that I had, both at my previous role and at the deed, they weren't chasing me for, hey, you're not delivering or what's going on here. But I always had that in my conscience that, hey, they are they're paying me good money. They they're not seeing me, right, I'm not going to the office, and it Newfields going my whole team is in in us. So nobody's really seeing what I'm doing closely. They only see the outcomes. So I would you know, make sure that the outcomes will be impeccable. To avoid any chance of questioning.Sarah McDowell:
Yes, yeah, it makes sense. It makes sense. And I think we can all put that pressure on ourselves. And we and yeah, because you want to make sure. Like you say that you're you're performing and you're given value and stuff. But I suppose it's just about being kinder to yourself and cutting yourself some slack because you are assuming you know what you're doing. So yeah, right. We have come to a point where we're going to take a short break, but part two, so after after the break, we'll be talking obviously more about the subject, but more specifically, we'll be showing Hiring actionable strategies. And yeah, we'll be digging more into this topic. So join me and Gus, after this short break. We are back for part two. Did you enjoy that short break there? Gus?Gus:
Very much got to get some water and hydration? Hydration. Very important. Yeah. When you're recording things like this always gets a little bit nervous and yeah, you moist dry out moisture, or the moisture that was in your mouth just goes, I get it, I get it.Sarah McDowell:
Right. So great first part. And obviously I said in the second part, you'd be sharing sort of like more strategies, because I know, in part one, you were very generous. And you already gave our listeners some strategies. So this, this episode is going to be jam packed of things that our listeners that have children can implement. So yeah, let's kick off part two, what what strategies have you put in place them to help you navigate this? This time of being being a new parent and also your career and working in SGA? them?Gus:
Yeah, that's a great question. So I think life forced me to become very, very organised. And on the back half, that's a lot more productive. Because I knew sometimes my time will be very limited. So let's say baby sick, we know she's gonna stay home for a couple of days. It's not easy to manage. So I already prepare myself for it. So let's say if this happened on a Sunday, and you know, she was going to be taking a medicine, she's going to be here. So already on Sunday, I'm writing now, what are the biggest things I have to deliver this week? Okay. And I tried to find that, like blocks of time to deal with them, and just cut everything else. So if there's like messages that I don't need to answer emails that are not part of this, I do not try to do all the little things and then jump on the on the big one, for that sense of completing things, I will just go straight to the to the big one. And that really helped me to, you know, plan my day and accept what can be done. Because at the end of the day, if your week is over, and your boss asks you, what do you do to deliver and if you say I read 100 articles, or I answer the 1000 emails, it will not be as impactful as I delivered a campaign or we published this new page type, or we got the results for this initiative we weren't doing so same way as when they worked in agencies that I knew that sometimes a client would be really, really interested in one thing, I would make sure that that specific thing they wanted, would be answered and done. If that thing was complete, everything else all the other fluffy little things that would be nice to have do not matter as my chief, he delivered a big one. So I would always prepare myself for the time that I would have to do something and I would, you know, do my best to get it done on that time.Sarah McDowell:
Okay, so efficient efficiency.Gus:
Yeah, like, as we discussed before, sometimes it would be on a case that we're trying to put her to sleep and learning the new way to get them to sleep. And I'm going up. Now, the stairs, once again, I've done that for many days and nights for many months. Until it stopped working. And at that time, I would already be thinking, okay, so tomorrow, we're going to do this. And before I have this meeting with the CMO, I need to have those answers ready to get those answers, I'm going to go to sem rush and I'm going to export this sheet and then I'm going to do if you look up so I start to run all the steps in my head now to try to mitigate for the time that I don't have to figure that out in front of the computer. So once I sit in front of the computer, I already tried a few things in my head, and maybe I'm a couple of steps closer to actually do it the right way.Sarah McDowell:
What do you do about that's a great, great strategy. And I think even if you don't have kids, or you're a parent, right, planning your week ahead and always like everyone working in SEO or any job really, it's always worthwhile. Okay, what is the most important things that I need to get done this week? What is it that my boss or my team or my company is going to care about really, so I love that. And I think it's transferable for everyone. What would you do about because I imagine there's times where you're just absolutely exhausted and like you're feeling like you could easily fall asleep at your computers. Is there anything that you can do that, like help manage your energy levels or like ways that you deal with that situation?Gus:
If I'm really at that state, I just go to sleep, if I have the opportunity to sleep, because I, I've done this before, like trying to push to an extent that I just couldn't do it anymore. And I would say, No, I really need to deliver this tonight. And I would, you know, back in the days or sit in the office for a couple more hours, and then you come back the next day, and only half of those things make sense. And you spend time fixing formulas or titles, or even the whole idea was a bit wishy washy. And then you get more frustrated because you put hours, but it did not have an outcome. So at some point, I was okay, if I really need to sleep, sleep, I'm going to try to put that sleep, because I know I'm worried that I need to deliver the thing, but I still want to deliver something that makes sense that is helpful that is going to bring the business forward. So if I have to stop at a certain point, and you know, maybe I had a really rough night, a even last week, when we were about to record on on the day, I had to go with her to the hospital the night before. And I realised, Okay, tomorrow is not going to be a good day. So if she has to, if we're going to spend the whole night at the hospital, which thankfully didn't happen, but sometimes it does happen. I know that in the morning, the next day, I'm not going to do anything. So I already cancel any potential meetings, or things that I plan to do at that time. They are out of the way because I want to be on a decent state, like I want to have my brain working in relatively fresh to say, Okay, let's put those ideas on on pen and paper and get something good out of it. 100% 100%.Sarah McDowell:
And I suppose it's sort of like, Yeah, I'm asking for what you need and saying, Actually, can we reschedule or this has happened, or just find a way of working around it, because yeah, you don't want to push yourself to the extreme, because that's when like burn out. And like you say the things that you do, aren't going to be to your best ability anyway, so listening to your body. And even if so, you can't sleep, maybe just taking a short break and having a cup of tea, and sit down or just like do whatever you need, that you can to help you recharge or just have that time to be like, Okay, this is how I'm feeling I need to do this right now. So great advice. Is there I was gonna move on to my, to the last question of this section, but was there any other strategies, any quick ones that you want to squeeze in or you feeling good that you've covered a lot?Gus:
I think we've covered a lot. Other things that I would say are very relative very, very close to these ideas. Anyway, okay, you know, when I'm, when I'm having when I'm having that moment that I can be in front of the computer, but I'm also not doing something that requires my my brain too much like holding a baby or the no folding clothes or something like that. I am thinking about the good or bad ideas that I have before suggested someone or trying to think about the impact and effort their plans, A, B and C for for something and, you know, try to have those conversations in my head before they actually happen. Sometimes they're good, sometimes it's bad. Yeah, but, but knowing that I won't have a normal sit down that I can do four hours in the morning, four hours in the afternoon, you need to find alternative solutions for for those things. So if the solution is for me as always been really helpful. Knowing that at some point of the day, I will have that time. So sometimes I will tell my wife, hey, you know we're going to we're gonna I'm gonna stay with you the whole day and we're going to take care of our little one but I have to deliver this tonight. So once we hit done our APM she will probably be in bed and I will go to work until midnight. So knowing that we had an agreement and said okay, you know, let's do this together. We're going to go to the doctor we're going to buy this we're going to shop for something else you need and then at this time I guarantee you you can do your thing that will put me at peace at ease and old you know do the parenting work a lot more relaxed and then come back to do my work nice my paid work in the evening on on a better place as well.Sarah McDowell:
Nice, nice. Make sense. Make sense? Okay. So my last question is, what would you say, has been your biggest win so far? Working in SEO as a new parent?Gus:
Yeah, I know, if you're not a parent, maybe you heard some of the things that I said, and they only talked about challenges and difficulties. And those are all real. But the main thing is actually being a parent, it's a lot of fun, like, this is the most cliche thing you can say. But once you become apparent to understand them, and the things that you've heard from your mom and your dad, you're going to tell them to your kids again, and you start realising that you, you cannot really escape some of those cliches. But it does give you a very different motivation in life. Doesn't matter if you work in SEO or in something else. But knowing that there's someone that fully depends on you at all times, that doesn't know when it's time to eat, doesn't know how to eat, doesn't know how to sleep, babies don't know how to sleep, that's kind of a crazy concept to think about. And knowing that you have to be there to do all of those things, it really gives you a boost. Working from home was really good and moving from agency to in house, even though it wasn't a plan both because I was having a baby, it didn't happen at the right time, because I could manage working on alternative hours, I did not have tonnes of client meetings happening, things were a bit more flexible, you know, I have regular meetings, but they are with three, four people. So there'll be okay to move them a little later a little earlier on the day. And I would say yeah, the like the extra motivation that that you get to, to do work. It's it's incomparable to anything else that I had before. And once when you see a baby growing, and she starts saying a few words, and to start recognising you and calling for you, and it just your heart melt all the time I go to pick her up, but they can't. And I've already like I go very quietly, and again, into the room to like, observe her for a minute. And when she realises that I've there are that are moms that you can see the big screens, like, Popeye is dead in Portuguese. And it comes running across the room. And, you know, that's, that is a really good feeling to have. And, you know, it's a nice, it's a nice thing, like I I used to be a lot more, let's say economic with my with my choices, didn't want to spend a lot of money. But now I look at things like oh, you know, get this one, you can get that one. Let's, let's give her a nicer things in. You know, it gives you a different perspective in exciting new life.Sarah McDowell:
Nice, nice. And I can tell like, your face is light enough as you're as you're speaking. So it's wonderful to see. So yeah, thank you for sharing that. Okay, we are really rapidly running out of time, these episodes always fly by, they're always so quick. If you could sum up the key takeaway in one short sentence. So one short sentence to sum up the key takeaway that you want people to take away from this episode, I could have probably said that sentence in a better way that hey, go for it.Gus:
Being a parent and working in SEO or being a parent of a new parent, and working is about organisation productivity, if you can put those two things in place, you can do a lot more with a lot less hours in your day.Sarah McDowell:
Nice, nicely summarised. And I love that, and of that, and one one person to follow in SEO right now. So we ask this to all our guests, you know, spread, spread the love and spread the joy. So yeah, who would you recommend people follow in SEO right now?Gus:
Yeah, I do a lot of work in I sell product management. And there's one girl called Julia Palazzo that she was the moderator at my birthday in a sales session last month, and she does a lot of the causal impact analysis. That is the type of testing that I do as well that once I learned about it, for me, it was just a game changer on how we do SEO and how we measure things. And I don't see a lot of people talk about it, but I just this morning I read an article that she wrote about exactly this topic, how to do causal impact analysis. And I just like Like the way she approached those things, and I think she gives a very good information to the articles on the women in tech SEO, and she goes by step by step, how to do this kind of testing what kind of software that you need and how to configure everything. And I do have a team that does this work for me. But after reading her article, and realise that maybe I can try to do with myself as well as so I do recommend following her.Sarah McDowell:
What I will do is I will make sure that their social media handles are in the show notes of this episode. And I know that article that you are talking about, quick shout out to the women tech SEO community ran by read ally. If you are a woman that works in technical SEO, make sure that you join that community. So yeah, I'll put that link in the show notes as well. I'm very sorry to say Gus, but that is time. That is time. So thank you very much for joining me spending your time talking to me about this topic. And yes, congratulations on being their new parent, or new newish still new you wish?Gus:
Yeah, almost two years, is two years. So it goes so quick, another cliche. But he goes by very, very quickly.Sarah McDowell:
Yes, I can imagine I have nieces and nephews. And it just amazes me how quickly they grow and how quickly time goes. So yeah, I understand that. But yeah, and it's wonderful that like your face just lights up when you when you're talking about this. So thank you very much. Before I do say goodbye, just a reminder, again, of how you can support me and Tazmin with the SEO mindset podcast. So you can give us that one off donation we on buy me a coffee link in the show notes. And we'd be very appreciative of that. And yes, if you've not already subscribed, why the hell not? Now, please do subscribe to our podcast. And then you'll get notified whenever there are new episodes, when we've had more wonderful conversations with more wonderful people like this. So yeah, you'll be notified and you won't miss them out there. So that link is in the show notes as well. Shall we say goodbye then guests and take care and until next time.Gus:
Thank you very much for having me. Sarah and Tasman is not with us today. But Hi Desmond. And yeah, thank you for bringing me on the show. I do enjoy listening to other episodes the last one I listen was from many seasons ago but I just got to listen recently was down Sanders and know him personally and was in it was very nice to hear his angle on on everything in SEO how to get promotions and you know, his background and everything. So to it's nice to enjoy the show and then be be a guest lovely.Sarah McDowell:
Well, you know what, I'll make sure that that link to that episode is also in the show notes as well. So basically, get yourself to this episode show notes because there's lots of valuable resources in there. So make sure you check that out. Alrighty then. Goodbye.Gus:
Goodbye. Have a great day everyone.