Loading Episode...
WTSPodcast - Sarah & Areej EPISODE 8, 27th July 2021
The One Where We Discuss Large Scale Website Migrations With Katherine Ong
00:00:00 00:36:38

The One Where We Discuss Large Scale Website Migrations With Katherine Ong

This week we speak to Katherine Ong, Owner of WO Strategies, about large scale website migrations.

Where to find Katherine:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kwatier

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherinewatier/

---

Episode Sponsor

This season is sponsored by NOVOS. NOVOS, the London-based eCommerce SEO agency, has won multiple awards for their SEO campaigns including Best Global SEO Agency of The Year 2 years running. Trusted by over 150 global eCommerce brands including the likes of Bloom & Wild, Patch and Thread, NOVOS provides technical eCommerce SEO expertise with a creative edge by specialising across platforms like Shopify & Magento. They have been named as one of 2021's best workplaces in the UK and with a diverse, gender-balanced team are a culture-first agency. Check them out on thisisnovos.com or follow on Linkedin @thisisnovos

Where to find Novos:

Website - https://thisisnovos.com/

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/thisisnovos

Twitter - https://twitter.com/thisisnovos

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/thisisnovos/

---

Episode Transcript

Areej: Welcome to a new episode of The Women in Tech SEO podcast, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Areej AbuAli and I am the founder of Women in Tech SEO. Today's episode is all about helping large websites with their SEO website migration's. And I am joined by the brilliant Katherine Watier Ong, who is the owner of WO Strategies. Hey, Katherine.

Katherine: Hi, how are you?

Areej: Yeah, I'm great, thanks. It's so good to have you here.

Katherine: Yeah, thanks for having me on.

Areej: I think you host a podcast of your own, don't you?

Katherine: I do, yeah. I have 2, I decided to be an overachiever. I have one that's an Alexa flash briefing. It's a daily SEO tip though, although over the summer it's been very not daily. And then I have another podcast called Digital Marketing Victories where we talk about the soft skills you need to be successful as a digital marketer.

Areej: Oh, I love that. I know that you shared a few of those episodes and yeah, I love them. And how does it feel to be on the other side?

Katherine: Oh, I mean, it's great. I help clients with podcasts and so it kind of made sense to do a podcast myself. And then I used to do a lot of speaking at the Voice Summit. So again, it sort of made sense to have an Alexa Flash Briefing. So, I know the ins and outs of how to do that work, too.

Areej: Yeah, awesome. Well, I'm happy to have you here with us. You are a super, super active member of the Women in Tech SEO community. And I would love everyone to know a little bit more about you and how you got into the world of SEO.

Katherine: Sure. Yeah. So, I've been doing SEO for 17 years, though I've been marketing forever. I planned my first conference, and I was 13 and launched a non-profit when I was 16 and got press coverage and did events and, you know, eventually a newsletter anyway. And for the last five years, I've been running a solo organic traffic consultancy. So, I focus on anything with a search function in it and help clients be found organically. So that's Google, YouTube, Bing, Facebook, that kind of thing, but those are the three big ones, Google, YouTube, and Bing. Yeah, so that's me I love SEO, before I started my consultancy, I ran the online marketing and analytics team at Ketchum, the big PR firm, servicing their clients globally. So, my first year there, it was just me. They'd never have anybody that did SEO or analytics. So, they thought one was enough for all their clients globally. They have like 12 offices in China. So, I had sixty-five clients my first year and they weren’t small, Gazprom and ConAgra, you know, this large. Anyway, eventually, we had a team of nine.

Areej: Wow. How did it feel moving from such a big type of company and just starting your own thing?

Katherine: You know, I mean, I love the experience at Ketchum for sure, but also agency work can just burn you out. And I joined Ketchum because I was following Tim Weinheimer, who was the head of a digital strategy there. After all, I just wanted him to be my next boss. He met me when I was speaking at an AMA event in DC, and we just clicked. And then I frankly stalked him trying to find a role underneath him so he could be my next boss. So anyway, he was my boss for five years, but then in the end he moved to Austin with his husband, and it was becoming clear he wouldn't continue to be my boss. And, you know, I didn't join Ketchum because of Ketchum, I joined Ketchum because of Tim. And I kept telling them, you get rid of Tim and I'm going. So, he provided a lot of great I mean, he's where I got a lot of my soft skills from, frankly, and he provided a lot of great covers and allowed me to be disruptive because I needed to be. But it was just, you know, sort of my time to go. Also, when you're at a big agency, you often don't have a chance to pick your clients. I remember I was on a new business pitch, and it was just, frankly, for a client that was opposite of my ethics, and we go out to this pitch. And I was in the car with the team, the teams like, oh, my God, I hope we win it. And I'm sitting there going, like, I hope we don't because I don't have to work on it. And we didn't win it, thankfully. So, I got close, but not quite working on a client that I just thought was the opposite of my ethics. So, I have a lot more fun now because I can be selective and I can pick clients where I love their mission and I love the people I work with, like my direct clients. I on purpose pick people that want to learn SEO. And it's great because I love teaching my team, everybody but two on my team at Ketchum came to me directly out of college with no background in digital marketing, and I train them all. The paid side was trained by somebody else on my team, but all the organic stuff and the analytics was me. And, you know, they're doing great things. A lot of them work at Google, one is the head of entertainment partnerships at Facebook and Instagram, one worked as the Head of Brand at Reddit, one's at Twitter. I mean, they're just rock stars. And I love teaching people about SEO, so I love that I get to do that through my clients. I can pick clients that they're it internally. They just never really had an SEO on their plate before. Now they do. And I particularly work with science organisations where I can't write their content because there's some subject matter expertise there. And so, it makes sense for them to own the SEO internally. It doesn't make sense for an agency to take it over, how could you? Especially with Google, knowing whether you are, you know, an expert in your topic when you write? Right. So anyway, yeah, I love what I do now. And it provides great balance and I'm making as much as I made at Ketchum, but I'm working part-time.

Areej: Oh, I love that. And I relate with what you're saying, I had the same thing when I was agency side as well and decided to move on to the client side because I didn't have the flexibility of saying yes or no to certain clients. And at least when I moved client-side, I was able to say, OK, this is the exact brand that aligns with my values and I'm comfortable working with. So, I love that you touched on that. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

Katherine: Yeah. And I also still get the variety. So, it's not just one thing that you're slogging on, because I was in-house too, before I went to Ketchum I was in-house as the director of Internet marketing for a couple of non-profits. And so, you know, I did that. There's pros and cons to both. I like what I'm doing now. I have had experiences in my career where you're the expert when you're the consultant, and as soon as you become in-house, you're not the expert and people stop listening to you, which drives me crazy. And so, I think it's a better fit for now for me to be on the expert side than to be in-house where my expertise would magically disappear as soon as you cut my paycheck.

Areej: Yeah. And what advice would you give for women who want to start their consultancy?

Katherine: Oh, yeah, I have very clear advice and I sort of did this. So, when I decided to pivot from traditional marketing to digital marketing, this is early, this is when I started going to Georgetown was like the early 20s early in my career. I sort of did it with this long-term dream of being a digital nomad. I liked the idea of being able to work from wherever, as long as there's an Internet connection. Also, as a marketing person, you get laid off a lot. You know you don't stay anywhere very long. It's just the nature of the beast with marketing. And after going through that a couple of times, I thought, this is kind of crap, I want, you know, more consistency in revenue. I don't like the fact that you lose a paycheck and then you're earning nothing until you get that next job. So, I started freelancing in between my jobs, mostly out of, frankly, need. I just needed the money. And so, for years, that's what I would do. And I would transit. Sometimes I'd moonlight on the side. Sometimes I freelance in between. And so, by the time I got to Ketchum, I had clients and like referrals from clients. So that was one thing. Do it before you even leap because that way you've got some experience about how to pitch your work and how to put together a proposal and some other things. And if you do get a chance to work in an agency, I'd recommend it, especially if you're younger, because you learn a ton, a ton about how to do proposals and price things and all that kind of stuff, which would be very useful for you if you go off on your own. But then the other thing I did at Ketchum was because I had to grow my team and because it is very time-intensive to start with somebody fresh out of college with no background to train them up. I was desperate to see if I could find somebody mid-level that I could maybe steal from somewhere else. So as a part of that and as background, PR companies don't invest a ton in training their employees because that's just not part of their model, which is heart-breaking as a digital marketer. As you know, you learn so much from live events pre covid when you could attend them, right? So, I want to make sure that the people on my team got that experience, but I couldn't send them the show. There was there were no budgets to send them to shows, only budgets for me, which is crazy. And even for me, I had to fight. So, what I did instead was I sort of took over a meetup because the person that was running it was moving on to the real estate. So, he was moving out of the digital marketing space. But I did that for six years. And so, I got a chance to do two things. One, that because we hosted it, my young people got to sit there and listen to other people that were doing digital marketing and learn from other people. I also got to stack the event. So that way it was a variety of levels of information. And I could even pick speakers that I thought maybe my team needed to learn more about or I frankly wanted to learn more about. And then three, I got to massively expand my network in the D.C. marketplace because you can just blindly do a LinkedIn request to a random person because you think they'd be a great speaker and most of the time people accept that, even if they're not free to speak, they're like, OK, and then they're part of your network. So, it helps build your network exponentially. When I left Ketchum, I was looking for full-time jobs and I realised it just wasn't going to work because every job I've had in my entire career has been an intrapreneur job. So brand new position, build something from scratch. I'm good at it, but frankly, exhausting. And I didn't want to do it again. And so, I was beginning to realise that was the only thing that I was going to get interviews for or offers for and that freelancing might be easier. So, running my consultancy would be easier than that. So, I put a note out to my network, the same one that I ran these meetups with, and I said, OK, I'm going to do my own thing. And I got my first client in like two weeks. And of course, it would be a website in Saudi Arabia and the client is hiring me from Dubai. And it’s half in Arabic, which I don't read. And it was massive. I was like this place to buy and sell new and used cars. I had no background in cars, but whatever. Of course, that would be my first project. But yeah, from there. So basically, my network is what helped me kick off my consulting and I still get referrals from that same network.

Areej: Yeah, I think that's such good advice because it feels like you did all the legwork and you set everything up before you decided to make the jump and that made things helpful.

Katherine: Yeah. I mean, it was also kind of obvious that because of my career, if you are looking for a full-time position, which is an intrapreneur position. Right. Build your own thing, starting from scratch, whatever, it's hard to land those jobs anyway. The best way you land those jobs is via a referral. So, you know, somebody, you know, like people talk like, oh, I need somebody to build this new marketing programme. Who would you recommend? And somebody goes, oh, Katherine. Right. So even full-time jobs, I was sort of getting through my network more than just randomly applying off the Internet. And so that was the other reason I was building it for sort of two reasons like if I wanted a full-time job, that's how I'd get it. And then it turns out that getting clients that way is also the best. So, yeah, that's what I would recommend. Well, if you even have like I did an inkling like I wasn't planning at all, I just had this twinkle in my eye, this dream, right, that I'd be this digital nomad. And if you've got that, start now doing side freelancing and building your network.

Areej: Such good advice. So today we want to talk about all thing’s website migration. And I know I mentioned this to you before. I just love the way you fill the pitch form because you specifically said you wanted to talk about large non-e-commerce sites and what kind of work you do with their website migration. So, can you tell us a little bit about some recent projects and what kind of websites you tend to work with most?

Katherine: Yeah, so this is partly a cost-effective crawl because a lot of the websites I worked at a Ketchum were also in the same sort of bucket. So, part of the reason I got hired at Ketchum is as a consultant, I helped them write the digital strategy portion of this RFP that won them the entire business promoting electronic health records for Health and Human Services for three years. So, they won the business. And then I think they turned around, we’re like, oh, we have no idea what she wrote in this proposal. We're going to have to hire her. So anyway, I built out the team and the strategy and the website with the help of obviously of our developers. But we built out healthit.gov and supported it. And this is the thing that drives me crazy, everybody thinks just because you have a .gov extension, you're going to rank well in Google and it's just not the case. It's a brand-new website. It goes through the same process as any other website where gets suppressed for six months. And you must build links to it like it needs to have a presence on the Internet and online footprint and all the rest. So, yeah, but there's no e-commerce there, but it was relatively big. And then from there, I moved on as a consultant with my own business helping cancer.gov, very similar. Well, similar but sort of different. Vet sites like to populate a ton of subdomains. I'm not quite sure why. I think they thought it was a good strategy. Anyway, when I helped them initially, they had 150 subdomains by different departments on different CMS systems at various stages of repair or disrepair. But then even just the main cancer.gov site was huge, but no e-commerce. And I've since worked with the Fisheries Department of NOAA, which is also big. NOAA when I looked at them, they had something like the entire infrastructure of NOAA.gov had was it 400 to 500 different subdomains, sub subdomains, which I've never seen before. I didn't think you could do them, turns out you can. Again, not a strategy I would recommend, but there you go. So anyway, all of those federal websites build out internal infrastructure too, so cancer.gov for instance, when they brought me on board, they were like, hey, we've lost Google traffic. We can't figure out why. And mind you, it was partially because Google rolled out those symptom panels. So, all that basic information about symptoms of cancer was now in Google search. Right. Instead of a click through to a website. So, part of it was that. But the other part, which I noted right off the bat because I'm snarky that way, I was like, all right, you have like 11% of your traffic that's from social media. And you have a team of, you know, two people internally, an entire outside consultancy helping you. And you have 80% of your traffic coming from organic search and you have nobody managing SEO. Perhaps you might want somebody managing SEO. So, I help them find their first SEO. Yay, my network. And she worked there for like three years or so and now has moved on. But so, they had, I think one and a half SEO's and then at fishery's similar, they assigned me people that had more of an inkling on SEO. And so, this same idea, like let's get some infrastructure internally because a lot of this stuff, you're going to have to interact with your writers. Right, because it's expert writing that I can't help you with. It needs to be written by your scientists. So, you need somebody internally to help manage some of that. And then somewhere along the way, I started working with associations and their academic journals. I'm not quite sure how, but also big websites, really, really big websites and similar where they have an online publishing manager type role that needs to know quite a bit about SEO. They have a huge technical problem because it's great expert content, but man, that technology can get in the way where it won't rank in Google because they have crawl issues. So, the first one I worked on, I had seven different subdomains, I think I'll total up maybe about two million URLs or so, and they've just collapsed it into one, which is why I know it's about two million URLs. But their initial crawl issue took me a while to troubleshoot, but it turns out they had a relative link that was not triggering a 404 and instead kept adding folders. It was this epic crawl trap where just like the bot could not get past it because I was like, why is this journal not performing better than it should? So anyway, even though the developers were, it was hard to get tickets to us, it just pushed this one. So, we pushed the one. And within about a month they got a thousand more keywords ranking page one on Google. We didn't change anything else. So, the most recent site that I helped with their migration, had 18 different subdomains or 18 different journals and they collapsed it into one. And they have about 1.3 million URLs. But a backlink profile of 35 million. So spent all summer looking at spreadsheets with URL mapping. I love SEO, but that might be the part I like the least.

Areej: That specific example you gave. I mean if that's not a case studies then I don't know what is and doesn't that just give them that trust stuff. OK, we did this one thing, and this is what it resulted in. We're probably going to listen to all the rest of the recommendations that are going to come through then.

Katherine: Yeah. So, the irony is, in the journal space, you only have like 12 vendors to pick from because you must be on a platform that's part of the Google Scholar Network, etc. So, unfortunately, your options are kind of picking from 12 and hopefully, there's one that's better than the others. So, the one they were on was kind of frankly, you know, frankly, the developer was abusive to their clients. I was floored because that's just not how I have ever approached clients. But I was on calls with the client plus the developer's staff plus me, and they were just abusive, so absolutely would refuse to do a lot of these tickets, and I had this huge argument with them about the importance of 301 redirects and he thought 301 redirects were not important and that I had some crazy SEO strategy that was not based on any science. So, what's funny is the client kept me dumped on the platform. That's why they moved. And then the client introduced me to another journal that was dumping the platform and moving. And now they've introduced me to a third journal that's dumping the platform. So, in all these instances, that one fix helped a lot because now the word is getting out that, first of all, that one platform might not be ideal and that, you know, I can help you on other platforms that are more open to changes.

Areej: Yeah. And I mean, we're talking about millions and millions of pages, like what are some of your trusted tools when it comes to these types of migration and consolidation work that you tend to always rely on?

Katherine: Yeah, it changed so when I was doing work with cancer.gov or healthcare.gov, because they were saying like half a million pages. Right. DeepCrawl was great, I loved deep crawl, but when you start getting up to this size, Din theeepCrawl subscription model just really is not cost-effective. And so, what I needed to do was move to crawling on the cloud. So, I'm using screaming frog and I've got Google cloud instances. I had five of them so I could crawl more effectively at five different IP's that were whitelisted and were for the real big client doing a lot of work in Big Query because of the size of the data. I have a Google analytics consultant I work with because I just can't do it all. And so, she's been helping me port a lot of stuff into Big Query and then surface it in Google Data studio.

Areej: Yeah, that makes sense. I can't even imagine. Yeah. Like trying to do it any other way, especially when you're dealing with that kind of scale.

Katherine: Yeah. And the one thing that I wish we'd done in the beginning, but this was my first project of this size, so I just didn't know, and I've never mapped redirects at this size, so I learned a lot. But one of the things I wish I'd done early on is that you know, you export all these backlinks from all these disparate sources. Right. And you combine them all to try to figure out what the patterns are. But that's a lot of sheets, a lot of crazy sheets everywhere, especially with 18 different subdomains that you must export individually. And then you hit up against limits and SEMrush and AH drafts. You're being creative about how you're getting backlink data out of all those tools. The one thing that my GA consultant did kind of near the end was just create a report in Google Data studio where it combined it all. And then I was able to export it all into Excel and D-Dupe. And I was like, oh my Lord, I should have done this from the beginning.

Katherine: Yeah, because there is so much duplication isn't it. If you're using, I don't know four or five different data sources because you want to get as much of the quantity of these backlinks as you possibly can. So. Yeah. It's really good that you've got people you're working alongside who can kind of support some of that stuff.

Katherine: Oh, it's amazing because I just can't stay an expert on all of it. And you know, I used to do Google Analytics. I can still eyeball whether or not a GA account is messy for sure. But, you know, I used to do the implementation and just all the rest. And I don't know, it's not the thing I'm most passionate about. And it's just easier to find somebody who can help me. And I'm just very lucky that I have a consultant with who I work well. My big thing for this year is finding a backup of all my consultants who I love. So, in case they happen to be busy, I've got a backup.

Areej: And what metrics do you make sure that you always benchmark and report on when it comes to migrations?

Katherine: Oh yes. See, this one was gnarly because it didn't go as planned. First of all, I don't think they've ever had anybody test the redirects during a migration, period. So, the fact they would say we're done, they're great. And I would test them, be like, no, they're not. Half of them are failing, rinse and repeat for months. So, by the time we launched, they didn't get them fixed. So that was bumpy. And then there was a DNS switch problem that lasted for days that was bumpy. So ideally, we would be looking at things like a low number of 404's, no redirect errors in Google Search Console, regaining our rankings, regaining those top landing pages, getting back into position, regaining the traffic. We're just not there yet. So, we're looking at all that stuff. We're just not there yet.

Areej: Yeah, but yeah. And that stuff happens. Right. But how are you able to set these expectations when things go gnarly, or fluctuations happen, or things don't go according to plan? How can you set these expectations beforehand with your clients?

Katherine: So, I set the expectations with all of these clients because unfortunately, they're going about migration in the way that Google does not recommend. So, Google doesn't recommend doing the entire site at once. Google doesn't recommend doing a migration where you change your URLs, plus you change the design, plus you change the URL. Right? Don't do all that once. And all these clients did all of them at once. One of the other ones also did an HTTP to HTTPS transition incorrectly before them doing the rest. But they don't know how to test redirects again, so they think it's fine. The developers say they're fine and the developers, I mean it was quaint really. So partway through my client recommended to the developers just go get screaming frog because you and I know it's not that expensive. Come on, just go get it. So, the developers tried but then tried to launch this website that's, you know, millions of pages and tried to do with their desktop machine. And by the way, it's 1.2 million valid indexable pages, but the entire crawl, because of the garbage that I must block is more like 7 million, somewhere between 6 and 7 million. That's a lot of stuff to crawl through. And this cute little developer was trying to do it on their machine. And my client and I were like, we both do this in the cloud because your machines going to, like, start smoking or something and never finish.

Areej: I think this is such a good point because I've seen a lot of SEOs who talk about, well, if you create this amazing checklist that the developer can go through a staging environment to check themselves, then that's great. But, you know, in reality, that doesn't work that way because we might be able to do some of these checks and processes using your example in the cloud. But the developer wouldn't be able to do that. Have you ever found that there's some form of checklist that you can kind of collaborate on together or do you think that’s quite difficult, and it won't result in too much?

Katherine: You know, I had a checklist and that's what we were all looking at, but I don't think it mattered. I mean, the bigger problem I mean, there were a couple of problems in retrospect. But one of the big problems is that I just never thought to ask them whether or not they had a QA process and what it looks like and whether or not they had Screaming Frog, etc. I was so busy with my list of stuff to do, I just never thought about it. And so, you know, I'm just like really? Like if you're going to say you can execute redirects, particularly that one if part of your business is migration's and you say you can execute redirects, why is it the client's responsibility to QA those redirects? Screaming froggies is what? $100 a year or something. So, it's not that expensive right. I could give them the settings. Checking redirects and Screaming Frog is not complicated. Once you get the settings set up, you know it's a four-step process or something. Right. It's just not complicated. But if it's not part of their QA process, then you get to do what I did all summer, which is redirects for a thousand patterns and three or four samples per pattern and whatever.

Areej: Yeah. You know, I think that's something we don't tend to talk about a lot, which is not just the QA part, but also the product management. That is a hat that we must wear because even if we're working directly with product folks, they don't tend to do it on our behalf.

Katherine: Right. Well, in this instance, they wanted to keep, which I kind of get. I’m not inexpensive as an SEO, because I've been doing it for so long. And so, I think they want to keep my hours down. Also, at the onset, I was transparent about the fact that relationships between SEOs and developers can get contentious because my role is to point out mistakes, mistakes or errors and things they wouldn't even know are errors because they're not following Google's regulations or guidance. But the whole idea is for me to say this is not ideal. It needs to be this way based on Google's instructions, etc., which could set up a contentious relationship. And so, I think they decided to keep me more in the background on purpose. Also, I trained this client in technical SEO, which, by the way, if you're going to migrate this size, I highly recommend you do. It was a much more successful client relationship than other ones. So, she went through two days of training with me on technical SEO. But what's amazing is she gets why I'm talking about all the things I'm obsessing about. It's fabulous. And so, I think she thought that she could be the advocate directly with the developers. And I think it's mostly been successful. But my hours would have been a lot higher if I was on every single sprint call. And I don't know, maybe it would have been better if I was at the beginning. But on the other hand, she's done a good job most of the time, advocating for the things she needs to because she's well-educated now.

Areej: I mean that point on education and advocating and raising awareness, that's a really important point. And I think a lot of consultants and strategists, not just consultants, even agencies, don't think about this idea of, they charge for a one-off project. And they get cracking, and they look at what the project is, but they never think, oh we need to make sure that at the start, you know, we do some form of education around why or why not some of this stuff needs to be prioritised and looked at. So that's certainly a really good point that you have raised.

Katherine: Well, also, because I like to enhance other people's professional development. It's like a piece of my DNA. Because of that, I have these weird client relationships. I'm not like a traditional agency. Somebody, I was meeting a friend of mine and he's like, oh, you're like the digital marketing training wheels. I want people to either start throwing tougher questions at me or don't need me at all because they can handle it on their own. And I'll find somebody else to train. I don't know because I love just training so much. So that's part of the reason why I put this client through training because she also she's at the end of the day managing a website that has 7 million things to crawl through and 1.2 million pages and a huge backlink profile. So, she just needs to know technical SEO if she wants to be successful.

Areej: And do you have any resources that you can recommend for SEOs who are starting to dive into these large-scale types of website migrations?

Katherine: Oh gosh, that is a good question.

Areej: Do you feel a lot of it was just from the experience of working on several of them?

Katherine: Well, yes, part of it is experience. Part of it was I follow a lot of the deep crawl educational stuff. I have attended virtually the TechSEO Boost, not that I understand everything. I'm a huge fan of Mike King. I, you know, went to his workshop at a live conference once, which I thought was super helpful. And every time he's speaking, I'm basically in the audience attempting to scribble as fast as possible to take notes. And again, some of it goes over my head. But I feel like a lot of it just if you get exposed to it multiple times at some point it might click. The other thing is that it'll never fully click until you get to do it. And the only way you're going to be able to get to do it is by leaping. So, when I was introduced to the site at this size, I went, OK, well, this is different because obviously, I was working on sites that other people said were big. Right, because it's four hundred thousand pages, half a million, that kind of size site. But there's a big difference between that and the size of the site I'm working on now. And I thought, well, I'm just never going to be able to be confident that I can do it until I take the leap and do it frankly. And the Women in Tech SEO group is part of the reason why I felt confident to do it. I've met plenty of women there that have worked on even bigger sites. The group is so supportive. I've had people in that group say I'm free now let's hop on a phone and we'll help you troubleshoot. Oh, it makes me cry, like because I've been in SEO for seventeen years. I've never had that help, I've been in house solo, you know, with a bunch of different organisations and never had help. I mean you would try, you'd be in the other Slack groups and the men would be snarky like one time I asked a question about a federal website and the guy said, why are you doing SEO on Federal? That's like a waste of our tax dollars. I was like, no, it's not! This Fed site is not getting found automatically. They compete with other websites. Like when I talked to NCI, we analyzed the breast cancer space and I had to tell them, you are never going to rank because the other websites like WebMD, Medical News, Medical News Today has 120 SEOs or 120 people with SEO in their job title. I'm like, you are never going to outrank them. They have been on the Internet longer. They have been doing SEO longer, they have more staff. You should instead pivot to these cancers that aren't as popular where you're going to get a chance to write. But they compete just like every other website. And so, I feel like federal dollars should have an SEO onboard versus a crawl error where half of it can't be found. Or even worse, when I worked on healthIT.gov, I was literally on the team, and they had this dashboard thing where they were talking about the success of the programme. Right. And they know who I am, I've been working with them for three years. They go off and they find a different vendor and they come to me, and they said, can you put analytics on it? And can you SEO it? In the end, of course. And I turn to them, and I said, no, it's flash. I'm just saying the feds can mess up if they want to, from a getting on Google perspective. So, I mean, that's the kind of attitude I would get from, frankly, dudes, on some of the other online groups. And so, this community, you know, I was like, I can do this because the spots where I don't know what I'm doing, I bet there's somebody else in the group that can probably help me get over that bump. And it's been true. It's been amazing.

Areej: And vice versa. And honestly, I see you jump in all the time and like, answer lots of people's questions and support and help. So, yeah, it's all about giving and taking.

Katherine: Oh, I try to do it daily because the few times that folks have saved me, they've saved me. And some like, you know, I scour every day. I'm like, what question can I help with? Because I get such help back from the group.

Areej: Oh, I love that. So how can people stay in touch with you? What's the best way to connect with you?

Katherine: So, I've got a website, wostrategies.com, so you can check out my SEO tips there if you want. I'm also on LinkedIn and Twitter, so my Twitter handle is my maiden’s name so it's @KWatier and I have a tiny little YouTube channel. You can also check out digitalmarketingvictories.com, the other podcast where we talk about soft skills.

Areej: Awesome. Yeah, I'll make sure that I add all of those to the show notes but thank you so much, Katherine. It was super fun as well. I kind of forgot that we were recording a podcast and I wanted to listen to all your stories.

Katherine: You should join some of the social chats where I tell you a couple of the other interesting experiences, I've had that might not be good for public consumption.

Areej: And I'm going to make sure I do that. We'll do a one to one together. Well, thank you so much, Katherine, and thanks, everyone, for joining us. We have a new episode that comes out every Tuesday hosted either by me or by Sarah McDowell. So please do tune in and you can find all our episodes on womenintechseo.com/podcast. And share your feedback with us. Let us know what you think. And yeah, thanks so much for tuning in. A huge thanks, Katherine, for coming to the show today.

Katherine: Oh, thanks for having me on. It was a blast.

More Episodes
8. The One Where We Discuss Large Scale Website Migrations With Katherine Ong
00:36:38
7. The One Where We Discuss Having A More Human Approach To Site Structure With Aiala Icaza Gonzalez
00:30:32
6. The One Where We Discuss Transparent Client Reporting With Barb Davids
00:27:31
5. The One Where We Discuss Content Marketing Calendars With Himani Kankaria
00:31:04
4. The One Where We Discuss Ecommerce SEO With Laura Brady
00:32:33
3. The One Where We Discuss Managing Remote Teams With Gisele Navarro
00:38:22
2. The One Where We Discuss Image Optimisation With Karen Julia
00:30:37
1. The One Where We Discuss Working In International SEO Markets With Lidia Infante
00:33:49
6. The One Where We Discuss Keyword Mapping With Rejoice Ojiaku
00:33:47
5. The One Where We Discuss Core Web Vitals With Natalie Mott
00:34:15
4. The One Where We Discuss Forecasting SEO With Miracle Inameti-Archibong
00:35:09
3. The One Where We Discuss Learning SEO With Aleyda Solis
00:39:10
2. The One Where We Discuss Multilingual SEO With Isaline Muelhauser
00:30:50
1. The One Where We Discuss Ethics & Disinformation With Jamie Indigo
00:30:39
Launch Episode Of The Women In Tech SEO Podcast
00:26:43