Exploring Startup Culture

What is company culture? It surprised me that I couldn’t just pull a decent answer out of my back pocket for this. For the past few years, I’ve thought of myself as an advocate of company culture, yet it wasn’t until I set out to write a blog post about SwellPath’s culture that I realized how difficult it would be to pin down what that actually meant.

Sure, I could turn to Google and figure out what “organizational culture” meant in less than .00062 seconds, but instead I waited until I was a mile up in the air to try to figure it out on my own. Something incredibly counter-instinctual for a search geek like me.

What is company culture? To me, culture is the way a startup, a company, an organization behaves. I’m not sure I like that definition…let me clarify.


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Wanna be on my team?

SwellPath is hiring! If, after your read this, you feel like you’d be a good fit for our team or you know someone who could be, check out or pass along our official posting on LinkedIn.

Epic High FiveSince I joined the SwellPath team over three years ago, dozens and dozens job postings have gone up. As we hoped, those postings led to lots of new hires; shiny new additions to our team. The folks who ended up joining our team over the years usually fell into one of three groups:

  1. Exceptional: The exceptional new hires have always been the people who were great cultural fits and had the drive to produce exceptional work. The loved being here and, as a result, we loved having them on as part of our team.
  2. Good: The good hires were able to do a good job, but SwellPath ended up not being a great long term fit for them. A stint at an agency was simply one step for them leading to what they probably wanted to do all along. So invariably, people who aren’t fantastic at working in an agency setting and aren’t perfect cultural fits end up moving onto something else.
  3. Poor Fits: Then there are people who just weren’t good fits in terms of culture and/or quality of work. Thankfully, we almost never see that.

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Tonight is the Night! Semantic & Social Markup in PDX

Semantic MarkupJust wanted to throw up a quick post because I’m super stoked about what’s happening tonight. I’ll be speaking at SEMpdx’s February educational event called “Under the Hood: Advanced Markup for SEO & Social Media“. Semantic SEO and social sharing enhancements are two of my favorite topics, so I’m beyond excited to get to talk about that with people who are also getting worked up about it.

And it gets even better: I’m sharing the stage. I’m tag teaming the topic with none other than the great Will Hattman. Have you heard of Will? Maybe not yet, but you will. As recently as a year ago, I had the pleasure of having Will on my SEO team over at SwellPath and was lucky enough to be able to teach him a few things about SEO. Now he’s moved on to heading up the SEO offering at SEMpdx mainstay Anvil Media.

Tonight really is going to be an amazing reunion for us. We actually haven’t seen each other in person since we were working together. I know it probably won’t happen and I know it sounds cheesy, but I just really hope he opens with this when I see him…

Will: We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the Master.
Me: Only a master of evil, William.

So, if you’re in Portland, Oregon tonight and you want to learn everything you need to know about structured data, semantic markup, and social metadata and why it matters, join us! There are still tickets left and you can buy them at the door, too.

See you there!


What Does the SEO Say?

Speaking at MozCon was one of the highlights of my career (life?)
Speaking at MozCon was one of the highlights of my career (life?)

Yesterday was my last speaking engagement of the year. Yesterday was my last speaking engagement for some time. I’m not giving up speaking on the SEO conference circuit, but I am taking a break. It’s a break that’s much needed.

Since November 2012, I’ve spoken at 11 industry events (SMX East 2012, SEMpdx, PDX Bloggers, SMX Social 2012, SMX West 2013, SwellPath Presents, Emerald Marketing Association, MozCon 2013, SMX East 2013, SemTech Biz 2013, and State of Search 2013). Speaking at all these awesome events has been an incredible experience and I can say, without qualification, that I’ve been able to improve as a presenter in some way every time I’ve stepped in front of an audience. For me, the fact that I even took that step in front of an audience is huge. [Read more…]

Don’t Sit On The Rooster

If you make typos on Twitter, this is what happens.

Be careful out there.
Don't sit on the rooster!

This picture may or may not be Photoshopped.

…and that’s how I ended up in the Knowledge Graph for “Rooster” searches

And that's how I ended up in the Knowledge Graph for 'rooster' searches.
And that’s how I ended up in the Knowledge Graph for ‘rooster’ searches.

Article Semantic Markup Becomes Meaningful Today!

excitedSo, today Google announced that article markup from schema.org is actually going to be used for something! I’m super stoked, but I only have 10 minutes to drop my thoughts on it (I set a timer), so let’s get right into it!

Google made an announcement today that they’d like to enable users to find in-depth articles on broad topics via Google search results. That’s an admirable and awesome goal; not just letting people search by topic, but by a highly-refined type of content about that topic (not just limited to websites, news, blogs, images, videos, etc). In the official post, Google said that in order to make that feature of search a reality, they’ll be leaning on some specific factors, notably… [Read more…]

Rand Fiskin Seeing Star Trek Was a Great Eyeopener

I always look forward to reading new posts on Rand Fishkin’s personal blog. I was stoked when a new one hit my inbox a day or so ago. I finally got around to reading Generosity & Entitlement and I read something that resonated with me so deeply, I had to share it.

I felt so bad about taking a few hours away from my computer that I didn’t even check-in on FourSquare. I didn’t want other Mozzers seeing my time-off.

That sucked, and it was totally wrong. As Jerry, my CEO coach, would say, “if you don’t show other people that you take breaks, they’ll never feel like they can take a break, and you’re not being truly empathetic.”

Rand's Post
Rand’s Post

Normally, I’d share this stuff on Twitter, but it’s well over 140 characters (obviously) and I felt that shortening it in any way would hurt its message. So, here I am putting up a quick blog post when I have a thousand other things I could be doing (not to mention at least five other blog posts I could be working on instead). [Read more…]

Jay Yoo Rocks the SwellPath Indo Board – Also, Video SEO

So, I found out today that Wista allows you to have a free account (forever!) from which you can host up to three videos. You even get all the great Video SEO features. So, this is me testing how it works out on my site. I’ve always wanted to do more testing with video SEO. The clients who I’ve implemented it for have seem incredible results, but I want some more hands on experience.

For my first test, I present to you my colleague, Jay, busting out a sweet 180 turn on the office indo board. [Read more…]