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Jill Whalen, Founder and CEO,
High Rankings
In the early 1990s, Jill Whalen was a housewife and mom who discovered a passion for the Internet
and building social media and social communities on the Web. Twelve years later, she’s involved in
SEO daily and is a well-known SEO expert at her consultancy, High Rankings.
Whalen prides herself on providing close, personal care to her clients through High Rankings.
Through her SEO strategies, Whalen helps clients such as Geico, Breeders.net, Proctor & Gamble,
the Log Homes Council, and the Discovery Channel reach better search rankings.
Jerri: What usually brings a client to you?
Whalen:
Being a pioneer in the search marketing industry for 12 years and having a newsletter
subscription base of 25,000-plus subscribers has built a lot of credibility and trust around the
High Rankings brand. Many of our clients have been newsletter subscribers for many years, and
they want confirmation that what they’ve been doing on their own is sufficient. Often our first
contact is with the Internet marketing manager of a small to mid-size B2B company who simply
doesn’t have the time to keep up with everything in the SEO space.
Jerri: What do you see as some of the least successful practices in SEO?
Whalen:
There are a number of things in SEO that people believe are necessary, but which in
reality have little to no actual effect on bringing highly targeted search engine traffic. For instance,
submitting your web site to the search engines has no effect on whether your site will be indexed
or ranked well. Putting keywords into the meta keyword tag is not needed if you are concerned
with Google. Optimizing for keyword phrases that nobody actually searches for in the engines is
another common SEO practice that yields no results.
Jerri: What are some of the most successful practices?
Whalen:
Successful practices include carefully researching keyword phrases and systematically
choosing the pages of the site in which they should be targeted. Then it’s simply a matter of working
them into the pages in a natural way.
Jerri: Are there any strategies that small and mid-sized business know they should be using
but don’t? Why?
Whalen:
We often find that the actual architecture of a site should be changed for best results in the
search engines. But since this can often mean a fundamental redesign of the entire web site, it’s not
something that can always be done and “workarounds” have to be found instead.
Jerri: What guidelines would you give a small or mid-sized business that is just beginning to
implement SEO strategies?
Whalen:
I’d highly suggest thinking about their SEO at the very beginning of their web site devel-
opment, or at least while they’re in the process of a redesign. If they do that, they can get things
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