Interview with Dave Cain

I was recently asked by UK-based SEO operator Dave Cain if I would participate in an interview about my SEO career and how Search Engine College sprang to life.

If you’re interested in how I got started in this crazy SEO industry or what 3 things I think you should look for when hiring a SEO company, you might want to go check it out.

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Opportunity: SEO for Australian hotel chain

Hi all

For some years, I used to do SEO work for a large Australian-based hotel chain. They have recently approached me to see if I could take over search engine optimization duties again for three hotel sites. However, my cup runneth over right now and I’m not currently taking on any new clients.

The client has asked me to recommend some SEO experts – preferably Australian-based – who could possibly take on the task. If you have a minimum 5 years SEO experience and (ideally) have worked on sites in the hospitality industry, I’d like to hear from you. Please use the Ask Kalena button and send me your details and a link to your site/resume and I’ll put you in touch with the client.


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#EQNZ Stole My Blogging Mojo

You may have noticed a distinct lack of blog posts here lately. The truth is, I’ve been finding it very difficult to write. I’ll come in here, login to WordPress and then stare at a blank blog post template for hours. Can you believe, I actually drafted this post over a month ago?

It all started back in February after the second earthquake in Christchurch. We moved away from New Zealand to Darwin, Australia to get away from our munted house and the ongoing trauma of aftershocks. But instead of finding things easier, I found things more difficult. I couldn’t concentrate for long periods. I would find my mind wandering at the slightest distraction.¬† Until as recently as last week, I found myself checking the Geonet site every few hours, just to see the number of aftershocks Christchurch was experiencing and watching as many YouTube vids of the earthquake coverage as I could.

Basically, I think #EQNZ stole my blogging mojo.

Where I was once pumped about blogging and full of energy every day, I now arrived at my desk feeling burnt out and lethargic. Last year I was writing 3 or more blog posts a day for different sites, whereas lately I can hardly pump out 1 post a month. Before I was excited by changes to the search industry and keen to talk about them, whereas now I’m more annoyed by changes because they mean more work for me.

I’m not sure if I’ve been suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress or if I am actually just burnt out, but it’s been a really tough few months.

Earlier this year I was offered an opportunity to write for the best-known and respected web site in in my field – my own column in fact – focusing on social media, which I love. But I just couldn’t get my act together. I found the idea too challenging. Too daunting. Too exhausting. And I was scared. Scared that my writing wasn’t good enough and terrified that I’d lost my blogging mojo.

Well enough is enough. Screw the earthquakes and the drama. I’m physically out of the disaster zone and it’s time I mentally removed myself as well. It’s time to lose the attitude and take my seat in the big leather blogging chair again. Time to find my mojo and make the effort to blog EVERY day from here on in. I figure with your encouragement and lots of caffeine, I can do this.

I’m back baby!

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New home, new country, new challenges

temporary officeBy now, most of you would have heard that my home town of Christchurch, New Zealand was hit with another huge earthquake last month.

Although smaller on the richter scale than the 7.1 in September and lasting less than 10 seconds, this 6.3 earthquake on 22 February caused widespread damage and 182 fatalities because it was much closer to the city and very shallow at 5km deep.

According to scientists, the ground accelerated at more than twice the force of gravity – the highest ever recorded during an earthquake in New Zealand and a force that no building is EVER built to withstand. The quake also happened to hit at lunchtime, when thousands of people were out and about in the city.

My beautiful city is completely unrecognizable, with our iconic Christchurch Cathedral lying in ruin and the collapse of many buildings in the CBD causing death, destruction and horrific injuries. The epicentre was less than 1km from my house as the crow flies – in the port of Lyttelton – a few metres from the day care centre my son used to attend.

Needless to say, my house was pretty trashed, both inside and out. My husband and I were home at the time of the quake and could only watch helplessly as plate-glass windows shattered, doors fell off frames and concrete walls tumbled outwards while the floor beneath our feet slid from side to side.

The feeling is hard to describe, but it was as if a clumsy giant had mistaken our house for a toy snowglobe and was shaking it as such. I was sitting in the dining room when it hit and I have matching bruise strips across my thighs from where I was repeatedly thrown up and down in my chair against the dining table. Just one or two plates remained in the kitchen cupboards after the quake – everything was upended onto the floor – food, crockery, glassware, the lot.

We had yet to learn of the deaths and devastation in the CBD, but my husband and I knew immediately that it was going to be bad. With a wrecked house, a scared 7 year old and having already put up with the stress from the first quake, followed by 6 months of aftershocks, we looked at each other over the shattered crockery and agreed that we were done. The decision was made to leave Christchurch and move back to the solid ground of Australia, my country of birth.

Within a week, my husband secured a new job in Darwin, so we packed up what was left of the house, left the keys with friends and boarded a plane to Australia on 10 March. We are among the lucky ones with a portable business, enabling us to live anywhere in the world. But many of our friends and colleagues must remain in Christchurch and endure whatever hardships the next few years will bring.

As far as Jordan Consulting Group / Search Engine College goes – it’s business as usual. Most of our staff telecommute and I am working from temporary premises here in Darwin until we can locate a suitable office space. Very enjoyable temporary premises, I might add (see picture).

We’ll be facing some big challenges over the next few months, but hopefully some even bigger opportunities.

Thanks for all your emails and continued support during this transition phase and I hope to be back to regular blogging duties shortly.

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Christchurch Earthquake II

RIP Christchurch cathedralI apologize for the blog silence but I’ve been preoccupied with other things this week.

I don’t want to go into detail, there are hordes of media here providing that. But put it this way: my city has pretty much collapsed and I can see the quake epicentre from my house.

Will try to recommence posting regularly when life returns to some semblance of normality.

Thanks for your patience.

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