Tales of my first SEO meeting


The chronicles of Laure

Moving on from my experiences within “How I discovered online advertising”,
I finally feel like a member of this community which once appeared so strange to me. Reflecting on my path and the future, I could already see myself as the new Martin Sorrell or Ariana Huffington (entering trendy ad parties with an incredibly fierce attitude, catching up with the Prime Minister discussing the governments marketing strategies, networking with the rest of the “scene” in Cannes etc.). In my eyes I was already well on the way of making history within the world of ads.

So, here I am! I finally succeeded in receiving a place within the first SEO meeting of our company; which must mean I am one of them! Proud and (only slightly) full of myself, I was sure people would be overly impressed by my spectacular knowledge and expertise in this field. Equipped with my fancy HB pencil and spiral-bound notebook, I arrived at the meeting which was basically supposed to be a formality/introduction.
When the presenter started to talk about “do-follows” and “no-follows”, I quickly realized that this session might not be such an easy ride, but I swore to myself that I would not look foolish once again.

I readjusted my posture gazing confidently in direction of the speaker, pretending to understand everything through nodding and smirking. Reflecting on the situation now, I think I more or less managed to disguise my confusion and nobody actually noticed how lost I was (yet).
The session kept on going, my mind drifting away further and further (middle of the Pacific Ocean) but when the team started to talk about Google filters, I nearly fell off my chair. I honestly started to think that they purposely inserted made up terminology without my knowledge. Was I the only person completely shocked and at the same time bored of all these strange words?

The meeting still hadn’t finished (session of infinity) and all of the sudden I thought that the presenter was talking about his weekend at the Zoo of London, mentioning Penguins and Pandas. Here we go, this was my chance to shine, I love animals! I reluctantly raised my hand for the first time during the whole meeting and said: “Are you aware that red pandas are from the Himalayas?”
All of the sudden the room grew quiet and all participants stared at me with despair. There were no words needed, I directly understood that my cover was lifted and everybody knew I didn’t understand a word about the topic. With a bright red face I made the decision to revert to silence and stay this way until the end of the session. Unfortunately it seemed like it wasn’t my “lucky day” as someone all of the sudden shouted the word “pigeon” which made me leap under the table. What the others couldn’t and didn’t know, is that I am an absolute pigeonphobe and had more than one awful experience with this species in my life….

Enough is enough. I calmed down, sharpened my pencil and refocused on the purpose of the meeting, pretending like nothing ever happened. Many topics were tackled such as HTML language, multi-device accessibility, site arborescence, number of links… And there I felt a bit of hope since all of these words were so clear to me (thanks to my previous ad jargon intro). But obviously this moment of calmness could not last: the whole room suddenly shifted into another technical debate mentioning “title tags, net linking, page ranks, negative SEO, black hat SEO” and more, which was finally the point where I surrendered. To make my exit a little more pleasant, I asked: “Before your conference call, would you like some coffee?” but immediately saw in my colleagues’ eyes that there was (weirdly) no desire for a refreshing beverage!


Anyway, at the end of this very particular session, the date of our next meeting was circulated (with me strangely included) and stated the subject “Reporting interview with Trading Desks”. Replying the invite with “Tentative”, I quickly decided to take a week off and book a ticket to the Copacabana because I perfectly knew that anything less wouldn’t be sufficient in order to prepare myself for this Odyssey and get through the book SEO for Dummies!

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