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Employee Spotlight: Meet Hala, Director of SEO

Mastering SEO is no easy feat. Once you learn about an algorithm update and begin to understand how to navigate certain changes, new ones roll out. Working in the SEO space requires immense patience and a certain passion for its dynamic nature. Hence, for this podcast edition of NetElixir’s Employee Spotlight series, we’re chatting with Hala, our Director of SEO, to learn more about her and why she loves SEO!

Hala has been with NetElixir for two years. Fun fact – she loves to travel because she gets to experience new cultures and places! Mainland Europe is on her bucket list.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?

“I love the way it changes so fast,” Hala said. “I’m a huge fan of researching everything, so the dynamics of my job are so consistently interchangeable and they keep changing so fast so unless and until you keep up with the algorithm updates and all the new things coming into the digital industry, you’ll fall back.”

Learn more about Hala in the podcast interview or full transcript below:

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING AT NETELIXIR?

I love the flexibility I have here. The people are great. They’re friendly. There’s no hierarchical or authoritarian sort of culture so it’s great being able to make your own rules and as long as you’re providing the deliverables, everything works out.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU COMPLETELY FANATICAL ABOUT?

I love to read. Unless and until I read at night, I cannot fall asleep. It can be 2 in the night, it can be 12 in the night, and if I get a good book, I end up reading it the whole night. The mornings don’t always turn out to be good but I have to read.

Hala attending our 6th Annual X=Experience event in 2018.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC GENRE THAT YOU LOVE?

I read pretty much everything. You can hand me a biography, a historical book–I would read research on science or something new that’s coming out. I’ve even read young adult vampire fiction. Anything that catches my eye, I read.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GAME?

Scrabble is fun for me. Math totally stumps me–I cannot do anything dealing with numbers. It drives me nuts. Words fascinate me so words are what I really stick to and if I’m playing games or anything it’s mostly to do with words. I always failed at Monopoly.

Q: IS SCRABBLE SOMETHING YOU PICKED UP IN RECENT YEARS OR HAVE BEEN PLAYING FOR A LONG TIME?

No, it’s always been since I was very young. Words really came easily to me. I was always found at the library even though I wasn’t a big nerd and I would sit with the librarian. We would just end up playing Scrabble together.

Q: HOW DID YOU END UP IN SEO?

A: While I was doing copy editing, I started in advertising. I realized that’s not where I could really succeed because I was not the most diplomatic of people and it’s a very, very hierarchical culture in advertising. I was not really cutthroat so I ended up copy editing for a startup Internet company. As the digital world kept changing so fast, especially during that time, the trends were completely changing. Then, Google came up and organic search was something that we looked at. At that point, it was all (about) duplicate content. When SEO really started to become more sophisticated as duplicate content was getting penalized, that became fascinating. You’re like, how do you keep up? So I created my own affiliate websites, which was huge at that time, and tried to get that ranked. That’s how I fell into SEO.

Q: WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT?

SEO is basically free marketing, right? You might hire an agency and they’re charging just an upfront fee so you could end up making $1 ROI or it could be $20 ROI. It really depends.

SEO is going more intent-based and everything is becoming more personalized. It’s imperative that you really understand your customer, the customer journey, how each channel mixes with each other, how they impacting each other. It’s really essential to value SEO as a long-term strategy rather than a short-term win. You look at social, you look at PPC–it’s all based on per click, especially if you’re doing paid SEO. Organic is different. Organic, in any channel, is really a long-term strategy. You’re building your brand’s reputation and if you’re not looking at your brand’s reputation, you’re really not going to last long.

Q: HOW DO SEO AND PAID SERVICES WORK TOGETHER?

As I said, SEO is really a long-term strategy. You can’t have a short-term vision or just manipulate different algorithm trends and say, “Hey, I’m gonna do this, this month, and I’m gonna get experts and increase in traffic and then I’m gonna die forever.” You really need to create that long-term strategy and again, (in terms of) marketing, if you’re building your brand, it’s not gonna be built overnight. You have to create first the information funnel, then you have to create that awareness and then you have to lead into it.

Paid and SEO work together, along with social and Amazon, if you take Amazon itself for retailers. Each of those channels has an impact on the other. First-click attribution, last click attribution, data-driven attribution–all of those different marketing segments work together. If the paid team is working on a certain campaign and they have specific keyword lists they’re working on, you can have a synonymous list for organic as well. While they’re promoting specific campaigns, you’re building the SEO base for that same campaign so that within the next three months, you’ve got a better ranking in terms of SEO, so a lot of clicks that were attributed to PPC are now in SEO. You’re reducing your cost per value in PPC and now you can start working on those generic keywords that are very high competition that might have a higher ROI as well.


We know SEO works hand-in-hand with paid services. Dive a little further into the picture with our blog on advanced SEO tactics for omnichannel growth!

Do you love to geek out about technology and are you comfortable in a fast-paced environment? Join our team! To find out how, visit netelixir.com/careers.