Interview – Jenny Halasz, President and Founder @JLH Marketing, Inc. & OnCrawl Ambassador

December 4, 2019 - 4  min reading time - by Emma Labrador
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Meet Jenny Halasz

Jenny is the President and Founder of JLH Marketing, Inc., a consultancy that specializes in search strategy, with an emphasis on intuitive user experience and successful customer and revenue acquisition.

She’s been working in the search industry for over a decade and she has worked with dozens of clients as well as plenty of small enterprises and startups. She is a regular contributor on podcasts and hangouts. We can also see her speak at national and international conferences including SMX, Ungagged, SMS Sydney, PubCon, State of Search, Conversion Conference, Internet Summit, and AMA.

 

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First steps in the SEO Industry

Like many other SEOs, Jenny got into the SEO industry by accident after graduating with a degree in marketing.

Her first job was running an affiliate program for a startup that sold posters and art prints online, which eventually became art.com. For the job she needed knowledge of HTML, which she learned on the fly from an O’Reilly book that she read over the weekend.

From helping the company’s affiliates with their websites and discovering how to make them rank better, Jenny moved to agency work in Raleigh, NC, before working as head of the in-house SEO team for Acronym Media. These were spectacular experiences, which, along with a few other jobs, led Jenny to want to start her own company.

Evolution of the SEO industry over the years

It’s been really interesting to watch the evolution of the SEO industry. Jenny remembers when it used to be about meta tags, but now ranking has shifted to understanding the intent behind the search and delivering a better experience for users.

The path from keyword-based SEO to the need to drive value as a business has at times been a struggle for the industry.

The constant change in search is one of the things that Jenny loves best about the field.

Favorite SEO topic

Jenny loves to cover anything technical. She values the ability to break down technical subjects to make them more approachable. She really loves writing articles for SEOs who are new to the industry in order to help them understand what’s going on behind the scenes instead of following a set of instructions.

 

 

Exciting SEO in 2019

Machine learning and Natural Language Processing are topics that fascinate Jenny. She’s spent a lot of time this year doing research on the subject. She’s enjoyed the opportunities to talk frequently with people in the SEO field with a deep understanding of the topic, such as Dawn Anderson, Ryan Jones and Kristine Schachinger, who have helped her enrich her understanding.

Anyone interested in the future of SEO should have a basic understanding of these technologies and an idea of what’s happening behind updates that involve them, like the recent BERT update from Google.

BERT is really fascinating. It’s a huge breakthrough in information retrieval and understanding, thanks to the bi-directional nature of the framework. This allows it to identify the meaning in context of words–not only in English, but in other languages. The complexity of language in means that machine learning requires a full contextual understanding; BERT is the first technology we’ve seen that is able to do that.

Twitter: should we evangelize technical SEO

Technical SEO presents an ongoing challenge of identifying what needs to change, or doing forensic analysis.

There’s a disconnect between SEOs that take a more creative approach and those that take a more technical approach. Our clients would profit if we could marry the two approaches together, but there’s not necessarily a need to evangelize technical SEO.

Jenny works from home, so Twitter and the SEO industry online serve as Jenny’s watercooler.

Next conferences in 2019-2020

In 2019, Jenny will be at TechSEO Boost in Boston in order to learn. She’s excited to hear the amazing speakers there on machine learning and BERT and related technologies.

In 2020, Jenny will continue doing conferences on the subject of BERT and E-A-T and how the two work together. She’ll talk about what you really need to do to ensure your website stays relevant as Google, Bing and other search engines develop these new search technologies.

Jenny hope machine learning will bring benefits in search results for companies that have been doing the right thing for a long time but have seen fewer results because they’re in a very competitive niche, or aren’t the largest authority on a given topic.

Health, in particular, is one of those fields. Google is, in theory, doing the right things, but the current result is that we end up with five different websites in the top five that all say exactly the same thing. Jenny hopes we’ll see that change.

What does Jenny do in her free time?

Jenny tries to spend as much time as possible with her kids, boys who are 13 and 9.

Jenny loves any kind of live music and watches lots of hockey. She’s even been to two concerts in the past week: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and The 1975, an alternative rock band out of Manchester, England.

On becoming an OnCrawl Ambassador

Jenny is very excited to become an OnCrawl an ambassador. She’s been testing and using OnCrawl for almost a year now. She really likes the way that OnCrawl is set up. She’d never be an ambassador for a product she’s not really excited about, and can’t wait to help expand this fantastic tool’s horizons.

Welcome to the OnCrawl Ambassador program, Jenny!

Emma is the Head of Communication & Marketing at OnCrawl and write about SEO and search engine updates.
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