About This Episode
Gus Pelogia is a journalist turned SEO, conference speaker, and once-in-a-while blogger. He is currently an SEO Product Manager at Indeed, the #1 job site in the world, with over 250 million unique visitors every month. Gus has worked in-house and at digital agencies in Argentina, the Netherlands, and Ireland. He spent five years as an Account Manager and Team Lead at agencies such as Spark Foundry (Core) and Wolfgang Digital, working with clients from travel, e-commerce, and professional services, winning several industry awards such as Digital Media Awards, The Drum Search Awards, and Irish Content Marketing Awards. Currently, Gus is also a judge for the EU Search Awards.
This episode is for you if you’re curious about the following:
- How thinking like a product manager could help your developer relationships.
- Tips for pivoting your career toward product management.
- How to tell your story effectively to sell through your SEO tests.
- How to present your story effectively to win awards.
The idea of putting stars together, it’s something that you take with you as a journalist, no matter what you do.
– Gus Pelogia
Join us as we delve into an enlightening conversation with Gus Pelogia, the SEO Product Manager at Indeed, who brings his journalistic background to bear on his current role. Gus shares his wisdom on how adopting a product manager’s mindset can align people effectively with a marketing strategy and how transitioning to product management can be a game-changer in your career. A wealth of tips and insights from Gus await you in this episode.
Tune in for a captivating conversation with Gus Pelogia!
Connect With Gus
- Connect with Gus on LinkedIn
- Follow Gus on X/Twitter
- Learn more about Gus on his website
- Find Gus on Growth Mentor
- His BrightonSEO slides
- Split Signal
- Reforge courses
- Product Management Basics Certification Course
- What is a Minimum Viable Product and why does it matter?
- Combining the power of internal and external links to boost revenue [Template included]
- Gus Pelogia shares his knowledge panel secrets on the SEO Video Show
- Interview with Olga Zarr on the SEOSLY SEO Podcast
- Enterprise SEO: Five Things You Need to Know With Gus Pelogia
- Interview on Bright Marketer Podcast
Check out all of the resources mentioned across our other episodes.
Other episodes you’ll enjoy:
- Episode 14: Evaluate Your SEO Skills As A Digital Marketer – Interview with Chris Green
- Episode 20: Emotional Intelligence and Its Role in Digital Marketing Success: An Interview with Jo Juliana Turnbull
- Episode 19: How to Communicate Negative News and Become a Better Listener to be a More Effective Marketer – Dana Theus
Loved this episode?
Leave us a review on your favorite podcast app. Tweet and tag us @dmvictories and @kwatier!
[00:00:00] Katherine Ong: So today, we’re joined by Gus Pelogia. He’s a journalist turned SEO conference speaker once in a while blogger. He’s currently an SEO product manager at Indeed.com, which is, as you know, the number one job site in the world with over 250 million unique visitors every month, Gus has worked both in-house and at digital agencies in various spots around the world, Argentina, the Netherlands, and Ireland.
He spent five years as an account manager and team lead at agencies such as Spark Foundry. Wolfgang digital works with clients from travel, e-commerce, and professional services. And he’s won several industry awards, such as the digital marketing awards, the search awards, and the Irish content marketing awards.
And currently, he’s a judge for the EU search awards. The episode is going to be perfect for you. If you’re curious about the following: how to think like a project manager and how that might help your developer relationships, how you could pivot your career toward product management, how to tell your story effectively through the SEO test you’re running and how to present your story effectively to win awards.
So Gus, welcome to the show.
[00:01:14] Gus Pelogia: Thank you very much for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation.
[00:01:20] Katherine Ong: Great. Thanks for being on. So why don’t we get started by telling a little bit more to the listeners about your background, how you got started in SEO, and how you made the switch to product management?
[00:01:32] Gus Pelogia: Sure. So, I started SEO back in Argentina in 2012. Even though I’m from Brazil, I had to move countries to discover a new profession that I took on and changed my life. And before that, I was actually a journalist. I went to journalism school. I published a couple of books. I worked for big news portals. Doing a bit of everything, mostly entertainment.
I loved writing about music, so I would try to get any freelance gig. Sometimes, I would just work for free for the same publication that I was working full time but doing other types of journalism. Because I always wanted to find a way to put my passion there as well and develop that. When I moved to Argentina, I got a job at a Spanish school, and someone introduced me to SEO.
I was very lucky that the owner of the school knew some other people that we went to play football with one day, and he was like, Hey, this is the guy that I was talking about. So, after a soccer match, I got a job interview at one of the biggest online travel agencies in South America at the time, got a job, and that’s how I actually started doing SEO professionally, full-time.
And it was a combination of the two things that I had studied in my life. Journalism was the side of how to pitch stories to journalists. How can I, you know, explain something in an interesting way and find this to get backlinks?
And on the other side, in high school, I also had done some IT studies. So, I knew very little about computer hardware and HTML-building websites. It was very basic to what we do now, but essentially, at that time, the first time I was reading the Moz guides to SEO, they started talking about, so here’s how you look at the HTML code.
And it’s like, wait a minute, I know this. So, it was an easy start. It was a profession that combined the two things I knew, and I somehow just stumbled upon it.
[00:03:41] Katherine Ong: That’s awesome. So I have a couple, not related to SEO questions, actually. So the first one is, what are the books that you’ve written?
[00:03:46] Gus Pelogia: Yeah, so my graduation project from, from college was, was a book called Diário de Palco, like a stage diary, something like that. And it was 10 interviews with musicians and music label owners and that kind of people, more or less like a Rolling Stone style kind of going into detail about who they are and trying to frame Something about their day.
So someone, one musician, I went on a trip with. I picked him up at his house, and we took the subway together and went to his full-time job. It wasn’t the side of having a band and that kind of stuff. And the other one, I was already living in Argentina and a Brazilian band was going to play there for three or four days.
And I just joined them on this trip, using this as an opportunity to discover a few new places in the country. And I turned that into a story.
[00:04:45] Katherine Ong: That’s awesome. So one of the previous members of my team caught him. Actually, he was singing at the Apollo, and now he, well, for a moment there, he’s working as the digital marketing manager at Sony music entertainment, but now he’s off at YouTube music.
So I have a history of connecting to people doing music. I’m also a band groupie. As some people, some listeners might know, my husband plays in the president’s own Marine band at the white house. So I’m a bit of a music groupie.
[00:05:15] Gus Pelogia: Okay. Yeah. You have a, you have an interesting world around you.
[00:05:19] Katherine Ong: So I’m curious about this reporter’s background, though, because not all SEOs kind of end up there with such a strong writing background.
So, is there any bit of that you think you’re currently using? I know you’re doing product management, but.
[00:05:47] Gus Pelogia: I think I use a lot of this, and I, I use it throughout my career. The idea of putting stars together, it’s something that you that you have that you take with you as a journalist, no matter what you do.
So if I’m pitching something to a client, it has to make sense for them, or if they ask me something, or if I have a big meeting, I will naturally just look at, okay, so this is what we discussed. I’m gonna work on this. You’re gonna work on this. Unless this part is done by person A, none of this can happen.
So, you know, you, you have to turn anything into a cohesive story and, and to do that, as a journalist, I think it’s, you use those skills in SEO, o on, and digital marketing as well. So, yeah, I think putting stars together makes sure that it’s clear for everyone what has to be done and what we are expecting from them.
It was something that I had to do before, and I still do it now.
[00:06:49] Katherine Ong: So, can you describe to the listeners the difference between the product management mindset and an SEO manager approach?
[00:06:57] Gus Pelogia: Yeah. So I think something that changed a lot for me before I would. Just put a list of things and say, okay, we can, we do an audit, we see what’s wrong, and we start working on fixing a lot of things in the website.
And we would just hope that some of these things will work. Some of them usually work, and you start getting results for the client, but there was never an approach. Before I say, is this happening because of this project or because of that project? We are just running a lot of things at the same time and hoping those results will help the client.
You can have some direction, say, we spent a lot of time putting nice links this month, so we can see that those pages are growing, but we can’t really measure necessarily. Was this growing more than the website or the pages that we didn’t build any links to, or is this actually what is driving results or not?
And I think as a product manager now, you think a little bit differently. First, I’m not just fixing problems. I’m spending most of my time building new things. In fact, if I have to spend time fixing a problem, it’s a bit disappointing. You have to do it. We all have bugs and stuff, but fixing a bug won’t bring me closer to actually bringing more results.
It might fix other things. Let’s say something’s not looking nice on a website; of course, users will be happier that this is working again. Or if there’s a problem, the CMS, that’s the editors can’t do something. Well, I’m solving their problem, but I’m not bringing more traffic or bringing more results because of that.
So I tend to spend most of my time building new things and also comparing what should be done first because before, we were kind of in the ballpark. Oh, this seems easy. We’ll just do this month, but because now I do projects that are a lot longer and a lot more complex, you need to find ways to compare. Is it worth doing this versus that one?
So having that mindset into comparing projects and testing things and releasing an MVP to see if things actually are working the way we intended is actually bringing results before you go full-on and spend six months developing something. I think all of these things are part of the product mindset that I started adopting after I had started working on this role.
[00:09:33] Katherine Ong: But that’s helpful. So are there any other tips that you have about how to pick the project, sell through that project to do a test, that kind of stuff?
[00:09:44] Gus Pelogia: So I start everything with, with a PRD, a product requirements document and. At first, I was doing those because I needed to pitch this idea to someone else and make sure that they would have their buy-in.
But over time, I realized that often they would help me to clarify my ideas as well. So a PRD will be a long-form text document where you’re going to explain this is the background for my project. This is what we want to do. These are the results we expect to get. This is the technical depth. Those are, you know, teams that need to be involved in everything that surrounds it.
Those are the deadlines. We want to release this on this day. We expect to test results after four weeks, six weeks, and so on. And this document usually gives me a lot of confidence and clarification on what I’m actually building because It’s very easy to get out of this direction, you know, the developer might understand that something is different or it might build in a way that does not allow the, the second thing you want to do, but maybe you never mentioned this before, so it’s, you know, the clarity is not there.
So I, I get very excited when I have to write a PRD because I spend days and weeks doing research, looking at different types of websites and looking at the potential problems this, this might cause and kind of, you know, Putting a very strong idea together before I bring it to other people and they might say this doesn’t work or we can only do a and b and that kind of stuff.
So, I think that really helps me clarify the idea and get the buy-in from other people because as much as. I can say that I have great ideas. They are compared to ideas from different teams and different people. So if the UX is not on board, if the editors are not on board, if the engineers are not on board, the idea might just not ever become a reality.
[00:11:51] Katherine Ong: So do you have an example of a PRD for the listeners they’ve never.
[00:11:58] Gus Pelogia: Yeah, so this is one that I’m going to present at the BrightonSEO, actually. So, it’s not a, it’s not a, a completely real case of something that we did, but. I think you can get the idea from it. So let’s say you want to build an automated link module.
You want to every time there is a mention of a specific word in an article, or in a page, you want that phrase to link to another page. So let’s say every time that you mention the Digital Marketing Victories podcast, you want to ultimately create that link. So that’s very simple and on paper.
But once you start doing it, you might realize, do you have enough mentions of this phrase in, in different articles? Maybe you only have five mentions, so you don’t need to build a tool for this. Do you have already manually linked to this page throughout your content?
The content and see if there’s already a link there. Are you putting too many links next to each other? Are they disturbing what the user should be doing on this page? Maybe they start clicking on this link instead of doing what they actually want to do on this page. So you’re actually causing a problem to do this if that makes sense.
So. Putting all those things together and also the impact, right? Why are you doing this? You want to build a feature that might take three to six months to be done, and how are you going to prove the impact? We all like to do shiny things, and it’s very exciting to build new things in SEO, but for everything that I do a few months down the line, I have to justify if that was successful or not.
And if it was not, can we still make changes and make it successful? Have we learned from this? How can we solve this still? Maybe we can, maybe we can’t. So yeah, something, something like this is a good example. It can, you know, once you start talking with different people, you will realize, especially in a large company, that things can take a lot of directions, and they might be very clear in your head, but because someone is building that in the background, the ways to get.
That very simple version that you have in your head, it’s not necessarily that simple.
[00:14:27] Katherine Ong: I like your explanation of how much time this might take to pull together. So when you are finding, I’m assuming there are some case studies and some other stuff because you mentioned what happens if this goes wrong kind of thing.
So do you have places that you go for case studies? And in relation to the impact on other people’s work, do you talk to folks before you finish up your PRD? Do you like to literally talk to folks internally?
[00:14:50] Gus Pelogia: Yes. So the first question about the impact, if you already have something that we’ve done internally, that’s usually my reference.
If I don’t have that, I can look at external cases. If I don’t have that, I can just say this is the amount of traffic. We are traffic or conversions that we are trying to surface with this. So what, what is the very best-case scenario? And then, with that in mind, you can say, okay, we’ll forget all of this.
This is the number we would get. Let’s see, are we at 10 percent of this 20 percent 20 percent of the best case? And you try to see which is an acceptable number for what you’re trying to do and for what the business expects as well. And then the second question was about, if you talk with other stakeholders, absolutely.
Yes. So before the PRD is done, or once you have a good, decent amount of information there, I also have a question, a section that is about open questions. So at that point, I’m going to bring all the stakeholders. To see, does this make sense for you? Does this fit your timeline as well?
Maybe I was doing something with editors last year, and I would need a lot of lift from them to talk with different people in the company, different people in the company to make sure that we had all the information we needed about people who were writing articles about how to get a job.
And I could create the feature. It exists on the CMS, exists on our analytics. But if the editors do not have the time or if they don’t believe in the project to say, okay, we’re gonna hunt all of this hundred of people to get their biographies and pictures and their thumbs up to, to put this new information on the page, then your PRD doesn’t, doesn’t make any sense because you’re not going to achieve what your, what was meant to achieve.
So I do bring everyone on board. I let them critique my documents. There are lots of questions that you would think, Oh, this is very clear, but it’s not clear because you’re coming from a different perspective, and they will look at things for a different reason. So you need to make things very, very clear as well.
One classic example that I’ve been playing with is on internal links. And every time that we get outside of SEO and, say, Present something about an internal link strategy, they will say, okay, so we want to know how many people are clicking on this link. That’s how we’re going to measure the impact. And I say, not necessarily if people are clicking great, but we might have, we might be doing for, for different reasons.
So, you know, you have, maybe you want to make sure that certain pages do get visibility across the website, or they have internal links so they can rank better. And that’s a balance that you need to find. So, as an SEO, I would think everybody knows why we do internal links, but people who do not live in our bubble will not know that.
Making it clear will help them to do things the way you expect as well.
[00:18:17] Katherine Ong: Yeah, that makes tons of sense. So, okay, so you’re leaning heavily on an internal team to kind of validate your PRD before you even present it to, say, like, the dev team, so it becomes part of the queue. So how did you go about building those relationships?
Did you have them when you were an SEO manager? Did you start building them, then? And do you have any tips about how to build these cross-functional team relationships? Yeah.
[00:18:42] Gus Pelogia: I started building once I took the role. I was at Indeed for a few months, and the person who was doing this job decided to leave, and they offered me to take it over.
And to be very honest, at first, I thought it was just going to do technical SEO and fix bugs. And after a few weeks, I realized that I found something a lot more exciting, and I’ve been loving the job since then. It’s. By far the best job I ever had. And I think that part of that is also because of the relationships that have been built in there.
So you have to find your way, working, being part of the engineering landscape, I would say, is very important. I sit in marketing, but I’m on daily stand-ups with engineers. I’m at the triage meetings. I’m at the sprint planning meetings. So I understand, to some extent, what they’re doing and how much space we have for SEO.
So let’s say they have to make some platform improvements. I already know that. Before it happens, I can go back and say, okay, we only have space for this number of tickets. What can we do with this print? So I will play around and bring something that is reasonable for them as well. And I think being part of the daily stand-ups is very helpful because.
It’s a limited amount of time, but it helps you to build a bit of those relationships. Right. And I always try to find who are the friendly, friendliest people around. And there are a few engineers that are very nice. So one of them, I think even in my first week, I remember asking, do we only need to update this thing for this new feature to go live?
I said, yeah, doesn’t this just take five minutes? Yeah, can you show me how to do it? And he goes, yeah, sure. So we jumped on a call, and he explained to me how to do it. And something that maybe would sit on the backlog for several weeks or a few sprints because, you know, people are doing different things, and they don’t know that this is necessarily a priority for them.
For SEO, and me just had, just starting on the position, will take a while to figure that out as well. So noticing, like, those are, who are the people that will be open for you to come in and ask, you know, the, the nontechnical questions or come with a language that is like, I. Have no idea what an S3 bucket is, but can you explain to me how we can do this?
Do I need an S3 bucket to get this done? Oh yeah, you need to. Okay. So, how can we do this ticket? How, you know, and then you start developing those. I try to be as friendly and as open as I can. We do a daily standup. We have a question of the day. I’m sure plenty of other teams do that, but that’s an opportunity to kind of discover.
Different things about people as well. So I tried to develop those relationships outside the transactional moments. And I find that those things are very helpful to build a good relationship. And, I see now that some of the engineers, they really get on board. With me on things that we are doing.
So we are like, Oh, someone has to prove this. And he’s also frustrated with me because we are so close to releasing something. And someone from another team has to do this. So we start chasing different people to see if we can get this on their current sprint or if we can get the, you know, 15 minutes of them on a different team on a call.
And. You know, it’s, it’s nice to have that, that relationship that you are working together for something, and not just trying to close a ticket.
[00:22:38] Katherine Ong: Do you think maybe your job is a little bit easier because you’re working on a website that probably has web traffic as part of its DNA? And I mentioned that because I tend to work with big websites that are like, what’s SEO?
And then they come to me, they’re like, Oh, we need web traffic. But you know, indeed, it was like, the mission is for people to find jobs online, right? Like that’s part of the DNA of the business.
[00:23:00] Gus Pelogia: Yeah, it is definitely easier because people have this mindset, and they, you know, they know why we’re doing this, these things, so it is easier to sell than it was at different moments.
But I do look back at my career when I was at the agency side in different roles and if I had this experience that I have now, or if one day I have to, you know, go back. I’m not at Indeed anymore for whatever reason. And I go back to my previous agency or anything. I would still bring a lot of those, those learnings and, you know, try to frame things the way that I frame now.
And especially when you work with clients that also have agencies on the other side, I feel that things like a PRD or some type of testing that they can do will bring them. On my side and explain, okay, this is exactly what we want to do. And I think things will be, will be different as you know, with any job that you get more experience.
And once you go to a new place, you bring that with you as well. And you, you try to do things better.
[00:24:06] Katherine Ong: Do you really think the PRD has really helped you be more persuasive? Currently in your current role and would, and would help you if you, I don’t know, used it as a consultant or something.
[00:24:16] Gus Pelogia: Yes. Oh, big time, big time.
I think before, I would just have things on, we want to do this for SEO reasons, and that would not be clear enough or feel urgent enough for a CMO or a director or even an engineer to say, oh, okay, we have to really have to do this because. I wouldn’t. I would be very afraid to put numbers behind it or to estimate the actual potential of things.
And this is a different way to look at things. I actually asked only then this week if people spend more time pitching things on slides or on written documents and the polls to running, but most people, those, those lights from what we can see both in-house and on the agency side. And I used to do that as well.
But now I realize that I probably would spend half of the time just making the slides pretty, which is, it’s important to sell the idea, but having the ideas actually written down it kind of makes it easier for you to form a full idea. It leaves less space to hide into, you know, something visual and fancy that people Might not fully understand, but it looks interesting, so they will, they will go for it.
So I actually forgot what the question was, but.
[00:25:41] Katherine Ong: That’s okay. You provided this perfect opening for me to plug the new AI thing. I’ve discovered that I try to tell everybody. Cause I think it’s the hottest thing ever. So you can take a written document. Cause I also default to a lot of written documents, the feds like those.
So, you know, a written document, you can upload it to Microsoft 365 online, and then you can export it as PowerPoint, and it will create slides for you with graphics.
[00:26:06] Gus Pelogia: That is very interesting. That is actually very good timing because I literally just paid for PowerPoint today.
[00:26:13] Katherine Ong: Oh, see, there you go. So there’s your little, there’s your little AI tip for today.
[00:26:16] Gus Pelogia: A yearly plan, so I will, I’ll give it a try.
[00:26:21] Katherine Ong: Yeah, it works relatively well. I’ve used it for one. So we have talked about PRD, but we, a bit of it, are clearly measuring ROI. So, let’s pivot and talk about the testing you’ve been doing. So, what does your testing process look like? And for other people who want to start testing, what are your suggestions?
[00:26:39] Gus Pelogia: Yeah. So we do testing using this methodology called causal analysis, I’m not a data scientist or or a mathematician, but I will do my best to explain how it works from the way I learned from these people. You basically look back, six months or a year, in traffic, and you’re gonna have a test group, which are the pages that you’re applying for a change.
So let’s say you are doing a page title change. So you wanna see if adding the year on a title actually helps people to click on it or not? So you’re gonna do this test on a thousand pages, that is your test group, and through this methodology, You’re going to go back six months, a year in traffic, and you’re going to find a control group that has been performing on the same level as your test group.
So they don’t need to have exactly the same traffic, but they need to move up and down together. So that’s how you know that those groups are equivalent. And then you have your test date. So that’s when you released all of these changes on your titles. And then you can see over two weeks, three weeks, a month – how much one group grows more than the other?
Because, you know, both groups could just grow, and you would say, Oh, we got results because we made this change, but you’re not looking at the whole picture because maybe, you know, you, one competitor, did something wrong and they lost their traffic, or there was an algorithm update that is happening now.
And. Your whole website benefited from it, or something else out of your control happened. And it wasn’t really a consequence of the test that you do. So you can go there and say, we’re going to update all the tiles now. And you don’t get the same result. So that is kind of how we do things.
And there are a few tools that I haven’t tested myself. SearchPilot, which I’ve seen in action, looks very interesting, but we didn’t sign up for it because we already have a team that does this. So we don’t necessarily need an external team or an external company to come in and do that work for us.
But I think Split Signal is another one, SEOTesting is another one. So, I haven’t tested those myself. I’ve checked their websites, and it seems that what they do is also an SEO-aided test, and they look for a control and test group. So, it might be similar to the way we do things.
[00:29:18] Katherine Ong: And how much traffic does your site need to get in order for a test to be valid?
Cause I know it doesn’t work on smaller sites, smaller traffic sites.
[00:29:25] Gus Pelogia: Yeah, I think I can’t remember now, but I think you need pages that have at least 50 sessions, 50 to a hundred sessions a day. And that has to be consistent for a while. But if I were on a smaller website, then I didn’t have all of this.
I would still try to look for it. Maybe pages that have similar search potential to see if they’re moving differently or compare the pages that I’m doing initiative versus the whole websites. Are they growing more than the rest of the website? So, there might be other ways that are not as scientific, but they could still work if you don’t have all the resources out there.
[00:30:11] Katherine Ong: Okay, so we talked a little bit about how you made this transition pretty quickly from an SEO manager to a product manager. So, how did you ramp yourself? Because you didn’t have product management experience. I don’t think so. How’d you ramp yourself up? Do you have other resources or courses or whatever that you would recommend other people take advantage of if they are also in that same situation where they could flip to a product manager?
[00:30:33] Gus Pelogia: Yes! So in terms of courses, I would recommend it to you. So Reforge has some very interesting things, and it’s an expensive platform. I think you pay a yearly fee, and I’m also doing a free course from Pendo. I think it’s from Pendo and Mind the Products, product management basics. I am actually doing this right now.
And even though I’ve been in this role for over a year, I’m actually learning a few things or a few terminologies that I haven’t heard before. So that course, I would start with that one because it’s shorter, and it might give you a better view of which direction you’re going. Reforge will get a lot more advanced, and the courses will be a lot longer as well.
So try the MVP first, see if you like it, and then you can invest in a separate platform. I think the transition for me was.
It was very…it wasn’t that hard. I had to, to be honest, I think working as an account manager before in SEO, I had to put a lot of pieces together because it would have clients that were doing SEO, PPC, content, and social, and I wouldn’t be living on those accounts. All the time, I just knew the results we were getting from social where I had an idea of the strategy for PPC, but I still had to bring all of this together and translate it into a decent story for the clients when once they would look at a report or once we would have a meeting and.
It’s funny. I think I learned at home to always think about the next step. So my mom is always worried about the next bad thing that’s going to happen and how we can prevent that. And I took that from her as well. So I, before I do anything, I’m like, oh, but what if it goes wrong? Okay. If this goes wrong, those are the ways I’m going to mitigate this problem.
So I try to be ahead of them. Ahead of time on that and the first few months, there were already a few projects that were moving. So I just took over what was there. There were tons of tickets that were already written. So I had a bit of time to understand them and see what was going on. UX was a great partner just when I started because the person who was running the UX side on my first or second week she booked a meeting with me and blasted a lot of ideas, and I was like, why is this girl talking to me? Like I haven’t seen her before. I didn’t really get what was going on. A few days later, I realized that, looking at older documents from, SEO, part of the, part of transition that, SEO was pitching something that she was pitching as well from the UX perspective.
And. Shortly, I realized that her idea was way more advanced than the one that SEO had. So I was like, it’s smart; the best thing you can do here is just let her lead this project, not try to interfere or not try to own it because she’s already proposing something better than what I had written.
So, there were, you know, a few projects that were already moving, so it was easier. I had a bit of time to settle in and just move with the things that were there until I learned how to write tickets, how the, how does the sprint work, how to break down things, certain things in different activities, and so on.
So, There was a bit of time to plan about things, but if someone is starting on this now and just, just have a blank state, I would say only run a few projects at a time. There are always bugs to fix. There are always new things you can do, but if you try to do five of them at the same time when you start, it is not going to work.
I have three/four things running at the same time at max. Some of them are just in the research phase, while others are in the more advanced phase. Also, if you break down too many things, your engineers won’t have time to do all of them. So you’re going to have several things moving slowly. You won’t have anything exciting to report because you’ll all be half done for a long time, and they might just all get done at the same time, and then you have another overload of things that you have to prove impact for all these different things at the same time.
So, do a few things at a time and do them well.
[00:35:11] Katherine Ong: So, for SEOs that are new to the sprint sort of format, is there any tips that you have for people to understand how sprints work?
[00:35:20] Gus Pelogia: Yeah. So a sprint will work until usually it’s a, it’s two weeks, sprint. So, one day at the start of the sprint, you and your engineers will look through the backlog and say, those are the things we want to make this sprint.
They might have different methods to know what is more important and what is the capacity they have to take. The amount of work they can take on those two weeks. So after a few sprints, when you learn, okay, this is the general space they have, for SEO. Okay. What can I bring to every sprint? So, one day, one or two days before the sprint.
I already, I’m already asking around and say, okay, how much space we might have? What are the things that we are already doing here? And I already sent a list ahead and said, okay, can we do it? Here’s my plan. I want those six things that they already have in order of priority. The first three must be done because they are bugs or because of whatever other reason.
So we might have 50 things on the backlog that we want to do. I know only five or six will get done this sprint. So I try to get those very clear and very prepared ahead of time. So actually, once we get to sprint planning, my tickets are already on the, on the sprint list and they know like, okay, Gus talked about this, this, this, this one, he didn’t mention this one.
It seems that it’s not important. I’m usually there on the sprint planning as well. So we kind of know. What’s what we can do, and having this done in advance also helps me to know how far we can go. It helps me to report to my manager what can be completed in the next two weeks or four weeks. And, you know, it’s a matter of talking to a lot of people and setting up their expectations and your own expectations as well.
[00:40:53] Katherine Ong: Okay. So, I’m just pivoting one more time. So I know you judge search awards, and I want to pick your brain the tiniest bit about that. Yeah. So, based on your cause, I think it’s also related. You’ve got a reporter background. You’ve talked quite a bit about telling stories.
So, based on your experience, what tips would you give people who want to win search awards?
[00:41:30] Gus Pelogia: Yeah. Thank you very much for this question because I think I have a few things in my heart about board entries The best award entries that I always see, and the ones that I usually see winning, tell a very good story. So, you can do all the things in the world, but if your entry does not have a good flow that tells a challenge that you had, the problems you had, and how you overcame all of this, Your entry will not, will not be a winner. So I’ve seen entries sometimes that will say things like, we made 10,000 SEO changes on the website.
Like, right, well, what are 10,000 SEO changes? Or, our visibility went up 40%. It’s like, wow. I don’t know which keywords you track. I don’t know what visibility means to you. I don’t know which software you use to calculate visibility. So those things are kind of meaningless at this stage. But if you tell me a good story about how you overcame a problem, that is a completely different thing.
And there is an entry, I didn’t judge this one. I was still working at Wolfgang, and this is something, an entry that they put together. And that was one of the moments that I had a click about. How to write these entries was about a Christmas campaign for a supermarket, and they had to sell. The goal was to sell 800 turkeys online.
So, you know, if people want to get closer to Christmas, the turkey price goes down a little bit because they have to sell it, or people won’t buy it after that. And the earlier they sell, the better price they can get from it. So, They can. The goal of the campaign was to sell 800 turkeys or the equivalent in other products.
So you’re already telling me a story, right? You could say, you know, the goal of the campaign is to sell 10 thousand 20 thousand euros. It’s like, okay, well, everyone can sell for 20,000 euros. It’s like, okay, you’re putting me on Christmas. You’re putting me in a scenario that a lot of people are familiar with and foods that we all have.
Okay. Now I’m ready to hear the story. So they were going after people who were searching for recipes and letting on the blog and saving them to retarget them on different channels later. So this was… You know, a cross-channel campaign had a very clear goal, and they didn’t actually get to 800.
They sold the equivalent of 785 or something like that. It was very close, but even that, that is like, Oh, we almost got it. But the client was still very happy and you know, and that’s just a very good story, and the goals were there. You achieve things, you talk about the problems that you had. So, it is a very honest and open entry.
And I don’t remember which awards it won, but he won loads of them. I did one. One time was one for the awards. That was my entry. I, it was my idea and I, I wrote it as well. It was a migration that we did for an airport website. On the whole, it was a normal migration. It got the latest.
Migrations and new websites get delayed, and everything went fine in the end. But the hook of the story was the website had to go live as soon as possible. And it happened to go live on the busiest week of summer. So if something went wrong there, if that website was not working, if people could not park, book their parking places or find their departure or arrival flights, you are, you know, you’re very close to chaos.
So that was a story like if this migration had happened two months before, I would have no story. But because of problems that delayed that, I had a very good story to say: everything went fine. It was the most profitable weekend for the parking business from the airport and so on. And, you know, the website was up a hundred percent of the time people could find it, and everything was all right.
But, you know, it’s just to find that hook that might be somewhere in the story that, we’ll, we’ll get a judge really looking at you and say, okay, this. This was nerve-wracking and you’ll solve it. Well, this, this is exciting to be there, and fair play to you.
[00:45:49] Katherine Ong: Yeah, I, early on when I was at, I figured out that award entry, winning award entries has a lot to do with the writing of the award entry because they had one woman, Fran, and she worked on every award entry because I, I, my team won a few, but it’s, it’s because of Fran, she took our input and she wrote a story, with a hook.
She touched every single one. Nobody submitted an award without Fran looking at it. So anyway, yeah, she knew it. She was the Intel behind how to craft the story. Yeah. So this has been awesome. So much useful information.
[00:49:56] Katherine Ong: And how can people learn more about you?
[00:50:02] Gus Pelogia: Yeah. So you can find me on my website, guspelogia.com that I just released on a new domain. And you can find me on Twitter or X. I don’t know what to call it anymore. It’s at Pelogia. P E L O G I A, or on LinkedIn, Gus Pelogia.
I also do a bit of mentoring on Growth Mentor. You have to be a member of the platform, but the call with me is free, so if I can help you with anything at some point, you just become a Growth Mentor member, and most of the mentors there give their time for free. I’m one of them, so we can have a chat there as well.
[00:50:42] Katherine Ong: That’s, that’s great. And for folks that don’t know, when he does get a chance to blog, he’s got some great tips in relation to writing tech tickets and some other things with some nitty gritty details that I found super helpful. In fact, you’re going to be in my next newsletter. So thank you very much for being on the show and helping all of us get a little bit closer to working with developers successfully.
I think these tips are going to be great.
[00:51:06] Gus Pelogia: Yeah. Thank you, Katherine. I hope that people who are listening find this useful as well. And if I can help with anything else, just, just come say hi, and let’s be in touch.