Lumar’s SEO interview series continues in this conversation between Senior Technical SEO Jamie Indigo, of Lumar’s professional services team, and Prachi Keshavani, freelance SEO consultant, graduate of a recent cohort with the Freelance Coalition for Developing Countries, and a newly minted BrightonSEO speaker.
The two discuss getting started as an SEO professional, how to combat imposter syndrome as a beginner SEO, speaking at industry conferences, and getting involved with the broader SEO community around the globe through organizations like the Freelance Coalition for Developing Countries.
Listen to the full interview below, or read on for an abridged transcript.
You can also check out Lumar’s full set of SEO and digital marketing expert interviews.
Jamie: Welcome. With me right now, I have Prachi Keshavani. Thank you so much for joining and being here today. Congratulations on your big achievement [speaking at BrightonSEO]. How are you feeling?
Prachi: Thank you so much. I’m very happy to be here. And I’m feeling a little bit nervous. Yeah.
Jamie: A little bit?
Prachi: Yes. A little bit because my talk is going to be at 4 p.m. today. So nerves are kicking in right now.
Jamie: I know my first go, my nerves packed… they were packed before I was. Came with me, came out here. Did it, though, and it’s going to be beautiful. Tell me about your panel.
Prachi: Okay. So I’m speaking about conquering imposter syndrome as a beginner. I’m going to talk about my personal experience, and I’m going to talk about how managers can spot it in their teams, and how they can eventually become better leaders because they’re empathetic to other people’s needs.
Jamie: That’s beautiful. So imposter syndrome, you hear that term a lot. What’s something that you want people attending your session to come away with or be curious about?
Prachi: The one thing that I think they should be curious about is always asking for feedback. It cannot be just your performance reviews, you know, twice a year. You have to constantly seek your managers out, seek your bosses out, and ask them, “How did I perform on this project?” or, “What expectations do you have from me?”
I think that is something that all employees or all members of your team should ask regularly.
Jamie: I do that all the time. I have a fantastic manager, but I’m frequently going, “Hey, wait a second, tell me what you thought of that.” And I find if I don’t externalize and go ahead and action and act, I will internalize that I’ve done such a terrible job. Honestly, any time I’ve done an event or any big project, I provide myself with the harshest feedback. I think a lot of people end up doing that.
Prachi: Exactly, yeah. If you ask for feedback, it can be positive or constructive. There’s always a new perspective you can learn from. So always collect feedback.
Jamie: That’s wonderful. And you’re here with FCDC [the Freelance Coalition for Developing Countries]. For those who aren’t familiar, what’s this organization about?
Prachi: So, the Freelance Coalition for Developing Countries helps people of color in developing countries. They empower them by providing mentorships, by providing scholarships to various courses, and they sponsor technical SEO cohorts. There are a bunch of ways you can support them. Please visit their website and find out more about them!
I was one of the students with the first technical SEO mentorship cohort with Aleyda Solis. I’m sure everyone’s heard of her. She’s absolutely incredible, and she taught us for over seven months. She shared her time, her resources with us. There were ten students, eight of which have gotten internships across the globe. They’re very successful. You can find all of FCDC’s social media handles on Twitter and LinkedIn and please connect with them. They’re doing some amazing work.
Jamie: This is a fantastic program. And yeah, Aleyda is a force of nature in the SEO sphere. I’ve got to say, I’m helping out with a cohort right now, and it is one of the most rewarding experiences you can really hope for. It’s just absolutely delightful.
Prachi: That’s incredible. I’m sure everyone on the cohort is extremely grateful [to you] for sharing your time.
Jamie: There has to be a lot that inspires you to move forward and to speak about this. Can you talk to that? Why is this important to you?
Prachi: So I was a very shy kid. I wasn’t the person who would, you know, put their hand up in class or give speeches at the school assembly. And when I came to the UK as an undergrad, I sought out uncomfortable situations for myself just to develop my confidence speaking in front of people.
So I enrolled in the Peer Assisted Student Session program at the University of Hull. That really helped me. Every week, I was talking in front of like 400 people. I was explaining management and accounting concepts to them, students who weren’t able to fully grasp it from lecturers. I tried to break down difficult concepts and try to teach them, and that helped me a lot. And now that I can speak about conquering those imposter feelings, or not being good enough to speak in front of a crowd, I think I should share that with people and inspire others who have been in similar positions or [are] going through those feelings as well.
Jamie: What has been your favorite thing about working in SEO?
Prachi: I’ve been working at Red Bull for a little bit and now I’m here to pursue my master’s.
Jamie: What are you getting your master’s in?
Prachi: I’m getting my master’s in business intelligence and digital marketing.
Jamie: Oh, wow.
Prachi: Yes. It’s going to be quite an intense year for me.
Prachi: Thank you so much. But my favorite thing so far has been the incredible community support that we get as beginners, because there are people across the world ready to help you just via Twitter or LinkedIn. You just have to reach out to them. They have so many helpful resources for you and you’re really embraced as a beginner in this industry.
It doesn’t matter where you come from, they’re always there to help you make connections, introduce you to people. I think that’s my favorite thing about working in SEO and being part of this community.
Jamie: What would you say to somebody who is considering coming to a conference for the first time, or maybe even speaking for the first time?
Prachi: I think you should definitely do it. Have no second thoughts about it, if you’re speaking at BrightonSEO or any other event. Absolutely do it. There are people here to support you. There’s Andrea and Calvin who are absolutely amazing.
Jamie: For those who don’t know, Andrea is the force of nature behind the scenes [at BrightonSEO], who organizes the event, the scheduling, even speaker accommodations and travel. Just a powerhouse. And Calvin and the team are just so supportive.
Prachi: I’ve been in contact with them by email for the past two months, and I think they’ve been so incredible. They’ve supported me so much. I’m a first-time speaker here, and for aspiring speakers or people who are interested, they should definitely pitch their topics for April 2023, and you know, get involved, learn what you can do, what you can talk about, and yeah. Definitely do it.
Jamie: Brighton’s the perfect place for it. There are many events out there, but there are no organizers to the level of care and assistance that you get here at Brighton SEO.
Do you have any advice for people who are attending Brighton for the first time?
Prachi: My advice would be just to learn as much as you can. Make notes, make connections, go and speak to speakers who are talking about topics you’re interested in. There’s so much to learn. I’ve learned so much from Christine, who previously worked at Google, about GA4. That was a whole new topic I had no idea about. There’s plenty of opportunity to learn. People are always happy to speak to you in-depth, or [when] there’s an opportunity to speak to them one on one. So you can really network, put yourself out there.
Jamie: What’s been your favorite moment so far?
Prachi: My favorite moment has been interacting with John Mueller from Google. That was absolutely the highlight of this trip.
Jamie: He is a wonderful and kind human being. I’m sure you’re going to have a new favorite moment, that experience when you step off stage and people are there with questions, and they want to talk to you. That’s always a beautiful moment. This going to be another experience, I think, to level up those skills. Get your master’s. You’ve taken a little bit of opportunity and made something so beautiful.
What is that website, if people wanted to get in touch with FCDC?
Prachi: The website is called freelancecoalition.org. You can reach out to them, you can reach out to our founder, Chima Mmeje, on LinkedIn and Twitter. She’s always there to answer any questions that you might have. She’s always there to enroll you into the coalition and offer the links and the Slack group as well, that’s really helpful.
The whole community comes together, answers all the questions that you have. There are multiple resources that you can get access to as soon as you’re part of the community, and it’s completely free and it’s for everyone across the globe.
Jamie: That’s beautiful. And if people want to follow your career and see where you’re doing work, where can they do that?
Prachi: They can either visit me on LinkedIn, I’m there at Prachi Keshavani, and on Twitter as well.
Jamie: Wonderful. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope this afternoon, and your session, is just radiant and a joyful experience for you.
Prachi: Thank you so much, Jamie. It was lovely speaking with you.
Jamie Indigo can also be found on Twitter — and on Lumar’s professional services team.
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