Pablo Villalpando is a Global SEO Strategist at Consultant. Previously managed SEO campaigns for brands like Spotify, Vizio, HP, Salesforce, Tupperware and Dungeons and Dragons
1) To kickstart, could you share about your current role, what the company does and a bit about your career background?
I am an SEO consultant for world-renowned brands, managing international SEO campaigns across many markets and verticals. Although I have 7 years of SEO experience, most of it has been through SEO agencies. I have managed SEO campaigns for brands like Spotify, Vizio, HP, Salesforce, Tupperware and Dungeons and Dragons. I've been fortunate to have had great mentors throughout my career, and my research background in Sociology/Psychology has tremendously helped me in the qualitative/quantitative approach to this field.
2) Can you describe what your typical workday looks like?
This has changed a lot since moving in-house. As an in-house SEO, my typical workday consists of a few short meetings each day to ensure cross-collaborative web/content initiatives are moving forward while spending most of my time reviewing organic performance and identifying areas of opportunity and overseeing their execution. I work very closely with web developers and content teams, while partnering and evangelizing SEO across the organization. Previously at SEO agencies I used to be a team lead, managing SEO campaigns, meeting with customers, putting together deliverables and reports, and leading training sessions.
3) What does personal growth mean to you?
Personal growth to me means taking steps to become a better version of myself in any facet of life, whether it is professional, mental, physical, financial, or relationships-wise. I always look for opportunities for self-improvement but this really can’t be done without initiative & having people around me that care about me. I’m grateful to have family, friends, coworkers, and mentors that share constructive criticism so I can become a better human. For example, I grew up in a conservative environment so it’s important for me to make sure the way I navigate life is inclusive and welcoming.
4) Is there a habit you consciously exercise to ensure you achieve your ideal personal growth?
To be frank with you, what has been very valuable for my growth has been introspection and accountability. I tend to replay scenarios and situations in my head to discern if/how things could’ve gone differently and learn from my mistakes. It is OK to make mistakes, they will happen, all you can do is learn from them.
I’m also an empath by nature. I constantly try to put myself in other’s shoes in the interactions I have in my personal and professional life. This has led to great learning opportunities for myself and others. I’m a huge fan of leading with empathy and expressing gratitude to others. This is especially important in SEO, as the work we do requires a significant degree of collaboration with many different teams. Lead with empathy, and drive results with data!
5) What does it mean to grow in your career? How do you measure your career growth?
Career growth to me means having the opportunity for more impactful work. I measure this in two ways, quantitatively and qualitatively. In other words, through the results of my SEO strategies and their impact to the bottom line of a business, and by the quality of brands that I work with. It’s important to not compare yourself to others. I began my career working with small local businesses in the US, but it wasn’t really until I moved to San Francisco 3 years into my career, that I began working with world-renowned brands. This has been the boldest move I’ve ever made since I was the 8th employee in the new SEO agency I joined. I’m glad I did! We built a team together and went on to win many industry awards within a few years.
To add on to the above, career growth for me as a first generation immigrant in the US is crucial and part of something bigger, which at times can be a big source of anxiety. My parents and those that came before have made many sacrifices for me to be where I am today. They paved a path and removed obstacles for me to have the opportunities I’m privileged to have. But it doesn’t stop there! As first-gen, there are many “firsts” we have to navigate through to keep that momentum going for those that will come after me. My hope is to help impact my community and those around me so they can also have a chance for a better life. It’s a heavy burden but also an incredible shared accomplishment that I have to acknowledge. We are trailblazers.
If you’re interested, I also wrote a bit more about myself & the ambition I had in my early 20s that motivated me to dream big. You can find this here: http://pablovillalpando.com/about/.
6) Aside from your full-time job, is there anything else you like to do outside work?
I enjoy helping non-profits and other organizations that benefit the communities I belong to. My proudest project is building a website for Dr. Janja Lalich, a world renowned expert in cultic studies whom I’ve been working with since 2016 (and was a mentor during my college years). Dr. Lalich has been featured in many recent cult series and documentaries like Cults and Extreme Beliefs, Explained, Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, and Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults.
Aside from this, I enjoy video games during my down time, going to concerts and music festivals with friends. Whenever I get the opportunity to travel I like to experience new things like white water rafting, zip lining, hiking, and even skydiving!
7) Are there any books, podcasts or apps that have been helpful for your growth?
I learned a lot through Lynda (LinkedIn) courses in my early days and a few other online courses I can’t recall. Most recently, I found the Hella Latin@ podcast that has opened my eyes and opened the floodgates to an emotional tsunami. The podcast focuses on Latinx people sharing unique, emotional and empowering experiences that come with navigating Latinidad in America with a big focus in tech.
8) Any tips you’d like to share for those who are looking to venture into similar roles?
Be bold. It sounds so cliche but growth really does happen when you step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. Learn something new everyday. Treat others with empathy & respect. Do not settle or become complacent. You will be recognized for your value and contributions even if you are always the quiet one in the room. People will notice. If they don’t, find a company that does!
9) Finally, what is the one quote you always live by?
"Don’t wait for karma or the stars to align, look into yourself, find something inside.” -With the Wind at Your Back, Adestria
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