Jesse McDonald is a Global SEO Strategist with IBM.*
After receiving his degree in graphic design, Jesse Moved to Austin to pursue his career. Through his search to become a print designer, Jesse found a job as an SEO specialist and developed a passion for the industry. Jesse has spent the majority of his SEO career focusing on local search and has become known as a local search expert within the industry.
After receiving his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Graphic Design from the University of Southern Mississippi, Jesse moved to Austin with his wife, Jennifer McDonald, to pursue a career as a print-focused graphic designer.
During his quest to find a job in this field, he stumbled upon SEO and fell in love with the industry, especially with how similar the graphic design and SEO skill-sets relate to each other. For the large majority of his career as an SEO, his focus has been on local SEO.
Jesse has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences such as Pubcon (Las Vegas, Austin, and Florida), and Rocks Digital. He has also served as a judge at the US Search Awards.
*Jesse’s thoughts and opinions are his own and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of IBM.
Interview With Jesse McDonald
by Reese Oxner
I recently talked with Jesse McDonald from IBM about his upcoming session at the State of Search digital marketing conference in Dallas. He gave me a preview of what he will discuss.
What will you be speaking about at the State of Search this year?
This year at State of Search, I will be speaking on the importance of establishing a strong foundation for SEO early on.
What are the key takeaways that you’d like the audience to get when they come to your session?
The main takeaways I want to drive home to those who attend my session is that it is important to get the foundation elements of SEO correct from the beginning. These include creating a proper strategy, developing a logical site structure, building internal links, acquiring high-quality external links, and utilizing markup code.
Tell me a little about yourself, what you do, and what your company does.
I am a Global SEO Strategist at IBM. I work on a team of brilliant SEOs to help improve the organic search performance of IBM’s various business units. Before working at IBM I cut my teeth working in the local-SEO space with an agency out of Austin, TX for about 4.5 years before moving on to TopHatRank, a premiere boutique agency out of Los Angeles that specializes in e-commerce and enterprise SEO.
What is the importance of this conference?
State of Search has always been a very important conference to me every year. I’ve attended for the last four years and after this year, will have spoken at the last two. I always feel like I leave the conference every year with something new to add to my arsenal, especially because it’s one of the more intimate conferences in the industry. It’s easy to network and find yourself in conversations with other speakers and attendees where you learn even more tidbits that you might not get during a typical session.