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Humans of 3Q: Meet Nicole Lavallee

Published: July 20, 2018

Author: Kelly Whelan

Humans of 3Q is back this week with SEO Account Coordinator Nicole Lavallee, out of our Burlington, Vermont, office! Get to know Nicole below:

Tell us about the team and what you do.

3Q’s SEO team is a snarky crew who takes pleasure in giving everyone grief and refusing to let inside jokes die. Ultimately though, we are all really supportive of one another in celebrating accomplishments and ensuring we’re doing the best we can to deliver quality service.
My go-to short description of my role in SEO is that I do stuff to make sure Google can find our clients’ websites. I may then elaborate and explain that we do this by looking at the technical side of things, focusing on the site’s content, conducting keyword research, measuring performance. I point out that we work with other search engines and our team does app store optimization (ASO) stuff too, but usually the short description is all people really care to know.
If you do want to learn more, check out our team’s 7-part series of blog posts, beginning with Maty Rice’s SEO overview. I also highly recommend David Portney’s recent post, Reasons to Keep an SEO Agency Beyond 2 Years.

What’s one marketing lesson you wished you had learned earlier?

Whenever substantial changes are going to be made to a site, remember to document the “before” so you are better-equipped to demonstrate the difference between that and the “after” should the need arise.
This is something I’m still learning – and I’m reminded of that fact when prepping quarterly business reviews: “Gah! How can I show what we changed if I don’t have a picture of what it used to look like?!?”

How do you feel like your background in linguistics impacts your SEO skill-set?

This excerpt from a Moz article about how and why linguistics is good preparation for SEO sums it up well:
For one thing, hardly anyone knows what [linguistics] is…
“What’s your major?” 
Pause. “Oh.” 
Further pause. “What’s that?”
I am therefore completely prepared for conversations beginning with “What do you do?” “SEO.”
On a more serious note, studying linguistics includes a blend of data analysis – very important for SEO technical and performance measurement – and recognition of how language functions (including both prescriptive and descriptive grammar), which comes in handy for content review and creation tasks.

What fascinates you most about human communication and language?

Language acquisition amazes me, especially in children. It’s astounding how much information you need to process to comprehend a language to begin with and figure out how pronunciation works too. It’s mind-boggling that kids manage to do this in such a short period of time! Plus, I love the incredibly amusing things that come of out their mouths along the way.
It’s also intriguing to read and learn about the many ways culture and language influence each other.

Rumor on the street is Vermont will pay you $10k to move there. What’s your pitch for why Burlington is an awesome place to live?

As a native Vermonter born to native Vermonters, Vermont will always feel like “home” to me. So, I’m admittedly biased, but I also think there’s something really special about Vermont, and Burlington, that makes this a great place to live. I’m having trouble articulating it myself, so I’ll offer this third-party endorsement: the national bestseller, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which uses a photo of BURLINGTON on its cover.

Full disclosure: the picture was taken by my sister, Jessica Remmey.
This helpful map of all the states where you can get a decent maple creemee also makes a compelling case:

Need more convincing? Check out these blog posts about our Vermont office community and why Vermont is the best 3Q office!

What’s been the coolest thing you’ve done with your unlimited PTO? 

In the fall of 2016, my father and I went to Italy for two weeks to visit my sister and brother-in-law, who lived in Liguria for a few months. I finally made it to the Cinque Terre and was able to reaffirm my belief that Gelateria della Passera in Florence has the best gelato on the face of the earth. It was pretty cool to accompany Dad on his first trip outside North America (especially since Europe, in general, is my favorite travel destination).

This September, I’ll take another step towards achieving my goal of visiting all 50 U.S. states with a trip to the Northwest; ID will be #42!  I’m planning to road-trip while there so I can also catch up with family and friends in WA and OR. It’s not at all coincidental that the timing is well-aligned with my favorite band’s tour schedule. #wannabegroupie

What is the most fun perks event you’ve attended?

I’m a big fan of the Escape Room events we’ve done. They’re a great way to force encourage small groups to bond via a fun, collaborative experience – plus, it’s a very rewarding feeling when you successfully make your escape in the allotted time.

Have you participated in 3Q3%? If so, what’s been your favorite experience?

Yes! I really liked the company-wide effort to raise money for Direct Relief, which we noted was specifically for Hurricane Maria victims. The Burlington office held a bake sale (with 100% employee participation!) within our building and donated funds from our local perks budget.

If you were given an unlimited amount of money to invest into one upcoming or exciting marketing technology, what would it be?

It would probably be something related to Natural Language Processing (NLP). There’s been a lot of progress in how and where it is utilized already (e.g. voice assistants), and it’ll be really interesting to see how NLP continues to evolve – especially for someone who’s taken courses in language acquisition and enjoys reading books about language!

What’s your favorite TED talk?

TED talks aren’t a routine thing for me. However, I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some pretty amazing speakers in person through the years. Highlights include Pope John Paul II, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Rick Steves, Imaculee Ilibagiza, and Steven Pinker.

Favorite Internet GIF?

Pig with a pinwheel is one that always makes me smile:

I also think this hot-off-the-press Zatch gif (Zach Morgan – SEO Account Coordinator) has the potential to go far:


Get to know more of our 3Qers in our Humans of 3Q series. Interested in joining the ranks? Check out our Careers page.

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