Catalyst Employee Spotlight: Dale Hanstad

You can have the best data and most sophisticated tools, but it doesn’t mean anything without great people. Fortunately, at Catalyst, we have no shortage of great people. From Search Associates to Search Directors, and from Project Managers to Managing Partners, each member of the Catalyst team is committed to maximizing client business results and making Catalyst a world-class agency. Read our Employee Spotlight series to meet some of the team members responsible for making Catalyst an all-star agency partner and a great place to work.

dale headshot

Name: Dale Hanstad

Title: Manager, Organic Search

How long have you worked at Catalyst: I have worked at Catalyst for 1 year.

How long have you worked in the Digital/Search/Social/SEO landscape and what type of clients have you worked with?  I have been in SEO for four years though I’ve been responsible for digital marketing projects even longer. I first learned the ropes of enterprise SEO as a senior analyst at another agency. There, my client roster included beauty retailers and a global tech/social media platform as well as entertainment and travel names. I also led ad hoc projects for the LATAM/Spanish-speaking market. Today, I’m currently taking on client work across tourism and travel, CPG, and NPO/NGOs.

How did you get your start in digital/SEO/paid search/paid social?  I got into SEO as a writer for local businesses, drafting optimized metadata, blogs, articles, and press releases after looking to put my BA in English to good use with a remote-based side hustle. From there, I moved into writing polished editorial content on publisher sites in tourism and men’s luxury until transitioning into a full-blown enterprise SEO career.

What do you like most about working at Catalyst?  Catalyst is straightforward in its communication, both internal and external, but thinks outside of the box in its approach. For me, this offers the best of both worlds in terms of removing internal red tape to get right to the good stuff, the creative digital strategies that drive better business. I have had a lot of fun suggesting and implementing SEO recommendations that might not have made the agenda at a typical agency.

Additionally, I’m grateful to have wonderful coworkers and mentors at Catalyst (as well as across GroupM and WPP). The team always supports one another’s growth through collaboration and support.

What has been your greatest achievement or success in Digital/Paid Search/Paid Social/SEO at Catalyst?  I count every client implementation that benefits both the consumer and the brand a success.

For instance, last fall, we helped a CPG brand optimize its How-to -Prepare-a-Turkey blog to answer a question about serving sizes in anticipation of Thanksgiving after noticing a small uptick in traffic to the page. A few technical changes to the metadata and schema code earned a seasonally appropriate upswing in visibility (+604% in impressions YoY) and engagement (+150% in clicks YoY) evidenced by a simple test-and-learn analysis using commonplace search tools (Google Search Console, Tableau, SEMrush, etc.). Using the learnings, we provided further recommendations to grow the page before the next holiday season. For me, the cherry on top was knowing that people referenced this page to prepare their Thanksgiving turkey.

In your opinion, what is the most important Digital/Paid Search/Paid Social/SEO trend or change for 2022?  The rise in popularity, if nothing else, of Chat GPT, AI, and automation marks a shift in how SEOs, and the world at large, are thinking about finding information and the value of the information that’s out there. Even though the technology may falter as AI language models rolls out, the release has already caused a lot of smart people to start asking the right questions.

In the very near future, getting input into these systems to ensure any potential customer question is correctly answered might be a priority. (Hint: well-versed SEOs already have some tricks up their sleeves to push this). Later, content-based SEO strategies may look very different.

If you had to give one recommendation to an advertiser who wants to use paid search or social marketing to achieve business results, what would it be? Keep the search engine user’s experience in mind and be helpful! Every click counts in the digital landscape.

The public takes notice when businesses do not perform the necessary upkeep on their websites, social media profiles, e-commerce platforms, digital PR (backlinking), etc. Businesses should recognize that content that is misleading, outdated, or inaccessible altogether is costing them (conversion, reputation, liability, etc.).

Share a fun fact about yourself:  I lived in Mexico for three years where I not only gained fluency in Spanish but was also forced to learn how to drive a manual transmission on a last-minute road trip across the state.

Click here to read Dale’s recent blog post on Chat GPT, its capabilities, limitations, and how it can be used in marketing and SEO.

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