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Baptiste “Baba Hausmann”: Crafting a compelling narrative is crucial

07 February 2024

Just one day remains until registration for the Friends of Search Awards 2024 officially closes. Ambitious search specialists have until February 8th to submit their entries. To provide insight into the benefits of participating in the awards, we interviewed Baptiste “Baba” Hausmann, who, in his previous role as SEO Manager at Mollie, won last year’s Friends of Search Award for Best SEO.

1. How did you prepare yourself and your case for your participation in the Friends of Search Awards?

Initially, I hadn’t considered participating in the Friends of Search Awards; it was only upon reflecting on the merits of our recent project that I realized it could potentially be a strong candidate. My realization came amidst pre-holiday preparations, which left me with limited time to devote to the application process. Nevertheless, I proceeded to gather all relevant information related to our case. This task was somewhat facilitated by the fact that the relaunch of mollie.com had taken place just one and a half months prior, ensuring that the data I needed was up-to-date. I had been using this data to keep our senior stakeholders informed post-relaunch.

I started the application by filling out the basic information and sketching out the story I wanted to tell about our project, enriching it with the necessary data. The process was straightforward, but the timing posed a challenge. Due to my impending holiday and the approaching application deadline, I found myself needing to complete the submission while on vacation. The photo included below shows me working from a bed in a tent in Kruger Park, South Africa, where internet access was minimal. Despite these challenges, I managed to complete and submit the application on time.

2. What was your experience presenting your case at Friends of Search and ultimately winning the Award?

Presenting our project at Friends of Search 2023 was both a challenging and rewarding experience. The primary challenge lay in distilling the essence of a comprehensive project into the most impactful aspects for the case presentation. This meant making tough decisions on what to emphasize and what to exclude, focusing on substance over mere checklist items. Crafting a presentation that captured the breadth of the project without delving too deep into minutiae, yet still conveying our methodology, was a delicate balance to achieve. Furthermore, it was important to me that the presentation be a reflection of my personal style and passion for SEO, blending professionalism with an element of fun, enthusiasm, and passion.

The response from the audience was incredibly affirming; receiving messages of appreciation and hearing that people were inspired by my approach was truly gratifying. Winning the Award added another layer of excitement to the event. It facilitated engaging conversations with attendees, allowing for a valuable exchange of insights about our case. Holding the Award also made it quite difficult to remain inconspicuous among the crowd, but it was a small price to pay for the honor of recognition.

3. What did winning the award ultimately bring to you? On a personal level, but also within your organization. Consider things like increased project budgets, trust within the department, etc.

Winning the award was profoundly rewarding on both a personal and professional level. Personally, it was an immense source of pride and a testament to the dedication and effort invested in the project throughout 2023. It served as a validation of my approach to SEO, affirming the strategies and methodologies I employ in my work. The outpouring of positive feedback from my network on platforms like LinkedIn and WhatsApp, as well as from colleagues within my organization, was incredibly affirming.

Although the award did not directly result in an increased budget or practical changes within the organization, it significantly heightened the visibility and perceived value of SEO internally. It fostered a sense of internal acknowledgment that achieving such outstanding results through our specific approach to SEO is not commonplace. SEO’s role in critical projects, such as site redesigns or migrations, is often underestimated in organizations lacking a strong SEO culture. However, my tenure at Mollie has been marked by efforts to elevate SEO awareness, and this award has undeniably amplified the internal recognition of SEO’s importance, encouraging a more serious and considered approach to it across the organization.

4. Do you have tips and tricks for ambitious SEO specialists and companies participating in the Awards this year?

For those ambitious SEO managers and companies aiming to make their mark in this year’s Awards, my advice centers on the importance of storytelling. You’ve spent months, perhaps even years, deeply involved in your project, familiar with every challenge, victory, and the considerable effort it demanded—right down to the gray hairs it may have given you. Your audience, however, is coming in with fresh eyes, unaware of the intricate details and the journey you’ve embarked on.

Crafting a compelling narrative that weaves together the challenges you faced, the successes you achieved, and the energy invested, all supported by relevant data and results, is crucial. Yet, it’s important to understand that “results” here don’t solely refer to the final outcomes. In our case, winning the award for the No-Dip Website Relaunch of mollie.com was significantly influenced by the unique approach we adopted; the actual results were, interestingly, a secondary consideration in our success.

Furthermore, resist the urge to aim for perfection in your submission. The quest for perfection can be paralyzing. Instead, focus on delivering your story authentically and confidently. Just go for it.