JP Sherman - The Search Community Honors You

Jan 12, 2018 - 7:18 am 1 by
Filed Under Honor An SEO/SEM

JP Sherman

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series - feel free to nominate someone over here.

JP Sherman, 45 years old is a native Californian but lives now in the Raleigh, NC area with his wife and four boys. JP is known for his generosity in sharing with the SEO community and broader, including the Dev community. His title is cool at RedHat, "Manager of Search & Findability" and that is what he does. He spends a lot of his time, not just on SEO but more on "onsite search experiences" to make the user experience better when trying to find content on the site.

JP is pretty active speaking at conferences, including well known ones in our industry such as PubCon as well as ones our industry might not be familiar with. He is very active on social media, sharing his knowledge and findings and being outspoken about finding the truth behind the myths.

He is always asking questions, which drive better answers, better data and make for a better SEO industry.

JP was nominated by Andrew Optimisey who wrote:

JP is a great SEO because he's insatiably curious and honest enough to say when he doesn't know something (which isn't often).

And when he doesn't know you can bet your last dollar he'll work it out *and* share it so others don't have to go through all the hard work.

JP's insanely generous with his time and phenomenally polite (as a Brit myself, I think he may be secretly British! He even drinks a lot of tea!) - and he's just a really nice guy.

JP Sherman Bio: JP Sherman is a fifteen year veteran of Search, Findability and Competitive Intelligence. As the Search & Findability Manager for the Red Hat Customer Portal, he bridges the intention gap between tens of thousands of technical and support documents and the customers looking for them in Google and Red Hat’s internal search platform.

JP discovered his passion for combining behavior, semantics and technology when he worked at the US Army’s Special Operations Command as a Psychological Operations Specialist. He spearheaded efforts to use search to disseminate information about malaria prevention and humanitarian de-mining efforts in south-east Asia. Since then, he found a natural talent to connect data, behavior, search and findability to bring actionable changes and value to Paramount Studios, Skechers, Performance Bike, Dewalt and many more.

Favorite thing about the SEO community? I think my favorite thing that connects me so deeply to the SEO community is that, as a group, empathy is at the core of what we do. We represent this empathy in how we understand user behavior and tease out intent as it relates to search in a behavioral & technological context. Yet, that empathy doesn't stop at our jobs. We seem to be inclined to use that empathy to support, challenge and encourage others. We have a rich tradition of calling each other out, yet for the most part it's the "grit" in sand paper, the intent is to polish. With that generally shared characteristic, we've built a community that's diverse. This is because we recognize that background, experiences and the things that make us different are so valuable in understanding the words and the people who look for things

One piece of advice to the SEOs out there? Structured markup is a critical foundation for the future of search. Without the kind of data that voice, ML, & AI can understand, these emerging technologies won't do much to help. Don't just understand ontologies, taxonomies & schema... grok them.

Favorite things in general?

-- Favorite color: British Racing Green -- Favorite food: I'm a food explorer, I love trying things I've never had. -- If I wasn't a search professional, I'd be doing something that involved science & research. I've worked as an archaeologist in California & a paleontologist in Mongolia. Oh, I was also a paratrooper for special operations where I did PSYOP (which incidentally, initiated my passion for search engines -- long story)

What you want to be known for in the SEO space?

-- I was taught SEO formally by the inimitable Jenny Halasz -- I've moved away from pure SEO and have found that using my SEO skills to master onsite search, the measurement, optimization and the technologies behind such search platforms like Solr, Swiftype, Elasticsearch and more. -- While there are some amazing luminaries in SEO, I want to be known for making onsite search experiences better and more relevant to users.

To learn more about JP Sherman check out his LinkedIn profile and follow him on Twitter.

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series - feel free to nominate someone over here.


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