About

Jake Ratliff

Hello

My name is Jake Ratliff, and I live and work in North Carolina. Thanks for taking the time to visit my site 🙂

My Work

I’ve worked in the digital marketing industry since early 2012. I started out as an SEO analyst and then did pay-per-click advertising for a few years before returning to SEO.

I was interested in the feedback-rich workflow of PPC, where one seemingly tiny change could reverberate through an ad account. I enjoyed managing those ecosystems of data. I also learned a lot about analytics, and how to create events/conversions for tracking.

It was also during that time, around 2014, I learned Javascript1 in order to automate my ad campaigns.

Building programs to solve real life work problems was crucial to my growth in this industry. Once I felt like a Javascript Jedi (in fact I was not) I began full-stack web application development as a hobby, using Node.js in the backend.

The process of building websites gave me a deeper understanding of all the things that make them tick. I began to see websites as information environments instead of a collection of landing pages, and became interested in how site architecture and templating can be leveraged for organic wins. While I enjoyed pay-per-click and learned a lot about keyword research, this more holistic understanding of websites led me to transition back into the SEO field.

Along the way I began developing in Python, primarily for automation, data collection (usually public HTML and APIs), and data parsing.

I learned Python in a fraction of the time I learned Javascript. I owe that in part to the fact that I already knew what to look for, being my second language, but also to Python’s syntactic clarity.

I have to imagine that the way I was using Python also was a factor. I wasn’t trying to make a few perfect things, but a lot of okay things: skill comes from iteration.

The results of my programmatic data work, all done in Python (with occasional Javascript execution as needed for interaction), has been featured in Travel & Leisure, Business Insider, AskMen, and CNBC.

I’ve written bots that live in Twitter, GroupMe, and elsewhere. I’ve published two Chrome extensions (URList and wikiPic). My website Quizzly.co was a finalist for Joyent’s Node and Docker Innovation Award in 2016.

Places I go on the Internet

Let’s connect on:

profile for Jake 1986 on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

Daisy

This little pup has brought me so much joy over the past 9 years.

daisy dog
daisy

Notes

1. Javascript was my first language but I don’t recommend it for beginners. Python is easier to learn, in my opinion, because it is more human readable. Javascript was well suited for my task at the time and it endures as the language of web browsers, so I still use it. And then there is Atwood’s Law, which has proven to be accurate: If any application can be written in Javascript, it will eventually be written in Javascript. [Return to where this note is referenced]