Thursday, 4 April 2013

SEO Job Hunting Advice - Learn from my Experience


I've recently been looking at moving further into Search Engine Optimisation as a career choice. I have digital marketing experience and am currently a web editor, but I'd like to really get into SEO and become more of an expert in the area to really focus my career on one subject. And it’s the sort of thing I’ll get obsessed with, which is good (I think!) Only problem is I don’t have any experience. Which is where the ‘entry level’ jobs come in. They give graduates and others with less experience the chance to join a company with a structured training scheme provided.

So I had a successful application for an Account Assistant last week, but unfortunately I didn’t get the job. However, I had to do an initial interview and also a second interview as a 20 minute presentation with Q&A, which both went well and I learned a load on the way. So here are the main points I noticed from the process, for future reference for myself and also others looking to get into search marketing with little experience.

Be able to show passion for all things digital. The interviewers loved the fact that I’m active on social media, I blog about things I love, and have taken it into my own hands to keep up to date with the latest developments in digital marketing. It really does create great conversation, and shows that you are willing to learn about the area you’re attempting to work in off your own back.

Be as technical as possible. I’d always been interested in SEO, but the first interview was a disaster when it came to the technical side of things. Although the jobs are entry level, you should always be able to demonstrate knowledge of the important parts of the industry such as the terms used, the tools used and the influential figures.

Keep ROI in mind at all times. This point was made clear to me by the lovely folk at the SEO Hangout Panel community on Google+ who have helped me out a hell of alot recently! ROI is really important. After all the main goal of an agency is to generate profit for their clients. So all your discussion about SEO should bear ROI in mind. One of the challenges I had was to explain how social media & brand awareness has a measurable impact on ROI, but that’s a matter for a separate post entirely!

Know what to measure and how. This relates to the last point. I think if there was one thing about my presentation that wasn’t so strong, it was the measurables. I concentrated a lot on the on-page optimisation, keywords and link building, but not enough on reporting metrics. Yes I would increase the amount of long-tail keywords ranked for, but how would I communicate the effectiveness of these to the client? And also the cost. Obviously I had no idea of the clients budget, but it would have helped to even have a guess at the budget and predict some figures, to show a more analytical mindset too. This excellent article by Raven Tools is helpful for reporting metrics.

Incentives. Incentives! I completely missed this one out. If you’re creating a link building strategy, this should always be a big one. I mentioned it not once, until I was asked and couldn’t answer properly. Why would people want to take the time to link to the site in question? And it’s not always money...

So keep these in mind when applying for SEO. I know I will on my continued job hunt... and I’m sure I’ll be able to add many more points to this list in the near future!

firebug, screaming frog, google drive, SEO quake, Raven tools
This was the last slide of my presentation; a list of the SEO tools I'd used to audit the site. 

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