How I Got My First Job As An SEO Manager

Laurie is an SEO Manager for Orb a Digital Agency that specialises in ecommerce marketing.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most fascinating fields in digital marketing. It is also one of the fastest growing fields, as more companies realise they need professional help to improve their online presence.

SEO is charged with the responsibility of improving the position of a website for specific queries (known as keywords in SEO) on the search engine results page (SERP). SERP basically means the response a search engine like Google and Yahoo present a user who queries it. Therefore, a company hires SEO staff to ensure the website is served in the first few positions when a user searches for products or services it offers.

My Past Experience

I had been working as a content writer for about three years, creating SEO friendly content for the company website. At first, I would write articles based on a set of keywords provided by the SEO manager. Some of the content was published on the company’s website while other articles were sent to article submission directories as a link building strategy.

Later, my scope was enlarged, and I was charged with basic keyword research before writing articles. I learnt how to use keyword research tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find the best set of search phrases that users were searching for that were relevant to our company.

In three years, I had grown from a content writer depending on a set of keywords from my manager to a competent SEO writer who would conduct keyword research, write the articles, the titles and meta descriptions (meta descriptions are brief summaries of a page, and they appear below the title and page url when a page is served on search engines like Google). I also learnt where to add links to an article, and how to choose the best anchor texts (the set of words where a link is inserted).

I moved to another company where I worked for three years as a content writing team manager. This position brought with it the opportunity to learn about other tools used in the SEO industry like SearchMetrics, which reports a company’s position in search engines. I coordinated the team’s activities with guidance from the head of digital marketing, who offered insights about the company’s ranking and SEM (paid advertising) goals. That way, I would know areas the content team would work on to improve the company’s ranking for specific set of keywords. I discovered analytics tools like Google Analytics and the Search Console, where I would see clicks the website got, the source of clicks, and the phrases that brought us those clicks.  About two years later, the digital marketing manager left, and I was the acting manager for about six months until I got a job as SEO manager for another company.

The company that hired me was looking for someone with vast knowledge of SEO especially content creation to help in the company’s rebranding process. They were willing to offer me basic training in HTML through the IT department, so I could understand the technical SEO needs of the company. Since this company was depending on SEO only (organic, free traffic), not SEM (paid traffic), they allocated more money to SEO so we could hire SEO writers to work under me.

My Role as SEO Manager

This in-house SEO management job consisted of both task management and team management. My responsibilities were:

  • To assign tasks to the five members of my team based on the overall target of the day/week/month. Our first project was directory submissions to PR directories through press releases about the company’s rebranding.
  • To create and manage SEO and ecommerce SEO strategies. For instance, develop link building strategies, blogging schedules and site content clean-up schedules.
  • To undertake a continuous review of both on-site and off-site SEO strategies.
  • To co-ordinate collaborations between the offline marketing, PR and social media teams.

How to get into the SEO Industry

You need to start the process now and work your way to the top. There are so many resourceful websites such as SEOmoz and SearchEngineLand where you can find information about anything in SEO. If you are a good writer, look for a position as a content writer, or start your blog and utilise the lessons you learn from online SEO resources.

Your employer will be looking for several years of experience in the search engine optimisation industry, knowledge of content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, basic HTML skills and the ability to create sustainable and effective SEO strategies. Additionally, you will need proficiency in research, analytics and reporting tools like Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools), Google Analytics and Google Adwords.

If Laurie’s story inspired you why not read more ‘How I Started’ profiles? Or perhaps it’s time to up-skill with online training, get some work experience or start an internship by visiting our Finding A Job page.

About post author

Hello. My name is Lucy Smith. I recently quit my full-time Marketing Director role at a tech start-up in London, (after 13 years hard graft getting there), in favour of starting up on my own. Why? The journey from graduating with a 2:1 in Media and Cultural Studies to Marketing Director hasn't all been plain sailing, but is has been challenging and tremendous fun. A career path that I heartily recommend to anyone who will listen. Digital Marketing For Graduates is my brain-child. I'd like to give something back, as well as have the experience of starting my own business. I will give it my all. Provide and source the very best information I can, but I know I can't do it all alone. For Digital Marketing For Grads to evolve I will need some help. Please get in touch if you'd like to be part of the idea.
Posted in How I started