What is it like to work in the world of SEO, that most mythologised of marketing disciplines?
Aaron Barefoot, SEO Account Manager at Threepipe, reveals all.
Before you spend a day in Aaron’s life, check out the Econsultancy jobs board if you’re currently in the market for a change.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I am an SEO Account Manager at an integrated agency. I lead up SEO campaigns for great brands and help to improve their online visibility, rankings and overall site health.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
As an Account Manager, I report to the Director of Digital, preparing reports, sharing insight into new advances and developments within SEO and also assisting in creating pitches for potential new clients.
Currently I manage two executives who support me on the day-to-day running of my accounts.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Organisation is key for SEO and so there are several things we do in order to stay on top of what is going on. Alongside weekly team meetings, we create roadmaps for each client that plan out the next six months of activity so we can always look at our overall objectives and ensure that we’re staying on track to achieve these.
Understanding data and finding solutions to problems will also get you a long way. It helps to see patterns in the results you are achieving which provide learnings for future campaigns to ensure we are always improving and staying ahead of the game.
This usually requires help from software as well as manually looking at things such as source code. With SEO, two days are rarely the same and as a result, being a quick learner is very helpful.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Preparing and monitoring your workload is a big part of my job. A typical day will involve working across multiple accounts and clients, working on anything from site audits to keyword research and reporting our findings.
Most days are fun and allow you to be creative as you have the freedom to generate ideas for websites, blogs or interactive installations and look at new and exciting ways to drive real results for your clients.
The majority of concepts are data-driven and our ideas stem from there. An example of this is the micro-site we made for Panasonic’s 4K television campaign: this went on to become one of the highest ranking pages for “4K TV” and further helped solidify them as a brand around this term.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love the creative side allowed in the role, from producing cool microsites to researching new content pieces for great and exciting brands.
It’s fun, always changing and lets you step back from the data to look at elements such as design and creativity. What sucks? Losing rankings to a competitor!
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Goals usually revolve around rankings and the ROI associated with those. For example, for a key retail client we placed strong generics on the first page which resulted in a 21% year on year lift in organic traffic.
Typically we measure impressions, clicks and sessions driven to key categories or products.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
My favourite tool would be either SEMrush or ahrefs – both give great insights and provide thorough detail around the keywords that each individual client has an opportunity to rank for.
In particular, the ahrefs new keyword explorer tool is fantastic and lets us really gain an understanding into how people behave when they are searching for certain products.
The tools gives a breakdown of how often people click a result, how likely they are to search for that result again and other useful information that allows us to make much smarter and well-informed decisions for our campaigns.
How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?
I started off as a copywriter for SME websites and slowly started to learn about SEO. Before Spot Digital integrated with Threepipe I was working as an SEO exec however, since joining my role has diversified and given me great exposure to other channels, in particular PPC and PR.
It’s also allowed me to work for some fantastic household-name brands.
Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
I think Lush do some great work online. They create a lot of unique content and really have an ethos and message which is unique for an ecommerce site.
Vice are also doing digital well. They share fantastic video content and show a real understanding of who their target consumer is.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?
A lot of it comes down to interest, there are a million outlets and great websites that talk about digital and it’s important to constantly stay informed. For me, Twitter is a great resource for news and updates.