Case study

Head of search (SEO) — Jennifer

Gaining experience in a digital agency helped Jennifer achieve her ambition of becoming a creative marketer. Discover what she loves about her role

What steps did you take to get your job?

In my first job I worked as a junior content writer, learning to update a Content Management System (CMS) and write simple code. After working in a few contract roles I moved to the agency world, where I was propelled into the fundamentals of analysis and online consumer behaviour.

The agency supported my training and growth and encouraged me to build on my knowledge. I also took Google qualifications, which are a good accolade on my CV.

After a few years gaining knowledge and climbing the ranks in an agency, I moved back to a client-side role and into my current role as head of search.

What do you do day-to-day?

My day involves reading up on the industry to keep abreast of changes, discover new techniques and keep an eye on competitors. I also look at new ways to adapt our strategy to best suit market changes and continually work to ensure we offer the best user experience.

The work also involves a fair amount of maths when analysing the traffic. However, it's also about finding the latest crazes and developing content ideas, which means I spend a lot of time looking at what's trending on social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love being kept on my toes. I also love reading and learning about changes in user behaviour as well as rising to the challenge of Google algorithm changes. I get the most joy from brainstorming about content marketing campaigns and discovering what other brands are doing to engage their audiences, which can be anything from a viral video about cats to a fully-functioning interactive tool.

What are the most challenging parts?

For me, it's analysing a drop in traffic or ranking that doesn't have an obvious answer - it's basically trial and error. Analysis and research can be time consuming and challenges arise when no obvious answer is present, or Google suddenly implements an algorithm change with no announcement.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Although my degree is not directly related, I found that my humanity subjects helped me to develop analytical skills and understand user behaviour in a way that delves deeper than crunching numbers.

How has your role developed?

SEO and all online strategic endeavours are incredibly fluid and so you tend to grow as the industry grows and in many cases are obliged to change as Google changes. I am still learning because the industry is continuously changing.

What advice would you give to others?

My advice would be to run your own blog and have examples of how your site gets traffic and engagement.

I also recommend targeting the agencies for jobs as they have a wealth of knowledge and encourage you to push yourself. You also get the support from the colleagues around you as well as gaining an understanding of the other digital disciplines (PPC, content marketing and display) along the way.

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