George explains how studying BSc Broadcast Media Technologies at Leeds Beckett University helped launch his career as an SEO account executive at a leading digital agency
How did you get your job?
I got my current job at Blueclaw through the university's Job Shop. I was working at another agency on a placement scheme when a full-time position came available at Blueclaw.
The Job Shop knew I was interested in SEO and digital marketing and put me forward for it straight away. After a two-week trial I was offered a full time position - I can't thank the Leeds Beckett Job Shop enough for their help.
What's a typical day like as an SEO account executive?
As my role has developed it has become more varied as I have picked up knowledge and interest in different areas.
My day could be anything from working onsite on the more technical side of SEO, making sure a client's site is search engine friendly, to performing keyword research or using Google Analytics (and other tools) to track the performance of clients' websites and spot gaps where they could gain more web traffic, keywords or conversions.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I love how SEO integrates with design and development, content and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to create an overarching strategy, it's especially interesting when you are working on a brand new website that you can see develop and grow over time.
The best thing about my positon is that I am surrounded by people with years of knowledge and expertise in the industry who I am able sponge up information from. I am encouraged to learn and am free to book in training sessions with colleagues if I want to learn new things.
What are the challenges?
Google and other search engines don't tell you how they precisely work (apparently, they don't know themselves) so because of that there is no step-by-step instruction manual, only industry best practice and experience. However, this does provide interesting opportunities for testing out new ideas.
Creatively we are sometimes limited by client budgets, and our more interesting content marketing ideas unfortunately have to be put aside for more realistic ones.
In what way is your degree relevant?
While SEO isn't related to broadcasting in the strictest sense, what I learnt during my degree has still proved very relevant. In my final year we had a module on digital marketing and branding, within which I first learnt about SEO.
The practical video production skills I learnt on the Broadcast Media Technologies course have allowed me to directly consult clients about video content, which then became part of their ongoing digital marketing strategy.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
My role developed quickly from being a purely outreach 'link-building' role into specialising in areas of SEO such as strategy, on-site SEO and local search.
Career-wise I would like to quickly move into a more senior position, before moving into a managerial position in the near future. I think I am good at working with people, I can identify where their interests and strengths lie, so I think I would be well suited to that role. E-commerce, retail and fashion is an area of interest so I would one day be interested in a move into branding or advertising, something that my background in digital marketing would be helpful for.
How do I get into SEO and digital marketing?
Read around the area, especially with SEO to get a feel for what it is, what the basic principles are, and how search engines work. Having an interest or understanding in marketing can be beneficial, as can knowledge of coding if you want to be part of technical SEO. Finally, get stuck in. Get yourself a blog or website and experiment, the more niche the better.