Seo agency

A day in the life of a SEO agency executive

My journey to becoming an SEO executive has spanned over 14 years, working at top agencies and optimizing for some of the world’s biggest brands. I also spent a few years working as an internal SEO in some mid-sized companies.

Today, I work at Acronym as a SEO SVP. I have been in the agency for 7 years and manage the global SEO team, which consists of over 20 SEO professionals in the United States, London, Singapore, Berlin and Canada.

Working in an agency can be both stimulating and rewarding.

I hope sharing the story of how I got to where I am today and what it means to be an SEO SVP will also help you on your own career path.

Getting started in SEO

I first discovered SEO and Internet Marketing in 2003 when I was completing my Masters in Internet Business from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Previously, I worked as a quality assurance specialist in the pharmaceutical industry, doing IT audit and validation. However, I was fascinated by the Internet so I decided to go back to school to find out more about the World Wide Web.

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I started my own pharmaceutical job site in 2006 and needed more traffic so I turned to an SEO company for help.

After seeing them optimize my site, I learned how interesting and complex it was. Fascinated to learn more, I was inspired to start doing more myself.

I landed a job as an SEO specialist at Digitgrit (now Zeta Interactive), built a successful SEO practice at Havas Media, and the rest is history.

A typical day in SEO leadership

As a senior executive at the agency, I do a lot of business development – lead pitches, create strategies, show how SEO works with other channels, for example.

I manage the team to ensure we have the right tools, resources, people, processes and services to manage clients and leads, in addition to generating thought leadership material.

I also read a lot to see what’s going on in the industry. It’s important to stay on top of other perspectives and new technologies when collaborating with global suppliers and international teams.

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My Masters in electronic commerce allowed me to acquire the bases of the functioning of the Internet. This has changed dramatically over the years, but I’ve learned that understanding the fundamentals will help you better understand and appreciate the history and backbone of how things are connected.

Being in the industry for so long has also taught me a lot, especially about working with international and domestic clients.

Finally, I also realized that you should always do your due diligence and dig deeper. Focus on big-ticket items and strategies that will drive business results.

Many agencies offer similar services. Why should a client go to your agency rather than the other 5-10 who are part of a call for tenders?

Always differentiate yourself. Listen to your customers and make sure you understand their goals and objectives, their challenges, their KPIs and what they hope to get out of an engagement.

Plan to show who does what and set realistic expectations early on so that there are no surprises later on i.e. things not getting implemented etc. Build compelling case studies and offer unique perspectives on SERP updates and changes.

Manage SEO challenges at the executive level

Managing SEO in a global agency is no easy task with clients and SEOs across time zones, different languages ​​and multiple in-game search engines, and more.

Prioritization, communication and strong processes are essential for success.

The ability to take into account cultural and linguistic differences, as well as determine which countries will offer the best return on investment, is essential.

Another challenge for leaders, especially at the corporate level, is that some clients have incredibly complex needs.

Someday you might be faced with a failed migration while working with a previous agency.

A new customer might lose a lot of traffic and revenue after being negatively affected by a major update.

You could work with limited resources, etc.

A client once insisted on using a whole bunch of keywords that were used within the company, but not by their audience. Educating the client on why it wasn’t a good idea was key, and it takes tact and people management skills.

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When working with the web developers that some brands employ, we are often forced to use techniques that go against common SEO wisdom and therefore workarounds must be found.

SEO basically has a fundamental approach – but each new customer brings their own twist to it.

That’s the beauty of working in an agency with strong leadership and an emphasis on training and education. This means that they frequently encounter challenges and are constantly developing solutions.

Find inspiration and thought leadership

The person I admire the most in the SEO community is Mike Grehan. Mike is a pioneer in space and a great visionary. He was talking 20 years ago about things that are happening now.

The other people I admire in the industry are Brian Dean from Backlinko. They offer amazing content and do awesome research studies.

I also have a lot of respect for Hamlet Batista, who has sadly passed away. I learned a lot from him in a short period of time and we had planned to meet up together.

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I am also a huge fan of Jim Boykin from Internet Marketing Ninjas.

I advise all SEO professionals to keep abreast of the latest technology. We live in a dynamic world where automation is key. There are some great platforms and solutions that make a lot of noise in the space and really help streamline the SEO process, so that we can focus more on strategy.

Evaluate them to see if they can help you achieve your KPIs internally and externally.

Also evaluate and test different methodologies to see what works to achieve overall business goals and most important of all, conversions.

If you don’t, it’s time to refocus. SEO is all about bringing qualified traffic to a site that converts into customers.

Don’t be afraid to fail and take on new challenges; it’s part of being innovative and well-balanced.

Do your own research. Try to gain as much experience as possible with paid research, programming, social media, and analytics, but don’t forget to develop your skills in leading a team as well. You have to see the big picture, because everything relates to the level of leadership.

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Tips for future leaders in the SEO industry

To be successful as an SEO manager, you need to be able to hire and build a strong team, listen and be receptive to feedback, and motivate people who have the potential to be rock stars in your business. business.

Provide a creative and consultative work environment, and set a clear path for your employees to advance their careers. Allow them to work on different accounts in various verticals to broaden their experience.

Always be humble and include your team to get their take on each issue, if that’s why they think traffic may be down, how to improve rankings, how we can win that pitch, etc.

No man is an island. A great leader is as good as the team he leads.

Also remember that the numbers don’t lie. Always show results and keep bringing innovative ideas to customers and prospects, even if they seem silly.

If you want to rise through the ranks, you must also be able to demonstrate how your leadership translates into business results.

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Keep working on this plan to grow new business over 20% year over year, earn extra revenue from existing customers by offering new services, think creatively, and be ready to prove it.

Plus, if you get the chance to write a column for the research industry’s most prestigious publication, definitely go for it.

Being an SEO executive for a leading agency can be a rewarding career. It not only offers longevity, but also all of the rewards that come with helping colleagues grow in their careers and clients achieve their KPIs year after year.

If you had to pick just a few key areas to advance your SEO career, I would say these are the ‘secrets’ to my success:

  • Always hire the best talent.
  • Collaborate with your team.
  • Never be afraid to try new ideas.
  • Stay up to date with the latest technology.
  • Try out different optimization tactics and strategies yourself.
  • Read industry publications and follow thought leaders in space.
  • Be innovative and strive to stand out from your competition.

More resources:

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Featured Image: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff