Today I’m posting the summary notes from my session at this year’s BrightonSEO. I hope you enjoy them, the topic is certainly one dear to my heart and I can honestly say how refreshing it was to be asked to speak on a topic that wasn’t directly SEO itself.
Thanks to Kelvin and the conference team for putting on yet another stellar conference.
How to Be a Better SEO
Our industry is perhaps one of the fastest evolving, most exciting industries to belong to on the planet. I’ve travelled to 6 different countries in the past 2 months, and met with search marketers in all of them. Something that they all have in common is their drive, enthusiasm and love of their art.
SEO takes a long time to master. Its breadth and depth as a marketing discipline is, enormous. The requirement for us to learn and stay on top of new developments is no small ask, and it takes long hours to keep your knowledge fresh.
Before we continue, I want to tell you a little about me first. SEOgadget is the result of the incredibly hard work of the good people that belong to my team. We’ve grown from 1 member of staff in August 2010, to 14 today. My purpose is to lead my company towards our goals. My mission is to build and maintain the fastest growing SEO, inbound marketing agency establishing ourselves with an international presence within 4 years. I’m proud of our achievements to date, but it couldn’t happen without a clear understanding of what we want to achieve as a team.
To make this possible, I’ve spent a lot of my time thinking about the attributes, the qualities of what makes for a successful SEO consultant. To me, it’s far from being just about the skills, learning keyword research, building links, making technical recommendations, understanding content marketing, using Excel, coding – these are things that the right people can learn if and when they choose to.
To me, better SEOs have something special about them. Today, I’m not going to show you more Excel queries, share link building tips or talk about log file analysis. If you want to learn more about those things you can Google them. I’d like to talk a little more honestly about some of the key attributes I’ve observed in my peers, and more specifically, what you should do if you want to be a better SEO.
- Decide what your goal is. If you can’t, set your first goal to decide on what your goals should be
- Get a mentor – or find someone your respect and copy them
- Don’t be happy with just “ok” – if you don’t love it, it isn’t ready
- Learn entrepreneurial spirit, develop new products and processes
- Learn how to pitch yourself, you owe this to your hard work to date
- Always seek the simplest, most elegant way to communicate – you are your own product
- Understand the perception people have of you. Is it the one you want?
- Be curious and always ask, why?
- Learn something new once a week. That’s how you stay relevant, permanently
- Decide you want to be successful in whatever you do
- Keep every positive piece of feedback you receive in a folder. Dwell on how you could improve in each of those situations instead of patting yourself on the back
- Don’t accept that how you’re doing something now is the norm, it’s already out of date
- Be totally responsible for yourself – don’t ever let your boss have to manage you. If you’re doing well, you’re slowly making them redundant
- Realise that the second you walk through the office door, you’re on stage. Act like the best person you can be even when you feel like crap
- Rehearse everything. It’s what makes the difference between ok and awesome
- Take yourself outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis
- Make yourself indispensable, learn a specialism
- Learn how to spot good people, their strengths and their weaknesses
- Realise when you’re distracted and learn to refocus yourself
- Build your own website. What SEO doesn’t have a decent website?
- Pitch for the job you want – if you’re nailing the job you have all you have to is demonstrate a solid understanding of the job you want
- Learn to sell anything and everything
- Care about what you do and show it – people will want to teach you everything else
- Always follow up even if you have to stay up all night to do it
- Know your figures all of them, and know them better than your team
- Communicate your successes regularly
- If you want to learn leadership, learn that leadership comes from certainty and confidence
- Understand what being a consultant really means – you’re an authority, and you’re independently able to learn everything you need to survive without asking your boss
- Work towards making things a little bit better, every day
I’d just like to thank you all for listening, and I wish you all the best of luck in becoming a better SEO.