I bagged my first SEO job! I need your help to navigate through some challenges as I'm the only SEO guy as of now in the team
I recently got hired as SEO Associate at a tech start-up that provides one of the leading platforms here for students aspiring for overseas education.
They have got a mobile app, wherein the student community is actively using the various tools and services. They have recently introduced paid 1:1 consultation for students. To improve signup for this service is one the top goals.
They recently decided to build a dedicated team for SEO as the website content performance is poor compared to competitors. I am the first guy they've hired for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but I have got no industry experience. They are planning to hire an other experienced SEO professional and interns for content. But until then I'm on my own and feel a bit overwhelmed.
Will appreciate any and all inputs as to how should I go about work. What are the key things I need to focus on? What should be the priority of tasks? Key performance parameters to be monitored and how to evaluate it? Any other helpful input will be cherished! :)
TLDR: Only SEO guy in the marketing team, with no industry experience. Need help with how should I go about work.
Are you brand new to SEO? I'm happy to give some insight on managing tasks, but your questions sound like someone who might be aggressively under qualified for the position.
I'm familiar with SEO, it's just that I haven't worked on an actual project. I just completed a Digital Marketing training course from one of the better institutes in my city. While there I worked on a couple of SEO course projects for assigned brands, but didn't actually execute it. So, the only evaluation of the work is my trainer's review, according to whom it was good. I am apt with keyword research and tried my hands at the tools. I'm also familiar with other aspects of SEO. Also, I try to learn as much as I can from some credible resources online. But I would love insights from someone who's been in the industry for some time. So, I can have some direction. If you can help out, it would be a great favor for a novice like me :)
Of course. The biggest thing is to make sure the company has realistic expectations—both about you and about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Hopefully, you let them know you're new at it, so they're understanding what they're getting.
Beyond that, SEO is a long game. Anything that is actually going to work for the long haul is going to take a lot of time. Many times people don't communicate this to their clients, which creates problems down the road. If they come to you in a month or two wanting results, trying to explain this to them then sounds like excuses.
So, make sure to set clear and realistic expectations now.
As for metrics, figure out the keywords they want to rank for and where they're at now. Start tracking those and look for growth. You can look at a ton of other metrics, but it really all boils down to how you're ranking for keywords that matter.
• Do you have a strategy in mind to help them grow?
• Have they laid out their expectations clearly?
• What size company is this?
• Are they knowledgeable about SEO?
• What sort of tasks are they expecting from you? Are you doing this full time for them?
• Is there a budget outside of paying you?
• How competitive is the niche?
Yes, I agree with you about setting rational goals and working consistently to achieve the same.
The company has got a bit ambitious goal to achieve over next 6 months. But they are planning to invest for all the required resources and to get experienced guys onboard.
Also, they are knowledgeable about SEO, as until now they were optimising the content as much as they could. They saw some improvements in traffic but not much.
The niche is highly competitive, but our website has already got a great deal of content but not optimised very well. There are content pages on the SERP 1 and they do bring in decent amount of traffic for their keywords.
I am planning to optimise the existing content on site and thus, try to improve the ranking for same. Hopefully this can help improve traffic count.
Also, the other issue was that close to 50% of organic traffic that we pull is through branded keywords. So, a lot traffic for informational and other keywords goes to our competitors which we would like to capture.
Yes, it is extremely important for you to set realistic expectations with your company. This cannot be over-stated. I've worked with many teams who hear about SEO and think it is a silver-bullet to their traffic issues and they don't understand that SEO takes a lot of time to bear fruit, there is no guarantee, and also that a healthy site should have a good mix of organic, direct, referral, and paid traffic.
I also don't know who is downvoting the comments below that are questioning if you're qualified for this position because those are totally fair questions. They may sound brutal but it does seem like something went wrong during the matchmaking process.
• Find out what content your competitors are ranking for
• Copy their content, making it better, using a professional copywriter or industry expert author, adding images/videos
• Build links to above content
Thanks, this strategy is similar to Brian Dean's Skyscraper Technique. I found it very intriguing. Will surely keep this in mind and this seems like a logical way to go. To reverse engineer the currently ranking sites for our target keywords and accordingly try to improve each element of our own.
Can you help me out with link building? Like how do you research the domains to get links from? How do you reach out to them? How does it usually works out? And does the industry practices differ for different niches/countries?
Yes, almost all new guys in SEO meet the Skyscraper Technique as the first step
Others have already given you some advice, so here are a few action items that I'd suggest looking into:
• First things first, run an SEO audit
• See if there are any basic things the website is missing out on, e.g., meta content, broken links, lack of internal links, subdomains, crawl issues, etc. As there was no SEO ever in the company, there might be more than a few issues.
• Form a plan with deadline, subtasks, etc, to fix any issues you find.
• Analyze competitors and see what they are doing: how are they driving traffic, what keywords are they targeting, what are their top pages (and why), etc.
• Do a thorough keyword research
• Think about the ideal infrastructure for the website and the new pages you'll be adding, based on your keyword research.
• Install Google Analytics. Verify Google Search Console party, and connect the two services.
• Set up Google Analytics filters / views, conversion goals, etc.
• Start creating keyword-focused SEO content
• Work on a content promotion and backlink plan
Thank you! :) I'll reference this as I start the work.
Also, if it's fine can I PM you later if I'm stuck with something specific?!
Are you working for PF? Because I am negotiating with them on a Consulting project which seems like a pretty similar situation. Small world if yes, lol..
Shoot whatever queries you might have.
Nah, I'm out here in India xD Though hopefully may our paths cross at some other better junction
Anyway, can you help with Competitor Audit? Like how do you approach it? What parameters you analyse? What tools do you use? And how do use the insights from it to guide the further strategy?
• Sit down with your product head/Founder and understand the product to decide on the broad ideas/keywords for your website
• Ask him/her about some of the competitors
• Use the broad keywords to figure out the top players that rank for these keywords. Use Google Search, SEMrush, Ahrefs for this
• Create a list of 20-25 websites that hit the top results
• Classify these into Product competitors and Content competitors. This is necessary, as your product competitors may not always create the best content
• Note dow the top pages from each of these websites (depending on the content capacity)
• Start analyzing their keywords, and how you can potentially create something better
• Outreach to the websites who have previously given links to those 20-25 websites, and acquire links from them
Hope this helps!
People are dropping good advice in here already. The main thing I would add is that do not underestimate the importance of content quality. Your success in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will substantially depend on whether you can correctly identify the search intent for a given keyword, and then reliably deliver the best piece of content that answers that particular search intent. Depending on how competitive the keyword is, "best" can be a very high standard or a very easy one.
Yes, thanks! That's a significant aspect which I'll try to be mindful of
Can you please let me know how do you go about this? Like gauging the search intent and then accordingly planning a quality content piece.
Any example or resource would be appreciated :)
Use WordPress if possible. Install Google Analytics (GA) / Google Search Console (GSC) Use Rank Math, not Yoast.. Map out the target audience. Outline your site map structure with keyword research. Don't skip out on interlinking opportunities. Post Content Regularly (in large batches of you can) Use fresh content and unique images. Routinely run the website through screaming frog. Use a cheap Content Delivery Network (CDN), Browser Cache, and IMG optimizer.
Increasing sign-ups will be more likely to happen if you run brand awareness campaigns once everything else is done. A really really good commercial-style video will go a long way with the right keywords.
Nothing will happen fast, results will vary. The longer it takes for focused efforts to take hold, the more likely it is that you're targeting competitive audience.
Don't ever lose hope, all of your efforts matter.
It sounds like you have a massive workload ahead and other tasks that you need to prioritize first before focusing any work on my recommendations. But here are two things that will need to be looked at down the line as there's only so much you can do internally.
• increasing the efficiency/speed of your website. This is a double edged sword because you'll end to chasing the white whale on this one. You didn't mention any coding experience but it will be needed to some degree. Increasing the speed can come from deferring image loading, to changing the format of the images,swutching from gifs to videos etc.
Don't get caught up constantly trying to find ways to get that 1 point increase though.
2) once you've done everything you can internal. Like the sites Meta information, keyword scoring etc you need to do what you can to increase link juice. Healthy links from external sites are worth more points than internal links. This becomes harder to do because this means your need other people on other sites linking to your site
For SEO audit Check website speed for desktop and for mobile Broken links Meta tags missing/ coppied Content Spam / copied Toxic links Website design/ functionality Mobile friendly Image Alt text Check if jss/Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) file no minify Sitemap Robots.txt Call to action buttons and lines Interlinking Schema/ microdata and all.