Why I LOVE Working with People New to SEO
When I first started working agency side in SEO, I was over the moon with how much I was learning. I was working at Tecmark in a team led by one of the best SEO brains I’ve ever had the opportunity to pick and was learning something brand new every single day. The longer you spend in this industry, the more you realise that this daily learning is something that continues long after those first few intense months or even years.
But I was also fortunate enough to be working at an agency that was absolutely open to newbies putting their own stamp on things, getting their own ideas out there and taking their own independent approach to search. That gave me the perfect combination of guidance and freedom that kept me not only in the industry, but still today with the same agency.
A few years on and I’m now Head of Search at that agency, building a growing team of search professionals I’m genuinely over the moon to work with. We have a great mixture of senior SEO talent and experience and some awesome emerging talent in the junior roles as well.
It’s always critical, of course, to ensure you have enough senior talent to impart experience, technical knowledge and guidance on more junior members of the team. But we’ve found consistently that this experience is complemented so perfectly by genuinely excited, enthusiastic people new to SEO.
We currently have a couple of people in the team who, a year ago, had never done SEO. But these are guys now learning (under the close guidance of seniors) at an incredible rate.
Of course, a more junior agency role is a great route into the industry for someone new to it. It is, in fact, the only way in to an agency (unless you happen to have a kick ass personal/freelance portfolio). But we get just as much out of this as the guys in those roles.
I LOVE working alongside people who are new to SEO. They bring so much to the table.
We recruit juniors based on:
- Knowledge of search engines, how they work and, more importantly, what role they play for businesses looking to drive new customers online
- Any transferable skills (e.g. journalism/copywriting or web dev skills)
- A genuine enthusiasm and desire to get into the industry
- A natural aptitude for learning
The last two are, without doubt, make or break attributes.
On that basis, what we have consistently found is that our juniors bring an amazing amount to the team:
- Enthusiasm: Unrivalled. When something is new and novelty, there’s a certain spring in the step that comes with it. And this enthusiasm transfers itself into the work they do. It improves creativity and productivity.
- A healthy lack of cynicism: Every single time I see an infographic now, I immediately go and check how many instances got published online and therefore how successful a piece of link bait it was. I do that before I even read into the data or appreciate the content. That has its benefits of course. It’s good to know what’s working in link bait. But it stops me, as a web user, from simply enjoying the content first and working out why it exists later. With junior SEOs, this level of ‘content cynicism’ is not present. They take web content at face value. They’re not judging whether an infographic or a piece of content is good based on how many links it generated. They decide based on quality and appeal alone. This makes it easier for them to just create awesome content or at least come up with awesome content ideas based on what pushes their buttons and not what they think will build links. Combine this genuine love of web content with a more ‘objective driven’ approach to content and you have all the assets you need to create great content ideas that have the potential to actually generate links/social shares/traffic.
- New ideas: It’s our job, in this industry, to be coming up with new ideas continually. But you tend to find that those who’ve not done much SEO before come up with different ideas and approach problems from a different angle. This is invaluable in an industry as fast moving and changing as ours
- They ask questions: Those who are new to SEO tend to ask types of questions that those with more experience don’t. And in answering those questions, it means those more senior members of our team are consistently reminded of the reasons they’re doing things. Sometimes, a question from a more junior member of the team can be the catalyst for a series of other questions that lead to us actually changing how we’re doing something or finding a better way to approach something. And a search team that doesn’t ask any questions of themselves or their colleagues is a sorry state of affairs, indeed. We should be questioning everything all the time. It’s a good way to improve.
I love working with the members of our team who are new to SEO. I love hearing their take on things, listening to ideas and working with them to develop those ideas into something actionable that will have a direct benefit for our clients.