What I’ve learnt in my first three months in the SEO industry

By Ray Saddiq
October 15, 2020

So, let me set the scene… I was just finishing uni, I had a few weeks to hand in my dissertation whilst working full time, and BOOM! Covid-19 enters. I was furloughed from work, uni closed, and I had to unfortunately put my business plans on hold.

In-between research for my last assignments and dissertation (and call of duty), I had found myself with loads of free time. I decided to use this time to apply for some roles and to be completely honest: I had no idea where to start.

I have predominantly worked in social media and influencer marketing; I have helped peers and friends by consulting mostly on Facebook or Instagram whilst at uni. I have a big interest in all things digital and social. However, I could not find any roles locally that matched that, so I started searching for broader digital marketing roles. As fate would have it, I came across the Junior SEO Executive role with Evergreen’s careers.

I never shook hands in the interview!

I had very minimal knowledge about SEO when I applied and did not even think I would get a reply back, but a day later I received a call from Aaron, and we arranged an interview. But this was all as lockdown restrictions were getting tighter so I had to complete my interviews virtually.

Immediately from the first interview I could see that Aaron was a real expert in SEO and he could tell I did not know much, so he gave me a challenge to complete his SEO course on the Evergreen website. From the first video I was hooked. I ended up reading everything around the topics in the course, emailing over a million questions and fast forward; I ended up getting the job and started working remotely.

I have joined a very enthusiastic and welcoming team. The only downside was I did not get to meet anyone in person for a month whilst working remotely. Considering everything happening with the pandemic, I consider myself very blessed to have been offered the opportunity to work at such an amazing agency with a varied client mix. I have already learnt so much and am looking forward to the future in this team.

Social vs SEO

My first few months at Evergreen have really taught me the difference between social and SEO. It’s a completely different game to what I have imagined, but I am enjoying learning more about the digital world everyday.

Here’s some of the key things I have learnt already from immersing myself in the team, clients and agency knowledge:

–    It can take a few months for things to make a difference on Google
–    Data is so important for any decision
–    Jumping on the current “hype’’ is not as effective in SEO as it is on social media; it’s all about relevancy
–    Keep things simple and imagine what you would do if Google wasn’t there

Onboarding and trying different skills

The team and work environment totally blew my expectations. I was expecting a corporate environment, but it was so different. Everyone is very sociable here, and we have all been out for so many meals together already that I feel as if I have known everyone for years.

During my time at Evergreen I have had the chance to work in different departments across the agency. The onboarding process and chance as a junior to work on different tasks and areas of SEO really appealed to me. This so far has included digital PR, content, technical and strategy. I have learnt tonnes more than I could have expected already in this way. I have enjoyed and excelled most in the technical and strategy elements of SEO, and definitely see my future in these departments.

From working across these different departments, I have uncovered some really cool tools that help my day-to-day, and that I wanted to share for anyone else starting out in their SEO career:

For anything SEO, I swear by Ahrefs and SEMRush.

For Digital PR, Buzzstream and Vuelio have helped me form relationships and generate relevant links.

For Content, AnswerThePublic has helped me with keywords and topic research for clients.

For technical SEO, I would struggle without ScreamingFrog.

I’m now receiving weekly training from George -our head of SEO at Evergreen – which has honestly been so helpful. Just having someone there who can teach me and advise me on everything within the industry is invaluable. With George’s mentorship I’m sure I am going to understand SEO inside out in no time and continue to progress. This 1-2-1 time and personal development emphasis is something I probably wouldn’t get in a bigger agency, and it’s something I am hugely grateful for.

My advice to anyone starting in SEO

If I were to give some advice to anyone brand new to SEO or the industry… there’s always something new to learn. I can already see how much digital marketing is changing and evolving as I spend more time with my colleagues.

For me, this is really exciting, it means that even in 5+ years, there will be a new tool, or way of doing something that I can learn. With every new Google update comes challenges and changes to how agencies, and professionals in the industry respond for our clients’ best success, so it’s evolving all the time.

For someone looking for a starting point, I would recommend Aaron and Evergreen’s SEO training course. I know it sounds biased as I now work here, but to get a basic knowledge of key SEO areas undoubtedly helped me in my interview and from day one on the job.

If you’re looking to start your SEO career like Ray, or are interested in a variety of link-building, digital PR or content roles with Evergreen, visit our careers section and get in touch.

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