Carl Ashfield takes us through a day in the life of a trainee Technical SEO Executive.
So here I am, sat at my desk figuring out what to write about after I specifically said in my interview that I couldn't write a blog post if my life depended on it!
I've been given the task to write about how I’ve found my first three weeks of office life at ClickThrough Marketing. I don't want to delve too much into it, but before entering the world of SEO and digital marketing, I spent most of my life working on construction sites and railway tracks. So, working in an office is a little different to what I am used to.
See, SEO was a hobby awhile back, but it became more of a passion of mine and something I really wanted to do. Even though I'm 32 this year - and no, it's not an early midlife crisis - I needed to make a career change now before it was too late and these past few months of reading and learning got put to waste.
So I thought I'd share with you how I'm finding it and what obstacles I've faced so far.
Remember back at school, in I.T. class when the teachers tried to push Excel training on you, but you just didn't want to know? Well, I just wish I could borrow Doc’s car from Back To The Future and go back to those lessons.
Since becoming a Technical SEO Executive, I’ve quickly learnt that SEO is not just about pulling key phrases from the keyword planner, creating a piece of content and firing lots of links at them. Yes, I know there was a recent article about Content and Links being the top ranking factors, and content and links are really important, but there’s more to SEO than that.
Technical SEO goes a little deeper and this is where Excel comes into play.
What I've learnt is that there's a lot of data collecting to be done. At the start, I never knew anything about Excel formulas such as =vlookups and =countifs etc. Now… well, I know a little more!
So my advice for anybody that's getting started in SEO would be to learn a little bit of Excel and get comfortable navigating your way around a spreadsheet. Trust me, you'll be extracting a lot of data from site scanning tools, and these skills will stand you in good stead.
Oh, and another thing while we're touching on the Excel subject – save everything!
My second day in the office, I was asked to download Search Queries from Google Search Console and put the data into Excel. Five hours later, don't ask me how? But I lost the lot and had to start all over again. It was a valuable lesson!
Another thing I'm starting to realise since becoming a Technical SEO Executive is that we're more like mechanics. We take your website, open up its bonnet and take a look at what's really going on inside.
A bit like servicing your car, we dig deep into the engine and other parts to find any faults that are going on in your website.
We even have our very own tool box, but we don't own any spanners or tubs of grease. We use a lot of online tools to test different criteria of your website.
For example - we use crawlers that search every page on your website to check if you have broken links, redirects, duplicate titles and meta descriptions etc. We also need to check the Robots.txt file, sitemaps and also the page speed of your website. Is it mobile friendly too? That is now an important ranking factor.
You wouldn't want to drive off into the sunset if you knew the mechanic had told you that there were faults in the car. The same applies with SEO. There is no point starting an SEO campaign unless you are prepared to fix all the technical errors and issues on your site - because you will never set off into that sunset.
I actually thought that I knew quite a bit about SEO before I joined ClickThrough, but as it turns out I didn’t really know that much. Since being taken on as a trainee Technical SEO Executive, I've learnt the value of understanding the basic tools, such as Excel.
I'm also starting to realise that it helps to have a little HTML and CSS knowledge, as it helps when analysing web page source codes. I'm in the process of learning it myself over at Codecademy.
One thing I do know is that I'm in good hands here at ClickThrough. I work with an amazing team of digital marketers, content writers and web designers, so I'm learning a lot on a wide range of topics.
So wish me luck as I strap on my self-lacing boots and continue to embark on an exciting digital marketing journey.