We had a chat with Chris Smith, who tells us more about what it’s like to work as an SEO & Content Executive here at Code Computerlove.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I took an unusual route into SEO. I wanted to be a professional drummer when I was younger, but changed my mind – probably wise given the decline of the music industry. I thought finance or politics might be for me and studied those at uni. In the end, I chose to do something completely different!
The PR and social media skills I’d developed while running my band got me my first job. I started off working in social media at the Guardian and was then asked to start programming their digital media conferences. And after a while I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be a journalist for them, covering the digital media and marketing industry. After that, I quite fancied trying my hand at SEO. I’d heard of Code previously and was aware that it worked with some great brands, so I decided to apply for a role here.
So, what does a SEO and Content Marketing Executive do all day?
I’m lucky enough to enjoy a mix of quite technical tasks as well as quite creative tasks day to day. SEO is divided into what the industry calls ‘on-page SEO’, the technical stuff, and ‘off-page SEO’, content marketing tasks which are a bit more creative. For example, I might spend a morning diagnosing technical issues on a clients’ website which could prevent Google from discovering its content. Then in the afternoon, I could be copywriting or working on creative content ideas with the aim of acquiring backlinks to their sites. That’s the ‘off-page’ and content marketing stuff. All this is interspersed with keyword research, web analytics monitoring, user journey mapping, making UX recommendations, managing paid media and more. But given the diversity of work coming through the agency, we actually get to interact with lots of other disciplines and do less traditional SEO tasks too.
I’ve come to realise that, to fit into a content role you need more than creative skills – analytical and strategic skills are a huge part of it too, and my knowledge in these areas grew a lot from day 1.
What does the technical side of the job involve?
We’re always looking at the ways users are interacting with our clients’ websites. We take data from Google Analytics to understand which pages are the most popular and how people are navigating around the site. We also use a load of SEO tools to diagnose issues and make recommendations to improve the site based on search engine ranking factors. I’ll then work with the web developers to implement those recommendations.
And what are you working on at the minute?
A large proportion of my time is spent working on improving the visibility of the brother.co.uk website in search engines. As well as improving their backlink profile, we’re making lots of layout and copy changes to their site, improving lead generation and conversions on the site and working on content marketing campaigns for them. It’s all part of helping Brother diversify its business into IT services from its traditional roots as a hardware manufacturer.
What do you find the most challenging part of working in SEO and content marketing?
SEO and content marketing is constantly evolving, which means there’s a lot of industry news and trends to keep on top of. That’s hard work but it’s very interesting. The other challenge is deciding which opportunities are relevant to you right now. Marketers can be tempted to try brand new technology before they’ve done the basics. Take Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for example. But if you haven’t done the basics of a building a fast, mobile-friendly website, then don’t worry about AMP until you have. It’s important to prioritise and keep your main objective in mind.
Do you have a favourite part of your job?
There are a few things that I like about this job. First of all, the people here are brilliant, so that makes coming into work a pleasure. The variety of work is also fantastic, as I’ve already mentioned. Then there’s the mix of working styles. There are lots of opportunities to work in teams to come up with ideas and see product improvements through. Code make this easier by having lots of useful routines and collaboration tools which make our teams work more effectively together. Plus you’re also able to focus on client problems by yourself when you need to. That mix of teamwork and individual work is really rewarding.
I also love the fact that I learn something new every day. The intersection between web development, SEO and content marketing at a digital agency like ours is full of learning opportunities. Being surrounded by a real mix of people, from designers to developers and copywriters, means you learn loads about what it takes to produce brilliant websites.
Interested in working at Code Computerlove? See our current vacancies here.