March 24, 2021
One month ago, I started as SEO Executive at Blueclaw. In my previous role prior to joining Blueclaw, I had only small encounters with SEO in relation to keyword research, monthly reporting and optimisation of content. Other than that, a lot of my SEO knowledge is self-taught. My interest in the subject stems from the idea that – when done well – SEO can prove invaluable when it comes to promoting a business, and I’ve always wanted to make a difference.
My passion for learning new things and the fact that there’s so much to experience in the world of SEO made me very excited to get started at Blueclaw, as every day new challenges arise and there are constantly new things to learn. So with that, here are some of the main things I learnt during my first month in SEO!
During my first month as an SEO Executive, I’ve learnt that there are so many steps you need to take to effectively optimise a website. I’ve learned about most of the basic steps, but the whole process from start to finish is very comprehensive and has piqued my interest in SEO strategizing. From the initial tech audit to a backlink audit, to page briefs and to a competitor and gap analysis, what needs to be done varies from client to client. But knowing the various approaches and steps required to successfully optimise a website is vital.
In SEO, things can always be improved as it’s truly a never-ending process. Google constantly rolls out new updates that can significantly impact the SERPs. During my first month here, I learned that these updates are quite numerous – a couple of thousands a year actually! The biggest updates that significantly impact websites luckily happen only a few times a year. Currently, we’re prepping for the long-awaited upcoming May 2021 Google Page Experience update, and it’ll be interesting for me personally to experience a significant update while being an SEO executive.
I’ve learnt that the best way to approach a new website is to look at it from the user’s perspective. After all, it’s the user we are trying to attract to a website so their experience is paramount. So, it’s important to look at a page both from a user’s perspective and an SEO perspective. This is useful when trying to find out which keywords to focus on for that website, as you need to consider what a normal person searches for in Google when seeking out a specific product or service.
Also, when a user clicks on a website that they find most interesting, you need to ask whether the site is user friendly, can the user find things easily or do they have to click on 10 different things before they get to where they want to be? User intent is the first step in trying to figure out how to move forward with your strategy to optimise a website. Taking that time to really see things from a user’s perspective helped me save time and be more efficient when making SEO recommendations.
One of the most important skills to have in SEO is knowing how to do keyword research and tagging. There are different ways of doing it and every client is different. What I’ve learnt during my first month doing keyword research was that when you have a list of 50 000 keywords that you have to go through, you first have to familiarise yourself with the client’s website. That means knowing what the client wants to rank for, what their company does and keeping the client’s target audience in mind.
When starting to cut down on the keyword list, remember the filter function is your friend. With that in mind, another important thing I’ve learnt is to immediately start tagging the keywords and to be consistent in your tagging system. The balance between the search volume and the position of a keyword is what determines if a website will rank for a keyword. Keep that in mind when going through your keyword list, it certainly helped me.
An important take-away from tackling my first huge keyword list is to focus on the big picture, as it can help a lot when you are suddenly stuck staring at a keyword that is not really that important judging whether it’ll prove successful or not. But staring at thousands of keywords will do that to the best of us, don’t worry!
Excel is a tool that an SEO is dependent upon and is something that makes your life easier when you learn how to use it effectively. What you want to avoid when you have a lot of tasks on a daily basis is to waste time on manually entering data. Therefore, I’ve learned a few tricks that will save me some time in the future.
First off – a simple but effective keyboard shortcut. When you want to edit a cell without having to click on the cell with your mouse, just press F2 and it is ready to edit, saving you a few seconds. Secondly, when you want to visually see the largest increases in traffic, choose the correct column, then Conditional Formatting, followed by colour scales. It gives the largest increase a green colour indicating a positive change, while the largest decreases get a red colour.
Finally, you want to be consistent in your work and when you export data from SEMrush or Google keyword planner, some of your keywords might be in lower case while others are capitalised. You can easily fix this by applying the formula =PROPER(select the cell you want to change to capitalised) and repeat the process for all the cells you want to do this for. This makes reporting a lot more streamlined.
During my first month here at Blueclaw, it has become more and more apparent that Content and SEO are not really separate fields. One without the other is impossible. A great saying I heard during my first month here at Blueclaw was: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody saw it, did it really happen?” It’s the same for SEO and Content.
You can have a great piece of content that you publish on the web, but if nobody sees it, does it really exist? It’s something that I knew theoretically before I started working here, but never really put into practice. I was surprised by the continuous process of constantly working together and reviewing the progress done between the two teams. For example, once SEO does a page brief, the work is handed over to Content, who hands it back over again for review, Content then makes further adjustments before finally going live. Ultimately, this constant collaboration means resulting content is strong from both a semantic and SEO point of view.
One of the main things that I thought about when I started at Blueclaw was the fact that there was so much to learn about SEO. As with all new roles, I started stressing about not doing a good enough job, because there’s a wealth of information about the world of search engine optimisation out there to absorb. However, knowing everything about SEO is not something you can do in a day, like Rome wasn’t built in a day (cliche right? But true). The only way forward is to take it day by day.
Ask questions all the time – don’t worry about stupid questions, they might be things that are relevant and topics others on your team might not have thought of before. Read up on something new or relevant each day, set aside 30 minutes in the morning or evening (if you are a morning person or a night owl). Stay updated on what’s happening in the SEO world by reading news articles or make a twitter account and add SEO experts to see what they are talking about every day. SEO is not something that is static, every day changes happen, whether it is a new Google update or a new tool that has hit the market. As long as you’re always keen to learn, you’ll be fine.
I started working for Blueclaw from Norway, which makes working from home slightly more complicated. I am one hour ahead of the UK, I have never met any of my colleagues in person and I had to have my onboarding online. However, one thing that has made working from home from a different country amazing is the fact that I have such a good environment of people around me. Colleagues are the gateway to a happy work life. It is the difference between being excited to go to work and thinking of work as just that, work. I am happy that I chose to work for Blueclaw and I have learned so much already. Going forward, I am excited for the next learning experience.
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