In this month’s Meet Your MAKER, our Search Engine Optimization Manager, Austin, gives you a behind-the-scenes look into what an everyday reality looks like for an SEO professional.
As most days start, I am woken up not only by my alarm but by my two very hungry (and very cute) cats, Mimo and Kanye. After they have been adequately fed I begin getting ready for my day.
The first thing that I like to do when I arrive at work is to make sure my work area is set up to my liking. Much like other industries/jobs, I am only as good as my tools! Which include:
- A large second monitor (for reviewing all of the massive excel documents)
- Keyboard & mouse (tons of copying and pasting)
- My notebook (for keeping my tasks on track)
- A variety of different drinks and snacks!
9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Generally by this time I am fully into work mode. I have reviewed my daily tasks and I’m ready to start the actual work. As any good SEO Professional will know, there are many different tasks that can come in many different forms.
Here are just a few tasks that I complete for clients during an average day:
- What It Is: Keyword research is the process of finding/identifying what keywords (i.e., search terms) a website should be ranking for. For example, if your site offers “car wash packages” then we want to understand how & why users are searching for this type of service then create content that caters to those searches.
- Why We Do It: Keywords are the foundation of SEO. Google crawls a website looking for keywords to understand what a site/page is about and how to place it in search. By understanding user behavior & search trends we can create content that actually gets in front of customers.
SEO Competitor Research:
- What It Is: If you perform a search for anything on Google you are going to get a variety of results from a variety of different companies. Many sites offer the same products, services & information. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to know what our competitors are doing in this space.
- Why We Do It: Many websites are only focusing on how their site can rank better (with better content, etc.) but many don’t understand that you are also trying to outrank your competitors. By reviewing what keywords (and other SEO factors) our competitors are using we can start to close the GAP and even surpass them in search for highly competitive terms.
SEO Site Audit:
- What It Is: An SEO Site Audit is a holistic view of a website, brand, etc. for how they are currently performing in the overall SEO process. This includes reviewing technical elements of the site, content, off-site elements, and more.
- Why We Do It: By completing a full SEO site audit we can get the full picture of a site’s SEO value and where improvements can/should be made.
Meta Data Updates:
- What It Is: Metadata is a term that is short for: Page titles, meta descriptions, and a few other key touchpoints that search engines review when deciding where/how to place a page in search.
- Why We Do It: Metadata is one of the first things that site engines will review to get an understanding of what a site is about. Therefore, it provides us with an excellent chance to implement keywords and strategies that will help our page rank better in search.
12:00 PM – 12:45PM
Lunch! I generally like to bring my own lunch to help save money. During this time, I also research what soccer games are on during the afternoon so we can display them on our office projector (everyone loves it, I’m sure of it).
I’m a huge European soccer fan. GO CHELSEA!
After becoming sufficiently stuffed on my lunch I get back into the work groove. As mentioned earlier, my daily tasks can vary depending on the day, the client, etc. Here are a few more tasks that I complete during my workday:
Internal Linking Strategy:
- What It Is: Internal linking is a strategy used by SEO professionals that help a website in a few different ways. The first way is that it helps provide an overall roadmap of the site and how pages are connected. The second way is that by linking high-quality words in the anchor text to correlating pages you create a context/relevance for search engines that allows for a further understanding of what the page is really about.
- Why We Do It: Google is constantly making updates to their algorithms that help make search a better experience for their users. As technology advances and Google gets smarter we are seeing a large increase in search engine crawler bots being able to understand pages based on the context/relevancy of other pages on the site. Therefore, by providing a good internal linking strategy we can give not just one page better understanding, but many at once.
Custom Schema Markup:
- What It Is: Schema markup is not exactly new—but is new to a lot of people who are not in the SEO world. Schema markup is a combined effort from a variety of search engines that allow websites to create and add code on the backend of a site that gives a better understanding of what a page is and what it is about.
- Why We Do It: Schema markup is basically a way to provide search engines with the meat of what they should know (think of the old journalism motto: who, what, where, when, etc.).
By creating this type of code and adding it to sites we take away some of the guesswork for search engines. Schema markup can also create “featured snippets” which generally display at the top of search (go and search for a recipe and look at the little recipe boxes that pop up at the top of your search result).
- What It Is: SEO reporting can come in many different forms. We may be reporting on keywords (what ones are working, where they rank, etc.) or reporting on website data (how many people came to the site, who visited this page, etc.).
- Why We Do It: Reporting is the main tool for SEO experts to use when making informed decisions about how the site is performing and what should be done to help it. We can review a large list of different metrics that help make better choices.
I lend Kevin (one of our fearless leaders) some kind of charger. Get it together, Kevin.
At this point in the day, it’s time to start updating our project management tool to make sure we are on track with our tasks. As I mentioned earlier, an SEO expert is only as good as the tools we use!
One of the things that I love about working at MAKE is that we are expected to help the agency grow and be better. So, during this time I like to step away from my normal workload and perform research into what is happening in the SEO world and beyond.
You can actually do the same! Here are a few of my favorite blogs to read about SEO tactics and strategies:
Snack time! Did I mention that I like to keep an array of snacks at my desk?
With my workday starting to dwindle down, I generally like to use this time to start planning out my next day. This includes reviewing all of the work completed during the current workday and then outlining what is going to be due the next day. This really helps me stay on top of the work and make sure our clients get the deliverables they need and want.
By this time I have generally arrived home to once again find some very hungry (and hungry for attention) cats!
Depending on the day this is when I would generally be getting home from the gym. I am by no means great at working out but it’s the effort that counts, right?!
Dinner time! My girlfriend is a verified pescatarian, I am not. Therefore, we generally make our own meals but try to eat together when we can (and yes, the cats try, and admittedly succeed in eating some of our food).
Video games! I am a huge video game nerd. It’s one of the few things in life that truly bring me joy.
I could be feeling sick or unhappy and then I hop into a video game and forget all about those problems or issues. They transport me into a completely different world from my normal life.
One final late-night snack (I try to keep it healthy, but let’s be honest, it generally is not). I also try to watch something funny during this time to keep from getting super weird dreams (please tell me you know what I mean here).