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A Day In The Life Of An SEO Agency Senior Executive

A Day In The Life Of An SEO Agency Senior Executive
Written by publishing team

My journey to becoming a SEO has spanned over 14 years, working for leading agencies and optimizing for some of the world’s biggest brands. I’ve also spent a few years working as an in-house SEO for some mid-sized companies.

Today, I’m working at Acronym as a Senior Vice President of SEO. I have worked at the agency for 7 years and manage the global SEO team, which consists of more than 20 SEO professionals in the US, London, Singapore, Berlin and Canada.

Working for an agency can be challenging and rewarding.

I hope that sharing the story of how I got to where I am today and what it means to be a Senior Vice President of SEO will help you in your career journey as well.

Getting started with search engine optimization

I first learned about SEO and Internet Marketing in 2003, when I was doing my Masters in Online Business from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Prior to that, I worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist in the pharmaceutical industry doing computer audits and validation. However, I was fascinated by the Internet and so decided to go back to school to learn more about the World Wide Web.

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I started my pharmacy job board in 2006 and was in need of more traffic, so I reached out to an SEO company for help.

After watching them improve my site, I learned how fun and complex it was. I was intrigued to learn more, it inspired me to start doing more myself.

I landed a job as an SEO Specialist at Digitgrit (now Zeta Interactive), set up a successful SEO practice at Havas Media, and the rest is history.

A typical day in SEO leadership

Being a top agency leader, I do a lot of business development – driving offers, creating strategies, showing how SEO works with other channels, for example.

I manage the team to ensure we have the right tools, resources, staff, processes, and services to manage clients and potential clients, as well as generate thought leadership materials.

I also read a lot to find out what is happening in the industry. It is important to stay on top of other perspectives and new technology when we collaborate with global vendors and international teams.

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My master’s degree in e-commerce helped me gain the basics of how the internet works. You’ve changed a lot over the years, but I’ve learned that understanding the basics will help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the history and backbone of how things relate.

Being in this industry for a long time has taught me a lot, especially about working with both international and local clients.

Finally, I also realized that you should always do your due diligence and dig deeper. Focus on the high-cost elements and strategies that will lead to business results.

Lots of agencies offer similar services. Why should the client go with your agency instead of the other 5-10 that are on the RFP?

Always distinguish yourself. Listen to your customers and make sure you understand their goals, objectives, challenges, KPIs, and what they hope to gain from engagement.

Plan to show who is doing what and set realistic expectations ahead of time so that there are no surprises later, for example, things not done, etc. Build compelling case studies and provide unique perspectives on updates and changes to SERPs.

Managing SEO challenges at the executive level

Managing the SEO of a global agency is no easy task with clients and SEOs across time zones, different languages, multiple search engines running, and more.

Prioritization, communication, and robust processes are vital to success.

The ability to take into account cultural and linguistic differences, as well as to decide which countries will offer the best return on investment, is essential.

Another challenge for executives, particularly at the enterprise level, is that some clients have incredibly complex needs.

You may one day deal with a migration that failed when they worked with a previous agency.

You may have a new customer who is losing a lot of traffic and revenue after being negatively affected by a basic update.

It can operate with limited resources, etc.

Once a customer insisted on using a whole bunch of keywords that were used within the company, but not by their audience. Educating the client about why this is not a good idea was key, and this required tact and people management skills.

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Working with web developers that some brands hire, we often have to use techniques that go against the wisdom of popular SEO and so workarounds have to be found.

SEOs in principle have a basic approach – but each new client adds its own twist to it.

This is the beauty of working in an agency with strong leadership and a focus on training and education. This means that they face challenges frequently and constantly develop solutions.

Searching for inspiration and thought leadership

The most admired person in the SEO community is Mike Grayhan. Mike is an astronaut and a great visionary. He’s been talking for 20 years about things that are beginning to pay off now.

The other people I look up to in the industry is Brian Dean from Backlinko. They provide great content and do great research studies.

I also have a lot of respect for Hamlet Batista, who unfortunately passed away. I learned a lot from him in a short amount of time and had plans to do some get-togethers together.

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I’m also a big fan of Jim Boykin from Internet Marketing Ninjas.

I advise every SEO professional to keep up with the latest technology. We live in a dynamic world where automation is key. There are some great platforms and solutions out there that make a lot of noise in the space and really help simplify the SEO process, so we can focus more on strategy.

Evaluate them to see if they can help access your KPIs internally and externally.

Also, evaluate and test different methodologies to see what works to drive overall business goals and objectives, and most of all, conversions.

If you’re not doing that, it’s time to refocus. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about bringing qualified traffic to a site that converts into customers.

Do not be afraid of failure and accept new challenges; This is part of being innovative and inclusive.

Do your own research. Try to gain as much experience as possible with paid research, software, social, and analytics, but don’t forget to build skills in team leadership as well. You need to see the bigger picture, because it’s all connected at the leadership level.

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Tips for potential leaders in the SEO industry

In order to succeed as an SEO executive, you must be able to hire and build a strong team, listen and listen to feedback, and motivate those people who have the potential to be rock stars for your company.

Provide a creative and consulting work environment, and set a clear path for your employees to advance their careers. Enable them to work on different accounts across different sectors to expand their expertise.

Always be humble and include your team to get their views on every issue, whether that’s why they’re feeling low on traffic, how to improve the ranking, how we can win that idea, etc.

Not an island man. A great leader is as good as the team he leads.

Remember, too, that numbers don’t lie. Always display results and keep bringing innovative ideas to clients and prospects, even if they seem strange.

If you want to move up the career ladder, you must be able to demonstrate how your leadership translates into business results as well.

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Keep working on that plan to grow new business at 20+% annually, get additional revenue from existing customers by offering new services, think creatively – and be prepared to prove it.

Also, if you are fortunate enough to write a column for the most popular publication in the search industry, definitely go for it.

Being an SEO executive for a leading agency can be a rewarding career. It provides not only longevity but also all the rewards inherent in helping colleagues grow in their careers and clients reach their KPIs year after year.

If you had to pick a few key focus areas to advance your SEO leadership career, I would say that these are the “secrets” of my success:

  • Always hiring the best talent.
  • Collaborate with your team.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new ideas.
  • Keep up to date with the latest technology.
  • Test different optimization methods and strategies for yourself.
  • Read industry publications and follow thought leaders in space.
  • Be innovative and strive to differentiate yourself from the competition.

More resources:

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Featured Image: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

About the author

publishing team