A couple of months ago I attended the annual Bruce Clay training in Sydney. Now being an SEO for the last 5 years, I’ve heard about Bruce Clay a lot and hes one of the 4 guys I follow in SEO, the other 3 being Rand Fishkin, Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan. So being at the training was abit of a dream come true.
The training was quite pricy, but I was keen on what I could learn and also keen on meeting other SEOs that were at the event to gather their thoughts about the current SEO climate with pandas and penguins jumping all around.
The training went well, and Bruce Clay definitely knows a lot about SEO. From the training I realised that Bruce Clay really understands the algorithm rather than just speculating like most “SEO experts” do.
As an SEO of over 5 years, I still learned alot and got quite a few great tips, and had my curly questions answered by Bruce Clay.
I was also surprised at the attendance at the training, a real mix bag of professionals including, big brands, big agencies, small seo specialist and pure play online retailers.
From chatting with many attendees, and listening to answers about questions from them, it ironically turns out most big agencies don’t know that much about SEO. This is followed by the big brands who basically work with these agencies. ( I don’t mean all of them, just speaking in general). The attendees that I came across that really know SEO were the pure play online retailers and some of the niche SEO specialists.
And another thing that was evidently clear, was that marketing people weren’t friends with IT people in many large companies. Also not surprisingly big brands and agencies work in silos, which seems to have been the case for many years now.
I think there are a few challenges SEOs in big brands face:
1. You have to act as a middle man between stake holders and agencies without learning that much SEO in the process.
2. You have to jump through many hoops to get anything done.
3. You have to work with people from other departments that don’t really want to work with you (IT Department).
Its does seems quite challenging being an SEO in that situation. But one thing big brands should do, is trust their digital marketing managers, and not put them through hoops every time they need something changed or something new implemented. The digital marketing industry is every changing, and if it going to take months to implement something new, big brands will miss the boat on the best time to execute.
I think the best strategy for big brands are to hire digital marketing experts who have had the experience of making smaller brands successful. These are the people who have fought for ROI without having much resources to use. When a person makes something out of nothing, thats when they become truly skilled at what they do, and become thought leaders in their space. These are the people who really know digital marketing and are passionate about it.
Also a good SEO must have a mix of skills. They must understand marketing to manage stake holders, and know how websites work, and abit of coding would be beneficial. They must also understand IT infrastructure, to be able to talk to and build relationships with the IT department.
Another major quality an SEO must have is the ability to analyse data. There is no point getting an SEO that can just write content and link build, at the end of the day they will need to be able to analyse the data and make strategic decisions before they start optimising the site.
In saying all that finding a good SEO person is not easy. Im lucky, I know a hand full of SEOs that have those very skills. So if you are looking for a good SEO let me know and id be happy to pass on the contacts.
Happy Optimising people.