Have you met … James?
We have talked UX, we have marvelled at Digital Copywriting but arguably one of the key components of your Digital Marketing presence is SEO. If your website doesn’t sit on page one, you won’t attract new business. James Carr explains to us a little more about why SEO is key and why he is so passionate about it.
Why did you decide on a career in Digital Marketing/SEO?
I fell into working in marketing completely by accident. Having completed a degree in Popular Music, which included a module on marketing, I ended up playing around with marketing for the band that I was in at the time. I took a chance on a six-week internship at a local agency to learn a little bit more and ended up being taken on full time. Six years later, here I am at Coast Digital!
Are there any aspects of your role that you particularly love?
I love problem solving. I’m one of those weird people who are perfectly happy staring at, and processing data until a pattern emerges and a solution or optimisation presents itself. Sometimes the solutions work too, which is bonus as far as I’m concerned.
That, and the fact that the problems that need to be solved are always slightly different, so I’m always kept on my toes.
You have helped us guide our clients through the latest Google Algorithm changes through our blog, what else are you expecting to change with Google over the next 12-18 months that we all need to be aware of?
Taking into account all of the previous updates that Google has rolled out, including the relatively recent BERT update and the upcoming Core Web Vitals, I think that SEO is only going to move in one direction and that’s user centred.
Search engines are constantly striving to make sure that they deliver the best result to users, so it’s vital that your site is set up with your users in mind. Every single person who performs a search is trying to solve a problem, so make sure that your site helps them to solve that problem. Beyond that, make sure that your site is set up to deliver a smooth user experience.
What is one easy thing all clients can do that will immediately improve their SEO?
“Immediately” isn’t usually a word that is used within the context of SEO (we’re HUGE fans of “it depends” though!), so it’s tricky to suggest something that would benefit all clients over a short period. If I had to put my money on one aspect of SEO that can deliver relatively quick results it would be site speed.
Anyone who has worked with me will know that I’m borderline obsessed with site speed, but there is method behind the madness! There have been many studies on the effect of site speed over the years, but the statistic that always stuck with me is that “53% of people will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load”.
That means speeding up your site should help to encourage visitors to land on your site, which will help to improve traffic from all of your inbound marketing channels.
SEO can be such a mine field for companies, what are the most common misconceptions about SEO that you come across?
There are so many, it’s hard to know where to start. SEO isn’t a “one size fits all” solution, so what works for a competitor might not work for you. Focus on what your customers want and try to deliver a better experience than your competitors, don’t just follow them.
The other main misconception that I come across is that SEO is fast and can be used as a one step solution. SEO is often anything but fast. It can take months for a landing page or piece of content to rank, so be patient. SEO requires fairly constant updates and repetition to get right. The internet is ever changing, so sites need to be monitored to be able to spot any opportunities and respond to them.
Anything else you would like to share? Especially to anyone wanting to get into SEO?
If you want to work in SEO, take the time to get REALLY familiar with Excel. You might not need it all the time, but on the one day that you use a few formulas to process a days’ worth of data in a few hours, you’ll thank me!