This is just a little post to announce that as of this week, I’ve moved freelance. After almost a decade working in and around SEO, within a variety of roles, I’ve decided that I’d like to work for myself, and bring more flexibility to the way that I work. It seems to be a common theme at the moment – I can think of at least 4 other people whom I respect within the industry having made recent announcements within the last month or so.
Why have I decided to do this?
I’ve worked in SEO over the last 10 years, in a number of different roles. I’ve sought out roles that have allowed me to diversify my experience and improve my skills in different ways. I’ve worked for a specialist SEO agency (iCrossing) – this allowed me to work alongside some of the brightest minds in SEO, in an environment where everyone understood SEO. From the finance team through to HR – we all spoke the same language, and that’s a great thing when you’re working in SEO. Then I moved inhouse, and worked at Review Centre. Inhouse is a whole different beast to agency side. The pace is different. You have to work hard to justify your resource requests. But it means you can really focus on a single website, and drill deep into that website’s niche. It was another great experience. Finally, I moved agency-side again – this time to a very different kind of agency, VCCP. Here again, I saw things from a different perspective. The SEO team was a small part of a much larger agency, where the common language was advertising & creative, not SEO. This brought entirely new challenges, and my role there was much more commercial than it had been in any of my previous roles. It was great seeing search data being used to inform award winning ATL campaigns, and it was a fantastic feeling knowing that you were working for such a highly acclaimed agency.
The SEO Landscape
The last three years have been challenging in the world of SEO – what with Pandas, Penguins & Not Provided – I don’t think many SEOs would deny that it’s been a volatile time. Even as I write this, Matt Cutts has just thrown another swerve ball that’s going to change the SEO landscape. I think if you’ve always got your head down, working to meet client deadlines, it can be hard to take a step back and look around at what’s happening within SEO. Even outside of SEO, the wider digital landscape is rapidly changing. And I don’t want to get stuck in an old way of doing things, while the world races past me. Does this mean I’m giving up SEO? Absolutely not. As someone great once said, “as long as there are search engines, and humans using those search engines, you’re going to need a middle man to optimise that content”. It’s still easy to spot people making fundamental SEO mistakes that are getting overlooked by web designers / UX professionals / content marketers – there’s absolutely still a requirement for SEO experts in the world.
What am I going to do next?
I studied Maths & Artificial Intelligence at university, and over the last few years I’ve become interested in how I can use more of my academic background within the field of digital marketing. I’m especially interested in areas where digital and data converge – namely:
- Measurement & data analysis
- Data visualisation
- Data science
Before I fell into SEO, my first job was as a software developer, and this is something I’d like to pick up again. Towards the end of my time at VCCP, I was doing some Python development to build custom scripts to automate large scale digital data analysis problems. This was something I really enjoyed, and an area I’d like to explore a lot more.
So now I’m freelancing. Out into the big wide world, working for myself. If anyone’s interested in working with an experienced digital marketeer, get in touch. I can provide the whole gamut of SEO services – from keyword research to digital strategy, but I’m most interested in taking on more challenging enterprise-level SEO work. Things like large site migrations, or in-depth competitor analysis, or deep dive data analysis into analytics to work out why something’s happening on your website. If this sounds like something you’re interested, please feel free to contact me.