Talking to the professionals: how to pursue a career in SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic from the organic or free search engine results.

Over the past few years, SEO has transitioned from an added-value enhancement to a necessary expense for a lot of businesses that rely on the web. Marketers see SEO as becoming more effective, with 82% reporting effectiveness is on the rise, and 42% of this group stating effectiveness is increasing significantly (MarketDive, 2016).

Businesses are now more aware of today’s continued digital marketing maturity, and it’s no surprise that they are constantly becoming more advanced at SEO and with that, increasing their competitive edge. It should really be considered to be a significant factor in all digital strategies.

SEO is undeniably an indispensable digital marketing must in today’s market and from our experience recruiting in the creative market, we’ve come to understand how sought after the skill is. We’ve found that few people understand SEO in detail, and the demand for the people that do is strong.

So, we were interested in finding out from some Bristol based SEO specialists what type of skills you need to pursue a career and their perception of how it sits in business today.

We spoke to Mark Baddeley – Senior SEO & PPC Delivery Manager at Bigg:

“Thinking about the skills and knowledge someone needs for a career in SEO, the most important skill is the ability to learn new information and apply it quickly. As with any internet-based service, the rules and information that govern the delivery of a high-quality delivery change very rapidly. This means SEO executives and managers need to constantly research the latest updates to algorithms and industry trends as the service is constantly evolving. I would also consider communication skills to be another highly recommended skill to have. SEO is a service which typically requires a lot of explanation to outside parties such as clients, which will not usually have the same level of technical knowledge. The responsibility of explaining the value of delivered services often falls on the SEO specialist, so being able to provide answers to questions in an easily understandable and not overly techy fashion is a valuable skill.”

Then, we spoke to Elliott Simpson, SEO copywriter at Fat Media. He expresses why SEO is now so crucial in any business, and why it can be misunderstood easily:

“The rules are always changing with SEO. The tactics that digital marketers used 10, even five years ago, are completely different to the ones that many of them use today. This makes SEO an area where mistakes can easily be made if businesses don’t keep up to date with the latest news and trends. But, at the same, it’s what makes it such an exciting field. Trying out new strategies and tools is essential if marketers want to stay ahead of the curve. It’s an area that never stands still – so SEO specialists can’t afford to either.”

Simon Marshall, CEO of TBD Marketing, comments on an unlikely candidate choice:

“Ex-journalists make for great SEOs because, throughout their training, they have learned to satisfy user intent. Having an editor constantly ask you ‘yes but what does the reader want to know’ is a great way of thinking about user intent, which is the basis of all successful SEO strategies (yes, even the health and hygiene elements). TL;DR – Google emulates wants users want, so emulate what Google says users want. Journalists are great at this”

Simon Smart, Director at Keel Over Marketing goes on to describe the evolution of SEO and the importance of content:

I agree with everything my esteemed industry colleagues have said, it is all about being constantly aware of the changes and requirements to make a website, and in turn, a business does well including being able to write great content.

When I started in SEO way back in the ‘black hat’ days, you could basically get anyway with anything, including ‘keyword stuffing’, ‘redirects’, ‘paid links’ to name but a few. However, these days, Google, primarily, has cottoned on to these unethical practices and has moved more towards the need for professional content, so the old adage ‘content is king’ really comes true.

Content needs to be fresh, unique and appropriate. This means that there is a lot of research required to be able to write clear, relevant and keyword-rich content that delivers the right message with power and conviction. The content on your website should target your audience, engage them and persuade them to take action and this is even more important today due to the new update from Google called BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), whereby sloppy content will not be tolerated. Therefore, it is important that if you want to succeed in digital marketing, whether it be SEO or PPC or Social Media, because as we know these all complement each other, you have to have the ability to do the research and to write engaging and persuasive content. So, listen to your English professor and always use ‘spell check’ and never ever duplicate content across multiple pages/websites.

And from my own point of view, SEO is a skill I’m learning as part of my role at Moxie and Mettle, and here are my thoughts on how SEO beginners can advance their skills on their own:

“SEO is seen as a dark art for many people, especially new businesses and young professionals, like me. In the saturated market we work in today, I’ve found you must take matters into your own hands to be successful, and this definitely counts for SEO. Luckily there are loads of great introductory courses, blogs and books on the topic that can help kickstart a basis for an SEO strategy. Here are some of my recommendations for beginners:

1. A great starting place to learn SEO is The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz. It’s free, and it starts out answering the most basic questions like “What is SEO?”

2. Google’s Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide also offers excellent insight into what google says is essential for websites that want to improve their rank.

3. Lastly, YOAST SEO offers a definitive WordPress SEO guide. Their plugin also comes with tons of features to help optimise your website. It has built-in content analysis, meta keywords and description management, managing duplicate content, social features, rich snippets and much more.

However, the most important advice I can give is to dig in and get as much hands-on experience through trial and error as you can.”

SEO opportunities ?

If any SEO specialists would like to add any comments to this, please get in touch with Isabelle on

Moxie & Mettle specialise in placing Marketing, PR, Digital, Comms, Creative and Social Media roles.

We currently have some fantastic SEO or PPC opportunities, so please get in touch on if you are interested in hearing more about them.

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✍️Written by Isabelle Peters.
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