Career Advice

Career Q&A: from junior to senior roles

All of us want to evolve in our career. We want our career to evolve for many different reasons: it can be that we want a higher salary, more responsibilities, more freedom, we want to lead a team. The possibilities are endless. 

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Our panel of SEOs 

Thank you to each panel member for their time to share their tips with us!

Mary Albright, Senior manager of SEO, Goat Group, USA

Follow Mary on Twitter: @Themerrymary

Follow Mary on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/albright-mary

Clorinda, Freelance SEO and content creator

Follow Clorinda on Twitter: @clorinda__

Daniel K Cheung, Team Leader, Prosperity Media, Australia

Follow Daniel on Twitter: @danielkcheung

Follow Daniel on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielkcheung/

Anett Pohl, Senior SEO Manager, beAround GmbH, Germany

Follow Anett on Twitter: @stress_particle

Jonas Sickler, SEO Manager at Terakeet, USA

Follow Jonas on Twitter: @JonasSickler

Follow Jonas on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonas-sickler/

Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Organic Performance Lead (Insure) MoneySuperMarket Group, UK

Follow Miracle on Twitter: @mira_inam

Follow Miracleon Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/miracle-inameti-archibong-39168713/

Check Miracle's website: https://miracleinametiarchibong.com/

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If you were applying for a new SEO role right now, how would you prepare?

Mary Albright If I were switching jobs or industries and trying to get into seo for the first time, I would take some certifications. There’s lots of free courses for tools that you’ll be using as an seo. The google analytics certs come to mind as well as the semrush toolkit certs. 

The certs might get you in the door for a first interview but in the interview process you should talk about your existing roles and map your skills to things needed in the seo role. Things like critical thinking skills, presentations, experience with CMSs, and last but certainly not least excel/google sheets skills. "

Clorinda Depending on the role you are applying for, I would brush up on any knowledge, on the subject. Then prepare an outline of what you will do and how you plan to get results. For example, if you apply for a content strategy role make a spreadsheet or Google Document outlining your methodology and how you will get results for certain keywords. 

Daniel K Cheung "Watch the video that Google released 2020 about how (their) search works. This will give you an appreciation at the scale of what is involved. Then subscribe to Search Off The Record podcast and chip away at the episodes - you'll uncover quite a few gems re: how Google tackles spam content, JS rendering, and indexing.

Have one or more personal stores where you can describe how you solved a problem because this is essentially SEO.

Above all else, be open to answer ""I don't know"" to interview questions, followed up by ""but I am willing to find out."""

Anett Pohl "I would research the company: What is the business? How do they make money? How can SEO contribute to the main goals?

Then I would do a small/medium SEO audit of their website and note down any thing worth noting in an interview.

Further I would look back at my working life and prepare for all the standard questions about my motivations, wins and losses.

Last but not least I would make a list of things that are important to me in a new role and any questions I want to ask the interviewers."

Jonas Sickler I think the most important way to prepare for a new SEO role is to self-reflect on what you’ve learned in your current one. With every different role, SEOs discover new approaches and strategies, and sometimes even make mistakes that help them learn more about the field. Both types of experiences are valuable in becoming a more impactful SEO. Understanding how you’ve grown will make you more confident to explore strategies in your new role and drive unique value.

Miracle Inameti-Archibong Go to the company cooperate page and research on what the company the goals/objectives/targets for the year are. What is the key message from Stakeholders? When you understand the commercial goals then you can better align your SEO strategy to fulfil those goals and your key messaging will be aligned with the company direction. 

Once you have outlined the current strategy, always add in a few opportunities for future growth outside what is being explored. 

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What should someone be thinking about and demonstrating if they want to move into a more senior role?

Mary Albright How to solve problems and have an executive presence . At the end of the day your ability to get a page to rank is only part of the job. You need to be able to solve new and confusing problems. Your critical thinking skills need to be top notch as the industry is always changing. And as you move into a senior role your job becomes less and less about actually doing the tasks at hand and more about convincing the other stakeholders or clients that we SHOULD do the tasks at hand. You need to be able to weave your seo goals into the broader company roadmap and make your team heard. 

Clorinda Proof of results that you are capable of. It's important to collect data on projects you've done work on to show off your skills, so the people hiring you know what your strong points are. Again, an outline and pseudo demonstration should be enough to 1. convince your recruiter you know your work and 2. that you can get them results with a time frame in mind. 

Daniel K Cheung It's not how much you know as there is always someone smarter and faster than you.

As someone who progressed quite quickly from a junior to team leader in less than 2 years, senior roles are about taking responsibility (read: stress, time etc) away from those above you.

Be a great communicator and listener - this is how you can be of value to the leadership team.

Anett Pohl In a senior role you really need to be able to communicate the worth of SEO to stakeholders and know how to argue to get your recommendations implemented. You also should know how to tie SEO to the main business goals. I recommend Tom Critchlow's SEO MBA mailing list to get great ideas on how to do this.

Depending on the company structure, as a senior you might also be responsible for other teammembers. Don't be shy to ask your boss for some kind of leadership training close to the promotion. It always helps."

Jonas Sickler In order to grow your department and move into a more senior position, you’ll need to be able to clearly communicate the business impact of organic search. Very often, you’ll be presenting solutions to colleagues or customers who are outside of the SEO world, so an ability to get ideas, recommendations, and results across in a succinct and simple way is an asset in the field. Although SEO performance is usually directly tied to rankings and traffic, try to connect your efforts to higher-level business outcomes such as increased revenue or improved brand reputation.

Miracle Inameti-Archibong Moving into senior roles required a ton of soft skills. It’s no more about if you can perform an audit but how you can communicate what needs to be done in a way that gets buy-in and affects change. 

A strong understanding of how to build and steer a strategy, the commercial behind what you are doing and not just being so focused on deliverables and firefighting. "