Last month’s post about the content team proved there’s not a formula you need to follow to become a writer. And this month, you’ll see that it’s the same for our SEO team. We asked them about their experiences before they joined us.
Lewis, Senior SEO Consultant
“I always wanted to get into something to do with photography when I was younger, but it’s quite an expensive hobby to have. You need the equipment and tools, so I never really had that.
“When I started growing up I quite liked the idea of marketing, so the subjects I took were Business Studies and Media Studies, learning about companies, audiences, demographics, how to tailor what you’re producing for those customers and then all the business acumen behind it. I did enjoy things like Art and Design Technology as well, where I like to draw and things like that, but it was mainly media and business.
“At the time I didn’t really see digital marketing as an avenue. When I think about the marketing I was more interested in, it was the advertising side of it, so more of the creative visuals and the kind of stuff that you see in Mad Men, something I perceived to be more exciting at the time. But I was very young, and even then I still didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to do.
“I didn’t go to university. There was no one subject that jumped out at me and I didn’t want to accrue all these huge student fees. So I decided not to go. I just jumped straight into working. I was already doing a Sunday job in retail, so that was an easy path. I went to work for Topman, where I was a representative of the store, so they used to send me up to London to do things like suit fitting courses and they submitted me for their flagship customer service award, which I ended up winning. It was good to do things like that – it put me in good stead for talking to customers and being relatable and helpful.
“I’d say my first ‘career’ job was when I went to work for a software development agency in Kent. My first role was Junior SEO, which was about seven years ago now. It was good because you start off as a junior, learning the ropes, doing a lot of the hands-on tasks, and then you keep progressing. I got the chance to work within what was at the time called the optimisation team for a year, which is where I learnt about CRO and user experience (UX). UX interests me – it’s something that goes down the psychology route of how users work and how they think.
“I was lucky enough to be originally employed by Craig [McDermott, Director], so he was quite keen to get me on board at Reddico. My interview process consisted of going down the pub for a pizza and a pint. I wanted a new challenge and I wanted something I could get my teeth into.
“Coming to work at an agency meant there were a lot more clients, a lot more action, taking ownership of campaigns, really learning more about SEO in general. It’s something that I wanted to push myself to do, and it’s been four years come January, so I’m one of the older members of the team. It’s just absolutely flown by.”
Leona, SEO Consultant
“I changed my mind loads when I was at school. I did work experience at a law firm (I wanted to be a solicitor at one point) and then I decided that I wanted to be a doctor, or a plastic surgeon. I really enjoyed science – I did Biology and Chemistry – but I was always really good at languages. I’d always done French and Spanish. I tried doing all those subjects at A Level, but I’d already started working by the time I’d joined sixth form, and didn’t really want to put the work in at school.
“I considered uni to do languages. When I applied for my job here, I did it on the premise that it was my gap year. That was my goal: I was going to have a year doing work and then go to uni. But I went to start writing my applications and my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I missed the boat – the year before, everyone was writing them and they had a lot of support from the school, whereas I didn’t really feel like I had that.
“I hadn’t really ruled it out at that point, but as I worked for a longer period of time, I was really glad that I hadn’t gone. And I thought I’d learn more about French or Spanish by travelling and staying in those places. I had lost the ability to sell myself university. I was working, I was earning money, I was enjoying my job, and I didn’t feel like I was going to learn enough valuable skills to warrant the investment.
“I started working when I was thirteen. I used to do children’s cupcake parties. I used to help get them ready, do the icing and stuff with the kids, and do all the washing up (which I hated). I started working in pubs on evenings and weekends, did a lot of wedding waitressing, started doing performing, dance work, when I was eighteen.
“My first ‘career’ job was at a similar agency – I did work experience there when I was sixteen, seventeen, and then they had someone leave, so they asked me to stay on. I used to finish school at three, then walk over and work till half five. My last year of school, I worked there over the holidays for them as well. I did it for the first summer after I left school, as my first full-time job.
“When I had an interview at Reddico, I didn’t know that this was what I wanted to do as a career. I was very junior, I didn’t have a massive amount of knowledge, but I guess that I had the tools I would need to learn quickly.
“My biggest win has been starting at 18 and progressing – I’m 22 now. I came along quite quickly, starting with manual tasks, soaking up a lot of the foundations in what we do, to managing bigger client accounts now. I’ve really enjoyed it and learnt loads along the way. I enjoy the busyness of agency life, working on loads of different accounts and speaking to people you probably wouldn’t cross paths with otherwise.”
Adam, Midweight Technical SEO Specialist
“I had no idea what I wanted to do at school really. All I knew was that it would have something to do with computers/technology. I loved taking them apart and seeing how they worked. My curiosity got me in trouble more than once. Our ISP disconnected our internet when I was 13 for ‘hacking’. I was also frequently in detention for nosing about where I shouldn’t be on the school’s network.
“I started a university degree in Computer Science, but dropped out to pursue my first SEO job. I loved the development side of the degree. Still, I had just started making decent money on my own affiliate websites. Probably quite reckless in hindsight, but it all worked out pretty well.
“My first proper job was a manufacturing role at a medical science manufacturer. I spent my day building and testing magnetrons for the medical space – dreaming of my escape…
“I’d been running my own business doing client work and affiliate marketing for around 6-7 years before I got the job at Reddico. I had given myself pretty severe burnout in that time. And some of the niches I was working in at the time were not the sort of thing you could have on your screen with a newborn nearby. I was ready for something totally different.
“My position at Reddico was one of the first jobs I saw advertised, and I liked that they hadn’t used a job specification on the advert; it was more of a person specification. That really appealed to me.”
Emily, SEO Executive
“I always knew I wanted to go into something with business – what really inspired me was that scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep’s character arrives at the office early and every member of staff runs around in chaos to prepare.
“This saw me take up Business Studies the moment I could, picking it up aged 14. I didn’t go to university after A Levels like the majority of my friends. Instead, I decided to stay near my home and away from messy shared kitchens. Then, about two months later, I got bored and decided to keep myself busy with an online degree in Business Management (Marketing). It’s not specifically SEO-focused, but I absolutely love it.
“I remember the job interview for my first ‘proper job’ like it was yesterday. I had just turned 19 and had applied for a Sales and Marketing Executive job role. It was a long shot (I had no relevant experience and was the youngest applicant) but I was determined to give it a try. Two weeks later, I heard I’d been successful.
“Within two years, I ran all internal quotations in the south, on top of all marketing responsibilities for the company. All 5ft 2 of me was filled with eagerness and determination to prove myself. I read and researched all I could, becoming a jack-of-all-trades as I tried copywriting, SEO, Google Ads campaigns, trade shows, and Google Analytics. By the time I left, I’d achieved a 100% satisfaction rate with customers and online enquiries had doubled.
“I came to Reddico because after two years with my previous employers, I was ready to surround myself with industry experts. I had an email exchange with Craig about a year before I finally applied, and sent him my CV and a plea to be considered whenever the next SEO Executive job became available.
“I’ve been at Reddico for five months now. Being around a team of people who invest their time in me and trust me with important work and clients has not only built my SEO knowledge, but also my confidence ten-fold.”