24 June 2013 - 10:32pm | by iProspect

Ability to adapt key for success

Ability to adapt key for successAbility to adapt key for success

‘It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change’ – Charles Darwin (...on a career in SEO?)

SEO as a channel is still very much in its infancy, finding its place within the marketing ecosystem. It is only over the last 3 years that the largest blue chip clients have woken up to SEO’s obvious benefits.

Never has a saying – the only constant is change – been truer of a career path than it is for SEO. This can be best seen when we examine what an effective strategy looks like, and the type of talent that you need, in order to formulate and execute on such an approach. A high performance strategy 4+ years ago was heavily focused on the more technical aspects of SEO – site architecture, site speed and site optimisation. Not surprisingly, developers (with HTML, CSS and JavaScript backgrounds) tended to make up the backbone of a successful team.

Moving forward, as directory submissions, article submissions and press release syndication lessened in impact, and blogger outreach came into its own, link building as we know it today moved to the forefront. Whilst developers were still important, the above algorithm change meant that there was increasing focus on finding people who had a flair for building relationships with external website publishers – be it every day bloggers or larger editorial publishers. They needed to be able to devise clever content strategies, and of equal importance, be output and results driven – in this case, attaining high quality links from relevant editorial sites.

With the arrival of Panda and particularly Penguin, the goal (and job specs) fundamentally moved for a third time in a relatively short period. With these updates, the emphasis has been on creating truly engaging onsite and offsite content – content that is so strong, that people will want to shout from the rooftops to link and share it. Not surprisingly, this has meant another layer of expertise required in the SEO arsenal. Over the past 18 months, iProspect have been busy building out what this creative requirement looks like in the context of high performance digital. We have invested heavily –from designers and illustrators, developers and producers to creative directors and event organisers – in order to turn out award winning creative offsite campaigns, where engagement is the primary metric.

Despite all of the above, and the dizzying rate of change that our sector continues to go through, there are certain traits that are common to all layers of expertise, be it technical, content, relationship / link building or creative. Despite the diversity of these challenges faced, I believe what ties us all together is a willingness and desire to learn, and an adaptability to move forward when and where possible. Unlike most sectors, SEO embraces change. You need only look at the sheer depth and breadth of buzz around algorithm changes (and the resulting strategies) that are so excitedly debated in our community.

Which leaves us to speculate on what the future will hold for our digital channel? SEO campaigns are driving more visibility and engagement than at any other time in our relatively short history. Within the next 18 months, this will mean the convergence of SEO and online PR and the need for both to work in synergy. To continue to be successful SEO agencies must be able to have these brand and PR lead conversations with clients. I believe that this in turn will mean recruiting these people and their skill sets, into our teams as yet another necessary string to our bow.

One thing we can say with a degree of certainty is: SEO is going to be a very different medium five years from now, and that means we’re all going to need to embrace change and adapt in order to succeed.

iProspect is currently recruiting for a number of different roles across the SEO, content, creative and social teams – for further information please check out our website www.iprospect.co.uk or contact Nicola.Henderson@iprospect.com

Mark Byrne
Head of SEO
iProspect

T: +44(0)207 492 2800
E: Brandon.smith@iprospect.com
W: www.iprospect.co.uk
Twitter: @iprospectuk

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