The Biggest Challenges Facing Today’s Search Professionals: Part Two

by Jessica Ramesh

copy_8_Danielle_Haley_230Danielle Haley, Co-Director at FSE Online Ltd

In the second part of her round-up of key issues facing SEO teams, Danielle Haley, Co-Director at FSE Online Ltd, focuses on how to stay ahead of the curve

The challenge: staying in the loop seems like a full-time job in itself

SEOs need to keep one eye firmly on the changing tide at all times. Let’s face it, we can’t predict how our industry is going to evolve from one week to the next, so we need to react as quickly as possible to what’s going on in the SEO space.

The merry-go-round of algorithm updates has us all on our toes. We’re regularly held to ransom by Penguins, Pandas and Hummingbirds, and several times a year we spend sleepless nights fraught with anxiety as we wait to find out what impact the latest rollouts have had on our clients’ campaigns.

(Heaven forbid one of our clients should get penalised for thin page content or a spammy-looking link profile. I can guarantee we won’t sleep for a week.)

The hardest part about these updates, and their subsequent disastrous effects on our clients’ search exposure, is the temptation to make a knee-jerk decision about the direction of a campaign instead of waiting patiently for more market data to seep through from research houses such as Econsultancy that will give us a broader, more accurate picture of the state of search. Analysis is often slow and it can take months for agencies to discover the full impact of an update or an algorithm refresh.

So how on earth do we SEOs manage our clients, get our heads around the latest launches and developments, and take steps to grow our business all at the same time?

How to stay one step ahead

The key to juggling these demands is relentless organisation. Set aside some time each week to research what’s happening in the industry. Browse specialist SEO mags, such as Search Engine Land, to gain an up-to-date insight into the state of search, and don’t forget to visit publications like The Marketer if you need help putting search into perspective. Just squeezing in 10 minutes a day of research time could save you hours of head-scratching further down the line and prepare you for when you’re inevitably confronted with a complicated onsite issue, or perhaps a tricky question from a client.

Regularly attending industry workshops, seminars, conferences and talks will also open you up to discussing ideas and developments with other search professionals in a face-to-face setting. We appreciate this is a scary thought for some search marketers, especially those who prefer to hide behind emails and phone calls, but you’ll feel much better for getting yourself out there and shaking a few hands, we promise!

Why not combine your own self-development with the chance to grow your client base by hosting a talk at a business event or exhibition? Not only will you need to brush up your knowledge to face guests’ questions, you’ll prove your worth as a search marketer and impress your peers and potential clients with your take on a hot industry topic.

Finally, we’d always recommend keeping your own SEO blog. Writing about current issues is the best way to soak up information, plus you’ll build up a reputation as an industry authority in the process!

Read part one of Danielle’s article here.

Read part three of Danielle’s article here.