I have had a long and varied IT career to date. My journey into SEO started with the recession, getting laid-off and seeing SEO as an opportunity and an area of future growth. In the 8 years I have now spent in SEO the amount of change has been mind-blowing.
IT is an industry where change is part of life. I always was conscious that constant training / retraining is a part of the role and the only way to stay current. You might need to reskill every 3 to 5 years.
In SEO this is not the case at all, it is in a state of constant change, changes to the Google algorithm are non-stop, Google is always making small changes to improve results. Then every year or so Google will make a major change such as Penguin, Panda or Hummingbird. For each of those changes you need to be aware of how it might impact your clients and if necessary, react to the changes.
My initial focus in the SEO world was small, local businesses, I have done a lot of work with agencies (music, sport and celebrity), with bands, with retail – both online and “bricks and mortar”, videographers and solicitors.
My SEO focus now is international, I work with a localisation company, so most of our clients are either marketing globally or want to. I do hands-on analysis of sites and social presence, present strategies and solutions to clients, I also train resources in various elements of SEO. I have trained 2 SEO Specialists in Dublin, I am currently training 250 vendors globally in keyword research and content optimisation and I have other training courses which I have developed for our PMs and Language Leads.
Before SEO my area of expertise was data, I worked mainly on Business Intelligence projects, usually supporting either the marketing or finance functions. I started in this area while working for EDS (now part of HP). Initially working on ETL, with a hand in the reporting side, I developed this role into a Technical Architect role in Data Warehousing and BI. With EDS I worked with some large clients such as GM, where I developed a bespoke Analytical CRM system for the UK and Australia and then redesigned it for a common European implementation. I worked with the DWP (UK) on a couple of BI projects, where I worked in the UK, on client sites 4 days a week. I also led the BI competency in the Dublin solution centre (50+ resources), this involved developing workshops and training, mentoring and dealing with external companies for training and certifications. It also involved a lot of pre-sales work and presenting to prospective clients.
In Dell I worked on an internal customer data team, this was a global team, most of the resources were based out of the US and India. This was an incredible working environment, globally connected and very dynamic.
If we go further back in time, I got my first IT role in 1994, working with a 4GL and Ingres databases for the Irish Revenue Commissioners. This was a great role, a great learning environment, got a taste for data, for OO development and for hard work.