Starting my time at Path as a SEO intern, my knowledge of organic search strategies was more of a 101 one than a truly matured and in-depth expertise. After a few weeks spent among Path’s SEO and social team, I still can’t pretend I’m some sort of guru, but I definitely honed my skills and learnt some great tips from talented and passionate individuals.
Keywords Are Just Words Aren’t They?
A rookie marketer with a strong journalism background, I used to think SEO came down to this motto: (key)words, (key)words, (key)words! And, would I think: As long as you knew their exact meaning, all their synonyms in proper English or broken one (try ‘’apt’’ for ‘’apartment’’), your SEO strategy would be a good one. So, coming in the first day at Path, I was reassured: I knew all the ways to say ‘’cheap’’, ‘’inexpensive’’ or ‘’affordable’’, and their head and long tail variations… Boy, was I far from it!
Blast From The Task
As I was assigned my first tasks, I immedialety dove into new verticals and wrapped my head around very heterogeneous businesses such as real estate or breastfeeding. When starting a keyword opportunity analysis and research, try to think as a big company’s CEO willing to grow externally and who wants to conquer new markets. Keyword strategy is like that; you study all the opportunities, you assess what your competition is likely to bid on, and above all, you also consider niche markets, which in SEO terms, translates into ‘’concatenating’’ all possible head keywords, long tail keywords and calculating their efficiency. At the end of the day, my first grasp of SEO strategy building was a big fat spreadsheet.
ROI Means Long-Term Vision
Coming in at Path, I already had the feeling SEO strategies aren’t built overnight. What I learnt from my co-workers is that SEO comes with clients’ buy-in. Obviously, first and foremost priority is understanding their vision and goals for their business. But the underlying part of it is to get them to be patient and to accept that profitable SEO strategies don’t translate into immediate results. Ranking higher takes time, and in other cases, ranking on page 2 with the right keywords (efficient ones but not draining your budget) is much more promising than ranking on page 1 for the wrong reasons (too generic keywords, higher bids and possible higher bounce rates).
Having FOMO Will Help You Out
Being a SEO analyst or strategist, like any digital marketer, you never get any time off. There is absolutely no off switch. Rules change constantly. Compared to what SEO (and SEM) professionals have to keep up with, iOS’ and Android’s regular upgrades are cakewalk. So, I came to realize, over the course of my internship at Path, that fear of missing out is actually a ‘’plus’’. Because, while you were busy identifying the best keyword opportunities, Google’s algorithm has changed. That’s why, more than in any other business, never take anything for granted; be open-minded and agile.
At the end of the day, I feel I got a more accurate overview of all the little elements it takes to build a SEO strategy and trigger ROIs. Of course, keywords are just one way to do it. It doesn’t sum up the variety of tactics that play into being a good ‘’SEOist’’? Oh yes, pardon my English, I’m French…
NYU SCPS ’14
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