In every industry, we have stereotypes, some are just more prominent than others. We won’t divulge the intricacies of other job title stereotypes as I’m sure everyone is aware of them but do you know what an SEO does? Are there even stereotypes associated with professionals in this industry? Let’s dig a little deeper…
As SEO Professionals, when asked the question “what do you do?”, we often find ourselves giving a multitude of replies, trying to simplify the answer. Some of these include:
So what is the simplest yet most detailed way to explain what an SEO professional does? The following should sum it up:
Search Engine Optimization helps visitors/people find products/services on search engines like Google & Bing. An SEO Professional is then responsible for analysing trends and best practices online to develop and implement strategies to improve rankings, qualified traffic and leads on a website.
If we are going to stereotype SEO Professionals let’s take a quick look at what stereotypes are and why they exist. Humans tend to see the world in categories. We see a knife, a fork and a spatula and we are able to categorise these as “cutlery”. A similar process occurs when categorising humans, except for the fact that cutlery doesn’t mind being stereotyped and humans often do. What we refer to as a “stereotype” scientists call “empirical generalisations” and these are a foundation of a scientific theory. Scientists make these generalizations because on a statistical average basis, they tend to be true. If they were not true, they wouldn’t be stereotypes.
So we think we’re allowed to make a bit of fun of ourselves here and why not, we understand the industry and can poke fun of some common molds. Let’s break down the ideal SEO stereotype.
We tend to find that SEO Professionals follow the semi-smart casual look at the workplace. The type of look that says: “yes I’m at work but I also go out to social events dressed in the same attire”. For guys its usually jeans, checkered button- up shirts and sneakers. Often they wear shirts with a Digital Conference they attended back in 2014 or some geeky saying like, “The Best Place To Hide A Body is On Page 2 of Google”. For girls it’s a bit smarter and often, rectangular glasses to complete the “I look at screens a lot but I’m also sophisticated” look.
SEO’s are often analytical and critical thinkers and you’ll see that in everyday scenarios. They are not the just go with it type and often plan and overthink different scenarios. They love to talk about everything digital and will relish the opportunity to explain to you how the internet works but don’t expect these introverted extroverts to be the life of the party!
SEO’s are generally geeky/techy people. So show them the latest and greatest technical innovation and they generally feel most at home. A lot of SEO’s also come from a background in media/journalism/copywriting, so their love for the written word in the form of a great book or the latest big news in the digital world also fires them up. Another stereotype that exists is their ability to hold their liquor. Yes, many SEO Professionals love to drink, especially at conference bars debating the latest tactics and theories around Google search.
This is our list of what attributes we think are necessary to be a great SEO professional:
SEO is a combination of science and art – you’ll need to find the sweet spot here. You need to have the ability to analyse, interpret and draw conclusions from data. SEO professionals look at numbers, charts and statistics all the time as part of their workflow. We don’t get stuck in the numbers and data (the “science”) – we turn them into meaningful insights and recommendations. That’s the “art”.
The ability to communicate properly and proactively with your team as well as to explain complex concepts to your clients is paramount.
The digital marketing field is one of the fastest evolving industries and you’ll need to keep ahead with algorithm updates, latest trends and important industry news if you wish to remain competitive and not get left behind using old tactics.
Being hungry to learn more, test your own ideas and work independently are key traits on the road to success. You need to love the process of always learning more and trying new ideas out and often be self- reliant and motivated at times to follow through on your methodologies.
This can be a challenging industry at times. Your efforts can occasionally be fruitless, your assumptions overridden and you’ll undoubtedly face criticism and misunderstanding from your clients at times. You’ll need to hang tough during these times and find solutions to your issues no matter what.
We’ve made a bit of fun of ourselves and described the anatomy of an stereotypical SEO professional. We had a good time but would love to know your thoughts on our opinions? Are we way off or hitting the nail on the head? Does this sound like an industry which would suit your personality? Could you be an SEO Professional? If you’re not sure, just Google that last sentence.