Please introduce yourself and where you work.
I’m Emily O’Dea, Director of Account Services & Strategy at Strategic Marketing.
How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years?
A decade ago we used the internet in a completely different way. Users used to look to the internet for general information on a global level. Now we verbally consult devices like Alexa to find out if the local pizza shop is still open. Our devices our different, our experiences are different and so are our expectations.
The way search engines evaluate websites has also completely changed. A decade ago you could use link farms, keyword stuffing and other shady tactics to improve your organic rankings. Today you are (rightfully) penalized for those types of practices. Today’s landscape is all about providing value to the user. Useful content and user experience reign supreme.
Another notable difference between the landscape then and now is that search is so much more local than it used to be. Users want accurate local results and they want them on all of their devices, fast.
How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?
I graduated with a marketing degree from Pace University in Manhattan in 2009, during a time of extreme economic uncertainty. Our dorm was just off Wall Street so naturally, I had plenty of finance friends interning at the big banks. I will never forget the day that my neighbours came home for their internship at Lehman Brothers to tell us all that the bank had collapsed. That’s it. The internship they were banking on becoming a real job is no longer and their prospects are bleak in a market that’s now flooded with talent all scratching for the few jobs left.
Marketing budgets were being slashed all over the place which, as an intern in New York City, provided me with a unique opportunity to get some good, hands-on experience. While learning everything I could at these internships, I realized that I needed to carve out a niche, something I’m good at, something that’s going to only grow. I started with Google Analytics. I analyzed traffic, patterns, and trends and created analytics reports for my supervisors at these firms. Analytics and logic came naturally to me and I still enjoy it very much. At the time, there weren’t many marketing people being professionally trained on digital advertising or SEO so I taught myself as much as I could. When it was time to enter the job market, I specially looked for opportunities where I could learn more about digital marketing.
A few years later I was launching an e-commerce website for a retail chain and met Steve Wiideman. He greatly expanded my knowledge of SEO and helped to fill in the gaps of my self-education.
What are the services you provide to your clients?
We’re a full-service advertising agency providing everything from TV commercials to social media marketing strategies. Our unique selling proposition is that we make all of the marketing channels work together in synergy.
What strategy according to you will prevail in 2018 for SEO?
Google is making it easy to test your site speed right on their homepage. This tells me that improving site speed, especially on mobile, will be critical to improving your organic rankings.
Ensuring that every client’s content is optimized specifically for mobile devices is a large focus of my 2018 strategies.
What would your advice be to people who are looking to take up digital marketing as a career choice?
At the end of the day, you have to love what you do. Digital marketing is great for anyone who has a love for learning and a knack for technology. My advice to someone who’s just starting out in digital is to learn all you can, and never stop.