As part of their 2021 Careers Guide, the University of NSW Marketing Society interviewed our Director Bill Vasiliadis for insights on Search Engine Optimisation, especially for university marketing students considering SEO as a career choice.
What does a typical day in your career look like?
I’m the Managing Director, so I oversee all the client campaigns, making sure that everything is on track and according to the strategy that we have in place. I also oversee the staff to make sure that they’re all OK in terms of their assigned campaigns, and if any further help is required. In SEO, you would typically have clients assigned to you. We would formulate a strategy with each client at the beginning of the campaign after completing an analysis/audit of their website which determines where it currently stands and what needs to be done to improve its visibility. The role of the SEOs is to then work on that strategy. Towards the end of the month when we have completed the hours for that client, to report on what we’ve achieved, we’d go into the analytics and see what kind of traffic and conversions have occurred for this client, and whether or not we are on track to meeting their goals. Sometimes, and dependant on new priority actions and search engine algorithm updates, we may need to make refinements to the strategy.
Could you give us an example of a recent work you did with SEO?
An example would be Sydney Criminal Lawyers who are specialist criminal defence firm in Sydney. Prior to SEO, they had very little visibility at the search engines. Now, with strong SEO foundations and a combination of content marketing, social media marketing, PR, and other digital tools, they have very strong visibility on Google where most of their leads are derived from.
What do you think are the skill sets needed for students to really thrive in SEO?
I think you need a balance of technical and marketing. If you just have the marketing skillset, you’ll still do quite well, but there are parts of SEO that are quite technical, and likewise, there are parts of SEO that have a strong marketing focus, so having both skill sets will help you do really well. I’m finding that a lot of people in marketing positions today, whether they are the marketing manager of Foxtel or Netflix, are always up-skilling to get more knowledge around digital. If you can add some technical elements to your skillset too, whether it’s taking computer coding or networking courses, it gives you that edge when it comes to the technical side of things, which I think will complete a student who is really interested in analytics and digital marketing.
What kind of unique insights do you think businesses can gain from investing in SEO?
I think data is now such a big part of everything. We’re collecting data on everything, aren’t we? Whatever a user, for instance, does on the internet is being collected by that platform, so having all that data can be harnessed to help businesses understand their audience. However, you need to define what your business goals are first. What are you trying to achieve with SEO? What kind of problems do you need to solve? Then you go looking for the data or ways of collecting and optimising that data that’s going to solve the problem for you.
What goes into a typical campaign? In terms of software, time, etc.
We use a bunch of different software, like Google Analytics, Semrush, and Ahrefs. Google Analytics is a big one: it’s free, it’s easy to use, and there’s a lot of information there for you to get meaningful insights. SEO is always ongoing, it’s not something where you can turn on and of – it needs to be a part of your long-term marketing strategy especially since you typically don’t see results straight away. It takes quite a bit of time depending on what kind of competition you have, whether it’s a brand new site or an established site. Whereas SEM (Search Engine Marketing) you might turn on and of as required. For instance, you might ramp it up during particular seasons like Christmas, end-of-financial-year sales, or whatever the case. SEM can be customized depending on the situation, whilst SEO should be ongoing. So in terms of duration, we make sure that clients understand that it is a long-term process. With our system, we work on a month-by-month basis but we find that most clients often commit to years.
Bill Vasiliadis thanks the UNSW Marketing Society for the invitation to share his insights and be a part of their careers guide.
For further information, read the UNSW Marketing Society 2021 Careers Guide which is packed with interviews, insights and trends direct from the marketing industry, it aims to prepare students for the professional world by equipping them with diverse opportunities both within university and in the fast-evolving industry.