by Jamie Goodwin
For the past three months I’ve been with Forwardseo, a search engine optimisation agency based in Northwich, near Manchester. Before the placement I’d had limited experience with SEO. I’ve designed and developed websites for uni, myself and for clubs in the university’s AU, but never claimed to optimise them in any way for search engines – other than the standard good, clean code and lots of keywords.
Coming here gave me a chance to add to my repertoire of skills, particularly those based on web design (which I want to keep on the backburner – but keep nevertheless). The Managing Director, ran an introduction to SEO; this was a great chance for me to start learning things that could help me in the future. I’ve also spoken to most of the content writers and developers about good coding, good writing and general good practice. It turns out I had a fair few misconceptions about the way to write things, particularly the way to code it!
However, online marketing wasn’t the only thing I was supposed to learn at this SEO company. This Master’s is about the whole experience, the variety of four different placements; the ability to meet so many people in such a short space of time plays a massive role in the whole thing. This was something I really liked about the company, the people. They helped me to learn a massive amount in a fairly short space of time.
I also learned what sites behind the main work of the business. I compiled data, researched various businesses, created webpages and managed accounts for social media profiles. This was made much easier by the infroduction of Hootsuite which is an application that allows you to take control of a bunch of accounts all at the same time.
We worked with local businesses and visited SME business networking events to find customers. It was surprising to see how many business owners are trying to do their own SEO, and sometimes receiving major penalties for going about it the wrong way, or using outdated methods. I came across examples where Google had completely delisted certain companies – this must be a knockout blow for those involved. There are apparently ways back from this, but I didn’t dip my toe into this area while I was with the company.
Everyone was friendly right from the word go, which was particularly well received because I was so scared that I wouldn’t be ‘up-to-scratch’ when I went. I spent the first morning terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do anything, wouldn’t meet standards, etc. Nonetheless, I was fine and everyone was wonderful. Working in a fairly small agency really helped to promote that ‘part of the team’ feeling.
The company caters for medium sized companies in the North West of England, and their customers know that they are getting advice they can trust. I’m currently working towards getting my MSc in Marketing, and working directly for such a company has added that extra something that will boost my confidence as I head out into the job market.