Day in the life of
SEO Manager – Jonathan Poston
- Creating an SEO strategy using best practices, and a roadmap based on resources available and the competitive advantages of the brand and its associated domain(s) authority.
- Managing / working with teams of content writers, engineers/developers, UX, and CRO specialists.
- Onboarding / using a decision matrix to select enterprise software platforms/toolsets which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to render insights on everything from keyword rankings over time, comparison data, competitive gap analysis data, etc.
- Running regular site audits in order to find technical errors and opportunities (i.e. increasing site speed etc.)
- Discovering & determining the value of keywords that we should target.
- Researching Google algorithm changes/updates by studying traffic changes, reading industry news, conducting experiments and tests with the data I have on hand.
- Running experiments, A/B tests, etc. to see if/when variables we change make a difference and what difference they make, along with how to scale successful trials to the larger site structure.
My Typical Day
Checking data, tracking test results, setting up A/B tests, making content and technical recommendations, etc.
Over the years SEO as a career track has become more mainstream and respected, so the salaries are the highest they have ever been, generally topping out at 200k plus bonus. Some of the long used tools like semrush.com have gone public. And, many large platforms (the largest and best are: SEOclarity, BrightEdge, Search Metrics and Conductor) have been developed around the science of SEO which further legitimize and anchor the career into what is a trending arc into the future.
SEO has expanded to test for insights far beyond Google, which was primarily where SEOs dwelled….now we have Amazon SEO, YouTube SEO, Walmart.com SEO, where professionals explore each large search platform ecosystem to understand how the algorithms function, and how brands can leverage those insights into actionable strategies in order to be more relevant in each space, based on user intent.
The biggest downside to SEO is that there is a relatively limited career ladder. For example, what does one do when they become Director of SEO, which can happen in a matter of 3-5 years? It’s great to be able to reach 150k in salary in just a few years, but then one feels stuck. There really are no VP SEO roles, and if you do become VP of SEO, then you are literally stuck at the very top because what role would you move to from there. Thankfully, SEOs are providing such value in terms of growth, and working with developers and engineers to build web products that many SEOs will jump into VP of Growth or VP of Product roles, and go from there. It’s just a matter of leaving the tribe and becoming more of a generalist. But, frankly, this is the challenge for any scientist/specialist.
Advice to aspiring SEOs
To that last point, I would say it’s a great profession to enter, just make sure you plan out what happens next, although I regularly see professionals staying in SEO for their entire careers, happy with the large salaries and enough change to be challenged on a daily basis.