Harry has been at iThinkMedia for over two years and has worked on a number of different clients across varying industries. Harry chats us through his experience in SEO, his predictions for the search industry and his most annoying habits…
I was working as a financial e-commerce analyst for TK Maxx on my university placement year where I learned web analytics and how to understand customer journeys through the web. At the end of my placement, I found temp work at iThinkMedia before going back to uni. I realised my true interest was in websites and understanding customer needs and journeys rather than the career in accounting which I had planned. After working hard and impressing Chris the CEO, he offered me a full time job. The rest is history…
Right now I’m building a new taxonomy for Gumtree’s jobs category (providing categories and attributes for their jobs to sit under). This involves large-scale research to enable us to answer search queries to improve SEO and user experience. It’s exciting because this will be a huge, positive transformation to their site that will undoubtedly lead to great results.
I like how the industry is always evolving; it keeps you on your toes so there is always more to learn. I love the satisfaction of getting tangible results and knowing that you’ve impressed a client, it’s a great feeling.
One thing that bugs me about SEO is that I can’t look at Google search results anymore without thinking about SEO and why I’m being shown each site in the results. SEO won’t get out of my head!
Good question. I’ve always liked the idea of being an architect and designing out-of-this-world houses with all sorts of crazy features and layouts. I could then design myself one of these awesome, unique houses! It could be completely self-sufficient, have fish tanks for walls or a fireman’s pole as a quicker alternative to the stairs.
Personally, I think the craziest thing is that their existence is why I have a job today. Obviously, another company would be in it’s place if they weren’t here, but essentially the whole SEO industry revolves around satisfying the search engine (and the other players too).
On a more fun note, I love how they put ‘Easter eggs’ into their products. For example, there was a hidden game in Android version 5.0 Lollipop. You’d tap on the version number in your phone settings to bring up an Android, lollipop themed version of the renowned Flappy Bird game.
Big data is one of my strengths. I have the ability to take on large project briefs while anticipating and mitigating risks from the beginning. I can slice and dice large amounts of data with confidence to ensure bulk projects are delivered error-free.
I’m the go-to-guy in the office for any help with Excel. I also am very particular about providing clean and presentable Excel documents. Working in this industry, we often don’t mind ugly files and sifting through data, but for a client I think it makes a world of difference to make them as clear and digestible as possible.
One of my habits is always snooping to see if there’s office treats or spare food around. It annoys me because it clashes with my attempted ‘healthy lifestyle’ challenge. For everyone else, it’s annoying because I constantly go on about being healthy and then go and eat all the office treats anyway!
In all honesty, I think it will be fundamentally the same. The core basics will remain intact; optimising sites with relevant keywords, satisfying searchers’ needs with content, having a ‘technically sound’ site and signalling to search engines you are a reputable source for a topic by attracting links from other reputable sources.
However, I think the importance of semantics (the meaning behind the words we use) will continue to grow. As search behaviour evolves with mobile and voice it is only going to get more important that we help search engines to understand our content. Not enough people are effectively implementing Schema Mark-up in the industry right now. Schema is code added to your site that helps explain to search engines what your vocabulary actually means. It then enables them to serve up better results for users, everybody wins.
Also, we know that the mobile-first index is coming. Ultimately, we’ll have to be even more considerate of the mobile experience and make sure content is not stripped from mobile versions of sites. Again, the basics won’t change, but we have to keep mobile at the front of our minds.
Of course, I enjoy keeping up to date the industry trends and I’ve gone the last two years. It’s great to get out the office and see what people have been working on in the industry. I’m particularly excited to see the interview with Gary Illyes from Google!