Ok so this post is something I have been wanting to write for a while, after recent developments with several people who I have worked very close with over the last 3 years and the decisions they have made in which they want to re form their careers and myself having thoughts on where I want to be in the next 3 years as it has all been one great ride.
So where did my career in SEO start?
I have been involved with SEO for over 7-8 years now and I have been involved with web dev and websites since 1999, since I was a young kid I was making websites, no matter how shocking they were I was learning things myself. I mean at first it was something for a bit of fun, I never really was a hardcore programmer or I never really knew every single programming language but messing around with front page and later on dream weaver seemed to be really cool at the time.
How did I get involved in SEO?
When some one told me about SEO in around 2004, I was a pretty active community member on many car forums, I have been involed with cars for a long time, I had 1000’s of posts on car forums it was a real first love been community development admin management of forums ect. This specific user told me how I could grow my traffic for my websites I was integied, he told me to join a website called “Digital Point Forums”. He said if you want to learn SEO this is the place to do it, so instantly I was off on a journey which started back in 2004 to join DP and see what i could learn, their were literally 100’s of posts on the site and it was never ending reading on SEO, social media and every thing else. In 2004 and 2005 been at high school I was not really making much money at all I was in the learning and development years while still studying.
Where did I go from their?
I started making websites and started generating income from Adsense, the money started rolling in, I was making a fair bit, I was not making 10 dollars a month I had made over $55,000 from Adsense (if you work in online you know Adsense pays the worst) and I had sold other websites for close to $XX,XXX over the space of a few years this was at the point of been a teenager and just learning on the job. I mean I have also paid a fair share of the money earnings via online to TAX over the years, it is always advisable to have you tax affairs in order when doing business online.
Now move into work
– I started doing SEO consulting in 2006/2007 for small business, some times it was for a family business so it was even free, overall it was all fun. I started with the smaller businesses from 2007-2009.
I remember in 2008 I went for an interview at “Geekdom” they pretty much told me to go away because I was too much an Entrepreneur and too risky!, so I continued working with the smaller businesses making money myself via Adsense and some other cash rolling in.
In 2009 I saw an ad one a website one day and thinking nothing of it I said hey I thought i will send my resume off too a random company I had never heard off called “Media Contacts”, after a quick Google search this company was really big on a global level I think they were in like 38 countries and owned by “Havas Digital”, Originally I applied for a Social Media role as I had a huge amount of knowledge in that area but instead I recieved a call for a SEO role they had going.
Media Contacts Days
I went in one Friday afternoon to have the interview, it was a really chilled out place, this is where I met Marcio who was the “Head Of SEO and Social Media” I would be working with him and a few others to develop the SEO offering for the business, great. Marcio liked the fact that I was an Entrepreneur and he also liked the fact that I know a lot about all the various SEO tools and had a fair bit of history and experience in SEO and I had experience working with clients. So I start work and on my first day Marcio tells me he has to go overseas for 3 months and I have the manage the whole offering and develop it all myself over the next 3-4 months!! Great so I am dropped in the deep end straight away having to swim. This is where I meet the other search business which was on the same level at Town Hall called “Columbus Search” at first I thought “what is this business? Christopher Columbus”? but not realizing Columbus Search was in fact the largest PPC (paid per click company) in Australia by billings, owned by the giant “Mitchel Communications Group” Australia’s largest media buying company!!
I met Karl a PPC manager, Karl was a great help in developing my skills to help pitch for new business from a more corporate (big business) level, sure I had sold SEO and Social to smaller business but selling to smaller business and selling to companies which turn over 100s of millions is a very different story. Karl set me up on my first pitch which was a $XXX,XXX project, I had to put together the deck and then go in and present to 4 directors from a company, overall it went well we got sign off of the project in 2009, and work began. The cleint was great they really knew how to look after the people working on the account as the agency managed SEO, Offline, PPC, Online Media, PR and Star Management, at this time I was working across both Media Contacts and Columbus Search.
This one account developed into several others, till the point where we had say 3 or 4 SEO accounts going which I had a hand in. Marcio came back after 4 months and got things moving once more, the great thing about working in such a large “Display Media” company is i started to realize how well display media people were treated, companies were always looking to take them out and buy drinks for them when ever they wanted. I also worked on several large Social Media campaigns and had my involvement in some Social Media Monitoring.
Move to Columbus Search full time.
In 2010 I was approached by Columbus Search (on the same level) to move full time into the company rather than working across both companies as I did since 2009, It was an opportunity to bring on some huge talent into the team and start the SEO offering, and to also grow the team from SEO been (just me 1) to a large number.
This is where we hired Pieter, Lead SEO from BWIN Poker, Pieter was incharge of the SEO behind one of Europe’s largest poker websites so he was very switched on in the SEO space, if you wanted advanced strategies pieter was your go to man, he was also an expert in management of teams (Pieter taught me a lot about professional management and managing large teams, I will always be thankful for his help and expertise). Pieter was also a random character who always had something fun for the team to do, such as dress up days, random lunches, random bar tabs at bars, weekly meetings at a bar, if any one was a credit to getting the PPC/SEO and whole business together Pieter was the best at it.
(Pieter on one of his dress up days)
New Direction for the SEO team.
Things moved very quickly from this point on we initially has a few SEO clients to where we had a huge number of SEO clients and we were working with some of Australia’s largest brands, with large wins means the team then grows in size, from me been the first member of the team to start the offering from Pieter coming on board to grow it, then we hired 7 additional people in the SEO team, this was in line with say 35 in the PPC team which were already hired in Sydney alone, we also had presence in other states 20+ in Melbourne and a few in Brisbane. Working with Pieter for over 2 years was great becuase the whole team learn alot, had a lot of fun too!
In the last year I have also been working in house at Virgin Mobile which is also a good bit of fun, in house and agency life is very different and it is good experience as people say the best of both worlds.
Now The funny thing and the overall method of this post is to show that Pieter and Marcio, two great SEO’s have now moved on from SEO to other careers outside SEO, they have different directions for the future in terms of where they want to be. The question is their where will SEO be in 3 years? I feel having a strong connection too social media will still be a key factor in moving forward.
Now you probably say what happened to some of the money made online?
I think it was around 2007 I purchased a BMW with some of the money I was making online, I picked it up at a really good price at the time, every one thought I was selling “something else” at the time but really i was just making money online from ads!!
Probably a stupid idea I should have used the money to buy a unit some where when the property market was down in 2007.
Another purchase was a piece of Art one night –
Overall you can not change how the past is you just need to move onto the future and see what the future has install, this is a brief view of the last few years, making a more in depth post would take me ages =)
So I thought it was time to update this post as it has been a while since my last post.
SEO in 2012
So in 2012 after Pieter and a few other members from the team left we were left with a team of 4 or so people, many people left the business and things changed. We had a fair amount of work on and things were getting very busy. It was left to me to take on a role of looking after the team. Now I had a 2 month holiday booked in for July and August which I had to take which also made things hard. So before I left for the holiday it was a case of making sure the team was set up while I was away and also that I could work remotely.
2 months in Europe
So I went on a two month holiday of Europe with a few friends and it was really enjoyable. It was good to take some time to see all different parts of Europe. Europe has so many different countries and we got to taste most of the best countries and what they had to offer. I could probably write a whole blog on my holiday to Europe as it would take a very long time.
Whilst I was in London I contacted some of the guys from SEO Gadget and they told me to come down to a local meetup for a few beers. I was shocked at how popular Meetups were in the UK so this is the reason why I decided to set up my own meetup when I came back to Australia – http://www.meetup.com/Online-Marketing-Sydney/
Coming back to work
So when I came back to work from my holiday it was a phase of getting every thing sorted, we had many new projects on and it was a case of keeping all the clients happy. Further to this we had new hires of a head of the team and a director. We did not really have a view on the business which was “joint” with the new management team. It was hard for me starting the team 3-4 years ago to been a point where we I did not have a say on the direction of the team any more.
I decided the best thing to do was to start up my own business as it was something I have always wanted to give a shot.
Starting my own business
So for the last 8 months I have been in the phases of starting my own business, it is hard as a business owner as you are running new business development, team management, accounting and promotion.
The thing about having a well known name in Australian market is many jobs come to your by word of mouth or when you meet some one at an event. But things are never handed to you on a silver platter. Currently we are working on a range of different companies from small to large with more exciting things to come in the near future.