Culture, Events

Q&A With Verb’s SEO Account Director, Jade Taylor

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On the 19th of February, we will be hosting our ninth LEARN on SEO Content Strategy. We’re incredibly excited to announce that one of our Account Directors, Jade Taylor, will be running the workshop! With an impressive background, working with the likes of Charlotte Tilbury, Links of London, Selfridges and Vivienne Westwood, Jade can teach everyone a thing or two about SEO optimisation for luxury brands. In preparation for the event, we’re sharing with you Jade’s career to date and her thoughts on the changing SEO landscape.

How did you first get into Digital Marketing? Did you always want to do SEO?

I fell into it by accident – I didn’t know it existed when I first started working!

When I was at school I wanted to go into PR, but when relocating to the UK from Australia at just 19 I ended up getting a job in finance after brief stints in hospitality (I was a terrible barmaid!) and retail. I worked in that industry up until the financial crash, which I used as an opportunity to do work experience in the music industry. From there I made it into Digital PR through connections I had made over the years and worked with some amazing acts and incredible events. Since then I’ve worked across PPC, buying and selling ad space, account management, content creation, social and finally SEO where I specialise in the content side of things as opposed to the technical.

I think by working across so many areas of digital marketing means I’m able to see how SEO fits in with the wider picture and how all the channels work together to support one another. For me, SEO has been my favourite area – I love the creativity allowed by working on content, the social aspect of client facing and the nerd in me likes the analytics that supports the work we do.

Tell us some more about what you do everyday, what does a typical day look like at Verb?

No day is the same, which I love. Most days will involve catch ups with my team to make sure they have the support they need and are on track for deliverables for their accounts. I also make sure to read through industry news daily – especially anything about algorithm updates.

As an Account Director, I need to communicate often with clients via emails, phone or face to face, as well as working on pitches, training decks and presentations. At Verb, all teams are constantly liaising with each other on ways we can work better together or to provide further support to accounts, so catch ups with other teams is pretty common. Every now and then I will also play pool (poorly) with some of the guys in the office, and a bunch of us go out regularly for lunch or to the pub after work.

I’m a firm believer in enjoying what you do and where you work. For me, finding a company where I like the people and the culture is just as important as the work I do – if I’m going to spend most of my waking hours there, I need to enjoy it – luckily I have that at Verb.

How has the industry changed since you started your career?

I don’t think any area has remained untouched as technology and user expectations evolve at such a rapid rate – so much has changed in the decade or so I’ve been working in Digital Marketing. A lot of roles that exist today simply weren’t around, whereas others were still in their infancy, so not widely known about.

The way work is done has changed a lot as well due to the introduction of things like GDPR and ASA guidelines for influencers, as well as changing SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This means Digital Marketing is in a state of constant evolution, including how the different channels interact with one another. A good example of this is SEO and PPC – SEO can support PPC by helping to optimise pages to lower the CPC’s. However, this mean clicks then get attributed to paid, which can mean some brands not seeing the value of Organic without proper reporting. As a lot of clicks for short tail words go to PPC placement, Organic also needs to optimise for topics (vs specific key terms) in order to have wider visibility for a variety of relevant longer tail keywords, which usually aren’t bidded on by PPC, but still drive a significant amount of relevant traffic. It’s worth noting that SEO is a long term strategy, so being patient and understanding how SEO builds keyword visibility over time is a must as part of the client relationship.

Tell us about the main challenge luxury brands face in terms of SEO?

There isn’t one that stands out more than the others for me, but the below are some of the hurdles that I’ve seen come up time and again over the years:

  • Luxury brands vary in scale as much as any brand: knowing how to work with small budgets as well as large is really important
  • Putting the brand first, not the user: brands are increasingly looking to replicate their brand feel through their website experience but can overlook user testing. We work with brands ensure conversion rates are strong whilst maintaining brand messaging
  • Not understanding the actual audience, instead focussing on what is perceived to be the desired audience
  • Targeting the wrong keywords, e.g. there’s no point in a small-budget luxury brand going for a term that serves high street brands only on the first page
  • Expecting short term results – it takes time to build the trust and authority needed by search engines

I’ll be discussing how to overcome these and more in my workshop.

Our next LEARN will be a workshop on SEO content strategy for luxury brands, what changes do you think we will we see in SEO over the next few years?

The future is all about the audience – who they are, where they are online, how they consume information and what they want from a brand. Those that get that will continue to thrive as the market changes.

Google is constantly updating the algorithm to better understand user intent, so if a brands site doesn’t match it, it can’t expect to be rewarded with higher positions in the rankings. Ultimately Google wants to give users what they want so they don’t go to a competitor (more people = more ad space sold = increased revenue). This is making it more important than ever for brands to research their audience and understand their needs and cater to them.

You could have the most incredible content on your site and have everything be ‘perfect’ from an optimisation and brand point of view, but if it isn’t what your audience wants or needs, they simply won’t engage and rankings (plus revenue) will drop.

As Paid, Featured Snippets, Snack Packs, Knowledge Graphs, and even Zero Click Searches, alter the landscape by pushing Organic results further down the first page, brands wanting to get users from the SERPs to their sites need to work harder than they have in the past – this ties in to understanding what the user expects to receive from different types of searches.

Years ago it was much easier for dodgy SEO’s to game the system and get into the top spot – from keyword stuffing, to buying links, or even cloaking (BMW was completely removed from Google SERPs for this for 3 days). These days, it’s about creating hubs of content targeting what’s beneficial to users and what’s relevant to the brand to build authority and trust, which can then drive traffic for a wide range of related long tail keywords.

This is only going to become more prevalent as time goes on and search engines get smarter at spotting brands trying to manipulate the results – I wouldn’t be surprised if penalties get harsher too.

The outcome of this, I think, will be more brands investing in audience research, along with the creation of personas, tone of voice and content objective documents. LEARN is a perfect way to stay ahead of the curve.
We will be hosting our next LEARN on the 19th of February on SEO content strategy. If you would like to learn more about how to best optimise your SEO register here.

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