My first few weeks as Reflect Digital’s new placement student have already provided a massive insight into what actually goes on in the day-to-day life of a digital marketing agency. I finished the second year of uni thinking I knew a fair bit about marketing, but boy was I wrong. I’ve discovered that whilst university, covers the ground work to marketing, it doesn’t help develop the necessary skills and knowledge that you’ll need for the real world of marketing. For example, Google Analytics, just one of many very important tools and services needed to track and analyse your business’s marketing efforts - does university teach you how to use this service? No. Does Google Analytics even get spoken about at university? No. You can see where I’m going with this…
However, I do really recommend getting that degree behind you, but do not get caught up in thinking a degree is enough – work experience is key. It’s not until joining Reflect Digital, that I have felt I’ve had the necessary training on the need-to-know tools, software, and learnt the key responsibilities of a marketer in SEO.
So what have I learnt so far at Reflect Digital?
Search Engine Optimisation, also known as SEO is a powerful and effective tool in marketing, and often gets overlooked when creating that ever so important marketing plan. SEO is the focus on growing your brand’s visibility within organic search engine results pages (also known as SERPs). Search Engine Optimisation could be the difference in your brand ranking 1st or 41st, it could be the difference in gaining 2000 or 200 visits to your site a day and could be the difference in your site being recognised or not.
Once upon a time Google heavily relied on keywords that appeared to be dominant on a web page and used this as a ranking factor. People caught on to this and went overboard, to say the least, stuffing keywords into every sentence to manipulate their site’s ranking in Google SERPs. Google now penalises companies who practice keyword stuffing (so stop with the spamming) – it’s important to focus on a keyword you want to rank for, but to use this keyword to produce quality content that is relevant to the search query.
Backlinks are an important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, however, like most things, you have the good and the bad and it’s important to understand that because of this reason, more backlinks is not always better. Backlinks are known as external links pointing towards your website/web page. So what are good backlinks? Backlinks from authoritative websites pointing towards your site are good and in Google’s metaphorical eyes, indicate that your website is credible and important. On the other hand, bad backlinks refer to spammy, low-quality websites that are linking back to your site, and indicate to Google that your website too, is of little value and quality when in fact this might not be true. Remember, quality first, quantity second.
So, I’ve had a lot of training in the last 7 or 8 weeks which has been great. From Google Analytics to Google My Business, Google Search Console to PPC, you name it, I’ve had training on it. For me, it’s been a huge benefit to have received so much training which has undoubtedly helped me get a better understanding of what is expected of me in my marketing career. It is also good preparation to experience training sessions, as working within an evolving industry you can expect that personal development will be part and parcel of your career.
There have also been a few laughs along the way in our training sessions, and probably the funniest as of yet was learning that the previous placement student made one of those ‘learn from your mistake’ errors in a big way when it came to an early attempt at outreach. Let’s just say, a few words amidst some missing punctuation and an act of misinterpretation really caused a hoo-ha. Luckily, not-to-name-names (Ross) took it on the chin and won’t be making that mistake again!
All in all, I think I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an expanding digital marketing agency that works with some massive clients and top-dogs in their industry. What is usually and could’ve been a very nerve-wracking start to a new job, was made a delight by the friendly and welcoming team here at Reflect Digital. I’m excited to see what knowledge and skills I will have learnt at the end of my year’s placement and to see how I have grown and developed as an individual and as a marketer.