SEO now incorporates everything from PR to social media, content strategy and beyond. To understand how the field is evolving, we asked Adam Skalak, Head of SEO at iCrossing, to keep a diary of his working week
With Google making more than 500 changes to their algorithm each year, I begin every day by checking what has changed overnight. My go-to news sources are Search Engine Land, which provides excellent coverage of official announcements, and Search Engine Roundtable, where I can gather useful insights from the SEO community. Twitter is another great source of information, especially for keeping up with immediate updates. And, because Google often launches changes during the night, I keep in constant communication with iCrossing’s team in the US.
My team is fantastic when it comes to identifying changes and responding to them quickly. I get involved when we face significant changes or when we need to relay the information to clients. SEO changes daily, so every morning offers a unique challenge. This is one of my favourite parts of the job.
Adam Skalak, Head of SEO at iCrossing
On Mondays I run a weekly operational meeting for the SEO management team. We reflect on the previous week and discuss the upcoming one – both from our own point of view and from that of our clients. The key part for me is that every member of the management team is given an opportunity to bring their challenges to the table.
In the afternoon I focus on reviewing progress against our strategic priorities. These are planned quarterly or every six months. The challenges we work on include collaboration between SEO, social and PR, strengthening our creative process and the transition from link tactics to a sustainable approach to SEO. My favourite part is pioneering collaboration between SEO and above-the-line (ATL) activities. I strongly believe that if a brand cannot create SEO value from their ATL activity, they are not spending their marketing budget effectively.
Monday afternoons are notoriously hectic, so Monday evening is always a welcome arrival – that’s when iCrossing FC take to the five-a-side field!
Tuesday and Wednesday
Most of my client meetings and pitches take place on these two days. I also schedule in plenty of training time with my team. The SEO landscape has changed more in the last two years than in the 10 before it, so our ways of working have to constantly develop. SEO is no longer a linear function that can exist in isolation but a complex approach that spans many marketing channels.
Making sure that my team and I are really at the cutting edge of SEO development is a huge task, but absolutely vital. Applying these new methodologies across our portfolio of accounts is the major focus of my role. Up-to-date processes and training are essential building blocks. I work with the team to come up with strategies that are aligned to our approach and which meet clients’ objectives. This could be in the form of a strategy presentation for the client or support with execution, for example when we collaborate with PR agencies.
I fill the gaps between meetings with supporting my team. This means trouble-shooting SEO problems, reviewing work, supporting line-management and ensuring the personal development of all staff. Keeping my team engaged is a huge priority for me – which is why I make sure I match my staff’s individual strengths and passions with our client and agency needs as much as I possibly can.
I often finish these days with dinner either with a client, a partner or my colleagues.
I block out my Thursday mornings for my strategic planning and use this time to review our SEO processes, looking for areas in which we can innovate and improve further.
In the afternoon I again commit to my client work, which is split between a core portfolio of accounts that I lead and the rest of the agency portfolio where my help is needed.
On Friday morning I receive the weekly ‘Innovate and Exceed’ report. I encourage everyone in the team to share where they feel they have really innovated or where they have exceeded in the last week. This helps the team to build confidence, gives them an opportunity to take the initiative and I get a good overview of their work for the week. Innovation is essential to remain successful in an ever-changing SEO landscape.
Friday lunchtime is a great time to pop out with the team and chat through plans for the weekend. Lunchtime always finishes up with a game of foosball.
After lunch I assemble my deputies to discuss any issues with delivery and review progress against short term tasks. At four o’clock we gather the full SEO team for our weekly meeting. I take this opportunity to update everyone on important news and one or two of our analysts will then present a case study of their client work or their point of view on a recent piece of SEO news. It is vital that we share success stories across client accounts so we can learn from experience and continue to develop our understanding of SEO as a group.
We finish the meeting by presenting the weekly award for the best individual performance in the Innovate and Exceed category.