My Tech SEO Story with Simon Schneiders

Episode Summary

Simon Schnieders is the founder & CEO of Blue Array, the UK’s most popular & largest specialist SEO agency.

Simon had over a decade of experience working at the coalface of SEO, heading up in-house teams at companies like Zoopla, Yell and Mail Online prior to starting his own agency, Blue Array Ltd.

In this episode, he joins us to discuss his tech SEO journey.

Guest Profile.

Simon Schneiders

✉️Name:Simon Schnieders

✉️What Simon does: He is the founder & CEO of Blue Array

✉️Company: Blue Array

✉️ Noteworthy: In addition to heading up Blue Array, Simon also finds time to pass on his business expertise as an angel investor and advisor at, an advisor to SafeBuy, and as a mentor at 500 Startups, Wayra and Techhub.




Key Insights

💡Everyone has an interesting entry point into SEO

Simon shares his interesting entry into SEO, he started his career as a bartender, then affiliate marketing, working marketing at companies like zoopla, and then went on to own UK’s largest specialist SEO Agency. So if you don’t have a traditional/intentional entry point into SEO, it’s okay and completely normal!😉

💡Make Friends with Company Developer To Make Life Easier

Developers are the ones who implement the technical changes and they aren’t the biggest fans of SEO work, so if you’re looking to get the job done, maintain a healthy and friendly relationship with your developers.

💡There are no shortcuts when it comes to your SEO.

Simon shares that there are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO. It is a lot of hard work that you have to put into it. Things like Blackhat SEO may score you cheap success but it’s the long-term success that matters. It is important to be Abreast of Everything SEO even though Your A Tech SEO Expert.

Episode Highlights.

Is it really important to optimize for other search engines like when you’re in a Google-dominated country?

Simon says to think of search engines as a religion and optimize agnostically. Agnostically aligning yourself with Google puts you in good stead for other search engines.


The Soft Skills you’d need when working in-house are different from the ones required while working freelance.


Simon says when working in-house as a tech SEO specialist, maintaining relationships with developers is very important. As a freelancer, being a good communicator is also very important.

If you want to succeed as a TechSeo Intern you need to ask questions!


Connect with Simon;


The Peter Principle

Episode Transcriptions.

Chima Mmeje 0:02

Thank you Matilda.

Your mic? You need to unmute your mic. Yes. Your mic. Your mic is to mute.


Matilda Anebi 0:14

Can you hear me now?

Yes, yes. Yes. Nice.

Nice to finally meet you. And just like my colleagues, sorry, I must do that. So that’s my my colleagues that said, your course is amazing. It’s very beginner friendly.


And it’s was broken down to like, single. And I think that was like the longest article. He doesn’t worry. All the way down. It’s very nice. I enjoyed it. Thank you so much. Helps me. So yeah, it’s nice to have you here. Thank you.

Chima Mmeje 0:51

Thank goodness. Can you hear us? I think he has a bad network. So I’m just gonna circle back to you, Simon, and let you take over and share your journey from Yeah.

Simon Schnieders 1:04

Yeah, thank you all so much. That’s so lovely to hear that you find the front of the course rewarding and that you enjoyed it as well. So I’ll go through my journey in SEO, I started out, bartending. So that’s how I started. I don’t think anybody really goes into SEO wanting to be an SEO, they just sort of stumble their way into it.


And I certainly did. So I was bartending out in Miami. Beautiful little tiki bar by the pool. I don’t know why I ever left that job is the best job I’ve ever had. Staring at beautiful women in bikinis or making pina coladas is a bad mistake ever leaving that job. But I overheard at the bar, an English accent, which was a little bit unusual, back then in Miami, and so I got talking to this guy, and he was rewarding his top earning affiliates with cruises around the Caribbean because Miami is quite a bit poor, and keys to brand new sports cars.


And so I started to see these these people that he was rewarding. Come to the bar and and hang out they were very young, you know, there was sort of 20 Somethings who didn’t seem particularly doing anything that I couldn’t do. And I subsequently found out that they were referring traffic to his casino business.


So he was a casino affiliate. And he was rewarding his top affiliates with keys to brand new sports cars and cruise around the Caribbean. And I’ve dug a bit deeper and I found some of these guys were in kind of a Commission’s of upwards of a quarter million dollars a month. So huge commissions that these guys were earning. Essentially, they were, they were generating 30% of the player’s losses.


So anybody who’s done, who’s ever gambled, realises that it’s a bit of a mug’s game, the house always wins, you know, it’s not a it’s not a line, it’s true that the House does always win. So they’re generating 30% of the player’s losses. So they’re referring traffic to this casino through affiliate links. And he’s rewarding them with 30% of the players losses. And I thought, what these guys aren’t doing anything I couldn’t do.


So while I was bartending, I spent my evenings trying to learn about HTML, how to build website and back in those days, we didn’t have technologies to help us I used to build websites in Notepad. So we’d literally code both these things by hand. Hands, after, you know, lots of digging around and meeting a few other people in the industry through some events that I attended.


Miami was was quite a big hub for affiliates and affiliate events, I, I eventually started to rank top in America for the keyword online casino bonus with a website that I had at the time. And I was generating, you know, sometimes commission checks of 20 $50,000 every month. And so I pretty much quit my bartending job quickly, pretty quickly thereafter, and just focused on that.


And so I spent many years in Miami doing affiliate work, so driving traffic to other websites earning affiliate revenue. Most of my income at that time was generated from casinos. And the US decided to outlaw online gambling, essentially they couldn’t tax it, so they decided to outlaw it. And that was pretty much game over for me at that time.


So I then decided it’s probably time that I headed back to the UK so went from Miami summit and actually spent a bit of time in Malta weirdly. A six to six months, they didn’t enjoy it. So then headed back to the UK, and companies were starting to, to learn about SEO and see there was something that would be very interesting.


So I did my first job at a company called, which is a Yellow Pages websites, or online Yellow Pages website. And it was the easiest SEO job I’ve ever done. Back in those days, Google couldn’t crawl JavaScript links. And the homepage had links to the products, pages and category pages in JavaScript.


So I knew all I had to do was change those JavaScript links to HTML links, and I would look like a superhero. So I spent probably six months trying to convince the business that they needed to change these links on the homepage, instead of being JavaScript to make them HTML links. And when they did, there was a 300% improvement in traffic as a result of that.


So huge success story for them. It’s generated a huge amount of income for them as well. And then around sort of a year or two later, after working I was headhunted for the Daily Mail or Mail Online. Some of you may have come across that that online newspaper.


But yeah, I got headhunted to work there and work under the editor directly a guy called Martin Clark. With a man online, I could see opportunity there. And I think this is this is one of the threads that I would say is really important for anybody who wants to make a name for themselves within SEO is don’t take a job, unless you can clearly see that there’s a says work that you can do that’s going to improve that website or improve traffic. So I never took a role where I didn’t see that there.


There’s a big opportunity here. Even if the if I was being offered more money, I would still turn those roles down to only go for those roles where I could immediately see what the opportunity was. And for me online, the the opportunity was obvious to me. They didn’t they didn’t really optimise their content in a way that worked for search engine.


So back then there was a lady called Cheryl Cole, who was kind of the, the celebrity at the time. And Simon Cowell as well, I didn’t don’t know those names until but they would, they would refer in their article headlines to Simon and Cheryl, rather than Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole. So I knew that simple things like just including the full entity name in the headline would have dramatic transformation for this business.


So the first time I thought the editor, they he would have to change his headlines, he literally threw me out of his office telling me, You’re not going to tell me how to change my headlines get out of the office. So what we did was we took a journalist from the news desk, trained her up in SEO, and then pushed her back into the editorial team.


And she was generating more pageviews more visits than anybody else in the business. And then I was welcomed back to the editor’s office with open arms say, hey, Simon, I see, you know, we’re seeing some good results from your work. How can we do more of this? So sometimes you have to be very stealthy about the way that you get things done.


And for me, you know, I don’t ever take no as an answer, there’s always a way to get through these barriers. And so say, for me, it was choosing someone from the editorial team, training them up in SEO, getting them back in on the on the news floor, and then seeing the results from that. And then I’d say that there was quite a bit of technical work that we did on the mat online that did generate some really great successes as well, one of them being just opening up the archives.


So allowing Google to crawl and index, the archives of content really did demonstrate some great results. Another thing we did, there was something called entity extraction. So if you really want to get your geek on, there’s a really cool piece of technology called natural language processing that’s available from Google that allows you to give them free text, and then they’ll spit back from that free text. These are the entities that we see within that text.


So these are the entities is just a name for people, places and things. So Google will then tell you these are the people places and things in that bit of content that you’ve delivered to us. And the saliency of those things, or how about this particular content is this particular entity. Using entity extraction, we were then able to generate these Hub Pages on demand online.


So you can pretty much enter most celebrity names into Google and you’ll see Mail Online I’m ranking top for those names. That’s actually because of entity extraction and what are called hub or pillar pages. So again, something that’s a bit of technical SEO. But something that works incredibly effectively is using natural language processing or Google’s natural language processing API, to then tell you what you’re actually writing about what those entities are, and then generating Hub Pages around those entities that did incredibly well for us.


So spent a little bit of time and made online big success story there, we we drove the men online to overtake the New York Times as the world’s number one english speaking newspaper website. So massive success story. They’re all through SEO, that’s what was driving those results. And then I got headhunted again, by a guy called Alex chesterman at a company called Zoom.


And see is a UK property portal. So they don’t actually have any of their own properties listed on the website, they aggregate data from state agencies and then display that data to users. When I was there, we had around 13 million pages of indexable content. So this was what’s called a large scale SEO challenge, I’d say anything over 100,000 pages is large scale SEO. And that’s where technical SEO becomes really important.


It’s not really about link building so much. With sites like that, it genuinely is the technical challenge associated with those. So at Zoopla, we had a really nice bit of data that we managed to get hold of, which essentially had all of house prices around the UK. And so we slice and dice that data to be able to come up with this algorithm we call the Zed index, which essentially said that, you know, to anybody in the UK, you can you can google your postcode, I don’t know, the zip code would be another equivalent, perhaps, but you can you can Google any of those things. And it will tell you what your home is worth.


Now, it’s not particularly accurate that data but it still gave us a you know, some unique value in what was otherwise very similar content. So we have the same estate agency listings as everybody else in the UK, but the way that we aggregated that data, and we enhanced that data gave us some a USP or unique selling proposition to Google.


And I think that’s very important, as well as you’ve got to bear in mind that when you’re dealing with large scale data, what’s your value difference? So what is it that’s different about the data that you’re presenting to Google the search engines and users versus every other all the other data that’s out there?


So we enhance that data by showing you what your home might be worth? Estate Agents hated it, because it’s they would always they would always say it’s inaccurate, you know, you’re, you’re you’re showing people the value of their homes that isn’t isn’t accurate in the market. But it did incredibly well for us. Property porn is what we call it in the UK, I mean there to give you some idea of how obsessed we are in the UK with property.


When I left that website, we were doing 16 million organic visits a month. So 16 million people a month coming to that website in the UK and that’s all non branded traffic’s and not people typing in Zoopla or Zubrin, okay, the UK but property for sale in southwest x, we’re obsessed with property here. And a lot of it was longtail traffic as well. So as I say, people typing in postcode, street names, those kinds of things, that that’s how we really generated those levels of traffic for that website.


So the big success story there, then again, and then I was asked if by that stage, I’m getting requests for consultancy on a, you know, almost sort of weekly basis. And there were enough of those requests of consultancy for me to say to three or four of them, if I were to go, if I were to leave my job, would you sign a one year contract with me? And there was enough of those that said yes to that, that I then decided, I will be leaving my job and starting as a freelancer, that avalanche of requests for, you know, consultancy just didn’t stop.


And actually, I had some very vocal proponents of the work that I was doing in my customers. So my number one customer who is actually somebody I’ve given away some equity in my business to was a lady called Beatrice Montoya from company called Simply Business. She referred me to everybody in her network and she had a huge network of people that she had that ended up becoming customers of mine.


And those customers referred more customers and still today, number one, source of referrals is happy customers referring more happy customers. So the business today, and this is six years later now employs 55 people. And we generate revenues of 5.5 million pounds. So that gives you some idea of the journey that I’m sure I’ve missed lots of been out, but bits out the journey that I’m going to kick myself for later, we shouldn’t say this.


But that’s, that’s the, the journey so far to, to now being regarded as the UK is number one SEO agency, both in terms of headcount, and turnover. So part of what we do, and part of the reason why we’re talking now is that we have a mission statement, and part of that mission is to educate and elevate those in the industry.


So our industry still doesn’t, you know, in certain corners, it still doesn’t have a particularly great name. And I think there are still people that practice SEO, that do a particularly poor job. And our job, I think, anyways, once you’ve you’ve sort of elevated yourself to the level we’re at, our job is to educate the market, and that market education will help everybody lift each other up in the industry as well. And if we can all lift each other up in the industry, it becomes a better industry, it becomes more credible, we get rid of people who are maybe practising things in the industry that, you know, don’t work that the customers feel unsatisfied through. So I think that that’s where we were coming from with the academy and making that available for free. Anybody who’s on this call, by the way, I’m more than happy to give you access to our SEO manager course as well, which costs 500 pounds. So Gmail, if you let me know, names afterwards, I’m happy to give everybody here access to that, that full course as well. Just you’ve all been so lovely to me. And you’ve all been so thankful that I want to give you something back again, as well. So we’ll make sure you get get access to that as well.

Chima Mmeje 17:06
Thank you so much, Simon, that’s, that’s incredibly generous of you. Thank you so much. I kind of like the idea that you started from button did everybody has an interesting entry points from interests you and there are some things that I think is true. Nobody plans to come into SEO, they always this one encounter, or this thing, let’s be stay, and then you find yourself in SEO, and suddenly you’re making a career out. Alright, so you guys are kind of like going to be like the rare case of people who intentionally came into SEO, and having this kind of structured education for it. So you’re incredibly lucky. I’m going to give space for questions. Now. Does anyone have any questions for Simon? Okay, so the shirts

Sodiq Ajala 17:56
Wow, that was massive. Simon, thank you very much for sharing. So my question is, so as you know, someone working in the back, you know, kind of staring at him or lady’s a bikini just say, Do you have any background experience, you know, that is maybe related to say, you know, cotton marketing, you know, JavaScript, all of those things, you know, that helps you, you know, better you know, scale, or do things the way you finally get to do it.

Simon Schnieders 18:29

When I’m I really didn’t have the experience that was applicable to affiliate marketing at that time. So I just I just learned as I went along, I was lucky enough to, to be living in Miami where there were a lot of other affiliates there. And I could I could go hang out with MSC. Interestingly, there was a guy there called Matt Cutts, who probably predates most of you here. But you’re probably familiar with John Mueller, from Google.


Prior to John Mueller, the guy that we used to talk to at Google, we used to be very vocal about the inner workings of Google was a guy called Matt Cutts. And Matt Cutts used to come to our affiliate conferences in Miami, try and get us all drunk and elicit information on how they were doing. And were doing, because I think they were living frustrated at Google about how successful we were at SEO. So yeah, he used to try and get us drunk in Miami. Unsuccessful, we all knew he was. Yeah.


Sodiq Ajala 19:27

Okay. So that leads to my second question. On the plateau this morning, we had a tonne of arguments regarding a stack SEO, and you should at least, you know, understand the basics of HTML, JavaScript and CSS and some of us were of the opinion that is not needed.


That as a tech SEO, all you need to do is like just, you know, audit websites, understand the way it is, you know, give recommendations to to your clients, but others say it’s okay that you understand, say on JavaScript, Python, a lot of those are Um, as somebody who is, you know, more than experienced, you know, in that in that space, what do you think?

Simon Schnieders 20:08

I think it’s a bit like, you know, you don’t need to understand the inner workings of a fridge to know that a refrigerator your food, right. So I think it’s the same with SEO as well is that there are enough good tools out there to sort of help support, perhaps we got gaps in your knowledge.


But I do think it’s important to be able to view the source code of a website and be able to understand what’s going on there as kind of a minimum really so yeah, that’s the, I would say, being able to view the source code of a website and understand the elements of that code, I would say, as is probably a fundamental. Thank you very

Sodiq Ajala 20:47

much. That’s my question. Thanks.

Chima Mmeje 20:49

Awesome. Awesome. Okay. I’m just going to read out this question from Katherine. She wants to know, the bulk of resources online talk about optimising for Google, which makes sense since is the major search engine. Okay. Do you think optimising for other search engines?


Oh, this is a good one. Do you think it’s important to optimise for search engines like Bing? And the rest of them? If you’re in Google dominated country? That’s a good one.

Simon Schnieders 21:15

Yes, I think I’ll start with the Bing and Google one. I mean, Bing, for instance, seems to have a lean towards keywords in the domain name still. And Google gave up on that a long time ago. So I think there are subtle differences with it. Equally being doesn’t understand href. Lang. So there are subtle differences.


But I think the core of those search engines are fundamentally the same in the sense of backlinks are really important. So you know, and there is a point by the way in which you don’t need any more backlinks or algorithm, so Zoopla, for instance, 16 million organic visits a month, we didn’t do really, for us, we might we might get one or two backlinks a month to that website. But they they tended to be very high authority. Backlinks, what we really didn’t, we didn’t put a particular focus on on backlinking.


And it was much more technical SEO. I think, if you tend to optimise agnostically, in the sense that agnostic being that you’re not, you know, tied to any particular religion, if you think about the search engines as a religion, I think agnostically aligning yourself with Google puts you in good stead for for everybody else.


And while it might be the case that with Yandex, for instance, they’re not particularly has savvy with webspam. It was going to harm your ability to rank in Google, if you were to, you know, artificially inflate your backlink profile, for instance. So I think, yeah, agnostically kind of adhering to Google works for all other search engines, I would say anyway.

Chima Mmeje 22:57

Katherine, does that answer your question? Yes, it does. Yes, it does. Thank you so much. So okay, we have one question from Deborah. Oh, sorry. We have a question from Deborah that says, Why is JSP direct, not recommended from an SEO viewpoints?

Simon Schnieders 23:19

I’m not sure about that. One. I know that Google don’t have a problem with a Java scripts, redirects versus, you know, a server side redirect. So yeah. I mean, I would say that it’s possible that you would want to store all of your redirects in one particular area, whether that’s your htaccess file or whatever it might be.


And having the J. S And htaccess. might cause challenges. But yeah, as far as the search engines are concerned, a JavaScript redirect versus any other redirect is totally fine with them.

Chima Mmeje 24:03

Deborah, is that good enough? Yes, yes. Awesome. Okay. Um, this interesting question from Alison, what sort of what soft skills do you need to succeed in the tech SEO industry? So Assam, someone who has done the path of working for someone, and now run your agency Simon, what are the soft skills you think the student needs to succeed?

Simon Schnieders 24:29


I think when you’re working in house, it’s quite different to running your own agency or freelancing, but in house is definitely about relationships. And so we’ve written two books so far on this mastering in house SEO one and two, Second Edition. We’re working on a third edition now, but the common thread throughout the years, it’s all about relationships.


So the relationship that you have with your developers, for instance, is hugely important. So you need to get your work implemented. What I Let’s say that you want to go for that low hanging fruit as quickly as possible. So make sure that anything that’s quite as easy to implement that you’re likely to see success from is number one on the list of priorities, and you want to tickle their egos as well.


So if you’re seeing the success from something that they’ve implemented, you need to go back to them and let them know, look at this, it’s really you know, that that that change that you made, on this particular page, look at the results we’re seeing in terms of visits, and get them on board with, with SEO being something that is demonstrates results. SEO is not particularly sexy for developers, by the way, most of them don’t nudge their girlfriends or partners at the end of an evening and say, look at these incredible meta titles I, I implemented today. So you’ve got to make it exciting for them.


Because there’s lots of other things that could be doing. And there’s lots of other priorities that this business can be focused on. But you always want to be focused on lowest amount of effort, highest impact as the top thing to go for. I used to be quite cute when I worked in house as well, you know, I’d say that I shouldn’t be sitting with a CMO, I should be sitting with the CTO because my job is a technical job, Brian.


But that wasn’t because I thought that it was because it would get me closer to the developers, right. And they’re the guys that could implement the changes I needed. So if I sat with them, I’d be in a much better position. And so once I then got everything I needed done, from a technical point of view, I’d say, You know what, I think I should be sitting with the CMO now.


So and I would, you know, you’ve got to, you’ve got to do what you got to do to get the job done. And that’s what I used to do was, you know, say, I need to sit with the CTO, that’s my, why should we not CMO?

Chima Mmeje 26:44
So you get that list to make friends with this, make friends with people who are developers, so he gets why he needs to do Done. Okay, so this is an interesting question. Prachi? I’m not sure I understand this question. How do you see su executives fitting into leadership roles in a wider marketing team, for example, VP of director level roles?

Simon Schnieders 27:08

Yes, I think the number one challenge that we need to overcome with SEO executives is emotional intelligence. And by that their ability to connect with other people. So for us, for instance, an SEO executive moving to an SEO managing means that they manoeuvre into being a client facing person. And that emotional intelligence is absolutely critical.


So they’ve got to be able to speak to people at a very senior level within our clients, businesses, and be able to put business cases forward and have the confidence to to instil that within our points of contact, that the recommendations we’re giving are ones that they should implement. So I think that that’s, it’s those soft skills, again, which gets people into that next step in their careers rather than their abilities.


Your ability to convince a stakeholder that they need to implement a particular recommendation is much more important than the actual recommendation itself. Believe it or not, so. Yeah, that I say is, yeah, and then SEO manager, then going into director level roles, again, that that’s more about people skills, again. So there’s something called The Peter Principle, which is a fascinating area of management that you should have a look at.


And the idea behind it is that we tend to promote in businesses people to their levels of incompetence. So if I, if I take someone who’s an SEO manager, and then make them an SEO director, they’re not working on the clients anymore. They’re people managing, right. So. And they’re managing people in a team. Yeah, so the Peter Principle is called just Google the Peter Principle, it’s something that’s, that’s well documented.


As I say, you’re, if you’ve got somebody who’s an SEO manager working on client accounts, and then you promote them to an SEO director, they’re no longer working on client accounts, they’re working on people, and then they’re managing people. And that may not be right for them.


And so you’ve, you’ve elevated that person into their level of incompetence, where they’re going to fail in that role. So our job is to make sure that we aren’t elevating people to become incompetent, but we’re helping them with that transition to go. And, you know, for me, it’s, uh, I have to recognise my level of incompetence as well.


Believe it or not, I am not that I’m not the right person to run this business anymore. And I knew that when it was a 20 person plus business was that I needed to bring an adult into the room who could help me manage the business, too, who’d been there and done that before, you know, so I now have a very strong managing director who later called Stephanie Manuel who’s ex Google.


She’s one Have two big agencies before, she’s very good at operational control. Whereas I’m terrible at it. I’m a, I’m a creative person, I don’t like the operational side of the business. So I had to then say to myself, I am not the right person to be the CEO.

So I call myself the founder, but I’m not really operationally involved in the business anymore. At the point where we got to 20 other people. Plus, I was no longer competent to be doing the role. And I think that’s, that’s where it’s important to recognise your weaknesses and where you need to bring in help.


Chima Mmeje 30:34
Okay, Simon, when you said piece of music, what do you mean the PISA like the piece that we eat like PEI? ZZ a

Simon Schnieders 30:40
nice pizza like P E.

Chima Mmeje 30:43
T? Er, yeah, that’s why I wanted to spell it because I was hearing pizza.

Simon Schnieders 30:49
Sorry, I’ll send you a link anyway.

Chima Mmeje 30:52

So awesome. Okay, so yeah, so Okay, so I think Matilda wants to know, if you could give your younger self any advice, speed up the process, to where you are now what it would be?

Simon Schnieders 31:09

No, there’s no shortcuts. It’s hard work. It is. It’s hard, really hard work. It’s hard slog don’t look for shortcuts? I would say, and that’s it. That’s a rule with SEO in general, as well as, don’t look for shortcuts, you know that there is a long game to play and play the long game, it’s really important that you do that.


Shortcuts we know about you know, things like, you know, there’s the business side of SEO, SEO that is is about shortcut. So you know, utilising things like private blog networks, and, you know, the, what’s called Blackhat. Seo. And definitely, I mean, it’s something you want to stay away from altogether, it’s, it’s not going to give you long term results, it might give us some short term results.


But it’s the long term effort and its long term, sustained effort that you need to put into place. It is hard work, you know. And it’s an industry that needs to be constantly abreast of, you know, I do a newsletter every Sunday, if you want to subscribe to that, that kind of keep you up to date with what’s happening in the world of SEO, and lead it as a really good newsletter as well, it dishonours that’s also very good. But you need to do that research.


And you need to be constantly keeping yourself up to date with what’s happening in the industry. It’s not an although, for my employees, I want it to be a nine to five, it’s not necessarily a nine to five, you’ve got to put that if you want to be exceptional at what you do, you’ve got to put the work in.

Chima Mmeje 32:40

Okay, so I think goodness, I do have some questions. Do you need to have done? Do you need to have concrete skills? If you’re going to be tech SEO? Like, would you recommend learning content, SEO keyword research on page? And all of all the other things that all have what what the ratios are might come up during a site audits? Well, let me take SEO.

Simon Schnieders 33:04

I think it’s important to be abreast of everything, all of the industry. So you need to know a little bit about content and keyword research and all of these things. But I think it’s it’s probably helpful if you do focus on one particular area, I think those that have been quite successful in the industry, tend to be known for the expert in X, you know, so, again, if I point to a leader solace, she’s known as the expert in internationalisation, right, international SEO, maybe your thing is going to be you’re going to be the expert in, in technical SEO, but I think it’s you need to do sort of focusing on want to hone in on one particular area, and really build a solid depth of expertise in that it’s quite difficult to be an expert in everything around SEO.


With the I’m a terrible writer. I my writing is awful. I tend to have people write for me. So yeah, that gives you some example of that, that the book mastering and SEO in house SEO. I didn’t write a single word of that I literally, my content was ghostwritten for me. That’s how bad I am at writing. And all I did was there, the forward. And I had to get that written for me.

Chima Mmeje 34:25

At least yep, I noticed. I’ll give you maps. I’ll give you points for honesty, it gets just one final question before we wrap this up. What advice would you give to the student because once the finished is the go for internship, and that’s kind of like where they start their journey? What advice would you give to them starting a new job in tech SEO?

Simon Schnieders 34:45

I think as well it’s those those soft skills are going to be more important than anything else do. You’re probably going to have the same knowledge as everybody out there. You know, knowledge is easily acquired, but relationships take time and again, I think it’s very important To build on relationships more than anything else, no matter where you’re working, so, yeah, that I would say is sort of the most important thing.


And for me, you know, transitioning from working in house to starting my own agency, he was those relationships that I had, that I built up over time, that helped me to grow and scale the business. So, work on the relationship side of things, you know, simple stuff, you know, be a nice person, be approachable. Be somebody who asks questions, you know, everybody likes being asked questions, it tickles their ego a little bit. So, you know, be somebody who ask questions of other people. Yeah.

Chima Mmeje 35:39

Okay. That’s, that’s just incredible. Thank you so much for coming today. Simon, I just I think it was really important to get perspective from someone who created because there there isn’t learn someone who runs an agency, because most of them are going to have agency side, at least when it just started out.


So thank you so much for all of all these incredible insights you share, because I hope you had a good time with the class today.

Simon Schnieders 36:03

Yeah, I loved it. Thank you all so much for your kind words, as well. I’ll feed that back to Tom and the technical team that they they would love to hear that. You’ve all enjoyed the course so much, and you’re getting so much out of it as well.

So, you know, that kind of feedback is really important because it’s, you know, he really did invest his heart and soul into it, Tom. It’s nothing to do with me, by the way that that course I’m going to take your feedback and then feed that back to the technical team and let them know that their their hard work was really appreciated. So thank you

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