When leaving school and not knowing what to do turns into a successful SEO career!

When it comes to getting started in Digital Marketing, it can often be hard to know where to start but Ryan’s journey into technical SEO was initially unintentional. With the end of his school years fast approaching, Ryan found himself still not knowing what to do next. It’s almost by chance, he found himself joining an apprentice scheme and hasn’t looked back since. 

Now, Ryan is the SEO Specialist at Land of Rugs, one of the UK’s leading online rug retailers. Working in digital marketing, specifically SEO, since 2015, he has a passion for aiming to help other young SEOs grow their in-house careers. You can see Ryan sharing his knowledge through social or speaking live at events like BrightonSEO.

Check out Ryan’s story in this MOAM interview, which reveals how he steered his career and got his first SEO job.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I honestly was the type of kid that really did not know what he wanted to do when he grew up. I went through stages of wanting to be a fireman, a police officer, an RAF officer and an astronaut! All careers are incredibly close to SEO and digital marketing, as you can tell! 😀

What was your very first job?

Excluding my school paper round, my first “proper” job was as an apprentice at a local digital marketing agency. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school other than the fact I wanted to work with computers. I chose a marketing apprenticeship, essentially out of a hat, and luckily I have loved every second.

How did you first discover digital marketing / your specific industry sector? 

I first discovered digital marketing when I started my apprenticeship. Before that date, I really had no idea how businesses marketed themselves online or that a person/team could influence what Google showed in the search results. I was thrown in at the deep end at the agency I worked at, creating content and building new links for client websites. Something I still love doing today!

Share a mistake you made or an event you regret from your career: 

One thing I regret from my career is leaving marketing for a short time. I was drawn into a sales role with the promise of a high starting salary and a very generous commission scheme. Whilst this was the case, my heart is in SEO. It’s definitely not a mistake I would make again.

Jumping in a time machine, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self? 

Remember, there are always things to be learned from people on all levels of what I call the experience ladder. What I mean when I say this is that you can learn tons of useful information from people who have more experience than you in an industry, but you can also learn loads from people who have less experience than you! 

This is especially true in SEO and digital marketing. I love seeing fresh faces entering the industry, and I’m always keen to learn new things I didn’t know before.

What industry skills do you wish you’d learned sooner and why?

Sales. I left marketing for a short period of time during my career and opted for a sales role. It wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed, but the skills I have gained from a stint in sales will help me in my SEO career until the day I retire.

I firmly believe everyone involved in marketing needs to take some time to learn sales in some capacity. It will help them no end.

Who are you inspired by in the digital marketing industry?

Areej AbuAli is also someone I am glad to call an online friend. What she does to promote women and people from ethnic minorities within SEO is awe-inspiring! There’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to diversity and inclusion within marketing, so Areej is someone I am always happy to learn from. 

Matthew Howells-Barby has an awesome career path, and I think I’ve read every word he’s ever written on his blog… Twice. Someone I’d definitely consider a genius when it comes to SEO and marketing.

There is a large list of people who I am inspired by in the digital marketing industry! Seb Dean, the owner of an agency I worked at during my formative years in SEO taught me everything I know about how an agency works from the inside. I’ll always be incredibly grateful to him for that.

If you were to publish an autobiography in 20 years time, what would it be titled?

An apt title would be something like… “I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m trying.”

What’s the one thing you want to be remembered for from your career, and why? 

I’d love to be remembered as someone who was incredibly successful in helping small businesses succeed with their SEO and digital marketing. Of course, the temptation to join a massive company within their SEO department is always tempting. But, in my mind, nothing is better than the thrill you get when you can help a small business find new customers online!

Thank you, Ryan, for taking part in this series. It’s always so nice to be able to share stories of marketers supporting others in the industry. We recommend everyone to follow  Ryan on social media and to learn more about his positive impact on the industry! 

Keep an eye out for more of the MOAM series as I regularly publish new editions from other inspiring digital experts.

Could your career story inspire others to further their digital marketing careers? Or, do you know someone whose story needs to be told? Feel free to fill out our new MOAM questionnaire or get in touch with me directly via emma@clockworktalent.com. Alternatively, if you’re looking to explore your career options in digital marketing, visit our job board or upload your CV.