As we’ve learned so far in this blog series, SEO has a number of important strings to its bow. But of all these component parts, link-building is arguably the most important for lasting success online. In this article Ed Hallinan, former Inspiring Intern and now web-editor for digital consultancy InterGreater, will be giving a lowdown on why links are so important.
If you’re considering a career in digital marketing, hopefully you’ll find lots of useful tid-bits here to help you hit the ground running. Just a little bit of insider know-how can make all the difference at interview – good luck!
So just what is link-building?
In the simplest terms, link-building is the act of sourcing links from external sites to point to your website. Almost all of us are link-builders and we don’t even know it. Take for example the last piece of celebrity gossip, funny joke, or crazy video that you saw online? Did you keep it to yourself, or did you share it, perhaps on Facebook, or in an email, or even on your own blog or website? Whether you thought of it this way or not, the fact remains that you published a link to that content – the link-builders out there would be very pleased!
Turning villages into towns
You can consider a webpage a bit like a village. The more ‘roads’ (links) that lead to that ‘village’ (your site), the more likely it is that people will stumble upon it and potentially explore it. Of course this has to be backed up by offering something people want to find – whether cheese-rolling or bell-ringing, it really doesn’t matter, as long as people are stopping to take a look. And the more people visit, the more business the village gets. This might see the settlement eventually grow into a town and, as such, more roads are built. Just think about how many roads lead to the heart of a city like London, with thousands of fascinating things to see – we want to emulate that.
So, using our analogy, we need to build more roads, or ‘links’ to our site, to develop it from a village into a bustling metropolis, in so doing attracting customers far and wide. As we covered in our last blog, there’s no point getting links unless you have something to say – content creation is key. But if you can build excellent content and lead unsuspecting passers by to that, then your site will surely grow. This is what link-building is all about.
Obviously, the prime importance of link-building is to increase traffic to your site. But there are also particular SEO benefits which are of prime importance to my work at InterGreater. I’ve found that the more insightful my content is, the more links it will generate. Search engines use this as an indicator of authority on the web and rank pages accordingly. I like to use the SEOmoz Open Site Explorer to find who is linking to InterGreater’s content and see its ‘authority’ scores.
It stands to reason that the more reputable sites point to your content, the more authoritative it must be. SEOmoz’s page authority metric takes this into account and comes up with a score for each page. These figures are then averaged out among all the pages on your site to come up with an overall domain authority ranking. This is why it’s important not just to link to the same page all the time, but spread them out across your site. Below is an example of how SEOmoz analyses the authority ranking of www.inspiringinterns.com:
Here you can see the domain has some 6,652 links, from 174 separate root domains (i.e. 174 different websites). Because the majority of links will go to the homepage (i.e. the web address in its purest form) you will see that the page authority is higher than the domain authority. The scores work on an exponential level so that it is twice as hard to get from 0-10 to 10-20 and so on. You will see that news sites which have millions of subscribers and people linking to them will score into the high 90s.
At InterGreater, our approach is to aim to get links from websites with values above 30/100 as a good starting point for SEO.
Ever wondered why your website wasn’t getting onto Google’s front page? Why not compare your site with a competitor using Open Site Explorer? 9 times out of 10, you will see that sites which rank above you have higher authority scores – hence why link-building is so important.
Hopefully that’s given you a taste of why linking is so important for SEO. In our next blog, we will take a look at how to get those crucial links. Until next time!
We’re all aware of the benefits of internships; that’s why you’re here after all. I’ve been interning at Inspiring for nine weeks now and feel virtually fluent in the language of graduate internships. There’s one aspect of the whole equation which I feel can sometimes be over-looked by graduates when job hunting – this opportunity is yours for the taking, so make the most of it! It’s all down to you, after all – your internship is your chance to shine. To prove to an employer what you are capable of, to make yourself indispensible, to establish yourself within the company so that when it comes to the end of your internship, they can’t imagine working life without you.
Last year we advertised two enterprise business representative (EBR) internships at a software provider firm that helps businesses such as Net-A-Porter and River Island to deliver better customer service through Facebook and Twitter. The positions were filled by two lovely candidates: Rachel Tran and Hannah Gilbert. We caught up with them this week to get feedback on what they gained from their internship and where they are in their careers now.
Rachel: “As an EBR intern my role entailed learning how to research, create and build relationships and leads through social media for the company. We spent a lot of our time researching to build a database of prospects, using tools like Salesforce.com for example, and worked closely with the sales team to set up meetings for them. We also spent a lot of time on social networks building relationships (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc.) with people in our industry, prospects and generally keeping the conversation about social customer service and the company going.”
We asked them about the highlights of their internships…
Hannah: “How open they were for me to progress through the company and make sure I was reaching my full potential.”
Rachel: “The highlight of my internship was most definitely working with my team! We may be a young bunch but everyone is so friendly and helpful, eager and willing to teach the new interns everything they need to know about their role and the company. I know how nerve-wrecking it can be starting in a new company, and the importance of feeling comfortable and at ease with your team is vital!”
It’s clear to see that both candidates not only gained extensive work experience but really got involved in the business. We talked to them about how they felt the internship benefited their careers and what they’ve been up to since…
Hannah: “Stepping into this internship was a bit of a career change for me (after graduating I spent my winters doing ski seasons) so I came to this with no real experience. I learnt the ropes quickly and made myself invaluable so was moved to account management. I earnt myself a full-time role and am now responsible for managing our customers post-sale to ensure they have everything they need, full knowledge of the product, updated on all new advancements and increasing contract length and user numbers. Some of my clients include River Island, Flybe, Coral and the Football Association! If new people push themselves and work really hard there’s scope for advancement – which is great!”
Rachel: Since beginning as an intern my role has changed from being a part of the sales EBR team to now being the company’s community manager in a full-time role. The time I spent building relationships with prospects and industry leaders on social media is what I enjoyed the most, and led me onto my current role, as social was where my passions and interest lie. I got to showcase my social media and blogging skills briefly during my internship so as soon as the community manager role opened up, I snapped it up! I’m the face behind our company’s social networks and I write their blog (and any other material that needs to be written up for the company).
And finally their advice to all you graduates considering an internship…
Rachel: Do it! The prospect of interning can be daunting, but I wasn’t treated like an intern – I got stuck in! Making yourself heard and always being forward-thinking and voicing your ideas is a must for career-advancement and knowing all new industry advances and where social media is headed is invaluable.
Hannah: Advice? Just go for it and enjoy it!
If Rachel and Hannah have inspired you to apply for an internship, send us your CV today!
Tackling industries head-on in a bid to breakdown and identify the star characteristics that will help you graduates on the prosperous path to career success; this weekthe graduate weapons takes on human resources. With greater importance being laid on the implementation of correct and effective HR protocol in businesses worldwide, it’s an element increasingly recognised as integral part of any organisation; a department that is firmly seated around the boardroom table, contributing to the development of a company’s strategy. It doesn’t stop there; HR touches every industry bringing endless career opportunities for graduates to seize. Now let’s take a look at how best to do it…
The overall focus of the human resource industry revolves around creating, implementing and managing efficient processes to create and maintain a happy workforce. Therefore a desire to work with people should exist as the foundation for a career in this sector. Strong problem solving, communication and team work skills are attributes which will lend you to a role in HR. In terms of qualifications, the degree requirements are broad. HR management or business-related credentials are natural precursors to a position in this industry but this doesn’t mean that your science or arts related degrees do not translate. Assess your degree modules; identify the skills you’ve gained that can be applied and compliment them with the suitable characteristics that you possess. You’re able to communicate complex concepts in easy to understand terms. You’re a multitasker, confident in juggling the different elements of a role. You’re a hands-on character able to identify and resolve issues seamlessly. You have strong persuasive abilities and a hunger to learn.
Aside from your degree, any previous work experience you may have no matter how small will be of benefit to you. Experience in customer service and relations or administration roles should be highlighted – these will do a lot to support your application. It is worth nothing that employers have become increasingly interested in CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) courses and other HR qualifications, so exploring your options in this area is advisable. Many juniors in the industry have started with a Certificate in Personnel Practise (CPP) which demonstrates their interest in the field and then go on to a CIPD qualification, allowing for further progression. These aren’t pre-requisites but they do help, particularly when looking at the increasingly competitive nature of the HR industry.
Targeting your application
There’s a wealth of options when it comes to human resources. Each business is different, with their HR function operating in line with their company’s values and ethos. Roles in HR can range from more broad positions affecting a number activities through to more specific areas, with the format HR takes in a company depending on its size and structure. Larger organisations are by nature more structured, with their HR functions divided into specialist areas such as learning and development, resourcing, recruitment and selection, employee relations and engagement, rewards and remuneration. In a smaller company, meanwhile, you will have more of a generalist role. The key here is to have an understanding of the impact of HR in the company you are applying for.
Get an idea of the possible career opportunities by heading to our vacancies page to check out our latest HR internships and jobs. You may notice that we have fewer vacancies advertised in comparison to other sectors. This only demonstrates the high levels of competition in this industry, with most companies taking direct applications and SMEs outsourcing their HR departments. It is therefore worth considering all the alternative roads in. Entry-level HR positions are generally very administration-heavy, if you think your skills and qualities lend yourself to a more people focussed vocation, then consider recruitment as a starting point. You can always cross into HR after you’ve built a strong portfolio of experience.
Types of interview questions
The interview. A step in the process that may well intimidate you. Don’t worry! You’ve got this. Do yourself a favour and ensure you’ve researched and prepped for various angles of questioning. Your interview is your chance to shine. If you’re pursuing a career in HR you will be expected to know how to interview. Practice makes perfect and perfect is what they will be looking for. One key thing they’ll be interested in is your understanding of the industry. Consider how you would answer the following: What attracts you to HR? How can HR support a business? Give an example of a time you explained a complex concept in simple terms? You’ll no doubt be aware of the growing tendencies for interviewers to throw in random, unrelated questions. These aren’t tests as such, so don’t panic. It’s more a bit of fun and a great way for employers to see how you react to unforeseen circumstances that you will face in the day-to-day handling of people. Your answer isn’t the focus; it’s your approach and reasoning to your answer that will interest them.
Say what? Well if you don’t know, it’s time to get to know. Silicon Milkroundabout are essentially match makers; event gurus specialising in the tech industry, who run events designed to bring together the talented youth of today with the exciting tech start-ups of the UK looking to hire. Now in their third year and with four successful events under their belts, they’ve been praised by The Observer for “creating a category of jobs that didn’t really exist before”. And that’s exactly what they’ve achieved; promoting job opportunities in innovative start-up companies, a refreshing alternative to the typical, over-applied graduate schemes offered by the big boys.
Want to get in on a slice of the action? Their next event, Silicon Milkroundabout 5.0 takes place this weekend in the Shoreditch’s Old Truman Brewery (just off Brick Lane). Spread over two days, Saturday brings a focus on all things product related, from web and UX design, product management, analytics and growth hacking. If your area of interest is more engineering-based, get yourselves down there from midday on Sunday where you’ll find a focus on web development, software engineering, tech ops, QA/testing and all that jazz.
They’ve got the “cool informality” Wired Mag described down to a T, with DJs mixing, free booze, wifi and a chill out area – worth heading down for alone! Lovely little booklets will be handed out at the entrance giving you the lowdown on all the start-ups in attendance plus there’ll be ‘lightning pitches’ from companies throughout the event. Make your trip worthwhile by taking a look at their website for a breakdown of some of the 120 attendees that you can meet over the weekend. It’s a great opportunity for you to suss-out the products, technologies and companies you like the look of, so you can head down there with any questions you’ve got for them. Showing a little background knowledge can only to make you stand out from the crowd.
And of course, we’ll be there! So make sure you stop by and say hi to this lot @scheza, @InspiringSam, @BenedictHazan, @Inspiring_Helen and @graduatebubble!
Product Saturday: May 11th, 12pm-5pm
Engineering Sunday: May 12th, 12pm-5pm
The Old Truman Brewery, Entrance at 85 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL. Nearest stations include Liverpool Street, Old Street, Shoreditch High Street and Aldgate East.
If you can’t make it down there this weekend make sure you keep an eye out for their next event and check out their blog for loads of interesting bits on tech start-ups!
The mobile industry. A vibrant and evolving sector that sits at the heart of everyday life for a growing proportion of the global population. It’s dynamic in its existence, spanning across thousands of companies, from small to large, from service providers, software and application developers to handset manufacturers. With one billion new subscribers in the past four years, the total number of mobile users now stands at approximately 3.2 billion. That’s almost half of world’s population using mobile communications. At a time when the state of the economy is, at best, stagnant, this industry is bucking the trend to deliver fast growth and (most importantly) lots of new jobs. There’s no denying that this is an attractive industry for you grads still looking for the right career path to travel down. So, for this next instalment of graduate weapons, I attempt to breakdown the desirable characteristics of candidates pursuing these exciting opportunities in the mobile industry.
First stop: what careers are available to you in this industry? Given how fresh mobile is as a sector, I thought it best to identify what opportunities lie within your grasp. The number of mobile related internships that Inspiring receive is unsurprisingly on the rise, from mobile network operators, mobile advertising and marketing to mobile solutions, the spectrum is a broad one. Key opportunities include account executives, advertising operations, analytics and technical roles.
The Lewis Hamilton-esque speed at which this sector is developing has allowed for a margin of discrepancy in terms of suitable qualification requirements. As it stands, university degree offerings do not cater specifically to the mobile industry, and given the vast nature of the industry, this is an open opportunity for candidates to tailor the knowledge gained from their degrees in different fields and demonstrate how they can apply this to positions in the mobile industry. As this field grows we have noted companies growing desire for candidates with analytical degrees, as well as qualifications in marketing, science and numerical subjects.
An interest in mobile should be your basic weapon. This can be strengthened by an active awareness and understanding of industry elements and developments. Tech-savvy candidates that articulate a keen interest in new technologies will be favoured. With ever-more companies striving to get a piece of the mobile pie and become dominant forces before the market is saturated there are plenty of organisations out there looking for the fresh young talent to support their competitive vision. Demonstrating a passion for developing a successful career in one of the world’s fastest growing industries is something that you should focus on. Given many of these organisations are young and innovative, applications should focus on illustrating flexibility and hands-on characteristics that lend you to those newer, dynamic companies. Candidates need to be able to thrive in a fast changing environment.
Winning characteristics: The mobile sector operates on a global scale, spreading worldwide with a disease like effect. Highlighting any language capabilities will automatically strengthen your application. Bring these to the forefront of your abilities!
Does the prospect on the beautiful three-day weekend give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside? Us too! Now we’ve finally been blessed with some actual sunshine we thought we’d put together some of the best things London has to offer on this banging bank holiday.
Kick-off your lusciously long weekend in style and head to Street Feast this Friday to line your stomachs with some mouth-watering grub before letting your hair down at Deviation. Taking place at their new home XOYO, they’ve got a tasty line-up featuring Jackmaster, Omar S and Benji B; a concoction sure you help you forget your woes of the week and welcome in the mini-break with open arms.
The team behind XOYO have clubbed together with Dalston’s popular haunt The Nest to form XOYO LOVES who bring you a little something special this Saturday; their Futureboogie Rooftop and Garden Party at The Dalston Roof Park. Revel in the lovely weather (predicted downpour) from East London’s skyline whilst being serenaded by the likes of Crazy P Soundsystem and Waifs & Strays. Bliss.
Take full advantage of your extra lie-in on Monday by celebrating all day on Sunday. Secretsundaze provide the answer with their annual summer opening party in Greenwich’s Studio 338. Tipped to be an epic terrace session, Derrick May topping the bill and a live set from SoundStream – see you there!
Bit of a foodie? Get yourself down to Southbank this weekend for the Real Food Festival, and fill your belly on everything from artisan cheeses to hand-made chocs! Pick-up some cooking tips and recipes from top chefs and sample goods from some of the finest small producers and creative food vendors in Britain. Everyone deserves a day off from the summer diet every once in a while.
It’s likely that you’ll be pretty thirsty after all that food, so why not make it a day of gluttony and head to London’s Brewing in London Fields this weekend. Quench your desire with buckets of beer at this brand new festival celebrating London’s thriving and vibrant brewing scene. Please note Inspiring Interns do not advocate binge drinking.
If you’re into all things urban then head to a Hearn St. car park this Sunday for Streetfest. Satisfying the ever popular live art movement, this new breed of festival promises a cocktail of creative talents from urban athletes, graffiti artists and emerging musicians stirred together into one long day of creativity and expression.
For the past week the King’s Cross Filling Station has played host to a pop-up pit-stop from Everyman Cinemas, transporting the forecourt bar to a 1960’s Californian gas-station stroke screening room celebrating some of the most iconic road movies ever seen on the big screen. There are 11 screenings until its finale on Sunday evening, and with American themed cuisine, your own headphones and a blanket to keep you cosy, make sure you get yourselves down there before it’s gone forever!
If you’re looking for a laugh this weekend, take a trip up to Kettering this Saturday where you’ll find 3 of the Inspiring machines taking on mud, fire, ice-water, 10,000 volts of electricity and all the other nasty elements of ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’; the Tough Mudder. The biggest of these 3 machines is my fellow marketer, Alex Townley, feel free to send all tweets of support/abuse to @agtownley.
Alternatively, discover a different area of London this weekend and take a trip to one of the many markets, our blog from last week gives a tidy run down of what’s what!
With over 300,000 students graduating last year and a larger figure anticipated to do so this summer, knowing how to make yourself stand out from the crowd will be your golden key to success. For the benefit of those who have not caught the previous episodes, the graduate weapons are a series of blogs designed to take on the key industries that you graduates are aiming to break into and provide you with insider tips on what the Inspiring team look for in the greatest of candidates for these roles. This week I delve into the design sector, analysing both web and graphic career paths.
Graphic designers are communicators. They possess the ability to translate information and ideas through various visual media, from illustration, letters, colours, patterns and photography to information and physical materials. They create everything from product packaging and corporate documentation to digital interfaces and album covers. A creative mind is essential to a career in this industry. Accompany this with solid IT and drawing skills and you have the necessary foundations in place.
Talent, ideas and your portfolio will often come second to formal academic qualifications in graphic design, which is unlike other areas of design. However, most professional graphic designers will have obtained a BTEC HND, foundation or degree level in graphic design, or another art/design-based subject. Think of your portfolio as your Facebook profile, your dating website page, your CV. It’s an invaluable asset demonstrating your style, your artistic ability, and your vision. It should be an instrument that illustrates your identity through your ideas and projects. Constraints of client requirements and commercial briefs are common in the graphic design line of work so it is worth taking this into consideration and ensuring that you demonstrate experience in dealing with such margins. Similarly, you may come across projects where you’re given more of a free-reign, so some exhibit of your artistic style would be recommendable.
Bear in mind that employers will be looking for versatility. Ensure you’re familiar with the latest design software, whilst being able to produce visual ideas away from the computer. Flexibility is key. You should hold the ability to bring your understanding of visual elements and composition to work in varying areas; such adaptability will appeal to employers. In addition to this, an ability to find practical solutions to problems, and communicate them to less creatively-minded audiences will be advantageous.
Any capability to demonstrate experience in the daily requirements of a graphic designer will strengthen your application. No matter how insignificant it may seem, highlight any experience in situations such as discussing the requirements of a project with clients/colleagues (or even fellow students), providing an analysis of required costs for projects, sourcing of appropriate materials, providing initial designs or computer visuals, preparing designs with the use of specialist computer software or working to strict deadlines and budgets.
Web designers combine their creativity with technical ability to build and re-design websites. They possess the ability to picture how a site will appear visually, whilst understanding how it will work from a back-end perspective.
As an aspiring web designer, employers will be looking to see that you have a good grasp of the basics. This includes an eye for detail and design, a strong knowledge of image manipulation software e.g. Adobe Photoshop, a decent understanding of HTML coding, experience handling basic database, word processor packages, and HTML editors such as Dreamweaver. Keeping in the loop with the constantly-evolving technology will be an essential aspect of a career in web design. Whether it’s through online resources, trade press, or learning from colleagues and connections, it is imperative to remain at the forefront of all technological advances, whilst remaining aware of what works best for you and your area of work. To top this off, showing a genuine passion for web design will go a long way.
Building a network of contacts with skills that compliment your own is a great way of strengthening your portfolio. Your ability to communicate and collaborate seamlessly with the requirements of a client and the ideas of graphic designers will lend you to employers.
For both web and graphic design, your portfolio is a showcase of your ability. I’m sure it goes without saying that this should be online, but it’s the content that you really need to perfect. Demonstrate a range of experience. From differing projects, styles, media; the broader the better. This will give your potential employer a real insight into your capabilities and allow them to easily identify whether you are the right match for the position.
With temperatures soaring to a sizzling 19 degrees we can officially say that spring has arrived… and what better place to enjoy it than the Capital! For those of you that have begun internships in London and are keen to explore the big city, I bring you a little guide to my favourite weekend activity: discovering London’s markets. Packed full of unique treasures at bargain prices, these destinations are ideal for those of you on a budget; provide an alternative way of checking out the different areas and cultures that lie within our city; and are, in my opinion, the perfect way to spend a sunny weekend.
Nestled in the heart of the capital, Old Spitalfields Market is the place to head for a little something original. With over 150 stalls trading everything from quirky clothing to cupcakes, and an assortment of interesting shops in the surrounding area, this market is best explored on a Sunday.
Address: 16 Horner Square, Spitalfields, London E1 6EW
Trading hours: Mon – Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat: 11am-5pm; Sun: 10am-5pm
A firm favourite and now my local market! Follow Portobello Road from the Notting Hill Gate end, past the famous idyllic painted properties and along the full length of the road towards Ladbroke Grove. Marrying vintage clothing, furniture and food stalls with boutique shops and Notting Hill’s scrummy eateries, this market never fails to disappoint.
Address: Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W11 1LJ
Trading hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri & Sat 8am-6.30pm, Thu half day until 1pm
Foodie paradise. Borough Market, lovingly referred to as London’s larder, boasts a vast array of mouth-wateringly edible delights to satisfy all taste buds. From fine cheeses to oysters, there’s nothing you won’t find under this roof. Come with your stomachs empty. If you are visiting on a hangover and in need of a sit-down, as I’m sure many of you will be on a Saturday morning, head to Roast for their cooked breakfast – a confirmed hangover eliminator.
Address: Southwark Street, Bankside, London SE1 1TJ
Trading hours: Thurs 11:00 – 17:00, Fri 12:00 – 18:00, Sat 9:00 – 16:00
The cockney-toned bellowing from market traders in the distance as I stand with my family queuing for Café Columbia bagels, admiring my new pot of flowers, will long remain one of my favourite childhood memories. For something different from vintage clothes and overpowering food aromas, head to Columbia Road for its Sunday flower market – a true taste of the old East End.
Address: Columbia Road, Tower Hamlets, London E2 7RG
Trading hours: Sun 8am-2pm
One for the hungry fash-pack. This East End eco-friendly haunt, primarily a specialist food market, also sells vintage clothing from the 50s through to the 70s alongside an array of high-quality organic produce – no plastic bags allowed. If the weather’s on top form why not make day of it and head to nearby London Fields Lido; a beautifully restored 1930s facility, that even offers a sunbathing terrace for those inevitably pasty British limbs.
Address: East London, Hackney, London E8 4PH
Trading hours: Sat 9am-5pm
Situated in the soul of the East End on one of the oldest trading routes in Britain, this is the bargain hunter destination. ‘Super Saturday’ is a weekly feature through the summer months: with everything from street performances, books, antiques, food, clothing and much more, you’re bound to find a cheap treat or two.
Address: Roman Road, Tower Hamlets, London E3 5LU
Trading hours: Tues & Thurs 10am-3pm, Sat 9am-4pm | Farmers Market: first Sat of every month 8.30am-5.30pm
The antique emporium. One of London’s largest indoor antique markets, a haven for decorators and interior designers and likened to “a scene out of Mad Men”. The stalls of home furnishings and old furniture span over five floors, with the recent addition of a licensed ‘Roof Top Kitchen’ providing the perfect spot the enjoy panoramic over London’s rooftops.
Address: 13-25 Church Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8DT
Trading hours: Tues to Sat 10am-6pm
If you’re reading this ahead of an interview here at Inspiring why make a post appointment pit-stop and grab a bite to eat at our local Leather Lane market. Situated a short 3-minute walk from our office, the King of Falafel comes highly recommended by the Inspiring team!
It has arrived! The second in a series of industry specific blogs aimed to equip you with some insider tips on what we look for in top dollar candidates. This week I dissect the desirable characteristics of a budding analyst. But before I do that, I’d like to draw attention to all you readers whose eyes have already glazed over… An internship in analytics may not be something you’ve considered, hell it might be your worst nightmare! But, I urge you to read on. Whilst the industry context may not be relevant to you, there will undoubtedly be some food for thought within the next few hundred words, maybe even skill that you haven’t considered highlighting. Lots of industries require analytics – not just finance! Don’t limit yourself to a whole job market that is crying out for your numerical abilities. After all, you graduates are faced with entering one of the toughest job markets of today – take all the help you can get!
Your degree will be your foundation for success in this industry. A qualification that is relevant to your role is key. We at Inspiring will naturally look for any subject with a high level of mathematical content, with appropriate degrees including: mathematics, actuarial science, physics, statistics, economics, business/management, finance and engineering. But it doesn’t stop there – we place candidates into analytical roles with science degrees and particularly numerical/stats-focused psychology courses.
Computer competency is another necessity; proficiency with appropriate computer software and strong Excel aptitude are basic candidate requirements. More advanced requirements include the ability to program or perform statistical analysis in SQL, SAS or similar data mining language; if you’re capable of this, state it. Why not make a note of relevant modules or achievements where you used the skills – such as Excel Pivot Tables for your dissertation research or stats modules in your psychology or economics degrees.
Naturally, success in your chosen degree is an important factor, in fact an overall history of academic achievement is desirable. Many employers will require you to have a grade A or above in A-Level maths, and as with all cases, strong GCSE and A- Level results will only help to highlight you as an intelligent and consistent individual.
Your skills should complement your degree, pairing together to form a candidate that is not only armed with the knowledge but the capability to apply that knowledge to a working environment. Ask yourselves these questions: are you a problem solver? Do you enjoy challenging your mind with puzzles and games that require logical thinking? Are you driven towards making an impact through your work? Do you enjoy working with others, helping them to solve their problems? Would you describe yourself as curious? If you see yourself ticking these boxes then this is the industry for you. Whilst a mathematical mind and problem solving abilities are desirable, we are always on the lookout for candidates that demonstrate strong communication skills. The ability to translate complex data to an audience that are often not as technically minded as you will be undoubtedly be something that is required in this role.
Targeting your application
Most data analysts often prefer to move on to a specific field soon after beginning work. Ensure you demonstrate an interest in the business/sector you’re applying to. For example, if you’re looking to enter into politics, banking or insurance (which all require lots of analysts!), arm yourself with a good knowledge of that industry, and make sure it’s something the interests you. As with any career, a keen knowledge of what you’re dealing with will be part and parcel of your work.
Why are you different?
In this profession the initial focus is less on what makes you unique and more purely on whether you have the solid qualifications and skills that are necessary to successfully grasp these roles. However, combining this background with evidence of being an all rounded candidate will help your cause greatly. Highlight your favourite sport or a creative hobby, for example, and show that you’re more than just a numerical brainbox. This will reinforce a feeling of faith from employers strengthening your chances against the competition.
Types of questions
Start thinking about analytical problems you might be asked at interview – the answer isn’t important, it’s your reasoning and problem solving skills that you use to tackle the problem that count. Some real-life examples include: how many bottles of hair shampoo were made last year? Or how many cars can you park around the M25? Being prepared for these sorts of challenges will significantly boost your chances of success!
Winning characteristics: Demonstrating a passion, drive and an exceptional willingness to learn will go a long way in this industry. Show that you’re keen to succeed, have a healthy dose of curiosity and a great attitude!
Welcome back to this short series of blogs by Ed Hallinan, former Inspiring Intern and now web-editor for digital consultancy InterGreater. As we hinted on last time, there are many aspects to the role of an SEO, one of which is to write great content.
Are you considering a career in web marketing? This article should give you a bit of insider know-how to prep you for your applications and interviews – good luck!
Why is Content Creation Important?
If you want to get your website seen, you are going to have to work to get it there. In the past, people have taken short-cuts to propel their pages to the promised land: page 1 of Google. Such techniques include filling meaningless articles with hidden keywords, much like the small print on the back of a scratch card. It stands to reason that the more you mention a certain term in your article, the more relevant Google will view your site for that keyword, right?
Wrong. While this used to bring home the bacon, Google’s army of whizz-kids have been cracking down on such malpractice. They create highly intelligent ‘algorithms’ to track whether content is being used genuinely and, more importantly, fairly. While SEOers do conduct extensive research to see what search engines like, it is not pure guesswork. Google is a very transparent enterprise working to help both websites and browsers, and offers extensive ‘best practice’ guidelines.
The cost of disregarding these guidelines can prove costly – we’ve seen sites with excessive ‘keyword stuffing’ penalised by being pushed to the back pages of Google. In some cases, sites have even been taken off the search engine entirely. Conversely, there are a number of ‘white hat’ techniques that are perfectly acceptable to use, and we’ll cover those later. But the main gist of it is this: don’t take shortcuts – just aim to write great content.
Writing to Please.
When writing web-content you should take a moment to consider:
1. Your audience
I’m aiming to write this article to give useful insight to inspiring interns like you, who are seriously considering a career in SEO (P.S., it’s good here – you’ll like it). Do you see how I gave you a little side-comment there? Hopefully it will entice you to read further and perhaps even put a smile to your face. It might just irritate you. Either way, I’m reaching out to you, my audience – point 1 satisfied.
Google tries to reward this type of content, but it has its limitations. It may be a ridiculously intelligent machine, but it isn’t capable of recognising my feeble attempt at a quip. This is why using the most appropriate words and phrases (keywords) is so important.
Satisfying Search Engines.
We know that Google hates keyword stuffing and other spammy practice. But we also know what Google likes, and we can accommodate that. You’ll notice that every listing on the search engine has a blue underlined heading (the title tag), a description (metadata) and a web address (URL) – see below. This is the most important starting block for helping your website be seen – the key is to fill these in with content which is not only relevant to your site, but that suffices what browsers are actually looking for.
As a case in point, let’s enter ‘Inspiring Interns’ into Google’s search bar. First off, the title tag. Notice that it has three separate phrases, one of which is ‘Graduate Internships’ – not only the subject of the site, but a crucial keyword. Are you a graduate? Have you been looking for an internship? Chances are you may well have typed this very phrase in yourself. Go ahead and type that phrase into Google.
At the time of writing, the results for that phrase show Inspiring Interns coming up as 2nd on the 1st page of Google. This does not just happen by chance. Someone at Inspiring Interns has taken the time to research what you are actually searching, and linking it in with their site. Google sees this phrase, can see lots of relevant mentions of that keyword throughout the content on a page (in a natural, non-spammy way), as well as in the title tag, and judges it as a site that you would like to find.
Just as when a new business is set up, extensive market research needs to be done, the same can be said for SEO. You don’t just set up a restaurant in a few days and make up a menu on the spot. You plan the style and the clientele you will cater for. You think of a name which will entice customers.
Websites are no different. You need to think of a website name which people will understand at just a moment’s glance. Therefore working a keyword into a URL is hugely important. For instance, you might have a restaurant called ‘Spice’. That’s all very well for passing public who see it written on a sign. But when you’re scrolling through the web, which of these will help Google categorise your website more effectively:
The second, while still concise, gives a lot more detailed information. Similarly with the title tag, you can use more than one keyword to describe a business. For this example, ours might be:
Spice | Indian Restaurant | London eating
Here you have the brand name, a category, and a broader search keyword, helping both Google and potential clients better understand what it is you offer. Reflecting these terms in your content should see your website begin to rank well, in a totally natural and understandable way.
It’s now time to focus on the on-page content. As we briefly mentioned above, using keywords in the main body of the text is a good idea, as long as it is done naturally. A good rule of thumb is not to use a given phrase more than 3 times on a page. Going back to what Google prioritises, not only does it view the title tag, but the headings in an article. Getting keywords into your various titles and sub-titles is therefore a good plan.
Turning this full-circle, the offshoot of this is that not only Google is happy, but the audience is too. Going back to the Inspiring Interns website, you’ll find that the body content of the homepage does help graduates find internships, and therefore you might even share this page with your peers (this is not a hint…)! Google then sees this ‘linked’ content and understands it must be relevant and appropriate for people to be recommending it to others, in turn bolstering that page’s ranking.
This is why generating good content is so important. Are you analytical? Can you write well?
If so, SEO could be the career for you…
I Like the Sound of this SEO Lark! How Do I Learn More?
We hope this blog has given you food for thought. Why don’t you have a little browse through Google yourself – see which sites are ranking well and try to work out why that might be? At InterGreater, we understand the importance of extensive research, which forms a cornerstone of our day-to-day SEO consulting.
For a bit of further reading, Distilled.net have written a great article on why content marketing is such an important job for the future.
Our next article will give you a handy introduction to link-building. See you then!
Why not browse our latest SEO internship here!