Growing Into In-House SEO Leadership With Tessa Nadik

Growing and maturing in your career from a strategic SEO professional to a strategic leader is no easy feat, and there are plenty of people who will question your aspirations along the way.

just ask Tessa NadikoSenior Director of SEO Product and Content Strategy kelly blue book And Autotrader,

“I can’t count how many times I’ve been told, ‘SEO is not a career path,'” Nadik told me recently.

“SEO is a fulfilling career path with endless growth opportunities, especially if you do well with analysis, critical thinking and constant change. I spent a lot of time thinking, ‘What’s next?’ When in fact, SEO is a very valid career path in itself,” she said.

Tessa was a technical web analyst for United States Steel when an acquaintance introduced her to an interesting opportunity: a small steel manufacturing/sales company looking to hire someone to do its SEO and inbound marketing Presence.

“I honestly ended up in SEO by accident,” she said. As the company’s sole marketing employee, she was finding out on her own that a . how to solve manual penalty He came to know on the very first day.

In this interview, Tessa shares her career journey from introverted marketer to in-house SEO leader – one who has become adept at developing talent, motivating teams, and promoting SEO throughout the organization.

Paving a Career Path in SEO

Can you tell us more about what inspired you to pursue a career in SEO? What was the path that has led you to where you are today?

Tessa Nadik: “After spending a year in that first role, I moved to DICK’S Sporting Goods, where my SEO career took off.

The team was the biggest, and I had the opportunity to learn a lot more than I thought I would, and quickly.

I did a ton of work learning the ins and outs of technical SEO with my SEO SaaS on-site partner, Matt Grabiak.

I am forever grateful to Matt and the others I met who taught me not only SEO but how to build and lead a team.

As an introvert, I never saw myself as a people leader in the early years, but it was necessary to move on in previous companies.

In my first role as a people leader, I learned a lot about managing teams and what kind of leader I wanted to be.

Since then, I have worked hard on my role as a leader and the environment in my team. To my surprise, I fell in love with the leading teams, removing the odds and celebrating their victories. ,

Transferable Skills Will Serve You Well in SEO

You’ve worked in a wide variety of fields – steel buildings, sporting goods, vehicles, education, and more. What would you say are the most important transferable skills in SEO that will take you anywhere?

Tessa Nadik: “There are a lot of different avenues in SEO, but there are skills and characteristics that make up a successful SEO based on my experience.

Communication skills are a must, regardless of the situation. Being able to communicate effectively with the who, why and how is invaluable.

Second, being adaptable. Algorithms change, industries change, and we have to change with it. There will always be parts of SEO and any career that we cannot control.

However, we can control how we optimize, and if you manage to optimize, you will do well in SEO.”

Promoting SEO at the Leadership Level

In your LinkedIn profile, one of your responsibilities is to “advocate and promote SEO through organization and leadership.” What tips can you share to help others do it successfully?

Tessa Nadik: “As a senior director, my responsibilities have expanded.

Our organization has grown from about 11 to about 30. Although it expands my scope, there is still work to be done.

In this organization, we’re fortunate to have a lot of executive buys – this wasn’t always the case in previous roles.

SEO may hold back from other priorities, but anyone can change that perception with the right approach.

Not only is it necessary to have executive buy-in, but equally important is the buy-in of your peers and cross-functional teams.

Fostering those relationships and showing value are two things that will change the game. You can’t expect a team to prioritize work when you don’t understand the ‘why’.

As an SEO, it’s your job to show the ‘why’. SEO is no longer this black box where we have no idea what will happen. We can certainly make educated guesses.

throw that deceitful syndrome out and own the fact that no one in your company can do the same thing as you.

You also need to know when to compromise and when to push for something as hard as possible.

Being mature in your career means you can see the bigger picture, which means SEO isn’t always a top priority. Being mindful of this is a game-changer and makes working with others more manageable and productive. ,

striking the right balance between leadership and management

At your leadership level, how is your time divided between SEO strategy, people management, and other activities?

Tessa Nadik: “At my level, I balance my time around strategy management and leading the way to achieving.

I always stress that I am a practical leader in that I don’t just talk about SEO or leads; I can do SEO too.

This is something I emphasize and is important to me because when our team needs vacation time, or something comes along, I’m here to offer coverage and fill in without a problem .

i spend most of my time cooperating with our team To discuss ideas and encourage them to grow.

We have a great environment where everyone has a voice and aren’t afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’

We all have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s my job to ensure that our platforms allow everyone to speak their mind, ask questions, collaborate with purpose, and grow in their roles. ,

Making sense of disruptive tendencies

Are there any emerging trends in digital that you think will be particularly disruptive and what marketers should know about them right now?

Tessa Nadik: “In my opinion, there are always Trends That Emerge and Disrupt SEO,

This is why it is essential to ensure that you are aligned with the partners in your organization.

Think about the emergence of more paid features, videos, socials, news, and others that have entered the space.

Without a productive rapport with your partners, this is disruptive to SEO, but it becomes a well-rounded strategy with partnerships.

Best in class enterprise SEO cannot be done in silos alone; It takes a village. ,

closing thoughts

What do you wish you knew before entering the SEO industry that you would share with others to help them grow and succeed?

Tessa Nadik: “Although not always easy, SEO is an exhausting career path with endless growth opportunities.

SEO can be a great career path if you do well with analysis, critical thinking and constant change.

Notice I Said Career Path: I can’t count how many times I was told, ‘SEO is not a career path.’

I spent a lot of time thinking, ‘What’s next?’ When in fact, SEO is a very valid career path in itself, whether it’s traditional SEO or development!”

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Featured image: Courtesy of Tessa Nadik

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