KWSM Mentorship Program: Mentoring on SEO

Here at KWSM, we have an in-house Mentorship Program. I had the privilege recently to mentor Senior Digital Marketing Strategist Layla Lameijer on SEO. Layla has shown a strong interest in SEO and this was a great opportunity to take a deep dive into the subject and teach her some skills she can use moving forward in her content work.

KWSM Mentorship Program: Mentoring on SEO

After 4 months of meeting every other week, and spending time researching, analyzing, and executing on what we discovered, the end result was not what I was expecting. Let me explain…

My Approach

I wanted this mentorship to not just be a time where I talked and Layla listened. In my experience, that approach rarely has the most effective outcome. I wanted to teach her through action. At the same time, I wanted to make sure that I was teaching her what she wanted to learn. After all, even the best insight can fall on deaf ears if given to someone who has no interest in the subject at hand. Better yet, if I can learn something along the way as a result, it becomes a win-win (which is actually what happened!).

Our Process

When we set out on this journey, the first meeting was simply to ask questions. What do you want to learn? Where do you see an opportunity? What seems interesting that you want to know more about? These questions helped spark a great discussion that ultimately led to identifying a few objectives for the time we were to spend together.

Our Objectives

We identified three main objectives:

  1. How to optimize blogs for better SEO ranking
  2. Identify the benefits of adding media (such as video) to blogs
  3. How to re-optimize blogs to improve SEO ranking

These were relevant to Layla’s work and the work that KWSM’s Content Editors and Digital Marketing Strategists do on a regular basis. With over 150 blog posts being produced for clients every week at our agency, making seemingly small changes can have a large impact for our clients.

Our Projects

Once we identified the objectives, I was able to put together a curriculum for Layla to start working on. I outlined the following projects for her to research and complete:

  1. Read the most current information available from credible SEO sources, such as MOZ and Hubspot.
  2. Analyze the KWSM website to find opportunities for how we can improve on our blogs, both current and past.
  3. Do keyword research for the KWSM website to see if there are any new opportunities we can take advantage of.
  4. Update existing blog posts to re-optimize them for SEO

Our Results

When we set out on this journey, I had an expectation of what we would discover. And had I simply talked to Layla to ‘mentor’ her, that information would have been what I ‘mentored’ Layla with. Fortunately for both of us, what she discovered was different than what I expected. As with everything in digital marketing, things change frequently and often without warning. This is exactly what happened, thus rendering my knowledge inaccurate based on the current algorithm updates by Google.

What we did learn, however, will not only have a large impact on our website but also for our clients. You can read more about how to reoptimize blog posts, in a fantastic blog post that Layla put together to showcase the research we performed.

My Takeaway

Working with Layla over the last few months has been extremely rewarding. It was a lot of fun to help her learn more about SEO. Beyond that, it helped her build confidence in her ability to research a fairly complex topic, test different tactics to see what works, and ultimately break it down into action steps anyone can take. The end result we came up with was a checklist a business who is blogging can implement relatively easily. Doing these changes can have a massive impact on how their blog posts rank, driving more traffic back to their website. This has the potential to change many businesses’ ability to attract leads online, thus helping them grow their business simply by creating high-quality content and optimizing it properly.

The bottom line is that Layla and I both learned something and we were able to take those findings and take action. I consider that a success!

 

As Jim Rohn once said, “Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.”

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Follow Stephen Wagner:
Stephen is Director of Operations at Katie Wagner Social Media. Before joining the agency, Stephen worked in Finance & Operations Management at two Fortune 100 companies and spent 5 years as a small business consultant.

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