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My year in SEO – the good, the bad, the ugly and the sad

Wow, that was quite a year.

This isn’t my attempt at FNYCF, and this isn’t going to be a clever SEO roundup, more a series of personal musings. 2010 has been pretty packed for me with lots of changes, excitement, learning, opportunities and some sadness too – so in a vain attempt to gather my thoughts before the new year I’m going to take the time to ramble. Please excuse me.

The year of the tax return

Relax - you're in the hands (claws?) of the time chicken

I went self employed at the start of 2010, and although ‘being your own boss’ has its perks, there have also been some difficult times. One of these has been budgeting for tax returns, my signed cheque for a large wodge of dosh made out to the HMRC sits next to me on the desk. Goodbye snowboarding holiday. :( Another challenge for the self employed person who sits at home, alone, working in a broom cupboard, is time management. I’ve found the easiest way to manage my productivity is via the time chicken (thanks to Jackie Morris for my poulet).

Some more letters after my name

Braggart alert, please skip this part if trumpet blowing makes you nauseous. This year, after 2 years of plotting and recording my continuous professional development, I achieved ‘Chartered Marketer’ status. I can now append my name with MCIM, should I so choose. Which I do, because I worked rather hard for it!

Packing my spotted hankie and going where the streets are paved with gold

At the end of August I brushed the straw from my hair, packed my bags, and set off for a journey to where the streets are paved with gold. In fact I set off for Kingston, but my friends and family in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, continued to call it ‘London’ and so I let them, because it sounded a little more urban and cosmopolitan than Surrey.

I left my friends, husband, house, dogs and the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline in order to spend 3 months at Verve Search, as acting MD, covering Lisa Myers maternity leave – and had a totally memorable time (for all of the right reasons). Working in an office with Sam and Nick was awesome, so much fun – and I can’t thank them enough for making my time at Verve such a joy – seriously!

Just before I left I was interviewed by the Western Mail for a piece on women making life changes – they covered my move to Kingston – sent a photographer and interviewed me regarding my new post. I learnt many things:

  • I need to get my teeth sorted
  • Be nice and clear, explain yourself carefully, because any part of what you say can make a very strange soundbite when taken out of context: “I’ve been learning an application of social media remotely for a couple of years’. WTF??

Make friends, make friends, never never break friends

OK, since we’ve hit a schmaltzy thread we may as well stay there. I’ve never made it a secret that being an SEO and working here in the sticks can be a lonely and frustrating persuit. One of the BEST things about my stint away from home was the number of LUSH people that I met – through ThinkVisibility, through LondonSEO, and through taking advantage of the fact that London town is crawling with nice SEO folks and digital marketers. One of the nicest things was when a group of lovely folks, who in all honesty I had only met in the flesh afew times, threw a little leaving bash for me when it was time for me to head back to the Arcadian idyll that I call home. Annabel, Nichola, Sam, Jaamit, Richard, Paddy, and Rishil. Good, genuine, lovely people, I really appreciated it.

Sad times

Jaamit Durrani with some linky goodness at ThinkVisibility

I’d been following Jaamit Durrani around the blogosphere for afew years. I’d watched his linkbuilding presentation at the Magic Circle, a couple of my friends had had the pleasure of working with him on some projects and said he was a switched on individual with a real passion for search. At ThinkVisibility last September Jaamit’s presentation was a total winner – insightful, actionable takeaways for linkbuilding. I loved it.

I was lucky enough to get to know him a little better, we had some online leg pulling, shared some laughs, and he agreed to let me interview him regarding his path in SEO and how he had got to where he was now. Seriously, drinking gingerbread latte in Starbucks off Tottenham Court Road and chatting SEO crap with him is a very fond memory for me. I didn’t know him well, I would have loved to have known him better, but I count my blessings that I knew him at all.

If you’d like to remember Jaamit through a donation then you can do so here: http://www.thinkvisibility.com/jaamit/. All funds will be used to help fund his wife, Negar, through her acting course.

New Years Resolutions

Aha. I don’t normally make these. This year has given me the kind of ‘kick up the ass’ that has made me want to take stock of where I am, what I’ve done, and where I want to be. And not in the normal maudlin and potentially melodramatic end of year way, more in a brimming with positivity, excited for the future kind of way. Sickening perhaps, but rather a nice feeling and long may it last.

Thanks to Tad Chef for including me in this blog post:

30 Great SEO Blogs You Might Not Know Yet

Such a nice vote of confidence, but it made me realize I need to up my game and counter the rather lacksadaisical lack of posting.

Tell it like it is Tad :)

Some people are born to blog (Ann Smarty, how DO you do it??), some people find it akin to birthing a watermelon. My new years resolution? In 2011 I plan to s..q..u..e..e..z..e out some words a little more regularly.

Rambling over, resume your positions. Happy New Year!

9 Comments

  1. Ah, the yearly round up post. Must get onto writing mine. Closely followed by the yearly Predictions post.

    Great work, I hope you’ve enjoyed your first year going it alone. The Tax Return is indeed a harsh one to bear. We must catch up properly soon.

    Steve

    Reply
  2. hi Claire, great post, well done for such fantastic year and for all your achievements. Wow: Chartered Marketer status !

    Reply
  3. @Steve Thanks, the tax return is galling me as I think about it. Sad times. Yes, lets catch up :)

    @David Yes, I was very pleased, as it really was a hoop jumping excercise of epic proportions! One of the ‘funniest’ parts was the Chartered Institute of Marketing refusing to accept an online CV, or even a CV in word format emailed to them. They needed a paper CV, posted to them. Someone please kick them into the digital age :) (Oh no, I hope they don’t renege my status!)

    Reply
  4. Wow what a great year! And well done on the Chartered Marketer status! I had been earning my CPD points until I decided to go off piste and travel the globe this year – d’oh! So thanks for reminding me to get back collecting CPD hours! (Oh and blogging… )
    Next year will be the year when I have that lovely job of filling out tax returns… oh JOY!!
    Here’s to a great 2011, with yet more achievements!

    Reply
    • Thanks J! We now have our list of resolutions for 2011…let’s see how long they last! :)

      Reply
  5. Hey Claire,

    thank you for the mention and I’m glad I could motivate you a little. On a sidenote: You can blog less to blog more! How that? Just look at this post above, it’s basically four postings in one, or even five… I always try to tackle one topic at a time. I start like “O, now I’ll write a short post on…” and often end up writing a long one anyways but at least I focused on one issue, technique or example.

    Reply
    • Hi Tad – good point! Before starting to blog the last thing I had been writing was long academic pieces. I need to stop endlessly prevaricating over topics and content, and then stop giving myself such a hard time over ‘is this publishable/relevant/interesting’. Next post scheduled for next week. We’ll see how we do! Happy new year Tad :)

      Reply
  6. I told you I would comment so here I am!

    I guess whilst I am here I should say something nice……. Can I come back on my lunch? :p

    It was really nice to have you with us for the 3 months and it went far too fast for my liking. I had a lot of fun and learnt some things too so it was a shame you had to leave. Looking forward to the meet up tomorrow. Toodlepip.

    Reply
    • Oh hello! Thanks for dropping by :) Was lovely to see you too, I think you should come to Wales very soon for some adventures…toodle-oo xx

      Reply

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