Since graduating with a degree in Business and Marketing in 2013, Leeds Trinity alumnus Dan Taylor has quickly established himself as an expert in technical, international and local Search Engine Optimisation. In November, he will be speaking at Tech SEO Boost, the industry's only technical SEO conference, taking place in Boston, Massachusetts.
We caught up with Dan to find out more about his career and life after Leeds Trinity University.
You started your degree in 2010. Why did you apply to Leeds Trinity University?
I came on one of the open days and interacted with a number of the tutors, who were both experienced and had a lot of "real-world" experience. The two placements also attracted me more than a single placement year, as I saw it as an opportunity to gain exposure to different environments.
What memories do you have of your time at Leeds Trinity?
Aside from the lectures, in 2010 we restarted the men's rugby union team which was fun, and still going now. My two stand-out lectures were Dr Mike Walker's business ethics in my final year, as well as Mark Sebright's international marketing lectures – which actually helped shape my career now.
How did Leeds Trinity set you up for your career?
Because a lot of the lecturers had real-world experience, the lectures weren't just about theory – they could provide examples in practice of the theory being applied (or not being applied correctly) which was beneficial. The two placements also exposed me to two completely different working environments, one very corporate and the other more creative.
In the latter, I was trusted with building up a charity project business case and marketing plan, and was even able to negotiate a kit sponsorship deal with Scarborough Athletic Football Club (in 2012). All these experiences meant that when I went into my first role I had exposure to different office environments, as well as some projects behind me.
Tell us about your career so far?
Since graduating, I went into a graduate internship role (through Leeds Trinity Partnerships and Placements), and since then have worked my way from being a Marketing Executive, through to being an Account Director at an international SEO agency, with offices in Leeds, London and Boston MA. There have been ups and downs, but it's been important to learn from everything and to continuously work on improving yourself.
Where do you work now and what does it involve?
I currently work for SALT.agency as a Technical SEO Consultant and Account Director. I work with a number of companies, ranging from a global Content Delivery Network and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Mitigation provider in San Francisco, airlines in South Asia and high-street brands in the UK. I work with them on developing and implementing strategies for organic search, as well as best practices for international expansion online. I also write for a number of industry blogs and magazines, including Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Watch.
Tell us more about the conference – how did it come about? What are you speaking about?
TechSEO Boost is the SEO industry's only technical focused conference, and this will be its second year and has speakers from companies such as IBM, Moz, Atlassian, Airbnb, and Wayfair.
It came about through industry relations, and I will be speaking about internationalisation (through technical SEO), and specifically how to use modern technologies such as service workers to implement best practice, bypassing the restrictions of older technology stacks. In other words, how to turn a website international by using the latest technologies and software available.
What advice would you give to current students at Leeds Trinity about finding their first graduate role?
The marketing world is currently going through a big period of change, and there is a clear gap appearing between capable and highly capable. If you're wanting to go into digital marketing, no matter what capacity, I would learn the basics of HTML code and technology infrastructures (DNS, servers, firewalls).
When looking for your first role, back yourself. If you're confident and are able to show good understanding of how what you've learnt can be applied, and can even see examples of it in the real world you'll stand in good stead.
When talking to recruiters, make sure you control the relationship. Control your CV distribution and if a recruiter is putting you forward for a role find out where, and if they're not wanting to say press them for it. The reason is that if two recruiters put you forward for the same role, the business is in an awkward position surrounding attribution and fees. Likewise if you apply directly for a role, or send your CV to a business or agency, don't let a recruiter also submit for you. I've experienced it in the past when two recruiters have put me forward for a job, and because the business didn't know which recruiter to attribute to, they decided to not proceed.
For more information on Dan and his work visit his website here.