Manchester’s own SEO Expert Andy Kinsey talks digital.

We asked the talented Andy Kinsey to answer 6 questions on his career and to give advice to young people looking to get into Manchester’s digital space.

 

How old were you and what was it that got you into digital?

I started off by building a website for my dad’s friend who was helping to run an amatuer football club, I was around 14 or 15 at the time – so around 10 years ago. I continued to build websites whilst at college (I went to Xaverian in Manchester) and whilst at University (Salford).

During my time at Salford I was asked more and more whether I would help with search engine rankings and getting more conversions. I dabbled in it whilst still doing website builds – in my placement year I developed one or two sites but really focused on the digital marketing aspect. I grew to love it and it soon became my primary work… I still dabble in the odd bit of web development but it’s rare.

The really handy bit is for me knowing how long something should take to do, or even how to do it – I know WordPress better than most web developers I’ve worked with who develop themes for it.

 

What is it that you love about SEO?

SEO and Digital Marketing are about improving at their very core, but improving one thing on a single site doesn’t mean if you repeat it somewhere else it will have the same effect.

I love SEO and Digital Marketing because it’s an ever changing target, no two days are the same. Also there is ALWAYS something new to learn or test.

The final reason I enjoy what I do so much is that I love data – if you see pretty much any presentation by me I will include a fair bit of data (if there is time). Data is Proof, Cold Hard Proof. Without it everything is speculation, with it you can and will change the fortunes of a website.

If you enter this industry it will change, maybe not today or next week, but at some point it will – technologies change and best practices change. In SEO for example Google Algorithm update change, new markup languages appear and heck social media has taken off – it is your job to know about these changes and make the most of them. I am not saying a web developer should know every coding language in the book, thats why you specialise eventually, but you should make an effort to always be learning.

My one tip therefore is to always be learning, read blogs, watch videos and talk to others in your industry – learn learn learn.

 

How important do you think digital is for a business?

Digital is important to any business because you need to stand out from the crowd of businesses. Earlier this year (june 2014) a report from the House of Commons stated that there in 2013, there were 4.9 million businesses in the UK, over 99% of which were small and medium enterprises.

Those businesses of course cross every different sector imaginable, so how do you stand out?

There are a ton of ways you can begin to stand out, just one of which is going digital – getting online, marketing yourself and pushing to show you are the best at what you do (and in a public way).

But further than this investing in digital and technology overall can mean you can spot trends long before a competitor, it means you can perhaps track the number of customers through your shop doors in a day and compare that to your website in terms of numbers of conversions or types of products bought – it means you can match datasets to enable the business to grow.

Digital is not about building a website – it is about bringing together data in such a way as to enable growth, both of a business and the job market. Digital is huge, and it’s growing – by 2020 it’s estimated that there will be over 1 million digital jobs in the UK alone.

 

What’s your favourite social media platform and why?

My favourite platform, personally, is Twitter – it tends to be more engaging and fun. That said the rewards can be limited, mainly as Twitter is a transient platform (anything i put up now won’t be seen by the majority of followers) and this means repetition is something you see a lot. – I’m @andykinsey

From a Digital Marketing point of view I enjoy Facebook – it allows conversations to develop around subjects and as with LinkedIn Groups you can show why you are the expert and to be trusted. This trust building will build a set of “fans” who will always talk to you, give you work and refer work on – but more than that Facebook tends to allow you control of a conversation (if someone swears in a group you can delete it and ban them, if they harass you you can block them etc etc).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The few bits of advice I’d give any young person wanting to get into digital are:

Research What You Want To Do

Honestly, having a hunch is great but if you want a job or career in an industry you need to do some research. Speak to people doing the job you want to do, ask them anything you can think of and then ask some more people. Read blogs about those who work in the industry and what they love and hate. I’ve seen it too often that someone will take up an apprentice or junior role in a digital organisation only to realise it’s not what they thought it was or it didn’t ‘chime’ with their mindset. Conversely, research will show you if you are really going to enjoy the job – one young lady I know spent 2 hours talking to friends at a networking event, she swapped from wanting to do web development to digital marketing and she can list the reasons why – 2 years on she still loves it.

Keep Learning

As mentioned above, standing still and stagnating is simply not going to cut it – you need to want to learn and grow. Talk with those you work with and others in the industry, see what they are learning and what you can learn directly from them.

Don’t Give Up

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, everyone does, but its not the failure and mistake that matters its what you do after it. So don’t give up, stand up be counted and move on – if you are struggling ask for help, if you think you need more training ask for it, if you break a website ask for help – madness is momentary learning is forever.