Shane Hampson: My SEO Career Journey

Shane Hampson SEO

Hi! 👋  We’re so glad to feature you on SEOjobs.com. Please introduce yourself to our site’s readers. 

    • What’s your name? Shane Hampson (Website | LinkedIn)
    • Location: Dallas, Texas
    • How long have you been in the SEO industry? 11 years, right before the first panda update

 

Please share with us your current SEO role and for what company you work for.

I am the head of SEO for Neighborly, we are the world’s largest hub for home services. Neighborly proudly owns over 30 brands and 5,000 locations all over the globe. 

As the head of SEO my primary role and responsibility is to create a comprehensive organic search strategy that blends our national audience targets with our local audience targets. 

It’s an amazing job that allows me to do a few of my favorite things in the world: do SEO and talk about SEO! When I say talk, I mean evangelize – essentially I am Neighborly’s SEO evangelist. 

I have an amazing SEO team and we work with some incredible SEO vendors which has allowed us to achieve some really cool things in 2022. But, I have actually not been at Neighborly very long, Feb 2023 will be my one year mark.

 

Can you share with us how you entered the SEO industry?

When I was in high school I really wanted free food so I made a food review and blog website. It was a great learning experience for me – I didn’t really know what SEO was but I was actively doing SEO to get my website to rank in Yahoo and Google. 

Once I discovered this was SEO it led me to selling SEO and web design services while in college and eventually decided to pursue SEO full-time as a career in 2011. 

2011 was my first full time SEO job – I went on an interview with a big SEO company for something called “reverse SEO” or “ORM – online reputation management” which was the process of pushing down negative press from the SERPs and I found that to be super intriguing. I ended up landing the job and within a year I was promoted to lead the team and division. 

When I was in college I was also working full-time and freelancing SEO jobs without even knowing that’s what I was doing. I was making a decent living so I chased the money and still have yet to finish my 4 year degree (I promise I will someday, Mom!)

My starting salary was $24,000 + commission (and this was in California!)

 

How did you start to learn SEO? What are you currently doing to keep up with the ever changing SEO industry?

I learned from websites like what is now called MOZ, SEJ and books like Search Engine Optimization for Dummies by Bruce Clay. The internet wasn’t nearly as good in 2008 for free seo resources. Once I went to the agency, I learned from talking with the SEO team on a daily basis. (I was in ORM at that time)

As for the present day there are so many amazing resources.

    1. LinkedIn (so many amazing influencers!) 
    2. SEJ
    3. SEL
    4. MOZ whiteboards
    5. YouTube 
    6. Seotraining.com is the best virtual SEO training I have seen to-date. We now include this as part of our onboarding at Neighborly.

 

Can you share what factors are most important to you in an SEO career and why? When do you know it’s time for a new job? Do these same factors play a role?

I have worked at some large SEO companies and some smaller yet arguably more talented SEO agencies so I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what I look for in my SEO career. Here are the things most important to me. 

Non-negotiables:

  • Competitive Salary & Remote Work are my top 2 priorities 
  • A manager who shares a similar communication style 
  • Does the work we do actually get implemented on the client’s websites? If not, you’re working long hours and you never really get to see the fruits of your labor and that feels bad! 
  • Is the team growing? If the team is growing it’s a good sign that the company or agency believes in SEO and is committed to seeing it work. 
  • Management committed to retaining the talent we hire and develop

Nice to haves:

  • Budget for SEO conferences 
  • Budget for new SEO tool testing 
  • Cell Phone / Home Office Reimbursement 
  • Gym Membership Reimbursement

 

When do you know it’s time to move on?

I am privileged in the sense that my last few jobs have come because of either word of mouth referrals or being recruited pretty aggressively. However, a recruiter is only as successful as you let them be, there is obviously a reason you are even replying back to a recruiter – you aren’t happy with something to some degree. 

For me personally, when I have decided to move on, I have moved on for the same few reasons. 

  • Lack of upward mobility 
  • Manager / leadership who doesn’t inspire confidence 
  • Manager / leadership doesn’t communicate effectively

 

What recommendations would you give to someone who is looking to join the SEO industry and get their first full-time SEO position?

For anyone looking to get into the SEO industry I would recommend purchasing a domain based around a hobby you have and creating a basic website. You’ll gain so much knowledge from creating content based on your hobbies. You can then watch free youtube videos, check out MOZ for great educational content and as you’re watching you can then implement your learnings. 

Once you have a small website with a few keyword rankings, you have something to show off in your interviews! 

Speaking of interviews, reach out to one of the many great influencers on LinkedIn and see if they have any interview tips for you or if they would do a mock interview with you. 

When it comes time to look for seo jobs there are a few great sites including: SEOjobs.com, Linkedin, Indeed and even Google jobs.