Welcome to the SEO Careers interview series. We recently caught up with Tessa Voecks, Sr Director of Operations over at Local SEO Guide. As a 10-year veteran of the SEO industry, we were very excited to discuss her career as well as tips she has for those new to the industry.
If you are interested in being featured in the SEO careers interview series, please submit your name and contact details on our contact page.
With that said, let’s jump right into this interview!
Hi Tessa! We’re so glad to feature you on SEOjobs.com. Please introduce yourself to our site’s readers.
Hey hey! I’m Tess (Tessa) Voecks. I live in the fine state of Minnesota. I’ve been in the SEO industry for ~10ish years. I can’t believe it’s been that long, but you know what they say about time when you’re having fun.
Please share with us your current SEO role and for what company you work for.
I am currently the Sr. Dir. of Operations at Local SEO Guide (LSG). I’ve been in this role for the past 6 months and was previously the Sr. Dir. of Project Management here at LSG. My role here is basically project and process management at the business level, helping make business decisions, scaling the business, and building and fostering teams within the company.
Can you share with us how you entered the SEO industry?
I went to college at the University of North Dakota as a marketing and management double major. True story: right after graduation I was hired for a PPC role. The company called me back and asked me to fill an SEO role instead and let me know that it was basically the same thing with minor differences. I went along with it. I look back and laugh now, but what a great swap it ended up being. For $17.50/hour I was tasked with helping my then boss to build and support the SEO strategy for a billion dollar, 30+ domain e-commerce company. It was just the two of us. She was such a great boss. She really inspired me to want to lead strategy, make search better for users, and to mentor and lead people. Since then, I’ve worked a few different strategy roles before moving into more of the business side of SEO.
Since moving to the business side of SEO, what motivates me is making processes and project management better for my team and for those in the industry. Teaching others how to organize and scale their work to make their business more organizied, efficient, and profitable is both fun and rewarding. It keeps me on my toes and gives me the ability to meet new people everyday!
How did you start to learn SEO? What are you currently doing to keep up with the ever changing SEO industry?
At first, I was reading Moz, Google guides, Search Engine Journal/Watch, SEO Roundtable, and other random blogs and forums. While that stuff was great, I think what’s more important is to make your own website to experiment and learn from. Even more important is networking. Find a group of people or a mentor. Work with them. Ask them questions. Give feedback. Keep an open mind. Stay curious…someone I respect once said something along the lines of “ a curious mind is the best SEO tool”.
Can you share what factors are most important to you in an SEO career and why? When do you know its time for a new job? Do these same factors play a role?
Knowing when it’s time to look for a new role can be hard. I don’t know that there is a right or wrong answer here. I have a “I was looking for a job when I found this job” type of mentality. Sometimes opportunities just come up, but overall you’ll feel it in your gut when it’s time to look for your next role.
Obviously, pay/salary are a large part in accepting a role. However, I really also think alot about retirement contributions, stock options, profit sharing, and other forms of monetary compensation. Other things that really matter to me: health coverage, paternal leave, sick time, company culture, education allowance, room for career growth, and DE and I. Remote work is usually the make or break for me. I am pretty rooted where I am, and I very much enjoy having my schedule flexible to suit the needs of my family.
What recommendations would you give to someone who is looking to join the SEO industry and get their first full-time SEO position?
I always recommend finding SEO Twitter and looking around. Again, find a mentor. Network. Put yourself out there. Just jump!