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Getting to know the Young Search Professionals of 2018 - SEMrush Awards

Posted on October 16, 2018

We’re all really excited about the SEMrush Awards in a few weeks.

No, not just because we’re nominated - that's just a nice bonus. We’re really happy that there is finally a place we can meet, talk to, and celebrate with our peers in this small industry.

Even though the industry is small, we don’t really know everyone, more so we know of everyone - two very different things.

In addition, it’s great for us as an industry to have a way to be recognised. There is no denying, SEO has had a chequered past, but it’s never stopped being an important art form, in addition to there being many people that are doing some really great work.

While there are a tonne of fantastic categories, one of the best is the "Young Search Professional of the Year”

The reason this one stands out is that it is really great to be able to get to know, and recognise some of the great, new, up and coming faces that will be driving the SEO industry forward for many years to come.

In light of this, I thought it would be great to get to know a little more about the nominees.

First point of call for me was right to the top! I thought it would be cool to speak to SEMrush Awards host, Osher Günsberg (Who coincidentally just finished hosting a little show called ‘The Bachelor’)

I got in touch with him, and he was happy enough to pass on these words to the nominees:

OK, so it wasn’t the cool video intro I was asking for but I got a reply which kinda counts right!

At this years inaugural SEMrush Awards, we have some really great talent nominated. All have taken a slightly different path, and all have different skills, but it's safe to say all of them have a really bright future in this industry.

Andres Vargas

My story

I've been building website solutions for over 11 years. I've always challenged myself to solve problem through code. I've built many web apps and service websites over the years and always felt such a sense of achievement when I've created efficiencies in peoples' lives. Over the past 2 years, I've built an integrated platform called Swiftleads. Initially, I was just building a platform for myself to solve the many problems of managing the build of multiple websites, SEO and client relationships all at the same time. Now it has become a passion project for me and the goal is to provide my solution and education to others so I can share my efficiencies.

Why I love search...

I'm all about the numbers, which you could say is like an intricate game for me. I love seeing the hard work put into websites, seeing positive ranking shifts and happy clients.

Search is such an important factor for a businesses success in today's technologically-driven world. Search helps differentiate one business from many others. You only have a few seconds to engage a visitor so first impressions count!

Where you see search being in 10 years?

Voice search advancements.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In the same seat growing with the search world and implementing solutions into my platform to meet the demand for what our future holds.

What advice would you give to another young person trying to get into the search game today?

Education is key. Read what the leaders in the industry are doing, use that knowledge to implement your own solutions and continue pivoting until you find the sweet spots for your clients. Take the time to educate yourself on how to best convey your message to visitors. Creating a website today is rather easy, it's the audience that you're trying to capture for leads and conversions that needs serious attention.

Just always think outside the box and create engaging user experiences.

Brodie Clark

  • Senior SEO Specialist - Optimising
  • Age: 26

My story

Started learning SEO working for the family business managing the website, began agency work in 2013 and have worked for a few well respected agencies since.

Why I love search...

It's challenging and there's always something new to test out

Where you see search being in 10 years?

Much less opportunity, much harder to implement, and reliant on different frameworks that we'll need to adapt to

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Speaking on the vlog talking about what SEO was like in the good ol' days

What advice would you give to another young person trying to get into the search game today?

Keep at it. It's super difficult to get your head around at first, although it's a great industry to get into. Read blogs, contribute to forums, get your hands dirty trying to get your own site live, have fun.

Nik Ranger

My story

I’m Webfirm’s SEO specialist, I’m in charge of overseeing digital strategy, analysis, content and site architecture for large enterprise, small businesses and start-ups in Australia. I grew up building robots, studying engineering and playing violin in orchestras before realising that search offered the perfect mix of creativity, strategic analysis and was non-industry specific. As in, if I wanted to live anywhere else in the world, I could take my craft with me. I’m compelled by data-driven results and finding opportunities in competitive industries.

Why I love search...

Few things have the kind of transformational impact that search does. Society has come so far as to expect products and services be available with speed, reliability and 24/7 convenience. Sometimes when I do research I feel as though I’m collecting pieces of data that tell a story about the very fabric of society. SEO is logical, measured, creative and requires an innate curiosity, which I find infinitely rewarding.

Where you see search being in 10 years?

We can plan for what’s coming by looking at where the money is invested. Hence why a lot of savvy search professionals have been prepared for mobile first indexing for years. Voice search is definitely on the horizon with the amount of money being invested and it’s going to be interesting to see but I think that’s dependent on the rate at which people can consume and adapt to that technology. Beyond that, I expect machine learning to play a huge part in the fabric of future search, what that means I guess we'll get to find out.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully doing what I’m doing right now, but better, faster and with greater capability. It’s quite nice to be excited about the future.

What advice would you give to another young person trying to get into the search game today?

I’ll impart advice that was given to me by Cindy Krum, who as I mentioned earlier was one of those intelligent search professionals that was ahead of the curve for mobile first indexing. “If you’re wanting to stand out, understand the history. That way you’ll have an edge recognising what to focus on for the future.“ That, and stay curious. Curiosity mixed with tenacity and patience are the greatest tools you can own.

Harry Sanders

My story

Been working in search since I was 14, got my start working on my old mans website as he was burned by a previous SEO agency that locked him into a 12 month contract and did nothing.

Why I love search...

I love search because it is constantly changing, and just as you think that you have it figured out you take another step and reveal an entirely new element that you had never thought of, allowing you to dive right in.

Where you see search being in 10 years?

Search has evolved a lot in the past 5 years, let alone 10. I think that search is going to evolve well past the point it is today, while there will be voice, I think that there will be so many ways to search for things, with so many different search engines, that the way we currently think about and perceive search engines will be completely different, with machine learning taking over it will all become about who can deliver the best answer, in the format the searcher wants it, the fastest.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I wouldn't trade where I am for anything, leading a team of SEO professionals from all walks of life. I want to be training the next generation from diverse backgrounds for years to come.

What advice would you give to another young person trying to get into the search game today?

As we say in our agency, the day we stop learning we die. Like I did and continue to do, embrace learning. Sink your teeth into any new piece of knowledge that comes your way and dissect it for yourself, don't let 'experts' tell you how something works, test it for yourself. As far as getting a job is concerned, I would suggest much the same, we will give a job to anyone that is hungry to learn, regardless of past experience, so maybe hit us up ;-)

Dejan Mladenovski

My story

12 years creating & ranking websites in various niches, mostly running affiliate & made for Adsense websites using SEO as the main traffic channel.

Why I love search...

I love search because there is no bigger high to me than seeing the organic traffic graph on the increase within Google Analytics.

Where you see search being in 10 years?

I see it becoming a very mature industry where all junk websites will be devalued by the search engines AI with the ability to pull data from the page dynamically & it being able read images & videos for content.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Running a industry leading authority website.

What advice would you give to another young person trying to get into the search game today?

Stay patient, SEO is a huge field which could take anywhere from 5-10 years to really wrap your head around. Be sure to experiment with your own websites as this gives you a solid base to experiment with the latest trends & can seriously cut down the learning curve.

Some other great nominees who I was unfortunately unable to interview, but still very worthy:

Sachin Rajah

  • Account Director - The Rocket Agency
  • Under 30

James Hanley

  • SEO Account Director - Resolution Media

Juan Blas Gomez

  • Digital Strategist - iProspect Australia

There you have it, a little insight into most of the nominees we'll be seeing at the SEMrush Awards next week. All worthy winners if you ask me but to see how will become the brightest star of the SEO future - you will have to be in Sydney next Tuesday!

Tickets still available:

About the Author

James Richardson

Sales Director

James Richardson started his online career by running online Sports Fan sites (luckily none are still online today), with the pinnacle of the site being a write up in the Sunday Herald Sun 'Wired' column.

His professional career began at a ASX listed company, Melbourne IT, where he held various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams, before deciding to venture out on his own.

Running several successful online websites and businesses himself, he is well placed at understanding your business needs.

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