Laurence Gunn is joining Market Appeal from global business-to-business publisher Incisive Media. Here he retraces the road he has taken to search engine optimisation via publishing and explains why he’s about to become the office hate figure
I’ve just arrived at Market Appeal to become its digital content manager, having spent four years as, multifariously, a journalist, sub-editor and production editor for business-to-business publisher Incisive Media
. I was fortunate enough in my time there to work on some great titles, among them Accountancy Age
, Insurance Age
, Legal Week, Post
and Professional Broking
; I’ve also been a reviewer for market-leading PC title Computer Active
for a few years now.
I am a bit of a techie – as I guess the Computer Active thing gives away; I’m also an Adobe Creative Suite specialist – which I guess is par for the course to work at a search engine optimisation specialist. Well, imagine not knowing the bare essentials of good web practice in this job; I mean, what good would I be if I turned up on day one and blindly typed Google into Google?!? I shudder to think.
Having spent a few days with the guys here at my new office, I am aware that I have also cast a worrisome shadow over my newly acquired colleagues: I am a Mac user. And I have an iPhone. There are teeth gnashing beside me on this very subject as I type this blog entry; it all reminds me of when I was a podgy schoolboy 20 years ago, bickering incessantly as unwitting participants Sega v. Nintendo console wars*. I’m already planning to plant Apple stickers on my colleagues laptop lids…though don’t tell them that.My journalism and technology exploits have inevitably led me to digital publishing. I see a troublesome future for journalistic print; it is monumental to think that we are witnessing such epochal change to an era stretching back over 550 years to Gutenberg’s creation of movable type. Yet it is inevitable.
While getting to grips with digital publishing to an ever-increasing degree over the past few years at Incisive Media, one area brought up a question mark like no other to me: search engine optimisation. Nothing like it exists in the print publishing; it is unique to digital content and has extraordinary ramifications for the way in which users – you, me, everybody – find and consume information. Moreover, the rules remain largely the same whether your firm publishes magazines, offers medical advice or sells seafood wholesale.
As someone taught to create the best-quality content possible, I was intrigued by the part that search plays in getting relevant content onto people’s PC screens. I found myself wanting to learn and understand the underlying processes – the nuts and bolts – so moving to SEO and digital publishing was, in the end, a no-brainer for me.
Of course, Anthony and Damian are the people with the knowledge and technical skills that power this business. Some of the stuff they do is very far-sighted and I’m excited to be a part of that vision here at Market Appeal. I’m not of the ilk that can sit in front of a computer for hours figuring out algorithms, worse luck, so it’s unlikely that I’ll ever come up with any technical revolutions, but what I can (and will) do is manage the content that will help you climb the rankings of Google and other search engines.
I’m also the person responsible for de-mystifying the seemingly intractable jargon surrounding SEO for you, much like a journalist does. In so many ways, my job has not changed at all.
Laurence joins Market Appeal on 5 September 2011.