Wise Marketing Secrets Interview Series #139: Patrick Langridge
Patrick Langridge is Head of SEO at Screaming Frog, leading a team of talented search marketers and content specialists to deliver best in class technical SEO, creative content and cutting edge digital PR for their clients.
Away from the office you might find Patrick playing guitar in his band or sampling yet another local craft beer!
How did you start out as a marketer?
Like seemingly a lot of people, I fell into marketing in a bit of roundabout way.
At university I did a course with a work placement in industry included, where I got a job working in music PR.
Years later when applying for jobs in a number of different industries, I rather stumbled across SEO and a vacancy at Screaming Frog.
It turned out that the experience I gained doing PR transferred very well to SEO, so that’s kind of what got me into the world of marketing full time.
Looking back what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
I think probably the expectation that getting short term results is often difficult or even unrealistic in most cases.
You obviously want to prove the case quickly to clients, to ensure they are seeing ROI and a measurable impact from the work you’re doing, but SEO is a long term strategy which can take time to have the desired impact.
Hence, this is a constant struggle to deal with that is ongoing!
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
The work I was doing back in 2011 differs significantly to the work I do today – perhaps unsurprisingly!
Like a lot of SEOs I did my fair share of guest posting, paid links, giveaways and reviews and so on, which all worked well for a while.
That’s one of the aspects of my job I really love actually, how much variety there is and how many new tactics and strategies I’ve learned over the last 10 years.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Seeing the impact of our work directly on SEO performance is very rewarding, as this means you’re impacting the bottom line for your clients.
It’s fulfilling to see changes you’ve recommended or strategies you’ve implemented having a genuine impact and helping clients to achieve their commercial objectives.
I also work as part of a brilliant and inspiring team, so seeing them succeed, improve and develop is hugely rewarding for me personally.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
I would really encourage investing in a website of your own, as a great way to not only learn more about SEO and digital marketing, but also to potentially make money too.
Think about a website you’d like to run, in a space that actually interests you personally, otherwise you’ll probably find it hard to stay motivated to continue working on it.
Whether it’s a service website for your freelancing work (such as a portfolio or case study site), an ecommerce store or even something in the affiliate space, you’ll learn a ton about websites and about SEO, and if you can get the website performing well that should you lead to more sales or leads too.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would love to have learned more about the world of SEO and digital marketing sooner than I did, to perhaps take advantage of the boom which began in the late 90s.
That era sounded really fast paced and exciting, with tons of opportunities for people to learn about the industry and test how to get websites ranking in super competitive niches.
Other than that, I’d probably have learned to code as I think that would come in useful!
How is your typical work day structured?
My day usually starts with a quick assessment of client performance.
I get ranking reports into my inbox which I’ll go through, I’ll check performance using tools like SISTRIX and Google Search Console, just to see how things are ticking over on a daily basis.
I still even crack open Incognito Mode in Chrome to manually check rankings for a few key terms!
After that I will see what’s come into my inbox overnight and start to plan what to tackle in which order.
My day usually then consists of a mixture of internal meetings/calls about projects or client campaigns, external meetings/calls with clients, and working on recommendations or analysis documents myself.
From time to time I’ll be involved in a sales or pitch call or proposal too, in an attempt to try and win new business for the agency.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
This describes a lot of typical SEO projects!! We’ve worked with a lot of new businesses who have only just launched and have little in terms of authority or trust as brands or within the search engines.
Building that level of trust takes time and has to really be done naturally and organically.
This sometimes means that clients are spending a lot of money on something without much ROI in those early stages, but where they will see big benefits further down the line.
From experience, those who are patient and commit to investing in the channel over a longer period of time, often see the most success.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I’m fascinated by the recent emergence of digital PR within SEO.
PR has always existed in its own right of course, and as explained earlier my brief dalliance with PR was hugely beneficial to me even finding the world of SEO, but unquestionably there has been a huge increase in digital PR as a component of the SEO industry.
Lots of agencies (including my own) are investing in the discipline and having great results from doing so.
PRs who have a good understanding and appreciation of SEO and how their work can impact it are at a huge advantage within the industry.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
I read a lot of industry blogs and follow tons of people on Twitter to ensure I’m getting a constant stream of useful information!
It can be hard to keep up and easy to be oversaturated by the sheer amount of content being produced, but it’s important that I keep my finger on the pulse with what’s happening in SEO and the wider marketing industry.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
I don’t read a huge amount of traditional marketing books in all honesty, though one of that type I would recommend is Nudge – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nudge-Improving-Decisions-Health-Happiness/dp/0141040017.
While it’s not a traditional ‘marketing’ book per se, I found it really useful in understanding decision making, problem solving and influencing, all of which I would say are very useful skills for any marketer.
If there’s one Marketing Guru you’d recommend who and why.
Bill Slawski is someone I’ve got huge respect for.
I love reading anything he writes or hearing him speak at events – I was even fortunate enough to share the speaking stage with him in Paris last year, which was a real honour!
Anyone looking to get a better understanding of how search engines work, Google patents and the semantic web, give Bill a follow on Twitter – https://twitter.com/bill_slawski.