5 Key Lessons From a 10-year SEO Career, By Kevin Indig

Oct 12, 2022 7 min read
how to build your SEO career

Reflecting on a 10-year career, Kevin Indig shares the lessons and stories from his time at Atlassian, Shopify, G2, and DailyMotion.

This week on the How the F*ck SEO podcast, I asked Kevin Indig for career advice.

I mean, I had to, right?

In his 10 years as an SEO he's been:

  • Head of technical SEO at Atlassian
  • VP of SEO & content at G2
  • Director of SEO at Shopify

Safe to say, he's had an incredible career trajectory for 10 years.

In this week's Premium article, expect to learn Kevin's five bits of advice for SEOs & content leaders earlier on in their careers.

“If you were 8 years earlier in your career, what advice would you want to get from someone further ahead?”
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How to build a successful SEO career

Here are five things Kevin would tell his younger self:

1. Make alignment a priority

Alignment can happen on several levels. In essence, you want to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Step one: Alignment with your boss or manager.

Kevin suggests that you ask your manager regularly:

  • What do you expect from me?
  • How are we doing?
  • What problems do you want me to solve?
  • What’s top of your mind?

Like a flock of starlings moving in formation, success comes from moving in sync with your manager.

Step two: Alignment with the team you manage.

Kevin suggests that you repeatedly make sure your team is in sync with you. Part of that is team meetings and surveys that help you keep an ear to the ground.

Step three: There’s a horizontal plane to this. You also want to stay in sync with your peers.

You must dedicate time to this to achieve alignment and to stay on the same page about problems and opportunities.

After running us through these three planes of alignment, Kevin tells us how to stay aligned.

The most important thing: over-communicate.

Humans are really good at implied meaning—reading what's said between the lines. However, we over-index on how clear that implied message is.

“In essence, we think we communicate clearer than we actually do,” says Kevin “the key to aligning is to treat it like a child, where you just name everything explicitly and want to have a constant stream of communicated information in all three planes I mentioned before.”
Top tip: Beat the drum. Say things three times. Keep bringing things up. How do you know you’re being effective at this? "People get annoyed", says Kevin. They say “oh, here’s Ben saying that again”. That's when you know your job is complete.

The key benefit of alignment and communication: good buy-in. If you don’t have strategic buy-in, you could bring the best data in the world and people won’t back you.

To summarize, the first piece of advice Kevin would give to his younger self is this:

  • Communicate continuously (up, down, and across)
  • Align problems to solve and outcomes to achieve
  • Get buy-in early so you don’t have to oversell later

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