SEO and Employability

I was tasked with improving the SEO of our website. While at it, I noticed a similarity between SEO and employment prospect in this age and day. Let me explain why.

What is SEO?

First, let’s talk about how SEO is related to a website

Untitled Diagram

If users can’t find your website on the search engine, it will be almost impossible to generate sales. Below is the conversion rate by ranking position:

Source: Smartinsights

The lower your website’s ranking position, the lower the conversion rate. Hence, SEO is about making your website as high as possible on search engine result pages in your targeted keywords.

Here is what I think is a successful SEO strategy:

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It is a sweet spot of what you sell, the content you offer to audience and how well the website is built technically to allow indexing and crawling by Google. Let’s talk about keywords


There are two types of keywords: long-tail and short-tail.

short vs long tail keywords benefits

Source: SEOpressor

As you can see, short-tail keywords are popular, but they are highly sought after and as a result, your conversion rate tends to be low. On the other hand, long-tail keywords have much less popularity, but much higher conversion rate as they are more targeted and specific.

Of course, all brands want high conversion rate, but at the same time, it’s not possible to avoid short-tail keywords altogether. Brands need to be in the conversation to be heard. However, the competition is fierce. Generic or short-tail keywords like cars, pizza or laptop etc… are highly competitive. Therefore, it requires patience. It takes relentless and consistent SEO effort to yield favorable results. It requires regularly useful content to audience and consistent fine-tuning of the website over a long time to succeed. If all it took were money, it would be impossible to compete with deep-pocketed firms. I have encountered a few brands while working in advertising agencies and marketing in Vietnam that demanded over-night SEO success. It’s just not possible.

How is it related to employability nowadays?

As access to knowledge and information is easier than ever, the competition for well-paid jobs is increasingly competitive. Whether it’s in Venture Capital, Investment Banking, Medicine, Software Development or Data Science, there are a score of other candidates with more or less the same portfolio and qualifications as you or I do. Hence, it takes patience. It takes consistent delivery of useful content online to stand out. It takes finding out your “long-tail keywords” to increase your employment conversion rate. 

Well, of course, if you are lucky enough to know the right folks, it will be easier. But at the same time, others can get to know those right folks too. Nonetheless, the older I am, the more I realize the importance of patience. It’s not easy, especially to an impatient one like myself. At least, it’s better late than never.


Ecstasy after toiling

My background is mostly in marketing. It can get very subjective. What looks beautiful to you may not to others. Some copy that may sound appealing to you may not to others.

Coding is different. Either your code works the way you want it to or it has bugs or malfunctions. Unfortunately, coding is hard for me. Without a technical background, anything related to programming such as installing software, setting environment, missing a comma or colon and getting the code to work is hard for me. But at the same time, whenever I get some code to work as intended, I am overwhelmed by a burst of joy. A heavy dose of pride and fulfillment. Ecstasy after toiling.

In 2017, a few friends and I participated in an M&A case competition in Nebraska. We had to work long hours every day for 2 weeks for each round (there were two rounds). On top of our daily life and schoolwork. Only after we advanced in the 1st round were we allowed to go the other round. I remember in the first round, we put a lot of effort in our case and presentation. Every comma, dot, word or even the order of annotations were looked over. We finished our proposal at 2:30am, 6 hours away from the deadline after a marathon weekend. After we pressed the “send” button, the feelings were indescribably awesome. Full of pride and fulfillment. Whether we would win didn’t matter at the time at all. Ecstasy after toiling.

In the second round, we dropped the ball. We didn’t have the same level of effort and intensity. The day we submitted the 2nd proposal, nobody felt good. We actually fought between us because I didn’t feel the others put in enough effort.

We are often told to be patient. Things worth having take time. Or something along that line they usually say. The potential ecstasy at the end of the tunnel may give each of us the motivation to try harder and again the next day. But for sure the road is hard.