Team Spotlight – Meet Jonny

Name: Jonny Livingston

Title: SEO Manager

Time with the company: 4 months

Talk to me about SEO…

I’d say it’s one of those disciplines that most people know about, but don’t understand. What I can say (and of course I’m being biased here) is it’s one of the most important parts of the digital marketing mix. If your business can attract people that are already searching for your products or services, then conversions will be much higher. It takes time to see results but generates huge ROI over the long term. What’s needed is patience, understanding and having everyone on board so you can get to that end goal together.

How do you visualise the process…

SEO is very much a mixture. One of the analogies I like is to think about is building a house. You need to build strong foundations first and SEO is built on having those technical foundations. So you have to ensure your site is fast, user-friendly and is attuned to any vital page ranking factors. Once those factors are in the place then the creative side comes in with content, generating ideas and link-building tactics. You can then implement those two strategies together. You need that technical footing, because without it nothing can grow.

Tell me a bit about your career journey so far…

My first real job in digital was for a startup in Tel Aviv. I learnt you need to be specialist to succeed in this industry, so going over there really gave me experience of being in that startup environment and the role was free-flowing. In 2016, I joined an SEO agency is Glasgow, which got my foot in the door and I haven’t looked back since. SEO has become my passion – so I owe a lot of thanks to them for giving me a strong foundational knowledge. What really pushed my career forward was moving from the agency environment to in-house a few years ago. It gives you freedom to evolve your skills and become a lot more strategic.

Anything at FanFinders that has taken you by surprise…

There is a lot of trust. In most in-house SEO roles it’s a position where you manage yourself, but the working environment here is about trusting you to get your job done and having an open-door environment if you need to check in. This has been surprising but has honestly improved my working processes, because there’s an added responsibility to deliver and this builds a lot of confidence.

Define success in your role…

SEO is not something that happens overnight, but the key metrics are traffic increases and conversions. On a personal level, I want to create a better experience on the website for users. At the end of the day, you do SEO for them and not for search engines. Seeing the new version of the platform this year and other UX changes implemented will be exciting.

If you could switch roles with anyone at FanFinders, it would be…

Can I say two people? Probably you [Sam Skelding] as both of our roles involve content creation and I’m a people-person, so building strong relationships on a PR level and talking to big publications I think would be a kick-ass job. Another person would be Catrin [Hughes], as I really like affiliate marketing and how that integrates into business goals. It’s something I definitely want to learn more about, so a week in each role would be good [laughter].

If you wrote a self-help book, the topic would be…

How to drown out the noise and keep on track with your goals. There is always doubt brought into people’s minds and sometimes you can look to others to help, but at the end of the day, you’re the only driver in this life and you only get one go at it. It’s OK to listen to advice, but there are times when you need to trust your instincts.

You can only eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, it’s…

KFC fried chicken [laughter]. One of their Tower meals. All day – love it!

Where are you travelling next…

Dubrovnik was the last place I went on holiday so Croatia is definitely somewhere I would go again. I was in Rio de Janeiro before that, so maybe back to South America, or Barcelona – surprisingly I’ve never been there.

How will Scotland get on at the Euros [question asked before Euro 2020]…

I think we’ll get out of the group, maybe in second place. There’s some really exciting youngsters in the squad like Billy Gilmour – ex-Rangers and now making waves at Chelsea.

Your go-to workout soundtrack is…

It depends on the day, but mostly progressive house and dance playlists in the gym. It’s a totally different story when I’m working, right now I’m listening to Gerry Cinnamon. If you don’t know him, listen to the album now!

Finally, when aliens attack Earth and say you have to show them one TV show or film to save humans, it’s…

Training Day with Denzel Washington. Can’t beat Denzel.

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