12 March 2013
Josh Hales, senior SEO analyst
Josh Hales lives in Sidcup and work for Live Nation Entertainment (Ticketmaster) in Leicester Square. In his spare time he runs the new music site, Audio Nibble, makes cider and plays drums in a jazz trio.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I probably went through all the classics such as astronaut, fireman, dinosaur etc. When I was a bit older I just wanted to be a drummer in a band, aka rock star.
How did you end up working in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
I got a great breakthrough from a friend who was working for an agency; he passed my details on as they had a junior position open. I got the job and started on day one with no idea what SEO was! Luckily they taught me the basics and I took it from there.
Do you need any special training to do your job?
One of the great things about SEO is that there are no qualifications, no set test or official bodies. You go by your successes and experience. Of course this also means you get a lot of people who have no clue about SEO, selling their services and giving the industry a bad name.
What’s the beauty of the technology you work on?
It is constantly changing. There is almost a battle between SEOs and Google – we are trying to figure out how Google works and it, in turn, is developing new ways to provide the best search results. Even in the last six months SEO has turned on its head and we have to keep up to be in the game.
And the beast?
Well the beast is Google. The main challenge is education – people either think we are secret wizards who make potions to change the search results. Or they think SEO is a one-click fix. I like to think we are more the former.
What advice would you give young people interested in working in your industry?
Get a good understanding of the web, build and run a few websites; read up about the latest SEO practices. There is no point in reading a printed book about SEO because by the time it has been printed half of it will be out of date.
How does your faith relate to your work?
I think in a strange way my work shows me how I can put my trust in God. SEO is an area where there are no definite rules, no solid foundation and where there is constant change. That contrasts with the foundation I have in God, the unchanging love and assurance I have. In SEO you can never be 100 per cent that what you know is right, but you can know certainty in God.
What makes you angry?
Who would you like to share a taxi with?
Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. Something funny is bound to happen.
What single thing would improve the quality of your work environment?
Fun. Making the workplace more fun and colourful, beanbags, slides, walkie talkies etc.
What’s your most and least green credential?
Most: I don’t have a car.
Least: We don’t recycle at home (yet).
How does this digital era shape your discipleship?
I find that the digital era makes discipleship easier. I am always connected to my friends and there have been times where I can simply text or email those I rely on for help or prayer. It also helps to share inspirational content that can spark all kinds of ideas, events and conversations - that would not be possible without the technology we have today.
What’s your hope for 2013?
I want to get much more involved in playing music whether it’s at church or in my jazz trio. We have been playing jazz at a couple of church events and it really helps to make the evening more welcoming and interesting.