Speaker Spotlight – Simon Heseltine

Speaker Spotlight For Our September Event

Simon Heseltine – Technical SEO Gone Bad

Triangle Marketing Club is pleased to introduce this month’s guest speaker; Simon Heseltine. Simon is the VP of Audience Growth at Trader Interactive. His skill set is primarily focused on the areas of SEO, SEM, and digital marketing. Simon was gracious enough to take some time out of his day and let me interview him over the phone in preparation for this month’s blog. 

Would you mind telling us a little about yourself?

I was born in Yorkshire, England and lived near Manchester in a town called Hadfield when I was young. I currently live in Norfolk, Virginia, having moved there from Brooklyn, NY. I attended college at the University of Humberside and Virginia Tech. I enjoy finding records at old-school record shops. Musically, I enjoy groups such as the Kaiser Chiefs and Beautiful South. I also enjoy listening to comedians Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers. One of the coolest jobs I had growing up was in a bookmaker’s shop. It’s a legal occupation in the UK. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the worst job I’ve had would have to be working in a sausage factory. My primary job was to carry 25-lb lumps of primarily fat and put them through metal detectors to make sure there weren’t any harmful materials within this filler. This is ironic, as I am now a pescetarian. 

[pescetarian is the practice of adhering to a diet that incorporates seafood as the only source of meat in an otherwise vegetarian diet.]


How did you end up wanting a career in marketing? Did you come to the realization at a young age or as an adult?

In high school, they administered a career finder test to the students. My results said that I had the characteristics that best matched those of a bank manager or an insurance salesman, neither of which I was very interested in. 

I’d say I figured it out in college. My undergrad was in office management systems with a minor in marketing and programming. I went to programming first and then marketing.


What are some of the main aspects of marketing that you think businesses should follow and be aware of?

They should follow SEO practice as best they can. Make sure they give Google what Google wants and would be able to present to people who would want to go to their site. Businesses should keep an eye on what Google is doing and saying, as well as making sure they can answer what people are asking.


In your opinion, what does it take to become a successful marketer?

Patience, experience and common sense. You have to know your starting point, baseline goals and how to get there. 

For example; if you want to be number one in a marketing space, do you need to focus on the social side, the SEO side, or get the right mix? Look at various social sites and see what drove traffic away or pulled traffic in. See what the cost per click was. If Facebook has a lower price per click than Google, than you may want to invest more in marketing on Facebook, but also look at the conversion rates.  

It all depends on what your final goal is. But the long and the short of it is that if you don’t change and adapt, you’ll be behind.


Where do you see search marketing in five years?

It’s going to be an interesting place to be. We don’t know what will happen with Google. We’re seeing organic results being pushed further and further down, more difficult from SEO to get good traffic. If you’re not usingSEM as a channel and only SEO, you may find that you’ll struggle to be seen as this trend continues. 


With all of your experience, do you have any advice for marketing students such as myself?

You don’t have to know everything. Just know things exist and have them for reference if needed. Learn all you can and be prepared for Google to change it tomorrow, then relearn it. Keep testing and finding different things.


What is your presentation going to be about and what are some key takeaways from your presentation that you want the TMC audience to leave with?

My presentation will be about how brands have done things that have negatively impacted their SEO. Whether completely removing themselves from search or negatively impacting their stance in the search engine. I will be going through about seven or eight case studies from my career where brands have completely screwed up their technical SEO. Some pieces I’d like the audience to take away are to always step back and think before doing something that could negatively affect your SEO, have measures in place if things go wrong and keep digging for missing puzzle pieces when marketing, because they are sometimes in Google’s box. 


Join us September 24th at 6pm to network with some of the best marketers Raleigh has to offer and learn from Simon.