My apprenticeship at Just Search - an apprentice's story

James Trotter is a Damar apprentice with Just Search, a digital marketing agency based in Macclesfield. James wrote the blog post below for the Just Search website (December 2012) and Just Search have kindly allowed us to reproduce it here. It is a great example of how diverse and interesting apprenticeships with our employers can be. We are sure this will be the start of an interesting career and we wish James all the very best as he progresses both at work and beyond!

As an apprentice with Damar Training, this blog post is to review my experiences with  and to discuss which skills I've acquired during my time here at the Cheshire HQ.

General Job Roles

My job role currently consists of performing research tasks and link building for clients. I also conduct keyword research for new clients to determine what keywords are most suitable for their campaign.

For research tasks I have to do things such as look at one of our client's competitors and analyse what keywords they are ranking well for. Then from this I have to figure out whether our client would be able to rank for this keyword also. If the level of competitiveness is too high for a specific keyword then it doesn't get included in the client's keyword map. If we believe that realistically the client could rank for a specific keyword then it gets incorporated into the keyword map.

We then designate these keywords to specific inner pages of the client's website. This is done so that when someone types that keyword into Google our client's website should then appear in the search results on Google if our SEO strategy has worked. There are multiple different factors that are important in making a website rank such as the website must be indexed, have no ‘dodgy links' etc. These links are usually from poor websites with spam content, or if the client gained links from a paid link building scheme. Google does not like this and will penalize the website by de-indexing the site.

One of the most important factors is the actual content that is placed upon the website's pages. If the content isn't relative to what the website provides. Then Google will also penalize this. As an example if you had a website about surfing. However you decided you wanted to rank for King Kong, so you wrote about King Kong more than surfing, your content wouldn't be relevant and due to the Panda update Google would pick up on this and decide that you are keyword stuffing and would penalize your site for this.

Link building is an important aspect of SEO and the links a website contains is what the Google bots crawl to find out the the popularity and trustworthiness of the site. Building good links will aid your site and make it rank better. However building poor links that aren't relevant can have a bad impact and you could receive a bad links penalty from Google, which could also result in you site being de-indexed.

What I Have learned So Far with My Experience at Just Search

I have learned a vast amount of valuable information whilst working for Just Search. I have enhanced my HTML and CSS coding abilities. I have learned how to work effectively within a business environment. I have learned what factors will aid a website and make it rank higher in search engines. I have also learned what can make websites perform abysmally in their rankings. I have also learnt many other things such as how to interact with clients in the correct mannerism and just how important it is to ensure that you are always focused when working within a business environment in order to achieve the best results.

Future Prospects

My future prospects mainly consist of ensuring that I work to the highest possible standard in order to ensure that I continue being employed by Just Search. Whilst doing this I am aiming to save as much money as possible to purchase my own house and vehicle. But my main future prospect is to retain my job role, and hopefully ascertain my own clients whilst ensuring they are happy with the work I conduct for them. Potentially enabling me to move forwards with my employment at Just Search and maybe gaining a higher job role in the Just Search ranks in a few years' time.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Just Search for all their help and support of the past months, it's been a great experience, and I'm looking forward to learning more and working here in the New Year.

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