It was a gloomy day in New York, having just arrived home from an amazing semester in Italy, Jared (my now supervisor) hit me with the “Do you have a few minutes to touch base?” email, just three days after my second interview. That’s when I knew – the bag was (likely) secured.
In all seriousness though, in a mix of excitement, nervousness, and relief, I knew this SEO Internship with FourFront was going to be the best way to begin my career in digital marketing.
Knowing almost nothing about SEO coming into this internship, besides that it is a technique used to earn the top spot in search results, FourFront’s in-depth training on the subject and how it fits into the context of digital marketing prepared me with the industry-specific knowledge and strategy I needed to succeed in this role.
What is an SEO Internship?
First off, let’s get this clear. SEO is not something we are taught in school. But it is easy to learn, and implementing good habits, asking questions to team members, and practicing are some of the keys to success in SEO (and most) internships.
Coming into a real-world job while you are still a college student can also be daunting. I am happy to report that the FourFront team was exceptionally welcoming and seamlessly integrated me into the team. The SEO Intern Program at FourFront prepared me with every tool I needed to succeed with their extensive onboarding. This included completing certifications and lessons such as a Google Analytics certification, reading the MOZ Guide to SEO, and in-depth one-on-one training calls with team members.
As an SEO Intern, I learned how to conduct keyword research, integrate SEO best practices into content strategy deliverables, and make digital marketing strategy recommendations for clients on the basis of SEO data. And I did this all while working fully remote, and creating bonds with the whole FourFront team. This internship also helped me learn how to use several tools that are used through the SEO and digital marketing spaces such as SEMrush, Google Search Console, Google Data Studio, and Microsoft Excel.
Fourfront is also extremely flexible with working hours and understands the demands of working while also being a full-time student. This team fully supports your studies by creating a schedule around your classes, and allowing for schedule flexibility around weeks of exams such as midterms and finals. One of the great things about working remote is being able to work from your dorm, apartment, or while on campus, which is a massive time-saver and privilege.
What is SEO?
By definition, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the use of strategic technical and content-based website construction to improve a website’s rank on Google’s (and other search engines’) results page for queries related to its business and product offerings. If you are interested in learning more about what SEO is you can check out our
As I learned through FourFront’s on-boarding training, SEO strategy can stretch from the specific code that affects how a website functions and reports it’s information to GoogleBot (the Google server that “crawls” the internet), to the actual content written on the pages of the website, as well as the physical placement of information throughout a website.
SEO is integrated into every aspect of a website in order to improve organic (unpaid) traffic, website visibility, and, ultimately, business revenue.
Are SEO Internships Strictly for Business Majors?
You do not have to be a business or marketing major to get started or excel in SEO. While FourFront’s team does include marketing and copywriting majors, we also have team members from various backgrounds such as psychology, criminal justice, sociology, graphic design, computer science, communications, electrical engineering, and history!
SEO and digital marketing are great industries for most any major, since these are often techniques you can learn in post-grad training modules, from mentors in the field, from personal experience (if you try some SEO for your own business or website), and (most-likely) on the job.
What Does a Normal Day Look Like?
One thing FourFront has mastered is the virtual workplace, which makes every day fun, flexible, and functional.
We start every morning at 9 a.m. with SCRUM, our 15-minute overview of the day where our project managers address any outstanding needs they have for the team, management discusses any upcoming announcements, and any employee can pop in with any information they have for the team. For example, when I got my wisdom teeth out this summer (yikes), I let everyone know ahead of time on scrum and sent out a more formal email to notify the team.
After SCRUM, I often met with my supervisor to check-in on what tasks I had lined up for the day/week, and asked him any questions I had about the work I was doing that day. Sometimes, we would also use this time to check-in on life in general.
Then I would start working on my tasks for the day. We use a fabulous online project management system to track our project progress and communicate with other team members on the specific project. The bulk of the day is spent working on production tasks and other deliverables for our clients. Some of my most frequently used tools are Excel, SEMRush, Google Search Console, and our own proprietary data tools.
Oftentimes we have meetings throughout the week such as Google Guru, our bi-weekly updates about Google Search updates and changes, and Fourward Thinkings, our meetings in which team members share a topic they are passionate about which is often unrelated to SEO. These help us learn more about relevant topics in the world right now and about the interests of other team members.
Some weeks we also have monthly reporting calls with clients. I often sat in on those calls to hear what questions are discussed and to hear more about how our team of SEO experts interact with our clients.
Additionally, we have quarterly happy hours and spontaneous in-person meet-ups to hang out and to check-in on each other (which is super important in a remote working environment).
What Did I Learn?
Being an SEO Intern at FourFront taught me a TON about SEO, but it also helped me develop my professional soft skills. Working here has helped me in forming my first real professional job experience through learning what it means to work at a professional level, working directly on client deliverables, and adapting to the company environment.
SEO is a very practical and useful skill. It essentially boils down to making sure your website is as user and Google-friendly as possible. This can vary in how SEO is implemented, ranging from how many pictures or graphics you choose to include in a blog post, to the structure from top to bottom of what information you include on a product page, or to the proper addition of tracking tags in the HTML code of a website.
Most of all, working here has given me very high expectations of a good company culture, and an organized, consistent, and forgiving work environment.
The Technical Skills and Knowledge
More specifically, I learned about how to incorporate SEO into various aspects of the digital marketing strategy for a business. Some of the SEO and work skills that I developed during my time here include:
- Improving my Microsoft Excel skills
- Learning how to create SEO analytics deliverables such as weekly internal reporting, monthly client reporting, executing keyword research, and metadata audits
- Producing SEO-informed content strategy deliverables
- Researching for internal company objectives
- Researching client competitors and reporting on their websites
The Soft Skills
Working at FourFront has also hugely improved my soft skills. With such a fluid, interactive, and brilliant team, I have learned a little something from everyone here. Some specific soft skills I learned include:
- Working on a team
- Interacting with clients
- Time management
- Taking initiative on internal projects
- Enjoying work
Making the Most of a Virtual Internship
Working fully virtually may sound like a nightmare, but I promise, with FourFront, it is super fun and super functional.
As I mentioned before, we incorporate daily and semi-weekly meetings throughout the week to stay updated on each other’s work status. We also are almost always constantly chatting about work or fun in our various chat spaces. FourFront has been fully virtual for a few years now and they have become experts at seamlessly training, communicating, and working completely virtually.
Tips for Success
If you have never worked fully virtually before, or if you are like I was before I worked at FourFront and don’t really know what it’s like to work in a professional business setting, here are some of my best tips for having a great virtual work experience:
Set goals and realistic expectations with your supervisor and yourself.
It is okay if you spend a little extra time on tasks when you first start, but keep track of what tasks you excel at and others that you seem to struggle a bunch with. Keeping track of your goals will show you and your supervisor that your work is meaningful to you and to the company.
Learn the office culture.
As a tech-born generation, we have very fluid online communication styles. Make sure you gauge the vibe of the team chats and spaces to get a feel for how the team interacts with each other.
Maintain lines of communication with supervisors and colleagues.
Have consistent check-ins with your supervisor, and chat with your colleagues that you may not interact with daily. You might learn something you didn’t know you needed to. 😊
Ask for feedback.
Ask and welcome feedback from your supervisors and coworkers. It helps you learn what you can do better, while showing your team that you care about their guidance and opinions as well. The best people to learn from are the ones who came before.
Ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are not perfect, and your supervisors know this. Asking for help ahead of time is the best way to stay on top of your work and learn how to improve it for the next time.
Create your own professional environment.
Working from home can create a huge imbalance in boundaries. Make sure you work from a comfortable designated office desk or area, keep your workspace clean and tidy, and position it near a window if you can for those beautiful sunny days.
Be kind to yourself.
Try not to get too anxious or worked up over the work you are doing. Work should be enjoyable. Respect your personal boundaries and don’t be too hard on yourself when you make little mistakes.
Is an SEO Internship Right for You?
Are you looking to kickstart your career in the digital marketing space? SEO may be a great path for you.
My SEO Internship at FourFront provided me with an incredible foundation for working in SEO, combining these skills with content strategy and recommendations, and learning how to work in a virtual professional workplace. I have loved every moment here. I cannot say enough good things about the people and culture at FourFront, which makes starting a career in the big and scary adult world not so bad.
SEO provides an essential foundation in digital marketing that I know I will take with me wherever my life path may bring me. There is never not a need for SEO in digital marketing, and truly every business can use SEO strategy to improve their online presence.
If you are interested in interning with FourFront, check out our Intern Program here.