Culture | 4 MIN READ
We caught up with Joseph Halsall, who joins as our new Head of SEO. We asked Joseph about his career, vision for the role, and what colleagues and clients can expect, and of course, his favourite way to eat an egg...
Firstly, welcome, Joseph; it's nice to have you here; describe your career path to date and how you got into SEO.
I started to build websites at a young age; Dreamweaver was my first taste of web-based work. I built a horse racing tips website, as I lived in a village where horse racing was very popular, with trainers and jockeys all local to the area. I then started learning basic SEO practices and gained some traction with good rankings. My journey began 15 years ago when 'horse racing tips' were less competitive, but I still held my own in a space with some big brands.
I then took a leap of faith and started my SEO career at a local digital marketing agency. My first role was as a link builder, on the phones, calling webmasters and begging them to link to our pool of clients.
A larger agency acquired the agency, and I was able to progress through the ranks and get my first taste of working with big clients. This acceleration fed my appetite, and after learning my trade, I moved to the 'big smoke' (not many people from my town do this, so it's a big deal, ok...) and worked for an even larger agency in a big team. It was my first job in SEO, managing people, and my responsibilities were growing by the day.
I stayed in London for several years, and then the opportunity to return to my hometown to run the SEO programme at Vodafone came up. I knew I was ready to lead the function, and this was the first big break in my SEO career. From there, I learnt how to be client-side and grew a successful team, winning many industry awards. I led the team here for three years, followed by stints at River Island, Wilko and, more recently, Hotel Chocolat.
In late 2023, I joined Fresh Egg as their Head of SEO, and nearly six months in, going back to the agency side was the best decision I ever made.
What made you choose Fresh Egg as your next career step?
Fresh Egg had an opportunity that I had to go for. I always wanted to go back to the agency way of life. Having spent several years sitting on the other side of the fence, I wanted to go back to an agency and add value around what exactly success looks like in the eyes of the client.
I understand the pressure of reporting to a board and working closely with procurement and supply chain. These skills will resonate well when attempting to win new business and retain current clients, and it's a great test of all that I have learned.
Showing a transparent return on investment is critical. I understand the pressure of reporting to a board and working closely with procurement and supply chain. These skills will resonate well when attempting to win new business and retain current clients, and it's a great test of all that I have learned.
Joseph Halsall, Head of SEO
What sectors have you worked in?
As mentioned earlier, it has always been ecommerce outside of agency life. I have worked in the telecommunications, fashion, retail and confectionary sectors.
What's your magic formula for bringing clients success?
Showing a transparent return on investment is critical. Agreeing on KPIs at the beginning of any campaign/project is very important. With this in hand, you can clearly show progress in the agreed areas you are trying to improve.
What are the main challenges in SEO today?
I suggest the unknown. AI is causing a stir and has a lot of people worried. There are also many beta tests Google runs in different markets. The US is the more favoured market when testing out these new practices. And with numerous core algorithm updates last year, I can see more of the same thing this year. Google will be getting tight on people trying to cut corners and manipulate their algorithm.
You can only use one tool for your job; what is it and why?
Google Search Console, without a doubt. I could sit in it for hours. If you utilise BigQuery with GA data, you can do some really powerful things.
What can our clients look forward to with you taking the reins on your first project?
Passion and Enthusiasm. I am very passionate about what I do, and the client will see that from my first interaction with them.
How do you stay current with the latest digital marketing trends and technologies?
I mainly use LinkedIn. I have signed up for many newsletters from reputable suppliers/tools in the industry, but LinkedIn is my go-to for information and updates.
How do you think AI is changing SEO?
AI is poised to transform SEO by enhancing personalisation in search results, enabling natural language processing for better understanding of user queries and optimising content generation and optimisation processes. It facilitates voice search optimisation, can automate routine SEO tasks and empowers predictive analytics for proactive strategy adjustments.
Additionally, AI aids in image and video recognition, revolutionising how multimedia content is indexed and ranked. AI's integration into SEO strategies enables more efficient, accurate and tailored optimisation approaches to meet evolving search engine algorithms and user expectations.
What are you looking forward to most about working at Fresh Egg?
The diversity of the clients and the culture. As mentioned earlier, it's very different to working on the client side, but it's a 'good' difference. The buzz from winning or retaining business is something I have enjoyed and look forward to more of.
If you could only use one website (or app), which one would you choose?
It has to be eBay for me. I love buying and selling on the platform. I have been a 100% feedback seller for 10+ years, so if you're looking for any Pokemon cards, then come and check me out :)
What do your friends and family think you do for a job?
Most think I work for Google. However, I did get asked to design a flyer for someone the other day. I turned around and said you know I'm not a graphic designer of any sort. They responded, "Well, you work in IT, close enough".
What's your go-to hobby out of work?
My family (my wife and son) is my hobby. I try to spend as much time out of work with them as possible. I also try to play as much golf as possible and am still hanging onto football (at 38). Oh, and obviously, Pokemon cards.
Finally, what is your favourite way to eat an egg? (if there is one)
In all honesty, I'm not a huge egg fan. But if I had to choose, it would be scrambled.