Considering a career in search engine optimization?
The sheer volume of information can be intimidating when you’re just getting started with SEO.
We asked industry experts to share their tips for those trying to find their way in a fledgling SEO career, and here are their top tips.
1. Based on your existing skills and knowledge
“Most SEO starts with one of these skills: writing, marketing, or web design/development,” he says. Bing AreolaSenior Director of SEO at Assembly Global.
Once you’ve decided to do SEO full time, “start learning the other two skills you’re weaker in but don’t need to be a professional. It’s not your core strength, but this is where you learn to build teams, or even outsource tasks if necessary,” he recommends.
Specialization is great, but having a working understanding of what your colleagues are doing makes you more effective in your own tasks.
Sam HollingsworthDirector of SEO at Hero Digital, suggests you start with books and blogs.
There are many legitimate web publications that can teach a lot about SEO. Most of them are free like Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide And SEJ SEO for beginners to name a few,” he says.
Webinars, social groups, forums, podcasts, and even YouTube videos are other great places to get a free SEO education.
However, there is a lot of misinformation and outdated content about what a ranking factor actually is, which SEO tools and tactics work best in different scenarios, and more.
It is important that you carefully evaluate your educational resources. Find a consensus among experts on what is actually best practice today, and know that Google algorithm changes can come and change things quickly.
You will also need to develop your understanding of the most important skills required to be successful in SEO – critical thinking, analytical knowledge and your ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations in between.
2. Learn the basics of website building
“Over the past few years, I have helped many potential SEO professionals launch their careers,” he shares Ludwig Machian, co-founder of Mazeless – Enterprise SEO. He usually suggests that everyone should start “by exploring HTML and CSS and knowing the basics of a website anyway”, and advises that w3 resources is a good resource For this.
“Starting a mini test site is the best way, as you can code and optimize the page yourself,” McKean adds.
Whether you are home based or freelance/agency side, it is important to have a solid understanding of how the websites you work for work, whether they are custom facilities, WordPress based, on an ecommerce platform, etc. .
While SEO best practices are largely the same across websites—links, content quality, and user experience are essential, for example—you might find Shopify’s SEO an entirely different beast than Wix’s or Weebly’s.
Search our web development archives to explore expert articles on platforms and relevant to your SEO business.
3. Hone your communication skills
“The biggest shock to many new SEO professionals is the lack of predictability and uncertainty,” he says. Kevin RoeVice President of Strategy and Product at Purelinq.
He advises, “You must be an expert at working in this type of environment through communication, goal setting, flexibility, building proofs of concept, testing and scaling.”
Hollingsworth advises taking a similar approach.
“The basics for every job still apply: Use communication to your advantage. Be personable. Be motivated with a good attitude, and never stop learning.” Hollingsworth explains and notes that a large part of effective communication comes from clear, well-written emails and deliverables.
“Another big part is breaking down complex concepts into simple ideas to understand them better,” he adds.
So-called “soft skills” like communication in SEO professional development are often overlooked because there are so many technical and analytical things to learn.
However, your communication style can have a huge impact. It could be the difference between that customer landing or not; Or get that promotion…or not.
When it comes to the specific communication skills you’ll need in SEO, Adam Bruhl cites the ability to listen, think on your feet, and know how to distill complex information into a format that meets your audience’s needs as among the most important.
4. Learn how to tell stories with data
“Enjoy the data” recommends I missedDirector at Search Solved.
“Learning how to use LOOKUP and COUNTIFS in Excel is a must. Learn how to find the story within the data and present it in an easy-to-understand manner to stakeholders,” he says.
Failing to use visual cues to make sense of text, trying to tell your story without the necessary context, and lacking confidence and credibility are among the biggest mistakes SEO professionals make in their approach to data storytelling, says Justin Lugbiel.
You can dig into more of the top bugs he identified and how to solve or avoid them here.
Amy Hebdon recently shared these compelling examples of data telling designed for paid search that you can adapt for your SEO reporting needs as well.
Claudia Higgins, SEO Insights Strategist at Conductor, recently shared some of the hardest lessons she’s learned about SEO reporting. Prior to joining Conductor, she was managing SEO data and insights internally with a large e-commerce website.
There, I learned the value of continuous work to improve your SEO reports.
“Creating consistent and accurate data has earned trust within the company,” Higgins said. “The less labor intensive I can make the process, the more time we can spend diving deeper into the data and discovering root causes and emerging opportunities,” she added.
5. Expand your network
Foot also suggests that training at an SEO agency will help you develop your skills quickly. “It’s great for networking too if you decide to be self-employed in the future.”
Chouinard shares the same perspective. He believes that “most SEOs are analytical and educated. SEO is great because you directly drive business decisions, build your niche, and discover new things.”
“The hardest part is learning to fail. Not everything works out. Be humble enough to accept defeat (or Google-forced change) and maybe restart from scratch sometimes,” he advises.
It’s been a difficult time for many new to the SEO industry to make connections, as the pandemic has seriously affected our ability to meet in person.
However, virtual and hybrid events are becoming more popular.
It’s also a good idea to follow SEO professionals on social channels. Many share their articles, blog posts, and case studies for the benefit of the industry as a whole.
This monster list of 202 SEO experts to follow is a good place to start.
Don’t be afraid to get involved and participate in the conversations that happen online.
As you learn and grow in SEO, try new tools and have all kinds of different experiences, you will find an area of focus that works best for you.
But when you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to try as many things as possible.
See if you can generate some links back to your website.
Set up a site where you can tinker, and try different size optimizations to see what works.
Read SEO books, make time to visit reputable blogs, and invest in training programs when you find an area you really want to research.
SEO is very much an ongoing learning industry where even those who have been in it for 10, 15 years or more can’t afford to stay put so competitors can’t overtake them in the rankings.
If you feel like there’s a lot to learn, you’re not alone – it’s part of what many love about being in SEO.
- Learn SEO: The 38 Best Blogs, Resources, and Posts
- 3 must-have SEO tips for beginners and clients
- SEO for Beginners: An Introduction to SEO Basics
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