How to Start a Career in SEO – Including Top Resources
November 19th 2019 | By Dhanya Nair
We recently looked at how search engine optimisation has evolved over the past 25 years, and it was clear to see that SEO has become an enormous industry. No wonder then that so many people are considering SEO as a career. If that’s you, you may be wondering just how to get started, and that’s precisely what we’re looking at in this latest post.
Why work in SEO?
A career in search engine optimisation can be an exceptionally rewarding one. Imagine the feeling when it is down to all your hard work that a business has increased its sales, been able to expand and create more jobs. Let me tell you, it feels amazing!
Working in SEO offers flexibility. You can work for an agency, either amongst other digital marketers and web experts, or remotely from home, depending on your preference. You can also set up your own freelance business and be your own boss, and in time you could form your own agency and have people working for you. The world of SEO is literally your oyster!
SEO is a dynamic career. The field of search engine optimisation is an evolutionary one as we have previously explored. Working in an environment where you have to stay on the ball and move with the times is exciting. What’s more, SEO is an industry that has experienced massive growth, and it’s in high demand. After all, what business doesn’t want its website to be at the top of Google?!
What does it take to become an SEO professional?
If you’re going to become an SEO professional then the first thing you are going to need is a passion for the job. It may seem obvious, but it has to be said, unless you have a thirst for seeing the businesses you represent succeed, then it’s just not going to work for you.
You’re also going to need a diverse skill set. There is a lot to SEO, sometimes a lot more than people new to the industry realise. You’ll need technical skills; people skills; communication skills; creative skills. You’ll also benefit from a wide understanding of a variety of industry sectors.
SEO pros are usually forward thinking and adaptable. This is because the SEO landscape is changing all the time. Google releases algorithm updates on a regular basis, and every time it does, all SEO consultants are right there, on the ball, working out how they need to adapt their methodologies so that their clients’ websites stay strong in the rankings.
How to get into SEO?
You don’t need certifications or qualifications to operate as an SEO consultant. There are however a variety of ways you can learn SEO techniques and get yourself into an SEO career:
- Short courses – the Chartered Institute of Marketing runs practical SEO courses covering a range of levels – but there are so many more
- Online learning – if you like to learn at your own pace and in your own time then you may prefer an online SEO course such as those provided by Udemy
- Events & seminars – there are a fair few SEO related events and seminars held throughout the year, we recently attended Brighton SEO – and learnt loads!
- Webinars – if you can’t attend events in person, try an SEO webinar that you can view in your own time or download to watch later
- Read top SEO blogs – there is a wealth of information online so get reading – just remember to cross check your sources because not everything you read will be up to date, or even correct!
- Learn from the masters – the big names you want to be looking out for are Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel, Eric Enge, Brian Dean and Danny Sullivan. Look up their case studies and absorb their teachings!
What skills do I need for an SEO career?
SEO consultants need to be able to apply themselves in a diverse array of areas. Here are some of the core skills you’ll need if you’re going to get into a career in SEO:
- Web development techniques
- How search engines work
- Off-page and on-page SEO ranking factors and local SEO ranking factors
- How to get SEO and user experience working in harmony
- Familiarity with Google Webmaster Guidelines
- Knowledge of web analytics and user engagement metrics including dwell time, bounce rate, etc.
- Understanding of how social media plays an important role in SEO
- Knowledge of SEO tools such as Google Search Console, Small SEO Tools, Google Data Studio and SEO plugins such as Yoast and All in One SEO Pack
- SEO concepts including canonicalization, Schema Markup, co-occurrence and co-citation
How to build a profile as an SEO consultant?
If you are determined to become a freelance SEO consultant rather than join an agency and get on the SEO career ladder that way, here are some tips to help you build your profile:
- Set up a website listing your services – and use what you know to get you to the top of the rankings!
- Get blogging – write as an authority voice on all things search engine optimisation, making sure you express your own views, tips and advice so you stand out
- Use social media – share your expertise as an expert in SEO and engage with other professionals
- Join freelance communities – promote what you know and get help in building your business
- Follow SEO blogs – and comment on posts to show your expertise
- Network – attend events in person to get to know local businesses who need your services, then document your successes as case studies as proof of your track record
- Promote your services and build your portfolio – there are numerous freelancing portals you can use to bid for work to help build your portfolio such as People per Hour, Simply Hired, Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, Toptal and Fiverr
SEO Experts at Figment
At Figment we’ve been helping businesses across Surrey and London with organic SEO for several years, and with excellent results that have led to increased search engine visibility and boosted sales. We have a deep passion for SEO, and we wish you every success with your SEO career should you decide to pursue one!