As the digital landscape continues to change, so do its job roles. SEO is no exception. This once niche marketing discipline has evolved into a more expansive field. It demands new skills, experience and education, but as the demand for SEO pros continues to grow, so does the competition.
The average candidate now needs anything from computer science to an Online Master’s in Marketing degree. Moreover, they typically need two to five years of experience to land one of these coveted roles. Even with these standards and opportunities, breaking into this field can be challenging for entry-level candidates. Read on to discover tips to help you land your dream job as an SEO professional.
Know your stuff
There’s no getting around the need to be well versed in search engine optimization (SEO) fundamentals. To break into SEO, you need a solid grasp of the key concepts that drive this discipline. For instance, you need to know how to perform SEO research, keyword discovery and selection, on-page SEO, link building, on-page content optimization, creative analytics and campaign management.
While the specifics of these terms may vary from one agency to another, you need to know and apply these concepts in any SEO setting. Knowing your stuff makes you more employable. So, to keep current, it is a good idea to subscribe to industry media, join industry groups and attend local and online conferences. Of course, taking classes on SEO to build your expertise is also advisable.
Get your degree or certification
Unfortunately, many job seekers believe they can jump right into SEO without a formal education. It’s not true. This field requires specialized skills and knowledge. Many SEO employers prefer to hire candidates with a degree in marketing or computer science. These two degrees cover the foundations needed to excel in SEO and other digital marketing disciplines. For example, a computer science degree teaches technical fundamentals essential for improving website architecture, speed and performance. Likewise, a marketing degree covers key SEO concepts regarding content optimization. Many online schools offer degree programs in marketing and computer science. You may also consider pursuing a certificate or specialization in digital marketing.
Build your portfolio and brand
While you’re working towards your degree or certification, start building your SEO portfolio. This is your chance to showcase your expertise, work and develop your brand. There are a few ways to do it. First, start linking to your published articles and posts on your website and social media channels. By linking to your articles, you can drive traffic to your published work, and build SEO and domain authority.
Next, create summary-style articles and posts highlighting your most notable projects and campaigns. You can summarize your work in a variety of ways. For instance, you could create a portfolio website. Doing so allows you to feature your best work. You could also make it a point to share your content on social platforms.
Network and connect
The best way to break into any field, let alone SEO, is by connecting with other professionals in the field. You can do this in many ways. For example, you could attend SEO and marketing events, attend conferences and leverage online and social media channels. You can meet potential employers and colleagues by attending local SEO and marketing events. Furthermore, you can use these events to build your brand and professional network.
Challenge yourself to speak on panels, host workshops and introduce yourself to fellow attendees. By joining industry associations, you deepen your network by connecting with SEO professionals, companies and recruiters. You also learn more about industry trends and meet and connect with SEO professionals worldwide. Additionally, you can use these approaches to find mentors in the field to provide advice and career guidance.
Go to SEO events
While attending SEO and marketing events may be high on your list of ways to network and connect with fellow SEO professionals, these events can also help you hone your SEO skills. Many SEO conferences and events feature workshops, panels and presentations led by SEO experts and professionals. By attending these events, you learn about the latest SEO happenings. Remember, SEO changes hundreds of times a day because of algorithms.
Attending these events also teaches you more about what an average day looks like for an SEO professional. If you attend with career guidance in mind, you could discover more about the hiring process and get advice on breaking into the industry. The reality is that if people get to know you, you increase your chances of being hired.
Learn the common SEO tools
If you’re just starting out, you may not know all the tools of the trade. Some of the most important tools include Google Analytics, SEMrush and Ahrefs. You may also want to explore other tools such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Buzzsumo, but it will help if you also learn how to apply SEO to content activities.
Using these tools daily, and learning to optimize your website, allows you to apply your learning. Make it a point to use SEO tools to manage your campaigns and track progress. By embracing these tools, you save time and energy while better managing content. You can also use these tools to learn and track industry trends.
New opportunities and high demand
Becoming an SEO expert is great. As SEO is essential to marketing, neglecting your marketing skills doesn’t make sense. This is especially true if you want to advance your career. You need to demonstrate proficiency with other marketing disciplines, including social media marketing, content marketing and paid search marketing. You might also want to consider a business-side job, such as marketing operations or business intelligence.
SEO is a field that continues to evolve and expand. New technologies, trends and best practices continue to reshape how we approach this discipline. This also creates new job opportunities and skill sets that are in high demand. Following these tips can equip you with the knowledge and experience needed to break into this in-demand field. From there, nothing stops you from achieving your career goals.