Jason Hennessey

Ever Wonder How an Entirely Remote Staff Can Improve Your Business?

How an Entirely Remote Staff Can Improve Your BusinessIf there’s a single clear trend predicting what the business world will look like in the future, it’s the popularity of remote workforces. While remote work had been on the rise for years with the improvement of communications technology, it was still a pretty small percentage of companies that used a significant amount of remote workers. After the pandemic, everyone has been forced to face the fact that the business world is changing, and remote is where it’s headed.

I built my company to be totally remote in 2015, before it was very common. Building it that way from the start has given me an advantage during a time when many businesses have been faced with a transition they were unprepared to make. Some businesses were able to adapt quickly and thrive under their new structure, while others struggled either to implement the new system or to get on board with the idea.

For some business leaders, there’s a level of fear surrounding remote work—it’s not what they’re familiar with, and the business practices they’ve used for many years may not transfer directly. They may be afraid of the costs associated with the change, the upheaval it could cause by creating new systems, or simply the inability to directly monitor their employees and contractors. What many of these business owners and leaders don’t realize is that there are some incredible benefits to a remote workforce.

For many businesses, you don’t need to be together in person as long as you’re communicating effectively. Holding tight to the old structure of an in-person office, filled with cubicles where employees commute each day to work at company computers, can actually be damaging. The path of the future has made itself clear, and businesses that refuse to adapt to the opportunity risk being left behind.

While a completely remote workforce is not necessarily the best option for every business, many businesses can benefit from adopting some level of remote work. And those that can go fully remote may find there are more benefits than they’d expect.

  1. Wide talent pool

Possibly the greatest benefit to having a remote workforce is the way it opens up the talent pool. No longer are you limited to hiring from your local pool of applicants, who may or may not have all of the skills you would like. With a remote workforce, you’re able to recruit from anywhere in the world. That means your talent pool does not have geographic restrictions, allowing you to hire the best of the best. This can be especially beneficial if your business is located somewhere without a large pool of qualified applicants, but it also allows you to reach people with specialized skills who can contribute more to your team.

You can also use this wide talent pool in creative ways. For example, perhaps it would be extremely beneficial to have someone working overnight. Rather than hiring someone to work the nightshift, you can hire someone overseas whose regular working hours are when your business would regularly be closed. Or if you’re located in a high cost-of-living area, you can hire someone in a lower cost-of-living area who may not require as high of a salary to make a great living.

  1. Cost-saving

One of the benefits of a remote workforce that’s often overlooked is the amount of money it saves in regard to business overhead. Without having to provide a large office space for your employees, you can save a significant amount of money. This factor alone can be enough of a benefit for some employers to switch to remote. Think about the costs associated with an in-person workspace: the building, furniture, technology, utilities, amenities, and cleaning, among other costs. Switching to a completely remote workforce can eliminate all of those costs besides your own personal office space. But even switching to a partially remote workforce can help you reduce costs by reducing the amount of space required, as well as the features needed for each employee to work in that space.

I see a lot of businesses switching to partially remote work weeks, which doesn’t have quite as many benefits as a fully remote workforce. (For example, if you require employees to come in twice a week, your entire team must be local.) But a partially remote team can still be beneficial if you get creative. Perhaps the team only comes in for weekly meetings—if that’s the case, you only need a really great meeting space and can skip all the individual workspaces. Whatever your reason for keeping your workforce partially in-person, think about why it makes sense and adapt your workspace to it to save costs. There’s not much reason to have employees come in several days a week simply to sit at their computer and do the exact same work they’d be doing at home.

  1. Talent magnet strength

Employee retention is a major factor in a business’s costs of operation. Replacing an employee can be extremely expensive. Your team is your biggest asset, so it’s worth making your best effort to keep them. You need a strong talent magnet to both attract and retain the best talent.

Remote work is a major benefit that many employees desire, and for good reason. They’re able to skip the daily grind of commuting through traffic, get to work in a comfortable environment, and don’t have to live within a short distance of the office. Ultimately, remote work gives employees much more flexibility in their lives, allowing them to design their lifestyles around what’s important to them, whether that’s family, where they live, or something else.

Remote work builds loyalty, and it’s no wonder why. Employees tend to feel grateful for the opportunity to work from home and the sense that their employer cares about them and understands that they have personal lives that are more important than their work. It may allow a working parent to be at home with their children, a single person to have the company of their pet while they work, or someone with health problems to attend to their needs without taking as much time off.

  1. Efficiency and productivity

Many businesses are surprised to learn that efficiency and productivity tend to be higher with a remote workforce. It just takes purposeful communication to make it work, and tools like Zoom, Slack, Loom, and Asana facilitate team synergy.

Remote work generally allows employees to manage their own time, giving them flexibility to prioritize their tasks in the way that’s most efficient for them. This could mean getting up early to work and finishing earlier in the afternoon, or it could mean arranging your schedule to place all of your high-focus tasks at a time when you’re more mentally acute.

Furthermore, many team members find that they focus better at home, allowing them to increase their productivity and better leverage their time. And it makes sense—an office environment provides many distractions, such as coworkers stopping by your desk to chat and, in some cases, micromanagers peering over your shoulder.

Efficiency is also increased in that employees can take fewer days off for sickness, doctor’s appointments, caretaking of family members, house renovations, and other life circumstances that would require them to be out of the office.

  1. Business location

The same benefits an employee gets by working from home apply to you and your business as well. Without the need for a large physical office, you can locate your business anywhere you want. This can be advantageous in allowing you to live wherever you want or choosing a location that saves you money, such as in costs of operation or taxes. In some industries, it can be valuable to have a business location in a specific city, and it may be much cheaper to do so without having to provide an office space for your entire time there.

As the business world moves toward remote workforces, you can get ahead of the curve by reaping some of the benefits now. If you currently don’t have any remote workers, you can start small by allowing work from home a few days a week. You might be surprised to see productivity and morale go up among your team. And if you’re already partially remote, what’s the next step you can take to take advantage of the shift? By saving costs, widening your talent pool, and keeping your employees happy and loyal, you’ll have an edge on your competitors who haven’t switched to remote yet. With the right kind of communication, your business doesn’t need an office to thrive.

What’s keeping you from having an entirely remote business?

Why the Quality of Your Backlinks Is More Important than the Quantity

Why the Quality of Your Backlinks Is More Important than the QuantityIn the world of SEO (search engine optimization), one of the most important tools a business can use to improve their website’s search rankings is link-building. Link-building is the process through which you get other websites to create links that point back to your own website, which lets Google see a connection between those sites and tells the algorithm that there’s something worthwhile on your site because the other site is sending its users there through a link.

But this is the difficult truth of link-building: not all links are high-quality, and poor-quality links can actually hurt your SEO.

I like to explain the importance of quality link-building through an analogy. If you were looking for a recommendation for a service such as a car mechanic, who would you ask? Would you call AAA to ask, or would you ask the waiter at the restaurant where you stopped for lunch?

While the answer here sounds obvious, it’s remarkable how often businesses don’t apply this simple principle to their SEO. Not all recommendations carry the same weight.

Inbound links are just that: recommendations. If a random website links to yours, it doesn’t have any value. Google values both the quantity and quality of links directed to a webpage, and the quality is determined by how relevant the linking website is to your webpage as well as the popularity of the linking website.

In order to gain high-quality links that will help you get ahead in the SEO game, you have to take action and work at building relationships that yield backlinks. This requires a strategy. I recommend setting goals for how many backlinks you want to build every month or every week—whatever is needed to outdo your competition. Then use the methods below to pursue links, one at a time.

1) Build links naturally through marketing

You may not have thought of marketing as a link-building strategy, but it’s the best way to earn backlinks naturally, without doing any outreach. Simply creating more awareness of your brand and your website will result in more backlinks, because nobody can link to your site if they don’t know it exists. You can increase your chances of earning backlinks the natural way by creating killer content that people want to link to because it’s genuinely useful.

2) Guest blogging and interviews

Get backlinks on websites related to your own by guest blogging or doing interviews. Guest-blogging is a great strategy because many other websites are also looking for content, and by offering to write for them, they get that content for free, and you get a backlink. You can even offer an exchange—you guest blog for them, and they guest blog for you. Building these relationships is beneficial across the board and can help you gain valuable connections that may be useful in the future. Interviews are another way for a site to gain easy content, and they don’t have to require much work from either party. These can take the form of blog posts, podcasts, or even videos, as long as the page links back to your own website. You can similarly offer to do an interview in exchange, which will help both parties build their audience while gaining backlinks. Your direct competitors are not likely to be interested in collaborating this way, but other people who work in your industry or adjacent to it may have a greater interest.

3) Fill a gap where a link should be

There may be places on the internet where your business has been mentioned but there is no link to your website. In these cases, you can reach out and request that your business name—or whatever was mentioned in relation to your business—be turned into a clickable link. Your technical SEO expert should be able to perform a search for sites where you’re mentioned but not linked yet.

Another place where you can fill a gap is on sites that are currently linking to broken web pages. If the site they’re linking to provides something you can provide, you can reach out to the site owner and offer your link as an alternative to the broken one. Both of these strategies require outreach and you may not always get a response or a yes, but they can be worthwhile if they result in new high-quality backlinks.

4) Forums and Q&A websites

Many people are hesitant to make posts on forums and Q&A websites promoting their business for good reason—it’s usually against the rules of the website and will result in your post getting removed, as it tends to be considered spam. However, sites like Quora and Reddit are not necessarily out of the question if you approach posting a link in the right way. First, check the rules to ensure you’re complying. Then, find a question you can answer in a useful and educated way. Do your best to answer the question and include a link to a relevant webpage on your site if the reader wants to learn more. Usually posts that are useful and respectful will not be taken down.

5) Anywhere you’re already posting online

As a business, you’re likely already making posts across the internet, such as on social media and job sites. In each of these instances, always ensure that you’re including a link back to your website. It’s an easy thing to do that often gets overlooked.

6) Put yourself out there

There are plenty of ways you can create backlinks by getting your own content on other sites. An easy way to do so is to register with online business directories. You can also create press releases and use HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a website that allows you to provide content for reporters to target. These steps help get other publications like news sources focusing on your business, and those articles will usually include a link. They’re also great marketing tools in and of themselves. You can also take things into your own hands by creating content to publish outside of your own websites. Submit articles to online magazines and news sources. Getting published in larger business publications can be a major benefit both in terms of marketing and link-building.

7) Analyze your competitors backlinks

Another great strategy is to see what kind of backlinks your competitors have, and try to duplicate them. SEO is all about outranking your competitors, and if you can consistently beat them in every area, you’ll quickly rise above them on search results pages. Your SEO expert can use tools like Sumrush or Ahrefs to figure out where your competitors are getting backlinks, and then you can pursue some of the same links. You’ll need to gain more high-quality backlinks than your competitors to outrank them.

The most important aspect of link-building is the quality of the backlinks. Don’t waste your time pursuing links from sites that have a poor reputation or that aren’t related to your own site at all. Those links will just tell Google’s algorithm that your site is less reputable, which is the last thing you want. Instead, focus on getting the highest quality links you can find and building relationships. It requires being proactive. Link-building takes a great deal of work, but when done well, it’s one of your most powerful SEO tools.

The SEO Blueprint: Building a Pyramid to Improve Your Site’s Search Results

The SEO Blueprint: Building a Pyramid to Improve Your Site’s Search ResultsDo you remember the food pyramid? Nowadays, it’s no longer taught in school as they’ve switched to a model meant to be easier for kids to visualize, consisting of a plate divided into portions. Nonetheless, most of us raised with the food pyramid understand how the structure of a pyramid can be applied to concepts: It starts with a strong base, your staples, and other things build on top of that. Without the right foundation blocks, the rest of the pyramid doesn’t hold up correctly, but every block is needed in order to complete the picture and create something functional. This concept can also be applied to search engine optimization.

There are five levels to the SEO pyramid blueprint:

  1. Technical SEO

One of the biggest mistakes a business can make in search engine optimization is not hiring a technical SEO professional. There’s a reason this is the first building block of the SEO pyramid, and yet it’s something that sometimes gets overlooked or taken for granted. Technical SEO is the all the nitty-gritty stuff behind the scenes that makes your website function properly and interact with Google’s algorithm so it can be indexed and displayed on search results pages. If you have technical errors preventing Google’s spiders from crawling your website properly, it won’t be able to index your pages properly, which could result in zero search results for your website. 

Technical SEO is also important in terms of user experience and safety. For example, does your site load quickly? Is it safe for users to visit without worrying about attacks to their device or the way their information is being used? Do your links function properly? Does the webpage display the way it’s meant to? These issues may seem basic, but errors occur with surprising frequency, and a technical SEO expert understands how to fix them. Additionally, they can also employ strategies that will help boost your SEO, such as making your site mobile-friendly.

Here’s a simple technical SEO checklist to ensure you have a solid first block in your SEO pyramid. Your technical SEO expert should be able to complete all of these:

  • Remove “crawl errors”—errors that keep Google’s spiders from crawling your website properly. You can use a tool to crawl your own website to find these errors.
  • Improve your internal structure. Known as “crawl depth,” this measures the number of links it takes to get to each page on your website. Each page should only have a crawl depth of 1-3 links.
  • Remove structure data errors—errors in the information Google uses to determine what kind of content is on a page, such as differentiating a recipe from a contact form page. 
  • Narrow your URLs down to one variant and redirect all other variants to that version. This means if you’re using https://examplewebsite.com, if someone types in www.examplewebsite.com, it should redirect to the former version.
  • Ensure you’re not duplicating content anywhere on your website and that you only have one page optimized for each keyword to avoid confusing the algorithm, competing with your own website, or getting penalized for duplicate content.
  1. Content

Without content, you don’t have much of a website, which is why it’s the second building block. You need technical SEO to ensure users can reach your content, but equally important is having something valuable for them to see. Content is probably the most powerful tool you have to create awesome results in search engine optimization. Google wants to give users content that satisfies their needs and keeps them engaged, so it will always prioritize the best content. 

There are hundreds of content strategies out there and plenty of ways you can use content to boost your SEO. But the point of search engine optimization is to draw users to your website by ranking well on search results pages, which means that your priority should be to outrank your competitors. Whoever is in the top spot for your search terms is the website you need to beat to get your potential client or customer’s attention.

If there’s anything you focus on with your content, make it better than the content your competitors are publishing. That means if they have a useful article that’s 3,000 words long, you can write an even better and more useful article that’s 5,000 words long, and pack it full of the best information and resources you can. Reliably beating your competitors at every aspect of their SEO will quickly get you to the top of search results pages.

  1. Digital PR

Popularity, relevancy, and integrity are three key ingredients in the way Google determines how it ranks websites on search results pages. How does it determine those things? Well, the algorithm is complex, but one of the major factors is through links. Google uses links to understand websites’ relationships to one another. Link-building is the practice of gaining inbound links to boost your popularity and relevancy in Google’s eyes. Similar to digital PR, it requires you to build relationships.

You want people to be talking about your website and linking to it in order to increase your popularity. The integrity or quality of those links also makes a big difference. It doesn’t do you much good to gain links from sites that have no relation to your own, and it can even do you harm to gain links from low-quality or spammy sites. Link-building will happen naturally over time as you produce great content that people want to talk about and link to, but there are things you can do to gain links more quickly. Some of the best ways to build links are through guest blogging, publishing articles in online publications, using social media, and connecting with reputable people wherever you can.

  1. Local SEO

The world of the internet can seem large, but it’s important not to neglect your local SEO. It’s easier to complete on a local level rather than a global one, and there are a lot of benefits to specially targeting your local audience. I always advise to start with your Google My Business (GMB) listing, which places your business on Google Maps, allows you to post basic information and pictures, and gives users a place to leave reviews. 

If you haven’t set up a GMB listing, you’ll likely need to claim it, as Google will often auto-populate one for you. Your SEO expert can help you through the process of claiming the listing, and from there you’ll be able to optimize it. 

Here’s a simple optimization checklist:

  • Complete your profile and ensure all information is filled in, especially your name, address, and phone number.
  • Use a professional photographer to add photos of your business.
  • Add local schema markup to your website, which allows Google to auto-populate information from your website onto your GMB listing.
  • Ask past and current clients for positive reviews.
  1. Reputation

The final block on the SEO pyramid is your reputation. The previous things listed will affect your reputation, so it’s important to get those right first. Your technical SEO will partially inform Google whether your site is trustworthy to send its users to. It’s important not to have any SEO penalties and to keep your site secure for that reason. The trustworthiness of your content is another factor—you don’t want to provide users with information that could be wrong or potentially harmful to them. The links that you build with your digital PR will make a big difference in how Google perceives your reputation. And finally, the reviews you receive from clients or customers are a major factor in your reputation. The last building block cannot stand without the ones beneath it.

By consistently focusing on these five key SEO ingredients in order, you’ll create a strong strategy for great SEO results. Remember, it’s an ongoing continual process to get to (and stay at) the first page of a Google search.

How to Break Up With a Client Without Losing the Relationship

Step-by-Step-Content-StrategyIn the business world, just like in our personal lives, sometimes relationships don’t work out and you need to cut ties with a client. It can be a difficult situation to navigate gracefully, but it’s important to remain professional and do the best you can for the client, even if you’re parting for unpleasant reasons. It’s important to leave strategically and set your client up for success even after you’ve gone separate ways.

Client breakups happen for many reasons, and learning to recognize when you need to sever a relationship is an important skill. If they don’t treat you or your team members with respect, it can lead to all kinds of problems. It’s often best to choose not to work with clients who don’t share your values—often they can cost you more than you’ll earn from their business. This type of client usually costs you more than it’s worth. Other reasons might be that they expect something from you that you can’t provide; they’re unresponsive, costing you time and effort and delaying other projects; or they don’t hold up their end of the contract. If these issues can’t be resolved, it may be time to “fire” that client.

On occasion, a client may break up with you, for any number of reasons. The same advice applies—set them up for success and maintain your professional reputation. Doing right by your clients is doing the right thing. If your client is the one who decides to leave, it may be because you can’t provide what they need as their business changes, that they need to cut costs, or that they no longer need your services. In most cases, it’s probably not personal.

Here are a few tips to make business breakups easier on everyone involved.

  1. Create a plan for finishing their projects.

Don’t leave your client hanging. If you have the time and ability to finish their project, do so before you end the relationship. This ensures that everyone gets what they were expecting—your client gets their project finished, and you get paid for completing it. It also makes handing things off a lot easier. If you’re nearing the end of a project anyway, sometimes pushing through to the finish is easier than cleaning up all of the loose ends. You can then tell your client that you won’t be doing any more business with them after this project.

If you’re not able to finish the project, keep everything as organized as possible and create records of what you’ve done so that whoever will finish the project can pick up where you left off.

  1. Organize an efficient hand-off.

Hand your client off to the new agency they’ll be working with. No one knows the project better than you and your team, so it’s up to you to make sure all of the relevant information is passed along to whoever will be working with them next. Not only will your client appreciate this, but it will help you establish your professional reputation by demonstrating your values and your efficiency.

If your client doesn’t have a new agency lined up, which may be the case if you’re “firing” the client, help them find someone. You don’t want to leave them stranded—it reflects poorly on you, and it’s not the right thing to do. Things will go much more smoothly if they have another company to transition to afterward. You can create a list of recommendations, but a personal referral is often best. Don’t forget to hand the client and their projects off to the new agency with all of the information they’ll need to succeed.

  1. Strategize the conversation.

The most difficult part of breaking up with a client is often telling them you will no longer be doing business together. Go into the conversation with a strategy to help things go focus on the positive things you appreciate about working with them. No matter the feelings involved, even if the client has been rude to you or your team in the past, avoid starting any kind of conflict. Burning bridges is almost never a good idea in business.

Remain professional and polite with a calm demeanor, but don’t leave the conversation open for negotiation. Allowing room for negotiation can let the conversation quickly slip out of your control. That’s why it’s best to talk with the client directly, either in-person or over the phone or a video call, rather than in an email. It allows you to put time parameters on the conversation. Let the client know your plan for finishing their projects as well as how you’ll hand them off to the next agency with a strong sense of care and professionalism.

Whatever the reason is for your client breakup, allow them to continue to be successful, whether it was they who wanted to leave or you wanting to end the relationship. When business relationships end, it can put everyone involved in a difficult position. These moments are when it is most important to demonstrate your character. Create the best possible scenario for everyone involved by reducing the amount of damage a negative business relationship can create. Doing so maintains positive reputations for both parties at the same time leaves you with your  professionalism and integrity intact.

Relevancy, Popularity, and Integrity: What You Need to Know to Improve Your SEO

Honest-SEOWhen you’re trying to grow your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and build a website that attracts leads and brings in more revenue for your business, it’s important to create high-quality content that will engage users and rank well on search engine results pages. In an era when many websites are publishing a great deal of content for the sake of SEO, it can be hard to stand out. Google prioritizes its users’ experience, so it favors high-quality content. Essentially, Google wants its users to keep browsing so they get the chance to see more ads.

So how does Google determine what high-quality content looks like? There are three main criteria it uses to judge a website: Relevancy, Popularity, and Integrity.

Google takes popularity very seriously within its algorithm to estimate the authority and importance of a website. Popularity is determined largely by how many users visit the website and share its contents. Google uses a link-analysis algorithm called PageRank to assign a value to every webpage. Through the content you create, you’ll want to build natural links with higher PageRank websites.

Integrity is important because Google wants to send their users to trustworthy sites. Is the site safe for users to visit, free of possible malware? Does it give good information that isn’t going to mislead users? Have you ever noticed how the same handful of websites generally pop up if you search for anything medical-related? That’s because medical issues are a serious topic, and Google trusts those sites to provide information that isn’t going to harm the user. Certain topics, like medical advice, are incredibly difficult to rank for because of this. You’ll want to make sure you’re not providing potentially harmful information, as well as ensuring your website is protected and secure.

The first criteria I mentioned, and the one that seems to confuse the most people, is Relevancy. Of the three, it is certainly the most nebulous and subjective—but I promise it’s less confusing than you think.

Because the user experience is Google’s priority, they want to provide their users with quick and relevant answers to their questions. After all, that is its function. Thus, the way it measures relevancy is to determine how relevant a webpage is to a search query. In other words, how well does the content of the page address the user’s intent for the keywords they entered into the search bar.

There are a number of ways Google determines whether content is relevant to a keyword, such as how many times that word appears on the page (keyword density), how many inbound links it has from relevant sites, and how long users spend on the page after clicking on the search result.

I’d like to focus on that last one for just a minute. If someone clicks on a link to your website from a search results page and spends several minutes there—or even clicks around to other pages on your website—it appears to Google that they found something useful there. But if they quickly leave the page, called “pogo-sticking,” they likely didn’t find what they were looking for within your content.

If your users are pogo-sticking frequently (and I recommend you track this data so you know), it could be that you’re not creating high-quality content that users want to read, that you have intrusive interstitials—website features like popups or auto-playing videos—that interfere with the readability of the page, or that you’re simply choosing the wrong keywords.

The good news is there’s an easy, free method to find great keywords. Start by thinking of a search term your ideal customer or client might type into the search bar. Run a quick search, and scroll down the search results page until you find the “People Have Also Asked” section. It includes a number of questions people have asked, and each time you click on one, more questions will appear.

This is a great place to find topics for content on your website because they’re real questions that people have asked. You can also get a good idea of how to customize your keywords to specifically address those questions.

By creating content that directly answers people’s questions, you’ll increase your relevancy and draw more people to your website, also boosting your popularity. The great thing about the keywords and topics you find in the “People Have Also Asked” section is that they’re often not difficult to rank for in comparison to more competitive keywords or phrases. Any time you research keywords, always pay close attention to the ranking difficulty. How popular is the keyword, and what is the per-click cost for advertising? These will give you a good idea of what your competition looks like.

If a keyword has a great deal of competition, and that competition is high-quality, it will be much more difficult for your webpage to rank well on the search results page. That doesn’t mean writing content for those keywords isn’t worth your time. You just have to determine whether you want to put in the time, effort, and expense to compete with the top results. It may take months or even years to improve, and you’ll likely have to create a webpage that’s higher quality than the current top results. That might mean you answer the question or address the topic more effectively or in-depth, and you might need to write a longer article as well.

Generally, it’s more worth your time to focus on keywords with less competition and lower per-click cost that will still provide a decent amount of traffic. Think of these mid-range keywords as diamonds in the rough.

By creating high-quality content that checks all of Google’s boxes—relevancy, popularity, and integrity—you can rank well on search results pages that will put your website in front of potential leads and out-perform your competition. Whatever your competitors are doing, you just need to beat them in each of these categories in order to rise above them on the search results page.

Catering to Google’s priority of user experience is also a matter of catering to your users. It’s a win-win scenario when done correctly. The better and more useful you make your website, the higher your page will rank on Google, the more traffic you’ll get, which will turn into more leads you’ll be able to convert.

Break Into Your New SEO Career

Break Into Your New SEO Career Search engine optimization (SEO) has become an increasingly in-demand service as businesses realize the importance of a digital marketing strategy to their success in the modern business world. As the digital marketing and SEO field grows, so does the demand and the opportunities for SEO practitioners. The takeaway is that it’s currently a great time to expand your skills and knowledge to get into SEO as a career.

Whether you have years of experience in SEO or are just starting out, there are a number of things that are important to know that can give you a leg up. Because there is so much potential in digital marketing, there are many ways to specialize and make a great living doing something you love. You will face significant competition as more professionals choose similar career paths. You can put yourself in a great position to succeed by actively learning from numerous sources and continually trying new strategies to find out what works best.

Evaluate your skills to make sure you’re well-suited for this field. It takes quick agility, a willingness to admit you missed the mark, a hunger for learning, and an analytic mind to see the bigger picture within the minute detail. Sound like you? Then these tips might give you a head start into this invigorating, rewarding career.

1) Engage a mentor. 

Search engine optimization is a tricky industry because it’s constantly changing—more so than almost any other type of career. As an industry expert, it’s important not only to keep up with the industry advances, but to understand the underlying principles and best practices so you can quickly adapt whenever something shifts. A mentor can be incredibly valuable to help you learn to weather the constant changes in SEO and come out ahead.

When looking for a mentor, choose someone who has been in the industry for a while and has survived many of the major changes SEO has undergone. They will be better equipped to help you understand how SEO evolves, and you’ll have someone in your corner to rely on when you need to ask for wisdom.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from people with more experience and especially from those who are doing what you hope to do someday. You might be surprised how willing many experts are to give advice and help you out—it makes them feel good to be asked in the first place, and many enjoy helping and seeing less experienced people grow.

2) Ask a lot of questions. 

Questions are vital for learning. Without them, we don’t retain as much information, and it can be difficult to understand concepts that are explained to us. Think about that class you hated in high school—how much information do you remember from it? You probably didn’t learn very much, because you weren’t invested enough to stop and ask questions. When you practice curiosity, do research, and ask questions, you’re more likely to retain the information you discover. You’ll also gain a better holistic understanding of whatever you’re learning about and are likely to discover information you hadn’t even thought to ask for.

There are plenty of ways to get answers to your questions. Ask your mentors and other professionals, watch YouTube videos, post questions in forums or on Facebook groups, Google your questions, or even take courses on things you don’t have a strong understanding of to improve your foundation of knowledge. The better understanding you have of how SEO works, the better value you’ll bring to your clients or employer, and the better results you’ll provide consistently in your work.

One of the best questions you can ask people in the industry is ‘what hasn’t worked for you?’ It’s amazing when you’re able to learn from others’ mistakes and minimize your learning curve.

Learn from books! Buying books about SEO is an inexpensive way to learn about the industry and specific strategies for a small investment. This image shows just one small shelf of the books in my library where I’ve learned valuable information about SEO and business.

3) Check your ego.

As you start to get results, avoid allowing your ego to grow. Digital marketing can be a difficult industry and it’s okay to celebrate your successes and take pride in your work. However, I’ve seen this go too far. When you let your victories get to your head and begin to think of yourself too highly, you will become resistant to learning and ultimately will become less adaptable, which will not lead to effective results in an industry as fast-changing as digital marketing.

Two things you must know: first, there is always something to learn about SEO. And second, no one has all of the answers.

Furthermore, you’ll be better trusted and respected if you stay humble and provide results. Humility is important in any work you do for clients or employers—it’s important to focus more on their success than your own. When you learn to feel excited about the greater impact of your projects, your work will become more meaningful as you see your role in the bigger picture, which also keeps you motivated to continue providing excellent results. There’s no better feeling than to see a keyword you’ve been working on optimizing finally make it to the first page of a Google search.

Search engine optimization can be a great field to grow a successful career, with plenty of room for expanding your expertise and even building your own business opportunities. It offers excellent flexibility, often with work-from-home options and the ability to set your own hours. If you freelance, you’ll get to manage your own clients, and if you don’t, there are plenty of job opportunities with talented digital marketing agencies. By trying out some of these ideas, you’ll put yourself in a good position to take advantage of the window of opportunity the current business environment has provided, making it a great time to break into SEO as a career.