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.