Interested in a career in SEO? Here are 9 tips that will get you started. Whether you are already doing SEO or are interested in a working with search engine optimisation, these 9 tips will get you started.
1. Read up on SEO
You can learn the basics of SEO in a couple of months or so. There is a ton of content on the web that outlines the basics of how the major search engines work, but at this point it may be enough to start with learning how Google works (considering the company’s 91.64% global market share).
Start by reading about Google’s ranking process: from crawling, caching and indexation of pages to how their engine responds to user queries by retrieving web pages, rank them and, finally, produce a search result. There is a plenitude of information about each of these steps available online, though my recommendation is to obtain just a basic understanding of each. For now, that is.
2. Build your own website
Learn by doing. A safe assumption is that any successful SEO has dabbled with their own website(s) at some point. While spending time reading about SEO is important (and will remain important throughout your career), creating your own website from scratch will give crucial hands-on experience.
One way to start is to pick a topic or genre that is of interest to you and select a few keywords you’d like to rank for. Ideally, you would pick something that isn’t too hard to rank for. This article can give you an overview of what I mean.
Next, buy a domain name, get a good hosting company and set up a WordPress site with a decent looking WordPress theme. Again, numerous articles cover this in detail and, in the process, you will learn a ton.
3. Start writing content. A lot of content
You will soon realise that quality content takes time to produce. The fun part about SEO is that it can be very technical but also require a creative mindset. My recommendation: create a content roadmap with the aim of writing 2 in-depth pieces of content per month (don’t overdo it as you will likely lose interest) and another couple of shorter articles (such as the about section, or static homepage content).
This process is important because you will get a better idea of how much effort goes into creating content that you can be proud of and that people would link to. Why links? Well, read on…
4. Build one link – then another
To say that links are important is an understatement. Put simply, Google looks at links to assess what your website is about and whether people on the web like what you write.
Building links is, arguably, the hardest part of SEO. How so? Well, most website owners are picky with who/what they reference on their websites and they will therefore only link out to websites they like. Link building is hard because you not only need to have a fantastic website that is good enough for others to reference in their content, you also need to reach out and ask for links – especially since no one will know about your newly built site.
5. Attend SEO conferences and speak to other SEOs
SEO conferences are a great place to be for SEOs of any level. The more experienced SEOs see it, perhaps, as an opportunity to meet fellow colleagues and discuss the latest development of Search. For the people starting out, these events offer insights into the SEO work companies and agencies do to make websites perform well in Google and other search engines.
The full list of SEO conference in the UK this year is made up of around 40 different conferences. 40! Pick 3-4, have a good night sleep the night before, and bring a notepad.
6. List the companies you would like to work for
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”. It’s a cliché, but, now that you know the basics of SEO it’s time to look forward and envision yourself doing SEO for a company you like. You may want to specialise in a certain industry (like music, fashion, or health, etc) or work for a specific company. Whatever the case, make sure that you analyse those businesses to understand what challenges they face with their SEO campaigns.
For instance, if you consider a large e-Commerce company with millions of products you may want to read about how to manage a larger website or how to rank millions of pages in Google. Or, if you want to join a company that operates in the health industry, you might benefit from understanding what type of content people naturally link to and share, where the gaps in the markets are, and think of a solution.
7. Build another few websites in those industries
Increase your web portfolio. So you managed to get your site about “Black-Coloured TV Screen Wiper Products UK” to rank? Great! Now it is time for you to show what you can really do so that you can impress a potential employer.
If you want to work for a world leading protein powder provider, for example, then you should build a website that reviews protein. Easy. Try to get it to rank for some relevant keywords, showcase your results in your interview. I think they would be impressed.
8. Start building your profile
Get your name out there. It may not be enough, though, to be specialised in a certain niche so you might consider branding yourself and get your name out to the wider community. I am not saying that becoming an expert in a certain field is bad – not at all – but having a broad knowledge of SEO may increase your chances of being hired.
Start networking with people outside SEO, launch your own website, and try to get noticed by the people who matter to you. It takes work and dedication but it will pay off in the end.
9. Apply. Apply. Apply
Now it is time to get that job! The above steps have, hopefully, helped you learn SEO and given you an edge. Remember that finding a job can take some time but as long as you can stand out of the crowd and present yourself as a can-do SEO with an entrepreneurial spirit – then you should be fine.
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