Those interested in starting an SEO career should be aware of the fact that the industry is constantly evolving. Years ago, it was very easy to make the transition to search engine optimisation. You just needed a little bit of technical knowledge. Nowadays, you simply need to know a lot.
Fortunately, there are different ways to start a career in SEO from internships to straight-up SEO consultant. There are numerous online resources available for anyone interested. Also, some universities offer digital marketing courses. These almost always include SEO training.
The big problem is SEO is a career that requires several different skills. It is normal to feel a little overwhelmed. And it is not for everyone.
So how do you start your SEO career?
Usually, you get an entry-level position at an SEO agency. However, this is not the only option to consider. It is the one that is often preferred because you would learn on the job but this does not mean you maximise your evolution.
One thing few people mention about entry-level SEO positions is that you have a lot of work to do and it revolves around menial tasks. It is hard to gain the extra skills you need to continue your SEO education.
Because of this, a very good recommendation is to:
Start Your Own SEO Projects
In an entry-level SEO position, especially in a larger SEO agency (which you usually prefer because of the better pay), you rarely have access to the SEO tools used by managers and several SEO tasks that are very important. Even if the manager is genuinely interested in teaching you, there is often limited time to do that.
When you start your own website/blog, you get first-hand experience in the world of SEO. You see how your actions impact rankings and when you make a mistake, it is not a huge problem. Every single SEO professional made mistakes and learned from them.
Now, as you work on your SEO projects, your priority should be to gain the skills you need to increase your knowledge. You do this by doing the following.
Build SEO Skills
Get familiar with how a search engine works and what SEO is at a theoretical level. Then, start reading articles about how to optimise websites.
It is often a good idea to familiarize yourself with several aspects of search engine optimisation like on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO even before you apply to an entry-level position. This helps you to see if you would like to work in the industry or not. SEO requires a lot of technical knowledge that is not for everyone.
Look for an SEO course offered by an authority figure in the industry and follow it to get the basics right.
Improve Writing Skills
The better you are at writing, the easier it is to work in SEO. Writing is needed for several very common SEO tasks, like optimising meta descriptions, titles, and page content.
If English is not your native language, it is very important to improve your English. This is especially true in regards to written English.
Also, there is a very good possibility you will have to communicate with team members and even clients on a daily basis. If your English is not good and you work with English clients, communication will be faulty. This can only lead to huge problems.
Learn The Basics Of Web Development
While SEO professionals work with developers and they do not need to be developers, they need basic web development skills. This means you need to understand and read HTML code. Also, you have to understand how websites work.
Another thing that should be said is you need to at least know how to work with WordPress, which is the most popular content management system right now.
Keep in mind that a large part of the work of the SEO professional these days is to offer guidance to a developer to make some SEO-related changes. You cannot tell the developer what to do if you do not at least understand the terminology used.
Build Analytical Skills
You have to create reports for your manager, boss, or clients. This involves combining the information you get from several sources like Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Google Search Console.
When you become better at analysing the data you work with, it is much easier to do SEO work. You can interpret information to make good decisions and improve rankings based on actual data, which is how good SEO needs to be done.
Use SEO Tools
This is where having your blog helps a lot. In SEO, there are numerous tools used besides the essentials like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
While you will, most likely, not have the budget needed to afford the best tools because they can be expensive as you are learning, you should at least learn how to use the following:
- Yoast SEO – A plugin used to optimise WordPress websites.
- SEMRush – Use the free account. It has limitations but you can see how the tools work and even use most of them to some degree.
Do not underestimate the knowledge you get when you use these two SEO tools. They can help you to see how SEO works and how to do several tasks needed in the industry.
Learn Google Webmaster Guidelines
If there is one thing you simply need to memorise, it is everything listed on the Google Webmaster Guidelines page. This explains Google’s rules and quality standards. When you do not know these things, you can perform actions that hurt website rankings. Also, during interviews, there is a pretty good possibility you will be asked several questions that can be answered with ease when you know the guidelines.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of The SEO Career
As you can see, to start your SEO career right, you need to gain as much knowledge about search engine optimisation as possible. Also, you should practice as much as you can. However, this does not mean you should blindly go towards this career. It is not a great fit for every person. Always take advantages and disadvantages into account.
SEO Career Advantages:
- You can start your career as a freelancer, by launching your own business, or by getting an entry-level job at an SEO agency.
- You can usually work remotely and set your work hours.
- You get to meet people from all around the world.
- All companies need SEO so plenty of jobs are available.
SEO Career Disadvantages:
- SEO keeps evolving and changing. This is an industry in which you never stop learning. If you have troubles adapting and changing, it can be very difficult to work in SEO.
- Dealing with clients can be difficult because in many cases, they have unreasonable expectations.
- There is never a certainty that your SEO campaign will produce the intended results. Your plans can be quickly destroyed by several factors.
How Much Money Will You Make In SEO?
The last thing we should mention is that pay can vary a lot from one job to the next. Your salary or how much you are paid for a project depends on several factors like your SEO experience, your record, where you live, and the actual work you do.
As a rough guideline, the average SEO consultant is paid an hourly rate of $50 to $125, according to an Ahrefs study. But, at an entry-level, you can expect a lot less. Keep in mind that even close to 10% of SEO consultants with an average level of experience are paid under $25 per hour.
SEO is a very exciting industry that is perfect for people that do not want to get bored with what they do and that have an affinity for data, analysis, and technical elements. It is even suitable for creative individuals because there are positions available, like that of the SEO copywriter. I have been working in SEO for over 10 years now and I love my work at SEO Company Canberra. However, you cannot even think about an SEO career if you do not at least know the basics and you might hate it.
Take as much time as you need to learn all that you can about the SEO industry. Follow the important sites in the industry and the best professionals. The more you know, the easier it is to do good work, which is what will dictate your SEO success.