Just Starting Out With Search Engine Optimization? Five Useful Pieces of Advice from Industry Professionals Have you been thinking about a career in SEO?
When you’re just starting out in search engine optimization (SEO), the sheer amount of information that’s available can be overwhelming.
Following is a compilation of the most useful pieces of guidance that industry professionals provided in response to our request for assistance in navigating a fledgling SEO career path.
Make Use of the Skills and Information You Already Possess
According to Benj Arriola, Senior SEO Director at Assembly Global, most search engine optimizers begin their careers with one of the following skills: writing, marketing, or web design and development.
“Start to learn the other two skills you’re weaker at but don’t need to be a master at once you’ve decided to do SEO as your full-time occupation,” they said. He suggests that you learn to build teams and even outsource tasks if necessary, even though this is not your core strength. “This is where you learn to outsource tasks,”
It’s great to be an expert in your field, but it’s also helpful to have a general idea of what other people on your team are working on so that you can perform your own tasks more efficiently.
The Director of SEO at Hero Digital, Sam Hollingsworth, recommends that you begin with books and blogs as your primary resources.
There are a number of trustworthy online publications that can instruct a great deal about search engine optimization. “The vast majority are available at no cost, such as SEJ’s SEO for Beginners and Google’s SEO Starter Guide, to name a few,” he says.
Other excellent resources for obtaining an education in SEO at no cost include podcasts, social groups and forums, webinars, and even videos hosted on YouTube.
On the other hand, there is a great deal of erroneous information and content that has become out of date regarding what exactly constitutes a ranking factor, which SEO tools and strategies are most effective in a variety of settings, and other related topics.
It is essential that you give careful consideration to the educational sources you use. Look for a consensus among experts regarding what actually constitutes the best practise at the present time, and be aware that changes to the Google algorithm can come along and cause things to change rapidly.
You will also want to develop your understanding of the most important skills you will need to succeed in SEO. Some of these skills include critical thinking, knowledge of analytics, and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations.
Acquaint yourself with the fundamentals of website construction
Ludwig Makhyan, co-founder of Mazeless – Enterprise SEO, says, “Over the past few years, I’ve assisted several individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in SEO to get their careers off the ground.” In general, he recommends that everyone “start with exploring HTML and CSS and know the basics of a website in any case,” and he advises that w3 resources are a good source for information regarding this topic.
“Starting a test mini-site is the best approach because it allows you to code and optimise a page on your own,” adds Makhyan. “If you do this, you will see much better results.”
It is important that you have a solid understanding of how the websites you are working in function, whether they are custom builds, based on WordPress, on an ecommerce platform, etc. This is true regardless of whether you work in-house, as a freelancer, or for an agency.
Even though the best SEO practises are pretty much the same across all websites (for example, links, content quality, and user experience are all extremely important), you may find that optimising a Shopify site for search engines is an entirely different animal than optimising a Wix or Weebly site.
Explore our Web Development archives to discover in-depth articles written by industry professionals on topics that are pertinent to your work in SEO.
Improve Your Capabilities in the Area of Communication
According to Kevin Rowe, Vice President of Strategy & Product at Purelinq, “the lack of predictability and the uncertainty is the thing that comes as the biggest surprise to the majority of new SEO professionals.”
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He offers the following piece of advice: “You have to be an expert in operating in this kind of environment by communicating up, setting goals, being flexible, building proofs of concept, testing, and scaling.”
A similar strategy is one that is recommended by Hollingsworth.
Use communication to your advantage; this is a fundamental skill that is required in every job. Be personable. “Never stop learning, always keep a positive attitude, and make sure you’re motivated,” he advises. Hollingsworth explains and notes that a significant portion of successful communication comes from sending emails and deliverables that are well written and crystal clear.
“Another significant part is simplifying complicated ideas by breaking down complex concepts into their component parts,” he explains further.
Because there are so many technical and analytical concepts to master, so-called “soft skills” like communication are frequently disregarded in the process of professional development for SEOs.
However, the way you choose to communicate can have a significant effect. It could be the deciding factor in whether you land that client or not; it could also determine whether you get that promotion or not.
When it comes to the specific communication skills you’ll need for SEO, Adam Proehl cites the ability to listen, the ability to think on your feet, and the ability to know how to distil complex information down into a format that meets the needs of your audience as among the most important.
Acquire the Skills Necessary to Create Narratives Using Data
Lee Foot, Director at Search Solved, recommends that his clients “Get good with data.”
“It is absolutely necessary to become familiar with the LOOKUP and COUNTIFS functions in Excel. “Learn how to find the story within the data and present it in a way that key stakeholders can easily comprehend,” he says.
According to Justin Lugbill, one of the most common mistakes that SEO professionals make in their approach to data storytelling is failing to use visual cues to accommodate text, attempting to tell your story without the necessary context, and lacking confidence and authoritativeness.
You can learn more about the top mistakes that he’s identified, as well as how to solve or avoid making them, by reading this article.
Amy Hebdon recently shared several compelling examples of data storytelling designed for paid search that you are free to modify to meet the requirements of your SEO reporting.
Recently, SEO Insights Strategist at Conductor Claudia Higgins discussed some of the most challenging lessons she’s acquired while working in the field of SEO reporting. Before she started working for Conductor, she managed the in-house SEO data and insights for a sizable ecommerce website.
She came away from that experience having realised the importance of continuously working to improve SEO reporting.
Higgins stated that by establishing consistent and accurate data, trust was earned throughout the organisation. She continued by saying, “The less labor-intensive the process is that I am able to make it, the more time we are able to spend delving deeper into the data and discovering underlying causes and emerging opportunities.”
Increase the size of your network.
It has also been suggested by Foot that working as an intern in an SEO firm will help you develop your skills more quickly. “If you ever do decide to go into freelance work in the future, it’s a great way to network.”
Chouinard has the same way of looking at things. According to him, “the majority of SEOs are analytical and learners.” The best part about doing SEO is that it gives you the opportunity to steer business decisions, develop your expertise, and learn new things firsthand.
“The most difficult thing is to become accustomed to failing. Not everything is successful. “It’s important to have the humility to admit defeat (or change imposed by Google) and to be willing to start over from scratch on occasion,” he recommends.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on our ability to get together in person, which has made it challenging for many people who are new to the SEO industry to make connections with others in the field.
On the other hand, virtual and hybrid events have become significantly more widespread.
Additionally, it is a smart move to follow SEO professionals on social channels. Many people contribute to the advancement of their field by publishing articles, blog posts, and case studies that they have written.
A good place to begin is with this monstrous list of 202 SEO experts that you should follow.
It is important to not let fear prevent you from participating in the conversations that are taking place online.
You will discover the area of focus that is most suited to you as you continue to learn and develop in SEO, as you experiment with new tools and have all different kinds of experiences.
However, when you are just starting out, it is a good idea to test your hand at as many different things as you possibly can.
Examine the possibility of constructing some links leading to your own website.
Create a website where you can experiment with various optimization strategies and see which ones produce the desired results.
When you find an area that you really want to delve into, read SEO books, make time to visit credible blogs, and invest in training programmes to learn more about that topic.
Because SEO is so heavily dependent on ongoing education, even professionals who have worked in the field for ten, fifteen, or even more years are unable to afford to stop learning lest their competitors overtake them in the rankings.
You are not alone if you have the impression that there is a great deal to learn; in fact, this is one of the aspects of working in SEO that so many people enjoy.