Culture 10 min read

A Quick Guide to Land Your Dream SEO Jobs

Geralt/Pixabay.com

Geralt/Pixabay.com

Main SEO Jobs Takeaways:

  • SEO is the practice of improving the quality and quantity of a website’s organic traffic.
  • An SEO professional works to boost a brand’s visibility on search engines.
  • A knowledge of coding is required to have a strong foundation in search engine optimization.
  • You can be an accomplished SEO professional without writing a single line of code.
  • Critical thinking is one of the essential skills for search engine optimization.
  • A large aspect of SEO involves collecting and analyzing data.
  • As an SEO professional, you must continually adapt to the changes in the industry.
  • Becoming an SEO specialist begins with a basic understanding of how a search engine works.
  • To land SEO jobs, start with building the perfect portfolio.

Postings of SEO jobs usually contain terms such as SEO manager, SEO professional, or professional SEO services.

While the job title may vary based on the company, the description is essentially the same. Brands are always looking to hire a professional that can improve their visibility in search engines.

And that’s the service that an SEO manager provides. In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know to land your dream SEO jobs.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. It’s the practice of improving the quality and quantity of a website’s organic traffic. In other words, an SEO professional works to boost a brand’s visibility on search engines. It involves understanding search intent and providing the type of content that the searchers wish to consume.

As you can imagine, professional SEO services are far more complex than the above definition suggests.

Besides a detailed understanding of how search engines work, SEO managers also need to know the ranking factors. Other requirements could include:

  • Data analysis
  • Link building
  • Web design
  • Persuasive writing

Before exploring the complete skill set that an average SEO professional must possess, let’s address a common question.

Does SEO Require Coding?

A computer showing lines of codes
Chris Ried / Unsplash.com

Yes, a knowledge of coding is required to have a strong foundation in search engine optimization. To attain a good search ranking, you must make your site easier to crawl and index at the fundamental HTML level. Besides, you can also use programming languages such as Python and Javascript, to automate various tasks that are otherwise done manually.

That’s why SEOs that know at least one programming language get more income than does who don’t. In fact, SEO jobs that require coding get a 7.3 percent higher salary than those without any programming language requirement.

Be that as it may, you can be an accomplished SEO professional without writing a single line of code. And that’s because there’s room in the industry for many types of people.

For example, while you may need Python to optimize images, it can’t create the persuasive language that’ll drive customers to act.

The bottom line is languages such as HTML, Python, or Javascript will help you earn more. However, it won’t make you a better SEO manager than the person who created the content that went viral.

In other words, it takes many skillsets to achieve optimal results in search engine optimization.

What Skills are Needed for SEO?

Image of Google analytics on a tablet screen
Photo Mix / Pixabay.com

Critical thinking is one of the essential skills for search engine optimization. An SEO professional should have an analytical mind that can tell the difference between correlation and causation. What’s more, critical thinking is required to consider a problem from multiple angles and devise a solution based on data and logic.

Other skills that are needed for SEO include:

1. Speaking and Writing Skills

There’s no denying that an SEO expert proficient at performing keyword research and writing a keyword-optimized article is valuable. Similarly, such an individual should be able to speak to conferences.

But it’s more than that. SEO managers must convince clients and internal teams to consider specific strategies. And that comes from case studies and compelling presentations in meetings.

Speaking and writing skills can help simplify complex ideas and thoughts. That way, non-SEO folks can understand your proposal and make an informed decision.

2. Analytics Skills

A large aspect of SEO involves collecting and analyzing data.

As a result, an SEO professional should be able to log into Google Analytics to collect the necessary data. A fundamental understanding of KPIs is also required to create an effective SEO strategy.

So, it’s a good idea to get Google Analytics, and Adobe certified as an SEO expert. Even if you aren’t collecting data from these tools, understanding how they work could prove useful.

3. Excel Skills

It’s not enough to collect data from Google Analytics. You must also know how to manipulate the data to get some needed insight. That’s where having Excel skills come in.

SEO professionals use Excel spreadsheets for the following:

  • Bucketing keywords from search console into product groups
  • Creating custom CTR by position curve
  • Turning a Screaming Frog crawl into an XML sitemap
  • Measuring algorithm changes and its impact with GA/Adobe data

Excel comes with over 476 built-in functions. However, the most essential for every SEO might be Concatenation, Vlookups, and IF statements.

4. Motivation and Adaptability

One thing about SEO is there’s always something new to learn — whether it’s a new search engine standard or a new framework.

As an SEO professional, you must continually adapt to the changes in the industry. That means you need that internal drive that’ll force you to keep learning.

Adaptability also involves admitting when you’re wrong. For example, you should be able to tell a client when a strategy in your SEO proposal is no longer a good idea.

It all comes down to putting the client’s goal ahead of everything.

Now that you have an in-depth understanding of the skills required to become an SEO specialist, you’re wondering:

How do I Become an SEO Specialist?

Image shows a man touching an illustration that reads SEO process.
Gerd Altmann / Pixabay.com

Becoming an SEO specialist begins with a basic understanding of how a search engine works. That means you must read about crawlers as well as the several factors that influence search ranking. It would be best if you also had an understanding of search intent, relevance, content quality, and links. These concepts can provide insight into how search algorithms work.

Here’s the breakdown of how to become an SEO specialist.

1. Study the Ranking Factors

Now that you know how search engines work, you may be tempted to start optimizing on-page elements such as title tags and images. But that’s not necessary — at least, not yet.

The next stage is to read up on the various search ranking factors such as user experience, page speed, and links. Other crucial SEO ranking factors include:

  • A secure and accessible website
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Optimized content

You may also want to check out how Google evaluates the quality of user experience on a website using the core web vitals.

2. Learn the Four SEO Pieces

Think of SEO as a puzzle with four essential pieces — keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and technical SEO. Let’s consider what these pieces entail.

  1. Keyword research: It involves identifying the relevant words and phrases used in search queries.
  2. On-page optimization: It involves optimizing web pages to improve rankings and attract more organic traffic.
  3. Link building: It involves acquiring backlinks to get referral traffic and boosting search ranking.
  4. Technical SEO: It involves optimizing websites to enable efficient crawling and indexing.

An understanding of how these pieces fit is essential to the success of your strategy.

3. Build Your Website

At this point, you should understand the search ranking factors as well as the four SEO pieces. Now it’s time to put the knowledge to practice. And that means creating and ranking a website.

Consider choosing a topic that you’re passionate about and following the next processes:

  • Buying a domain and hosting
  • Putting up a basic website
  • Creating content

After that, you simply have to practice what you learned earlier. That means optimizing your content and building some links. You must also ensure that the search engine bots can crawl and index your site.

4. Pick a Niche

At the beginning of your SEO journey, you had to learn a little about everything to build a solid foundation. The next stage involves mastering a specific skill within search engine optimization.

For example, you could specialize in link building, on-page SEO, or algorithm consultation.

Alternately, you can master SEO for a specific industry. Not only is this a great way to refine your skills, but it could also help increase your client offerings.

5. Learn to Delegate

Now that you’ve picked an area of specialization, you must delegate other SEO tasks to the right people. That way, you can focus more attention on what you enjoy doing.

For example, if you’re an expert at keyword research and content writing, don’t waste time on link building. Instead, bring on an expert to handle the task.

Along with saving time, delegating ensures that your clients get the best available services.

However, bringing more people into your team also means you have to worry about more moving parts. As such, you must create a system — maybe a checklist — to ensure that everyone stays on the same page.

6. Never Stop Learning

As said earlier, the SEO industry is continually changing.

And that’s because Google rolls out over a thousand search algorithm updates every year. In 2018 alone, the search giant reportedly released over 3,200 algorithm updates.

While several updates are relatively minor, it provides insight into how fast the best SEO practices can change. So, SEO professionals must also continue learning to keep up with these changes. That entail:

  • Attending SEO conferences
  • Following SEO experts on Twitter
  • Connecting with SEO professionals on LinkedIn
  • Attending SEO meetups in your region
  • Listening to podcasts

Select whichever learning method that you find appealing.

However, it’s essential to not focus too much on the learning process — practice is vital. As K Anders Ericsson famously theorized, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a new skill. And that includes SEO.

In case you were wondering, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t reduce the number of available SEO jobs. If anything, postings for an SEO position may have slightly increased at the height of the crisis.

That leads to the final question:

How do I get SEO Jobs?

Illustration of a workstation containing a desktop computer and a lamp.
Diego Velázquez / Pixabay.com

Landing SEO jobs starts with building the perfect portfolio. Your resume should show off your experience to potential employers even before the interview. While it should be as diverse as possible, your portfolio should also demonstrate your specific skill set. That way, your employer knows what you’re bringing to the table.

You may also have to demonstrate your understanding of essential SEO tools. These include INK, Google Analytics, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and DeepCrawl, to name a few.

Data-driven insights inform SEO decisions. It’ll help if you show that you have the tools to gain those insights.

Finally, consider going into an interview with an SEO strategy that’s specific to the SEO job. That way, potential employers will have an in-depth understanding of your methodology.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an SEO Consultant

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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