What does it take to build a career in SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the practice of optimizing websites and web pages to improve their ranking and visibility in search engine result pages. The main goal of SEO is to grow engagement and traffic to a website. This means making sure it appears higher based on relevant keywords and phrases.
Mastery of SEO is now proving to be a vital skill in a lot of organizations. With the rise of digital marketing, it can get competitive. With millions of other competitors, 90% of content gets no traffic when doing a Google search.
If you’re new to the game, there’s a lot of digital marketing for startups that can help you get up to speed. The SEO field can also be a lucrative career. There are various roles one can get into in the tech world. Joining marketing agencies, SEO consultant jobs, or even remote jobs can all be viable options in the long list of opportunities.
SEO doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all skill checklist. It is a mix of technical, analytical, and even creative skills.
Why is SEO important to a Business?
SEO makes or breaks a brand. The goal is to be on the very top page of the first page in Google. 25% of people click the first result in a Google search. If you’re not on the first page, you’re missing out on a lot of potential profit for your business. Here are reasons why you need to start thinking out the SEO strategy for your business:
- Competitive Advantage
You think you provide the top services or products. But so do other thousands of businesses that are in the same industry as you. Having the best online presence would be your edge. Being the top search result will already put you way ahead of your competitors. Customers can either see your business as credible or untrustworthy based on your website alone. Think about it, would you trust a business that you can’t find online nowadays?
- Increased Organic Traffic
What does organic even mean? Organic traffic refers to visitors that come across your website from unpaid sources. If your business is easily searchable, you can have more traffic. More traffic creates a greater opportunity for sales. And from there,
- Cost-Effective Marketing
Everybody is online nowadays and it is the best time to leverage that. Even toddlers have their personal iPads and can accidentally search your business with just a few keywords. Imagine gaining a customer because their kid typed in “tacos” in Google and your Mexican restaurant is the first one that pops up.
There are many ways to advertise your business. Handing out flyers and cold-calling used to be effective ways to target the market, but we are now in modern times with more modern solutions. Hiring 5 people to hand out flyers or do cold calls may have higher costs and lower returns in the long run.
There are initial costs associated with building your brand and firing up a website. But think of SEO as a long-term investment. The $1000 you spend today can be the reason you earn $10,000 tomorrow. Keep in mind that SEO isn’t an overnight success. It takes time and effort to build a good rapport online.
The consistency in keeping your content relevant and leveraging social media will pay off. Hiring an SEO expert could make things easier on your part as a business owner.
8 Essential Skills You Need For SEO
- Keyword Research
Words are the most powerful tool in SEO. It does not mean you have to be a walking dictionary. Be up-to-date with the latest trend based on the specific niche of a website. What matters is the ability to identify relevant keywords and phrases. A popular tool that can be used is the Google Keyword Planner.
- On-Page Optimization
Improving search visibility takes a lot of factors into consideration. Understanding the following could be a sound basis:
- Meta-tags, title.
- Title tags.
- Header tags.
- URL structure.
- Internal linking.
- Basic HTML/CSS knowledge.
- Technical SEO
This is the practice of optimizing a website’s technical infrastructure. It ensures that search engines can access and rank a website properly. Here are key areas that technical SEO covers:
- Web crawling and indexing.
- Website speed and performance.
- Website structure and navigation.
- XML sitemaps.
- SSL and website security.
- Link Building
Backlinks are links from external websites. These links lead a user from one website to another. It is considered a sign of trust for a website. Engines consider a website a valuable resource if it has a lot of high-quality backlinks pointing to it.
This results in impacting the search engine rankings. Google states that backlinks are one of its top-ranking factors. There are a lot of link-building tools that you can learn, such as:
- SEO Analytics and Algorithm Knowledge
Focus on learning how to use SEO tools. This will be helpful in performing audits and analyzing performance. It can help identify opportunities for improvement. Key areas include:
- Organic traffic analysis.
- Keyword ranking tracking.
- Backlink analysis.
- On-page optimization metrics.
- User behavior analysis.
- Conversion tracking.
- Content Creation
It’s not all about the technical tools. Creativity also plays a huge role in SEO. Knowing the difference between great and dull content can do wonders for a website. High-quality content can improve your website’s visibility and rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Keeping content fresh and up-to-date shows that a website is active and relevant.
This skill includes optimizing content that satisfies a user’s objective. It should also be aligned with search engine guidelines. This skill includes creating:
- Blog posts.
- Web pages with optimal tags.
- Social Media Knowledge
Social media platforms provide a lot of opportunities for building a brand. It can also be used to leverage traffic to a particular website. Search engines often index and display social media in their results.
Having a strong presence on social media can increase visibility. The ability to use social media platforms and understand its algorithm takes you one step forward to becoming an SEO expert.
Here are suggested social media tools that can be used:
- Sprout Social.
- Google Analytics.
SEO professionals need to understand business goals. There can be a lot of industry challenges and specific requirements. At the end of the day, SEO strategies should be in line with the client’s objectives to effectively implement these. The ability to converse with clients, designers, and developers is a must.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I learn SEO with zero knowledge?
Definitely! There are a lot of free and available resources online. You can start with videos on youtube and once you get the hang of things, you can look into taking courses to unlock more niche topics.
- How do I become an SEO professional?
Start with building your foundation with the skill set mentioned. Look into applying for internships or advertising free SEO services for a start. Gain some experience until you are confident enough to start applying to big companies, startups, or agencies.
- I want to start building an online presence for my company. Where do I start?
An online presence is critical for a business to thrive. In fact, 76% of consumers look for a company’s presence before engaging with them. You can start from scratch and learn the basic SEO tools and skill sets. A recommendation is to engage with established agencies that can help you with your SEO needs. This saves time and effort and can provide a greater return on investment in the long run.
- Are SEO services expensive?
It depends on the agencies offering the services. But there are a lot of companies out there that offer reasonable prices for high-quality services. It is best to do some market research and weigh the options. Hop on some calls and figure out what your business needs best.
- How long does it take for SEO strategies to start seeing results?
The short answer is 4 – 6 months. But the reality is that it depends on the strategy that your business is implementing. The first month is mainly focused on research and discovery. It’s doing an audit of what’s working well and what’s not. The succeeding months would be for making the adjustments and content optimization.
The takeaway here is don’t stop too soon if you’re not seeing results right away. Plan and have a healthy SEO budget. Again, SEO is a long-term strategy so be ready to be in it for the long haul.
The world of SEO is a vast field with a lot of opportunities. The skills needed for it can take years to build and master. Every company that is aiming to establish an online presence should allocate resources to have an SEO department. Agencies are readily available to offer their world-class services to those who need them. If you are an individual who wants to explore this path, this is a good starting point for jump-starting an SEO career. Who knows, you can even build a startup marketing agency in the future if you start learning today.