We have been hearing a lot about SEO these days. The area of SEO is not new and have been around from the mid nineties when there was an internet boom. These days we do hear that there is a demand of SEO experts, but little is known about how to be an SEO expert. In the upcoming days we are planning to publish series of guides which will help you in becoming an SEO expert. However prior to that it is quintessential, that you understand what the career in SEO is all about, what will it require from you and how the areas in which you can then work are.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is simply the art of making your web content visible to more and more audience. SEO aims at getting the organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic is the traffic through search engines for which we do not need to pay anything. The best way to get lots of organize traffic is to make your website come up in the top results of the first page of search engine result page also commonly called SERP.
Here is a typical search engine result page. As you can see the top two results and the side results are all sponsored ads. Marketers pay handsome amounts of money to get their ads featured in these positions on the first page. However SEO is not concerned with these ads on the SERP. In fact it is concerned with all the other results below the top ads. The higher our page comes up in these results the better traffic it will receive.
Think about how you use Google. How often do you, once unsatified with the results on the first page, have turned to the results on the second and third page? Most of you will answer in ‘never’ because that is what people usually do. Instead of going to the next pages they are more likely to refine their search criteria and then search again. This is what the official search related surveys claim. So just a couple positions improvement in the first page will result in thousands of more clicks and more organic traffic that can be converted. And that is precisely what the SEO expert’s job is all about. Visit this page for more detailed info
Career in SEO
Now that we have made clear what is SEO to an extend, let us move forward to deciding about a career in SEO.
High demand of people with career in SEO
The era of internet is in full swing and it is there to stay. Even the smallest of businesses are planning an online presence and have e-stores of some kind. They all want to be noticed and get as much traffic to them as possible. Thus SEO experts are highly in demand. A person with good SEO skills can make a website or in other words a business really popular resulting in a boom in their sales and revenue. So this is a great time to have a career in SEO as it is high in demand.
How to have a career in SEO?
We all know that to be a doctor we earn a degree in medicine, to be an architect we need to study architecture however, one confusing thing is that there is no specific study or degree which make you a qualified SEO expert. Many people confuse SEO experts with programmers and people with a degree in computing. Although for an SEO expert it is essential to know basic web designing and programming, there is no direct link between a computer science degree and career in SEO.
Give the understanding of SEO which we have narrated in the previous section, what do you think are the core skill sets of people looking for a career in SEO.
Well, it is a tricky question to answer. Firstly the person must have a, understanding of human psychology so that he knows what type of phrases are likely to be used by people in search engine queries. This is best learnt through a lot of practice and some understanding of people’s behavior. The next thing is an interest in marketing. SEO is now becoming an extended branch of marketing with a strong connection with other aspects of digital marketing like Search engine marketing, social media marketing etc. So a knowledge about how to sell things to people as quite same as convincing people to click on our page and then buy our product, in short converting the traffic into convertible audience that is ready to spend money on the products we are offering. So a marketing mindset is highly recommended for an SEO expert.
Apart from this, a good knowledge of internet and concepts related to search engines working and algorithm will help you a lot. There are a number of SEO courses that have now started and can help you a lot in garnering a good amount of knowledge of the field. However the main learning is through practical experience.
Monetary benefits of a career in SEO
SEO is definitely a rewarding field in terms of money. Here is a graph from the study conducted by the conductor website, a well-known name as far as reliable data and statistics are concerned. The study when compared to their 2012 numbers, show that there has been an increase in the jobs for SEO, by 18%. And if you look at the pay scale the word ‘Not bad’ pops up in the mind immediately. There is an increase in pay scale of all the sub careers within the field of SEO.
Not only this, this study from Indeed shows that there is a rapid increase in demand of people with SEO skills over the time.
Although we see a dip after the sudden upsurge, but all in all there is an ample amount of demand for the SEO experts and the demand is expected to go higher as the internet continue to expand and flourish. So if you plan to join the SEO as a professional,
The career paths for SEO professionals
There are three main career paths that you can take once you join the SEO field. Let us discuss them one by one. Although in all three you might have to go through following stages.
In house SEO expert
When you work in house in an organization as an SEO expert, it means you are responsible for all of their web properties. It might be one huge website or many sites and blogs but it will be your responsibility to keep them ahead of competitors in Google search. The good thing about this career path is that you can be sure of regular pay and job security however the work can be monotonous and boring after a while as you are working on the same sites day in and day out. Although the companies usually want changes and updates in their web properties but to continue to work with same dedication and devotion on the same sites for many years is a bit difficult.
This is like a freelance job. Although sometimes companies will hire you for a long time to give them consultancy off and on. Being an SEO consultant is fun and a great learning experience because you will be interacting with new clients and working on a diverse set of websites every day. However you have to find clients, which is quite an uphill task. In the beginning when you do not have an extensive portfolio, it might be difficult to find clients but once you have 8 or 9 sites that are ranking good, you can get more work quite easily. A good way to avoid frustration in the beginning, is to start your own websites.
Working for an SEO agency is also a good option. Here again you are sure to receive clients and work so there is some job security. The work again is for a diverse range of clients and websites so you will not get bored at all and also there is less responsibility as compared to autonomous consultants. However the money would also be lesser but not too less. If you are on profit sharing basis with the agency you can get a fair amount of your hard work’s worth.
So these are the three main career path for SEO experts. We comment to start with in house or agency worker and once you are really good o start your own consultancy.
Skills to have in SEO candidate for successful career in SEO
Depending on the type of work that you have to do, these are some skills that SEO professionals need to have.
Your life is a constant struggle to bring your pages on the top in the SERP. What can be more competitive than beating out the search engine algorithm? Be competitive and perseverant in nature in order to remain on the top. So the first quality in any SEO expert should be competitive nature.
Fast learner and adaptability to change
The search engine algorithms are undergoing constant changes and updates. You never know when the next update might be sprung on you thanks to Google so, for a good SEO expert you must not be daunted by changes. You should learn the new rules quickly and then make changes to your strategy according to them.
Excellent communication skills
If you have good communication skills only then, you can pitch your ideas to other so that they make changes to their site and web strategy and accept your recommendations. People are reluctant to invest money unless they are fully convinced about something. So good communication skills and ability to pitch ideas is a must for good SEO.
Knowhow about digital marketing
As we have mentioned before too, SEO is fast becoming a part of digital marketing. In order to have a successful SEO strategy, it is very important that you know about the other aspects to digital marketing too and are well aware where to use these tactics to make your strategy more effective.
Some technical knowledge about web and web development
You need to know about the web and all the related terminology. Also to an extent you should have some knowledge about web development, HTML and CSS. Internet is the platform on which your profession is based. So having a good amount of knowledge about it can only be good. There are a lot of courses available online which you can avail and grow your understanding. One good place to start can be udemy or khan academy.
Types of work for career in SEO
In this section we look into the type of work an SEO expert would spend his day (and sometimes night too) in doing. There are various tasks in SEO like any other career too, and once you begin your SEO work there might be some other type of work too, that would be included in your daily schedule, however these are some of the basics that each and every SEO has to face on daily basis.
Website Audit and recommendations
Whenever you are given a website for evaluation, the first step is that you thoroughly go through it and then after complete examination and deliberation, create a list of recommendations. These are the recommendations which will help the site given to you, to improve its ranks on Google ratings. The list of recommendations must be complete and very meticulous because the client will approve some parts of it and he might reject some, because they would not fall into his budget or for some other reason.
The recommendations can be of three main types
- Technical issues: Issues that are related to the websites design, navigation and functionality that might be a hindrance to making it rank higher.
- Localization: The site might need to target audience of specific location more as compared to other areas.
- Keywords and Content: Almost every site need recommendations in this area. The audit report must highlight the content areas which can be made more keyword friendly or generate more keywords for the site.
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Planning and delivery
Another important part of professional life of an SEO expert is that of planning and delivery. You have to plan the pitch and the SEO updates and then deliver them on time. Planning can include many things like which parts of site need technical upgradations, where the content is lagging behind the competitors and how to get to the maximum traffic.
Reporting deals with site analysis using different SEO tools. There are a number of SEO tools. Google analytics is the one provided by Google free of cost and is good for knowing stats like how many people are visiting the page, which page is bringing most views etc. there are advanced tools too. Moz, Ahrefs and longtailpro are very popular tools.
This is a very important step. As SEO is evolving so we should be trying and testing new methods and techniques continuously in order to find something better and more effective.
There is a continuous need of training and transferring your knowledge to your teammates. We have mentioned before too that SEO experts work in coordination with people from other departments too like marketing, web developers, content writers, digital marketing experts etc.
A complete list of pros and cons of Career in SEO
Now that you are quite familiar with the SEO profession, and exactly know if you choose it, what will you be facing, we would like to briefly list the pros and cons of the career at a glance. You might able to identify many of these on your own too by now, but just to clarify the situation here is the list.
No formal degree required
If you want to start a career in SEO right now, go ahead explore the internet and learn about it and you are good to go. There is no formal training or degree or certification required. The main thing is your portfolio and it will take some time to develop it but in the end is a good thing to switch careers to, as compared to many other professions.
Good salary for people with career in seo
As can be seen from the data and chart we have shown earlier, SEO professionals are earning a lot and the pay scale is increasing steadily with time.
Demand of SEO professionals
There is a demand of SEO professionals. And the demand is definitely going to grow as the internet is expanding and there is more and more competition in the race to get to the top of SERP so naturally it means more demand of SEO professionals. So be assured that there will be no shortage of jobs if you are good in what you do.
Many established examples of successful SEO experts
There are many SEO experts today that are leading highly successful lives in terms of profession and earning a lot. So they are the living proof that SEO professionals can be successful. Rand Fishkin of Moz, Neil Patel of Neil patel blog and quicksprouts, Jill Wahlen from high rankings all are great and successful SEO professionals and the good thing is that they are ready to help others out too, through their really helpful blog posts. They will answer your queries too if you post them in the blog comments.
Learning and growth opportunities
SEO is not a stagnant career. You are constantly learning new things and experiencing new website designs and structures that offer many new great ideas. Also the Google search engine is always changing so you also need to keep your strategies updated and up to date. So there is great learning potential in this career choice.
Too much search engine dependency
The field is too much dependent on search engines and we know that search engine algorithms are fickle in nature. They change often and the changes are of course not public. One small change can bring your website down a hundred ranks, rendering most of your previous work useless. So SEO is too much search engine dependent. It is ominous for any business to be so much dependent on something that is not in your control so this is definitely a negative side of your business.
Black hat SEO techniques
There is always the threat from black hat SEO techniques that can cause problems if you choose to be all good and follow the rules and regulations as laid down by Google, which will never get your website penalized. So if you plan to use white hat only as it seems the legitimate thing to do and there is no scare of being penalized, many times the people with black hat SEO will have an unfair edge over you. But this is how it is and the reason many times people prefer grey hat instead of black hat. That is why most SEO experts rely on Grey hat, which is somewhere between the black hat and white hat.
SEO requires lots of patience and perseverance
When we say lot of patience is required for career in seo, we really really mean lots and lots of patience. It is not some technique that will give you results all at once. Sometimes you would do efficient SEO but it might take months to overall improve the rankings of the site. Do not think of SEO as some series of magic steps that you will follow and the next minute your site will be in the top of SERP. It takes weeks and sometimes many months to master the SEO techniques for a specific site.
Career in seo is indeed lucrative option these days and we firmly predict that it will be as much in demand if not more for at least next couple of decades. There will be a lot of improvements in it and many new techniques will be added with time because it is an evolving field. So if you are skeptical about a career in seo, we really hope this article was able to help you. If you still have any queries, feel free to share in comments section below.