61% of marketers have stated that improving SEO and increasing organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. Search engine optimization services are clearly in demand, and many business and startup owners have realized that even though this practice is costly and time-consuming, all their efforts will be worthwhile since Google rankings strongly affect their organic traffic. This trend obviously creates new job opportunities in the field of SEO. But, since there’s no university degree in search optimization, many people wonder how to pick up the skills necessary for landing a job as an SEO specialist. Here are a few tips that will show you the ropes and bring home this whole optimization concept.
Are you the right material?
Before diving into this process and sacrificing a significant amount of time, you should first ask yourself whether you are the perfect fit for the job. Since you’re reading about this, you’re most probably interested, and have some experience in the field of digital marketing, but what you should know is that being an SEO specialist is a completely different thing. This is a dynamic job in which you’ll have to learn new things on a daily basis and adapt to changes very quickly. For example, there are more than 200 Google ranking signals, and the search engine giant is constantly tweaking its algorithm by introducing minor updates almost every day, while major updates happen at least once a year.
Hit the books
If you are sure that SEO is your true calling, you should kick the ball rolling by applying for one of the many online courses where you can learn some basics. By no means is this enough, and studying SEO requires a couple of months of your complete dedication. There’s a lot of content dealing with all kinds of SEO on the Internet, but it’s best to stick to relevant sources such as Moz or SEO Roundtable. Apart from the skills strictly related to search engine optimization, it’s a good idea to brush up on HTML and CSS fundamentals, web analytics, and social media knowledge among many other things.
Build a website
The theory is crucial, but you won’t be able to adopt your SEO skills and polish them until you start with some practical work. Building your own website will be a perfect exercise and it will provide you with much-needed experience. Select a topic that you like and decide on a couple of keywords that you want to rank for. The best way is to opt for a blogging platform such as WordPress and make your way through the process. WordPress is easy to use and it has a number of useful plugins. It allows you to fine-tune your settings and play with SEO to see how it works.
After you’ve set up your website, it’s time to fill it with a lot of quality content. Write about the things you know and make your blog posts as useful and informative as possible. You should be aware that no matter how good you are with words, creating content can be challenging. Since research studies say that the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890, it’s better to take your time and write two well-researched, in-depth blog posts a month, than to produce tons of irrelevant, short pieces of content that won’t say anything fresh. Bear in mind not to overstuff your content with keywords, because Google severely penalizes that. It’s a good idea to do your homework and research how reliable SEO consulting agencies do their job and pick up a few tricks from them.
Start building links
Link building is at the core of search engine optimization, and it’s one of the most complex parts of this whole process. Namely, if you want to have a link to your website referenced on a relevant website, you need to have killer content. But since you’re a newcomer to the scene, you will have to reach out to big-shot website owners and ask them for links. Guest blogging is a good way to get in touch with some influencers, and it will also help you expand your readership and gain some social media exposure. As inbound links are one of the most important Google ranking factor, you need to master this skill in great detail.
Starting and maintaining a successful SEO career implies a lot of hard work, lifelong learning, a wide knowledge of digital marketing, and persistence. It will often require working long hours, but it’s very rewarding and never boring.