Getting started isn’t easy, obtaining relevant work experience isn’t easy, being able to prove that you have the relevant skills to take a business forward with best-practice SEO implementations isn’t easy.
It’s a tough game to start with and you’ll need to be prepared to work if you’re looking to pursue a career in SEO over the next couple of years. As I have been in a similar boat to you, assuming that you’re looking to get a job in SEO, I have decided to get together a ‘how to get a job in SEO tips list’ outlining what I feel are the best actions moving forward to better your chances of landing a suitable SEO role in the near future.
What Experience Do You Have, Brett?
If you’re unaware of my previous/current experience, here it is:
- Age 16 – 17 – Web Developer & SEO for a small start-up company;
- Age 17-18 – 6 months contract as an eCommerce SEO Coordinator;
- Age 18- 20 – Two years as an SEO Executive for a digital agency;
- Age 20 – Present – In-house SEO Analyst for an international eCommerce company.
In between my last two roles I was involved in various freelance projects for small businesses. It’s difficult to get started, but once you have /some/ experience under your belt, it’s relatively easy to get another SEO-related job, but what do you do if you don’t have any work experience? Good question.
How To Get A Job In SEO: My Top 5 Tips
Obtaining an SEO job is difficult, you either ‘know it’ or you don’t – that’s how employers look at it. Why? Because there aren’t any qualifications in SEO at the moment, you can’t go to college to learn about search engine optimization, nor can you go to university. Of course, you can do a digital marketing course but it’s not the same, as things are always moving. What are teachers going to teach their students? How to build a Tumblr web 2.0? Just, no.
Therefore in order to stand out of the crowd, you need to show your passion, your willingness and your ability to adapt to industry trends and algorithm changes. That’s what will differentiate you from the other candidates looking for the same SEO job.
Getting An SEO Job – Tip #1
Conferences. I know, this probably sounds very scary, especially if you’re just starting out but if you’re serious about taking your SEO career to the next step, why not? This will demonstrate that you love what you do and you are very passionate about it, passionate enough to go to conferences at a junior level before you have even landed your first role in SEO. Trust me, employers will love this.
There are lots of different conferences you can consider, I have listed some below for you:
- Brighton SEO;
- SMX West;
- Content Marketing World;
- SEJ Summit;
- Lots more.
Some of these conferences are very expensive, we’re talking at least £600 for entry. However, I would recommend Brighton SEO to get started, especially if you live close and it’s only a train journey away. I have personally been a couple times and I plan to go again soon, it’s brilliant. You can grab yourself free tickets if you sign up early, they are limited but it is possible (I’ve managed to get free ones every year, keep an eye on their site).
Getting An SEO Job – Tip #2
Start a side hustle. You’re an individual that claim’s that they can potentially manipulate a billion dollar search engine, why do you have to invest these skills into someone else’s company? Why not start your own invention in your spare time and use this as evidence and proof that you can deliver on the tasks contained in their job spec.
This can be anything from starting your own blog, forum, website, live chat .. anything that demonstrates that you have been learning how SEO works. outside of the office, something that you are genuinely passionate about and have been trying to progress in your own time.
Again, employers love this, even if it’s freelance .. do something, it makes you different to the other candidates.
Getting An SEO Job – Tip #3
Understand who’s boss at Google. In *most* of the interviews, I have been to in the past couple of years for an SEO-related role they have asked me who I look up to in the industry. They don’t care, this is a trick question to see whether or not you know any influential people in the search world. It’s a good question for employers to ask as it demonstrates whether or not you do your research, whether you follow industry trends and algorithm changes and if you take best-practice advice from Google.
If I was personally interviewing someone for a junior SEO role and they responded with .. Gary Illyes .. John Mueller .. Matthew Woodward .. & more. I’d be shocked, it would give me the impression that this person is genuinely interested in what’s happening.
It’s worthwhile knowing a couple names, I have previously posted about this stuff in my Google employees post. I outline who to follow on Twitter and who’s worthwhile following.
Getting An SEO Job – Tip #4
Google Qualifications. This one’s a good one, but it really depends on the job spec involved. As an SEO you’ll need to know about a wide range of areas, and sometimes you’re going to be better at one area than another. As an example, I’m much better at technical SEO than I am at link building, whereas another individual may be better at the analytical side of things and writing good SEO content. An SEO’s job title always nearly ends in either: Analyst, Consultant, Specialist, Expert, Writer, I have even seen ‘Wizard’ in the past, ha.
You’re probably wondering what gobbledygook I am talking about with Google Qualifications, I’m trying to get across that whatever SEO role you may fulfill in the future, it’s always good to have knowledge of the analytical programs currently on the market, such as Google Analytics. Employers will most likely expect you to conduct experiments, implementations and strategy improvements across their portfolio of sites and for you to report to them on a regular basis in regards to the uplifts may as a result of your changes. Therefore in order to report on the visitor increments, ROI, the number of clicks from SERP’s etc you’ll need to have an understanding of the Google tools: Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics.
Google currently offer a qualification called: Google Analytics Individual Qualification. It’s a qualification that can be obtained by an individual that sits their online exam and passes with a decent score, if they pass, they are presented with a printable award that can be used to show employers, clients, colleagues and more. It’s worthwhile looking into as this will again, improve your chances of landing a job in the search field. It all contributes.
Getting An SEO Job – Tip #5
Perform tests. Keep track of your implementations and the uplifts that you are experiencing from the result of your actions, this is key. You can bring this collateral to the interviews.
This is everything from uplifts in search ranking due to title changes, content changes, schema markup, effective keyword research using SEMrush or an experiment with a link pyramid strategy that you implemented. Don’t feel as if you can’t discuss black-hat strategies: they probably wouldn’t want you conducting this onto their sites, but they will probably find it impressive as it shows off your dark arts. Remember: they want an SEO champion on their team, talking about this stuff will only increase the likelihood of them remembering you.
If you’ve ever experienced an uplift or something that considerably contributed to the success of one of your personal projects. Log it and frame it.
That’s it, folks, that’s my thoughts on how to get a job in SEO, or to better your chances anyway. Work hard, be passionate and I’m sure that’ll lead you in the right direction moving forward. If you have any questions, or you’d like to discuss something, please do let me know as I always like a friendly chat.