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Optimize Your Future: 10 In-Depth Tips for a Thriving SEO Career

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The SEO industry is on track to rake in $80 billion in 2020. The industry’s worth has increased year over year since 2016.

As companies increase their spending on SEO, there will be plenty of job opportunities. If you’re thinking about building an SEO career, you might ask how you can make yourself stand out in the field.

We gathered up these 10 tips to give you a deep dive into what it takes to build a thriving career in SEO. Whether you use one or all, they’ll help you on your journey to success.

1. Choose Your Specialization

As you begin thinking about your move into the SEO industry, you’ll want to pick an area of specialization. SEO careers come in many different shapes and sizes. Think carefully about the role you want.

Some titles you may want to consider include:

  • Content Marketer
  • Search Engine Marketer
  • Marketing Analyst
  • SEO Manager
  • Digital Marketer

All of these professionals need a basic working knowledge of SEO, but what they do is quite different. A digital marketer, for example, uses SEO to plan content. A content marketer is actually responsible for the creation of that content.

Both of them need to know how SEO works, but they’ll put that knowledge to different use. The digital marketer, for example, will look at link-building and keyword strategies. The content marketer will look at the design and writing aspects of content.

You don’t have to decide on your path right away, although it can help you direct your efforts. You may want to experiment with different roles as you learn more about search engine optimization.

2. Learn How to Research

Keyword research is the backbone of SEO practice for the foreseeable future.

Researching keywords shows you what’s popular in an industry or geographic area. Someone may think people are searching for “San Diego’s best pizza.” Research will show people search for “best places for pizza san diego” much more often.

Conducting keyword research also means seeing trends and often predicting them too.

Learning how to conduct keyword research requires mastering a few different skills. Some of those skills are using certain tools, like Google Analytics. Other skills including following changes in the way people search.

3. Become a Technical Wizard

Any SEO specialist worth their salt should be able to deal with the technical side of things as well. You may not need to become a master website programmer, but it does help to know some code.

One of the best things you can do to enhance your SEO career is build a website from scratch. This will teach you the backend side of SEO. You’ll be leagues ahead when it comes to enhancing on-page SEO, because you know exactly where to make improvements.

Another example is enhancing site architecture to improve search engine optimization. Search engines’ web crawlers use site maps and other tools to study the structure of your site. Better maps and more logical architecture earn more points with search engines.

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There are other technical skills too. Image optimization can boost SEO, as can using Schema markup. In today’s competitive SEO industry, these skills help candidates like you stand out.

4. Master the Art of Outreach

Another key for anyone following an SEO career path is to master the art of outreach.

What is outreach? It’s how many SEO experts land great backlinks for their websites. It’s crucial to the success of a link-building strategy.

If you’ve ever wondered how businesses get key industry bloggers to link to them, the answer is outreach. The SEO expert reaches out to someone at these sites to see if they can get a link back to the site they want to improve.

The first step in good outreach is knowing who to contact, and which sites build credibility. The next step is knowing how to approach the decision-makers at the other end. Why should they choose you over the other people requesting backlinks from them?

The art of the pitch is necessary to learn. You’ll also want to focus on relationship building with bloggers and influences. It’s a wise idea for anyone considered a career in SEO to start cultivating that network as soon as possible.

5. Get Some SEO Career Coaching

If you want to succeed in SEO, one thing you can do is turn to someone who’s already a respected name in the biz. Find a mentor or SEO coach, and ask them to help you build the skills you’ll need to succeed.

Mentoring or coaching often focuses more on soft skills. These include your communication skills and your ability to manage client expectations. Your mentor should also test your problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

A mentor or coach is someone you can keep in your SEO network. They may also be able to introduce you to other professionals, and they may even be able to help you land a job.

6. Know Your History

As an SEO marketing specialist, you need to know where the industry has been. It may not seem important to learn about old strategies or Google updates, but knowing the history of the field is helpful for a few reasons.

First, it will help you impress other SEOs experts who have been in the field longer. Knowing your SEO history shows respect for the industry and its evolution. With a good understanding of SEO history, you’ll know why things are the way they are.

Learning SEO history also helps you identify tactics that are outdated or considered taboo. Keyword stuffing, for example, was once rampant in the industry. Google now punishes it, and most SEO professionals frown on it, even though it’s easy to do.

Finally, learning some history could help you predict where the industry is going. Studying trends and patterns is an analytical skill you’ll use to predict keywords and the popularity of different content forms. Applying those same analytical skills to the SEO industry itself will help you understand where it’s going.

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7. Learn the Tools of the Trade

You probably guessed that you’d need to learn some new software and apps, and you’re right. There are hundreds of different tools available.

Check into which tools are considered essential. SEO experts will swear by some tools, and you’ll want to master one in each category. You’ll want a great tool for keyword research, another for website analysis, and a third for crawling.

Once you’ve mastered essentials like Google Analytics, you can experiment and find which tools you like best.

Keep in mind that you may be required to learn a wide variety of different tools for different companies. Being adaptable is one of the hallmarks of a great SEO professional.

8. Hone Your Writing Skills

If you ask almost any San Diego SEO expert, they’ll tell you that writing is part and parcel of an SEO professional’s job.

You may not think you’ll be writing all that much, unless you’re interested in becoming a content marketer. The truth is that SEO experts of all stripes have to write. Whether you’re working on product descriptions or preparing a proposal, crafting compelling copy is crucial.

That’s why it’s a good idea to start honing your writing skills now. Get some tutoring or find a writing coach. Study examples of great copy to discover what works and what doesn’t.

You can even try your hand at writing some by crafting your own website or volunteering to help a local charity.

9. Understand Good and Bad Links

As an SEO professional, you need to have a good understanding of links and how they build credibility and improve ranking.

Outreach isn’t the only important part of a link-building strategy. You also need to be able to discern good links from bad links. That applies to organic links and non-editorial links as well.

You’ll also need to be able to manage the link profile of any sites you work on, especially if there are “bad” organic links returning to your site. With these skills, you’ll be able to improve link profiles and boost SEO.

10. Be Prepared to Keep Learning

Perhaps the most essential tip for a budding SEO professional is to be prepared to keep learning. The SEO industry has come a long way in a short time, and it’s going to continue changing and evolving.

That’s the reason SEO professionals like you should be ready to keep learning. With this job, there’s always going to be a new skill or technique to master. That’s part of the thrill of SEO.

Stay up to Date with the SEO Industry

These ten tips will help you build a better SEO career right out of the gate. By going beyond the basics and diving deep, you’ll have the skills you need to carry you forward for years to come.

The SEO industry is constantly evolving. Keep up to date with the latest exciting trends by checking out more of our informative articles.