June 10 2016 - Being an SEO professional I often share tips on website optimization, but recently one of my friends asked me what should students do if they want to have a positive career in SEO after their graduation? Well, a decade ago when I joined this industry there were not many SEO courses and certifications but now there are plenty of courses that can give newcomers a fair idea about the SEO industry. However, the question is whether a formal education on digital marketing impresses the HR? Besides, a course can only teach you a few basic principles, but what makes you successful in the real world?
Starting the career
In this article, I will try to answer the questions most aspiring SEO professionals have in their mind and help them understand how they can be ready to face the challenges in this dynamic industry.
Will it enhance your chances in the SEO job market if you have a degree in digital marketing or information technology? Certainly, it will keep you ahead of the other job aspirants, but a degree is not enough. Here are a few things that actually help you impress the managers in SEO companies.
Your real skill set: An SEO ninja is a person who is the jack of all trades. Instead of hiring a so called "educated" person, SEO agencies prefer someone who has a clear grasp of the SEO basics, can code HTML, write content if necessary, and effortlessly handles clients' demands.
Ability to face clients: SEO is a desk based job, but client meeting is something that you have to handle every day and some of them can be very stubborn about ROI. Hence, you must have a pleasant personality and should be able to talk in jargon free language to retain the fussy clients.
Experience: This may sound like a catch-22 situation. After all, without a job you can't have any experience and without experience no SEO company Utah may consider to give you a shot. So, what is the solution? You may not have handled any SEO projects for any client yet, but you can surely try for an internship or build a blog to prove your mettle. As long as you can show some hands on experience, you have a chance to impress the HR person.
Certifications: There is no doubt that certifications matter a lot when it comes to proving your knowledge. Google offers a wide range of certificates for various SEO courses and you should invest your time and money in them to secure a job in any reputed SEO firm.
Steady interest in the industry: You must have a clear idea about the things happening in the industry. Read the blogs of SEO leaders and try to acquire knowledgefrom their experiences. You can surely impress the interviewer if you tell him that you are familiar with the articles posted in Moz or Search Engine Land.
Is SEO the right career for you?
Are you sure that you want to be an SEO expert? It is a challenging profession and you should be aware of the pros and cons before dedicating your life to the world of search engine optimization.
New things to learn: As SEO is a dynamic field, almost every month new techniques of optimization surfaces to keep up with the algorithm changes made by Google. Therefore, your life is never boring. You get to learn new things quite frequently and take your career to a new level.
Seniority does not matter: It is one of the rarest fields where position and seniority don't matter as long as you have a solid idea. If you have a better idea to optimize a client website and your strategy works, then the manager will approve your plan instead of your team lead.
Fly all over the world: A reputed SEO expert handles international clients and takes part in seminars throughout the globe. In the early days you may not get the opportunity to go abroad, but after a few years in a famous SEO agency you can surely expect at least a couple foreign tours to meet new clients or give a lecture in a seminar.
Clients have impractical expectations: This is the biggest disadvantage of a career in search engine optimization. When you handle multiple websites in the same niche, every client expects that his website will rank number 1 on SERP. They think that a couple of months is enough the replace the dominant players in the industry and bring their site on top for the targeted keywords. Explaining to them how SEO works and why it is a time consuming process can be a tiresome task, but you have to do it every day.
Minimal chance to gain managerial position: Your SEO skills will not help you earn a managerial post in the company. You can be the team lead or the project lead, but when it comes to selecting the manager, stakeholders prefer to select someone with MBA and years of experience in client management.
Clash with other departments: There can be web development and content development departments in your company and it is always challenging to work with these two teams cohesively. You must convince the developers and writers that SEO starts from the web development stage and only the right keywords can boost the rank of a website. Instead of starting an argument, you must appreciate their work and then explain how you are trying to enhance their work, not trying to steal the spotlight.
Like every other profession, SEO has its own share or pros and cons. As long as you ready to take challenges on a daily basis and eager to learn new technology as well as tools till the time of retirement, this is the right type of job for you. I hope I have answered your doubts and queries in this post, however, if you still have some questions about your SEO career, feel free to ask in the comments section.
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