How to start and boost your SEO career: Directions and tips

Find out what to do when you just start your career path and how to gain skills that will move your career forward. 

Search engine optimization remains one of the key marketing solutions for most businesses – it’s a source of free traffic and relevant leads that ultimately bring profit.

Most of the overall traffic comes from organic search. It means that this field remains an awesome opportunity for specialists in digital marketing. Discover how you can get the most out of the SEO career and which SEO skills you need to stay on top of your game.

How do you get started with an SEO career?

You can choose different paths and directions when pursuing a career in SEO. Yet, the learning curve starts with the same three steps you should take despite the SEO vacancy you eventually choose. 

1) Take a course and get certification

Learning as much as possible is the first step in becoming a professional. Start with courses that offer certifications — it will also help you build an attractive CV. Coursera, Talented Ladies and HubSpot are among the best places to start. Such courses usually offer easy-to-navigate platforms that make learning easier and more interactive. 

2) Create your own site

Building and optimizing a personal website will initially give you the practice needed. This website project also can get in the professional portfolio for your CV. Use basic search engine optimization tools for monitoring website performance and optimizing it for search results.

To quickly see a website’s keyword ranking positions in Google, try an online SEO solution called SE Ranking Rank Tracker. A good rule is regularly tracking your rankings, identifying keywords and pages worth focusing on, and adjusting your SEO strategy according to the website performance data.

You’ll also need to connect Google Analytics and Google Search Console to your SEO Ranking account to receive a fresh website statistics report daily.

3) Join SEO communities

There are plenty of communities you can join on the topics that interest you the most. It can be a free Slack network or a paid membership. Such communities are your chance to land first clients, gain knowledge from other SEO professionals, ask for advice, and promote yourself as a specialist. You can look through the most suitable SEO communities and choose the ones that suit your needs the most. 

What are the main SEO career paths?

Before pursuing an SEO career path, make sure it aligns with your personal goals. Then, create a professional development plan for the next 1-3-5 years. Let’s see what opportunities SEO has to offer. 

Junior SEO Specialist/Analyst

The goal of the specialist is to drive more high-quality traffic to the client’s website. That’s why the main job of such specialists revolves around analyzing and reviewing website performance and making changes that impact search engines. 

SEO strategist

Search engine optimization strategists must have a more advanced set of skills, as their job is to build strategies and align them with the client’s goals. This also requires adjusting the strategy, communicating with the clients and the team, and being responsible for an overall result. 

Senior SEO manager 

Senior SEO managers are concerned with traffic and revenue and have the power to make all the necessary changes to align with the company’s goals. Such professionals build holistic strategies and execute them. 

Head of SEO

Such specialists closely work with stakeholders and other directors to define further development directions in terms of traffic. Their goals are to look for opportunities, identify points for improvement and drive strategic changes. 

Best ways to improve your performance

Once you’ve been in the game for a while, you should know that the field requires continuous education on the newest trends. We’ve collected tips to help you elevate your digital marketing career.

1) Prioritize high-quality content

You can have all the technical knowledge in the world, but the content remains the king that rules the game. Prioritizing high-quality content will ensure you’re not wasting your efforts on a strategy that fails once your visitors realize your content is just a set of stuffed keywords and marketing fluff.

In marketing, high-quality content answers the user’s query: it should be helpful, concise, educational, and easy to read. Make sure you discover the search intent before crafting content, use proper formatting techniques and authoritative resources for the research, and add different media types to your content. 

2) Become a guru in technical SEO

A search engine optimization professional knows everything about search engines and how they work. They also know that Google will not make your content visible if it’s not user-friendly. To build a career in SEO, you must be aware of all technical aspects. The most important ones are site speed, mobile adaptation, understanding of JavaScript, XML sitemap, and AMP. 

3) Understand user intent

When users type in any search request, what is their goal? Are they searching for general information or want to make a quick purchase? Surely, it depends on what stage of the buyer’s journey the user is at, and you need to understand which need you cover with the content you offer.

The best way here is to look for relevant keywords and phrases — you can define the focus topic you want to write about and find top SEPR results. That’s where visitors find their answers, and that’s one of the ways to understand user intent. 

4) Select KPIs to track wisely

Driving successful digital marketing campaigns is only possible with clear KPIs. As KPIs define your actions, closely examine your strategic plans and set objectives corresponding to the main goals. Universal and critical KPIs include search visibility and organic traffic conversions. Other metrics, such as ROI, backlinks, or indexed pages, can be tracked only if they align with some of your specific goals. 

5) Use SEO forecasting

Forecasting is a method that can give you insights into how well your future search engine optimization campaigns may perform. It aggregates data from the past and gives predictions based on existing data (like click-through, keyword volume, etc.). It’s your way to set realistic goals for your strategy and be aware of possible issues and opportunities. 

6) Build partnerships for link building

Link building allows your website to drive more traffic by promoting its backlinks on external domains. As it is a high-working solution, businesses can partner with other websites to build a network and high-quality relationships. This approach allows SEO professionals to get high-value DR links and a higher response rate. 

Pursue a successful SEO career

Once you understand that you want to become an SEO professional, many opportunities open up in front of you. Focus on setting a personal development strategy from the very start to stay on top of your digital marketing game and get the most out of it.

Education in this field always continues, really, as you need to look after trends and changes from Google, adjusting your strategy accordingly. Make sure you understand which path you’re pursuing and gain skills accordingly.