How to Become a SEO Specialist

With the growing influence of search engines like Google and Bing, careers in the field of search engine optimization, or SEO, are booming.

SEO specialists are consultants who have a deep comprehension of the ever-changing search engine algorithms. They can be hired by any individual or business with a website to help that site rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Considering the fact that 75% of consumers never scroll past the first page of search results, SEO is imperative to the success of a website.

Are you interested in a career in the world of search engine optimization? Read on to find out how you can become an SEO specialist.

What Is an SEO Specialist?

Do you feel like you have a knack for the internet, web design, and marketing? Then SEO is a great field for you.

These are the general responsibilities of an SEO specialist:

  • Keep up with the ever changing algorithms

    Google and other search engines have a wide array of factors that go into search engine rankings. An SEO specialist must have an understanding of these factors and how to keep up with new updates.

    For example, mobile searches recently exceeded desktop searches for the first time. Google responded by rolling out a mobile first influence on its ranking algorithm. Now, mobile friendly websites rank higher than those designed exclusively for desktop viewing.

  • Have a keen eye for website analysis

    While most SEO specialists did not design the site they are consulting on, they must have an understanding of web design. They need to know how the website is influencing visitor traffic and SEO. Slow loading pages, for example, rank lower on the SERPs.

    They also must recognize other SEO influencers, like keywords and backlinks, and how they can be improved upon to optimize the site.

  • Content design and creation

    Search engines love content, and SEO specialists need to know what kind of content a website needs to rank higher. Content includes graphics, blogs, strategic use of keywords, videos, and more.

  • Understanding the client’s needs

    An SEO specialist must be able to understand the product or service offered by the websites they are consulting on. This will help them target the appropriate demographic, find the right keywords, and come up with beneficial content.

    SEO isn’t always an overnight results kind of field, so a great relationship with clients is helpful. An ability to guide them through the process with analytics, data, and clear set goals will help reassure them of your expertise along the way.

  • Information technology understanding

    SEO is an IT-meets-marketing field at heart, so a background in HTML, website building or programming is a helpful basis. An SEO specialist must have a comprehension of all operating platforms to be the most capable of getting results.

  • Analytics

    As we mentioned above, analytics are key to your relationship with clients. You must be able to gather all relevant data and track results of your optimization. Plus, you must know how to pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

    Get familiar with Google Analytics. You can’t be an SEO specialist without an understanding of the numbers. Google Analytics is extremely helpful when it comes to tracking the behavior and demographic of visitors to your site.

How Can You Become an SEO Specialist?

Now that you have a better understanding of what the job entails, you can take these steps to learn more about SEO and become an expert in the field.

Go Straight to the Source

While it is nearly impossible to know every detail of the SERP algorithm, you can find a ton of information straight from Google. Their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is full of extremely helpful information.

Study that whether you’re brand new to SEO or to refresh your understanding and insight of what Google needs to put your site on top.

Check Out the SEO Community

There are several great online publications, like Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land that are dedicated to reporting updates and other helpful information about SEO.

Follow these and the Clever Plugins Blog for strategies, news, and more. An SEO specialist must always know what’s happening in their field to be the best at their job.

Take Action

There are several courses and certification programs out there if you want a formal education in the field of SEO.

However, you can build an expertise on your own if you have the right skill set and motivation.

We recommend taking action by developing a niche site and doing some SEO experiments to get a first-hand understanding of how to get results.

Hands-on learning is incredibly valuable. It will allow you to gain expertise, work through mistakes, and apply your knowledge on your own time before taking on clients.

Tweak ranking factors and meticulously track the results to deepen your understanding of SEO. For example, see how a change in content, even something as seemingly small as a particular keyword in a page title, affects your rankings.

Develop a Plan

As an SEO specialist, your action plan is your product. You must develop a plan that you can present to potential clients to convince them that you’re the right person to hire.

Your plan should include a diagnosis phase to discover what is and isn’t working on their website.

First, drop any negatively impactful factors on the site. For example, look for keyword stuffing, broken links, and slow loading pages.

Next, you should have a broad game plan for improvement. Emphasize that this will be customized based on the particular client and their goals.

Third, your plan should promise data analysis so that you and your client can track results. You can’t always promise particular results (because of the fact that you can’t control the competition). You can, however, promise specific improvements.

There You Have It!

We hope this article gave you a better understanding of what SEO specialists do, and how to become one if you’re interested in the field.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

For further reading, check out this post on the 6 SEO fundamentals that everyone should use.

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