Whether you are a sole entrepreneur trying to build your brand or a savvy business professional looking to help others build their brand, search engine optimization is a necessary skill you need to thrive in the online marketing industry .
While you can now learn SEO from a traditional 4-year college degree, it’s still a relatively new niche, and many people would rather get certifications online or learn through experiences with their websites. This article discusses who an SEO expert is, what they do, and the steps to help you become one.
Who is an SEO expert?
Search engine optimization involves optimizing a website to improve online visibility and increase the organic traffic of search engine results pages. Therefore, an SEO expert is a person who has mastered the SEO principles and applies them to achieve higher rankings in search engines.
More than a billion websites compete for attention on the search engine results page for every query. However, SEO experts strive to rank their websites on the first page of Google or other search engines so that they can reach a pool of potential customers online. There is no one-size-fits-all path to becoming an SEO expert, but the steps below are good places to start.
1. Take SEO courses
While certification is not a requirement in most SEO positions, it is important to gain fundamental knowledge of SEO principles through coursework. You’ll learn essential SEO principles, including how search engines work, HTML, and important Google ranking factors to help you use Google algorithms.
The basics above will lead you to more technical aspects of SEO where you will master keywords, content marketing, link building, technical optimization and content optimization. These advanced skills set you apart from other social media workers and guarantee explosive results.
The great thing about taking SEO courses is that you don’t have to invest as much money as you would by earning a traditional degree. They are widely available on social media platforms and massive open online courses (MOOCs) for little or no cost. Below we have put together a number of courses to help you on your way.
2. Practice your SEO skills
Practice makes perfect, indeed. The best way to learn a language is to speak it. Likewise, you can master the SEO principles by constantly applying your skills. You must use your skills diligently even when no recruiter needs your services. You can do this by running your website.
You can test almost anything with your website. The experiments can revolve around content formats, keyword optimization, content lengths, and ultimately link building strategies. This independence gives you the flexibility to learn and make changes without consequences or control by an employer.
On the other hand, running a website is not an easy task. The first disadvantage is that there is no profit in the initial phase. Instead, you will spend more money to fund the cost of owning your website.
Time management and juggling different roles can also be challenging, although you can use time management tips to manage your workload. However, if you are consistent, you will get great results with your website and it can become an afterthought or your main activity in the long run.
3. Develop a portfolio of projects to showcase your work
Assembling your SEO skills into a work portfolio is a great way to track your progress. The projects that make up your portfolio may also include tasks, assignments, and other relevant hands-on experiences you have completed while taking your courses.
When developing your portfolio, be sure to reflect your strengths through your completed projects. Package your achievements to showcase the different SEO strategies you’ve experimented with and their results. Additionally, highlight data and metrics so hiring managers can identify meaningful metrics that indicate your success as an SEO expert.
Even if you haven’t worked as a paid SEO expert before, you can still tailor your portfolio to the SEO challenges you’ve faced, the solutions you’ve used to overcome them, and the results you’ve registered. Aligning your portfolio to a particular SEO niche can also be an indication of your professionalism and expertise to the client or hiring manager.
4. Start freelance or get started as an in-house SEO expert
In addition to working on your website, you can become a freelancer and take on clients. Don’t worry, even if you don’t feel like an expert and you might be a little hesitant when testing other people’s websites.
You must understand that your study of SEO courses and application of the other steps above will put you in a much better position than an average online business owner. The more consistent you become in noticing what works and what doesn’t, the better your expertise.
Alternatively, you can work at an agency or as an in-house SEO. The advantage of this method is that you can learn and grow faster. This speed comes from being surrounded by people who are already adept at SEO. You will be aware of their control, supervision, corrections and guidance.
The skills and advanced SEO knowledge you develop while working as a freelancer or in-house SEO expert will see you move up the business ladder. In no time at all, you’ll be mentoring or even teaching budding SEO specialists from the wealth of knowledge you’ve gathered.
5. Network effectively to get more exposure
Whether you’re running your website or starting out as an in-house SEO expert or freelancer, you should have developed a compelling portfolio to showcase your SEO skills. Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential customers or employers. Engaging your professional community by writing articles for other websites will also drive traffic to your page, help you build links, and raise your professional profile to improve your site’s ranking on Google.
In addition, you need to keep abreast of current industry trends. You can achieve this by networking with other online and offline professionals in the niche of advertising, digital marketing and user experience.
Start a career as an SEO expert
SEO is a rapidly growing field, making digital marketing and SEO skills in high demand. As such, professionals with SEO expertise are incredibly valuable assets for businesses and brands today. Following the steps outlined in this article will get you on your way to becoming an SEO expert.