Career Insights: SEO Specialists
SEO Specialists are like persistent detectives waiting patiently for the perfect lead to appear before their eyes. It can be a fast-paced career choice, constantly keeping up with Google’s ever-changing updates and rules—but when it comes to achieving the best results for clients, it takes someone capable of playing the long game.
With results coming to fruition in weeks, months, or even years, SEO Specialists gather as much information as early as possible; researching competitors, keywords, and best strategies to offer clients. Much of what an SEO specialist creates is earned traffic, meaning all the clicks and conversions they facilitate doesn’t come from a paid campaign. The organic traffic is built up over time through their dedicated work, optimizing websites and monitoring analytics.
SEO is a fascinating area of concentration and just one of our many service offerings. We sat down with our SEO Specialists to talk about how they go into their career and what they’ve learned along the way.
How to Get Started with SEO
A strategy revolutionized by Google, SEO is still a fairly new creation in the world of marketing. Many SEO Specialists are people who’ve apprenticed with other professionals and learned the skills of the trade hands-on.
“I actually have a background in HR administration,” Tatiana, one of 9thCO’s SEO Specialists says. “But I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. I started an internship at an agency that specializes in SEO and gained experience that way.”
Online courses are also a fantastic way to get your feet wet in this field. Sean, a more recent addition to 9thCO’s SEO team, says that courses are a huge help. “I completed my Masters in Digital Marketing, but what got me started was taking a free Google Ads course and learning more about Google Analytics.
I found out that SEO is where my interests lie.”
What People Get Wrong
SEO is a waiting game. While specialists are diligently conducting keyword research, building links, and optimizing web pages, results are not immediate.
“People think that if they make a few big changes to their website, they’ll all of a sudden be first on Google,” Sean says. “But you actually need to get a few small things right first—it’s the small things that add up to a significant benefit. You won’t see results right away. It’s definitely a long game.”
In order to gain quality organic traffic, websites need to be optimized overtime in order to build up their brand equity. This is what SEO Specialists are doing on a day-to-day basis through their research and authority building. And keyword research isn’t just about finding the highest ranking keyword; there’s more strategy behind it. Intent is crucial when it comes to finding keywords that are relevant for a given client. Even if a keyword has high-volume, if it doesn’t fit the brand perfectly, it’s not worth using.
“I think another thing people might not understand about SEO is that Google changes without warning, and we have to constantly stay on top of these updates,” Tatiana says. “Larger updates usually come with a warning, but smaller algorithm updates can happen daily without notice. Staying on top of Core Web Vitals and checking in with other professionals is important.”
SEO Updates: What’s Catching Their Eye
As Google is constantly evolving, updating their tools and algorithms, SEO Specialists need to keep their eyes and ears open at all times. So what are some of the current changes that have caught our team’s attention?
“Google Lens has been around for a while,” Tatiana says. “But more recently, it replaced Google Image Search in Chrome. It’s a really fun new update that is great for not only users but for our clients who work in eCommerce.”
The update allows people to use photos to search for relevant objects or information. For example, if you saw a plant that you really want to purchase, but you’re not sure what it’s called, you can search for it by taking a photo. The visual matches will give you purchasing options as well as care instructions and information about the species of plant.
A recent update in Semrush also has SEO Specialists excited. Changes to how keywords are shared allows specialists to better understand their intent. The keywords are now broken up into “buckets.” The categories for keywords are now: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional.
“Going back to how keyword intent is sometimes more important than volume,” Sean says. “This update is crucial for marketers since it helps them gain higher quality leads—matching a searcher’s wants rather than just inundating them with irrelevant results.”
Advice for Future SEO Professionals
Our team of SEO Specialists are constantly learning new tools and adapting to this ever-changing field. So what if you’re interested in becoming an SEO Specialist, or you see a job posting and are not sure if you’re qualified enough?
We asked our team if they have any advice for people who are looking to start in the field or want to upskill, and their advice was promising. Across the board, they agree that taking courses, both paid and free, is paramount. They also suggest following industry professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter, checking their websites regularly, and staying on top of Google updates.
“I think another great thing people can do if they want to gain hands-on experience with SEO is to build their own website and try to rank for keywords,” Sean says. “Add content and remove content. Update headers and titles. Use the information you’ve learned from the courses and apply it to real life. That way, when you apply for a job, you can prove you know your stuff.”
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