Career in SEO: Skills Needed, How to Start, How to Get an SEO Job [2020]

The digital revolution has transformed the business world profoundly, especially the field of digital marketing, and has opened up new opportunities as a career in SEO. Entire new toolkits within marketing have emerged, which was unthinkable a couple of decades ago. SEO is one of those vital functions within marketing today that has seen a tremendous push over the last decade, in both the number of SEO job opportunities as well as in their growing critical importance to companies.

First, let us understand – what does SEO do?

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As more and more businesses move online, they are producing even more content daily, and it has become challenging to stand out and gain visibility for your blog or article, especially if you are new in the space. For example, according to techjury, in March 2019, around 4.4 million blog posts were published every day. 

SEO primarily helps a website rank high – by focussing on a two-pronged strategy – entire website, as well as individual webpages for business-relevant keywords when the users ( prospects for the business) type them into the search bar. 

Without visibility, it will become difficult for businesses to reach their target audience, build their brand presence, and attract prospects by building trust and offering a strong value proposition through their website. Hence, a career in SEO will demand you to focus on increasing brand visibility on search engines through organic methods.

How does SEO work?

With SEO career opportunities, you will fundamentally work along with two core principles – developing highly relevant keyword-rich content and generating quality backlinks for the website and the web pages. 

For each keyword that the searcher inputs into the search engine, the search engine has built up an extensive index, ranked in order of relevance to the search query. Thus, when the user enters a search query, the search engine quickly runs through its index and delivers the result immediately. 

For indexation, these search engines rely on crawlers, named so because like a spider, they crawl the entire web directory. As an example, Google Bots crawl the entire web directory for any new content that is added. 

Backlinks help Google bots to quickly discover your content since they crawl into more authoritative sites more frequently. Also, good, organic backlinks are a metric of trust and relevance for your website, which helps to boost the presence and rank accordingly. Hence, getting backlinks from a relevant, authoritative site, are essential aspects of SEO career opportunities.

Also, it is necessary to get backlinks from multiple domains instead of from a few domains only. Quality backlinks can provide a massive boost to your rankings in a quick period, and also provide large amounts of referral traffic from all these different authoritative websites. 

Remember that with a career in SEO, you will need to put in efforts that will take time to build up and start bearing fruit. You need to keep working and convincing the stakeholders concerning your plan and objective. Once you make concerted changes to your website, the search engine will start picking them up, and over some time, it will reflect in your rankings.

Moreover, like SEO, your activities around generating quality content and getting high-quality backlinks are also time-consuming and a painstaking task. Hence, you will need to work with a plan and remain patient.  

Read more: How to Build your SEO Strategy from Scratch

How will your career in SEO create an impact on the business?

With a career in SEO, you will be working on the front lines of the business, helping to shape your business trajectory and growth subtly. Therefore, it also provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the nitty-gritty of business, since your effort will result in improved bottom lines for your business.

Let us understand the marketing funnel:

  • Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
  • Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Search engine optimization aims to get more people at the top of the funnel, by coming to your website and discovering the content for themselves. Ultimately, it will help increase and push more people into MOFU, and BOFU, which will eventually turn into marketing qualified leads then enter into negotiations with your business representatives. Hence, more bottom-line growth will result from the overall efforts that you put in.

Therefore, SEO career opportunities also require you to work closely with the marketing campaign and Conversion Rate Optimization folks at your enterprise to align SEO objectives with the overall marketing plan for the business. 

A career in SEO requires you to work with the content marketing strategy of your business so that your company’s content calendar and content objectives are aligned with the SEO. SEO career opportunities require you to fine-tune your content strategy, which will depend upon your research skills and execution. Even if the company has created outstanding content, it is of no use if it is not getting discoverable on the web. 

You need to drive traffic to your company’s blog/ articles. For this, you will have to understand what keywords are going to be relevant and competitive and how you embed the keywords into the article so that it gets picked up faster and higher in the search engine database. And also, how to rank for competitive keywords and get quality backlinks by tying up with potential partners. 

There are several tools out there to help you grow with your career in SEO here. Semrush, Ahref, Moz are the top ones.

To succeed with so much information, you will need a proper plan and follow up on the same with detailed execution. 

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What skills are needed?

SEO is getting more and more complex as the search engine algorithms are becoming sufficiently advanced. Hence, a career in SEO demands to master multiple skills today. And, companies need their skills more than ever to understand and master how to rank well for relevant keywords. 

First and foremost, you need to be a dynamic learner to keep up with the market trends. Search engines bring out multiple updates within a year and keeping a tab on how they might impact your business is going to be crucial since various updates keep on coming up.

Next, you need to build a strong foundation for yourself in the core SEO skills. You need to understand the nuts and bolts of digital marketing and start developing business acumen. You need to keep an eye out and analyze how the competitors are moving, and research into this is again going to be absolutely sure.

You also need to have a solid grasp of web fundamentals, database technologies, and especially the front end, file management aspects of website management. 

Analytical skills are going to be highly valuable. A career in SEO needs you to understand and work with google analytics and google search console to keep measuring the impact and result of your efforts. You will be working with a lot of information, coming in every day from diverse sources. Hence, you will need analytical skills to not only make sense out of it, but also prioritize the information, and remove the noise from what is going to be essential for your business growth.

A career in SEO will require you to understand the business landscape and perform in-depth competition analysis. Keep a tab to understand the backlink profile that they are building, what are the kinds of content that they are posting and what press releases they are doing. 

Communication skills are critical to growing within an SEO job role. Search engine optimization is about learning the tactics and mapping them to the overall business strategy to create a concerted push. For this, job opportunities in SEO ask for strong and clear communication skills, so that you can work with multiple stakeholders to come up with effective execution of the strategy. 

Job opportunities in SEO also focus on-site audits A site audit will give you an overview of your site’s health – and to identify if there are broken links, redirects on your website, which is taking away your rank equity. A site audit will also help you to assess if the outbound links are broken, which pages of your website are getting high traffic, from which pages the users are bouncing away, and what are top pages among many others.

It will help you to devise appropriate strategies around interlinking, which pages to focus on, what keywords should be targeted, where should the content be written around and how to improve your search engine presence, to boost your organic traffic and ultimately your revenue.

Once you have got a firm grounding in the fundamentals, you need to fuse that with strong applied knowledge by working on real case studies. Thus, with the valuable experience and skillsets, you will be able to make a successful transition to the world of business and marketing.

There are useful publications out there, such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, which you must keep following to remain updated with how latest trends are impacting other businesses, and how to minimize the negative impact of it on your business. 

The search engine algorithms have been growing more sophisticated and smart with rolling out of more advanced. Google updates such as Penguin, Rankbrain, Hummingbird, Pigeon updates, on the back of the advanced neural net, and ever-improving AI technologies, have given search engines a much deeper understanding incorrectly mapping the user intent to search results. 

How can you get started?

Previously, setting up the website for search engine visibility and ranking used to be the domain of website developers and admins. It has changed now with the emergence of SEO as a separate domain and independent practice.

If you are passionate about marketing, blogging, analytics; then this is the right field for you to start with. 

There is excellent growth potential in this practice. As you keep acquiring more skills and build on your business and communication skills, you can expect yourself to become a digital marketing manager over time. A career in SEO also opens up several opportunities in the freelancing space.  

Since SEO is not something taught in the traditional curriculum at universities, the job is the best place to acquire skills and knowledge of the craft. 

SEO industry leaders such as Neil Patel, Brian Dean, Rand Fish, Barry Schwartz, etc. are well renowned for their thought leadership and are considered marketing experts in the modern age. 

Even if you do not come from a science background, it will not be impossible to get an entry in SEO career opportunities. There will be some technical concepts that you will need to master, but that will eventually come to you once you start getting your hands dirty. Our course will give you sufficient grounding in technical concepts that you will need to master SEO, as a complete beginner.  

SEO is an essential aspect within the booming digital marketing market of today, and hence, the market is expected to generate significant SEO career opportunities. With excellent communication, your job will be to work with the stakeholders and get them aligned with your tactics and overall marketing objectives. 

On the web fundamentals aspect, there are important concepts related to database connectivity, file transfer protocols, managing htaccess files that SEO career opportunities ask for. 

Many sites today use WordPress, Joomla, or Wix as content management systems. Our course will teach you how to work using these. You will learn about the plugins that you must integrate to enhance your site’s functionality. 

Learning and being adaptable to changes such as schema markups, accelerated mobile pages, https 2 protocols, international SEO, pagination, etc. are going to be important for delivering a modern and contemporary web experience, while coming up high on the search engine results pages. 

Check out the courses on upGrad, which are taken by industry experts and delivered after close consultation with veterans, to give you a strong head start into careers in SEO. Robust theories are laced with applied case studies to give you a strong grounding and positioning. 

SEO helps to optimize your website or webpage so that your business and brand come out on the top results when users search for relevant keywords. 

Also Read: Digital Marketing Salary in India

Wrapping up

Search engines have brought out several updates, which has made them a whole lot smarter. Since the dynamics of search engine algorithms keep changing, you need to keep your finger on the pulse by reading a lot. SEO career opportunities are on the boom today, and we invite you to check out our well researched and comprehensive courses to walk you through.

If you wish to explore and become an expert in Digital Marketing, check out MICA and upGrad’s Digital Marketing Certificate Program. Become an expert in social media marketing, content marketing, branding, marketing analysis and PR.

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