This is a guest post by Manish Pandey.
If you’re dreaming of a career in SEO, I have two words of advice for you:
Seriously, if you don’t have the ability to change course on a dime, the SEO world is going to make your life miserable. That’s because Google changes its algorithm, on average, once a day. According to Matt Cutts, sometimes changes happen even more frequently than that! Take February 2012 for example. In just 29 days, the Google algorithm underwent 40 changes!
Not every change is earth-shattering, but whenever a big algorithm change comes out (like Panda or Penguin), a bunch of Chicken Little types run around squawking about the death of SEO. According to them, SEO should have died at least half a dozen times since the turn of the millennium!
Clearly, though, no one in the business world is listening to them. That’s because the demand for SEO professionals has never been higher. According to a recent study by Shareaholic, there were 528,000 job listings on LinkedIn in July 2012 with “SEO” either in the title or the description. That’s more than double the amount in July 2011!
The truth is, if you want to have a career in SEO, you can have a very bright future – whether you work for a big firm or jump directly into the deep end of the pool and start up your own agency.
OK, so it isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago, when you could get clients’ websites to rank in a couple of days and look like a genius. However, if you keep these dos and don’ts in mind, you can become one of SEO’s shining stars:
DO start by figuring out why your clients deserve to be #1
Google is big on “value”. If your client’s website doesn’t offer any value to its visitors, all of the fancy SEO techniques in the world aren’t going to help.
DON’T focus on short gains
Think of SEO like building a house. Sure, you could probably slap something together that may look OK at a passing glance, but will that house actually be able to hold its own against a hurricane (or even an afternoon thunderstorm)?
The same goes for your clients’ websites. Instead of focusing on the latest trends (that may or may not still be “in style” a few months from now), focus on building a solid foundation that will be there for you years from now.
DO resist the urge to go overboard
People are paying you a lot of money to do what you do, so you owe it to them to make a ton of changes, right?
Not if those changes are the wrong ones!
For example, if you shove that awesome-wonderful-can’t-miss keyword you discovered into every nook and cranny of your client’s website, you’re going to do a whole lot more harm than good. After all, the days of keyword stuffing are long gone. Google’s spiders are too smart to fall for that now. Instead, you’ve got to figure out how to legitimately blend that keyword in with all kinds of other useful content. (Remember, it all goes back to “value”!)
DON’T work in a bubble
If you don’t keep up with all of the latest news and developments, you’re going to wind up behind the curve – and your clients are going to wind up behind their competitors. It won’t take long for you to wind up out of business!
Remember, Google changes things up every day. While most of those changes will go unmentioned, you’ve got to keep your ear to ground, so that you won’t be caught off-guard when something big comes along.
DO embrace new technology
It’s fine to have tried and true techniques that you rely on. However, the last thing you want is to become one of SEO’s dinosaurs – you know, the ones who have their heyday roaming around as one of the “big guys”, and then wind up extinct. No matter what, you always need to have one eye pointed towards the future.
After all, there were once SEO professionals who thought “Tweeting” was a ridiculous idea (and an even more ridiculous name) that would never catch on! For their sakes, I hope they got over that notion quickly!
DON’T ever stop working
No one around you will. SEO is the classic “what have you done for me lately” industry. The rankings your clients have today could be gone tomorrow – whether it’s due to yet another algorithm change, a competitor’s video that just went viral, or a less-than-honest competitor who has decided to spend all of his time bombarding them with “negative SEO”.
It doesn’t mean that you have to become a workaholic in order to succeed in SEO. However, it means that you’ve got to make the most out of every single second of your work week. If you aren’t a self-starter who can get things done without a boss standing over your shoulder all the time, forget about being successful!
If you’re looking for a job where you can prop your feet up on your desk and kill time for 40 hours a week, this isn’t it! Your clients are going to depend on you to develop their online presence. For many of them, the exposure you get for them will make or break their business. You owe them your very best effort!
Photo courtesy of BigStock.