Do You Have What It Takes for a Career in SEO?

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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:

Be. Adaptable.

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!

Manish Pandey is an internet marketing consultant and helps small business owners in building a successful business online. His link building strategies can help you gain links easily.

Photo courtesy of BigStock.

6 Comments

  • November 21, 2012

    Greg

    Great post Manish! I really enjoyed it. I’m working as Online Marketing Executive, so SEO is big part of what I’m doing. I liked also your post about Link building strategies. My problem with SEO – it’s should be more transparent. Sometimes you could spend a few hours or even days doing something and by the end of day you are never sure if you get expected results. But who said is going to be easy :)

    • November 26, 2012

      Manish Pandey

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for your kind words. Well that’s what is the challenge of SEO. You keep doing a few set of things before you see any change, and then you do some other set of things to get the desired results.

  • December 10, 2012

    Bhavik Patel

    Nice Post Manish and am sharing this post around 20 peoples

    • December 17, 2012

      Manish Pandey

      Thanks Bhavik. I hope to see you blog as well and improve your writing skills.

  • December 19, 2012

    Matt M

    Great article! I am currently finishing up my degree in digital marketing and SEO is a big part of what I have been learning, it can be overwhelming seeing how much the algorithms change and not knowing what to do next. It takes a lot of patience and work and you might not know if the work you put in did anything because it all happens behind the scenes and the next day you could be on a new page but you do not know what backlinks you made were the most beneficial for you.
    This article was reassuring in knowing that not just me, someone who is very new to SEO, can mess up stuff just like someone who is a ‘professional’

  • March 30, 2013

    John Smyth

    Great article, being ready for change is a massive thing. I’ve seen all my sites that I built over 2 years from 2010 slapped due to black hat tactics, but I get back on the foot of the ladder, assess Google’s changes and start again. Giving up should not be an option or you will never succeed.