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Becoming an SEO Specialist is no walk in the park, but it is definitely a fulfilling career choice.
Personally it offers a lot of creative freedom while challenging your analytical and critical thinking skills. If you want to know how to be an SEO Specialist this guide will run you through the basics.
SEO Career Specializations
The title "SEO Specialist" is a broad term. There are plenty of career specializations in the industry, such as:
A Technical SEO Specialist focuses on the technical aspect of SEI, such as optimizing loading speed, improving web design, and making a website more convenient for search engine crawlers.
This specialization will often require you to have intimate knowledge of web development so freelance web designers and developers are a good fit for this position.
This specialist monitors and improves everything that can be optimized on a website, such as a website's speed, UX design, title tags, content, and internal links.
This specialization requires critical-thinking, keen eye to detail, and plenty of patience, as you'll often be split-testing and working on the minute aspects of a website.
Content SEO or Content Marketer
This specialist focuses on the meaty part of SEO - content. Their tasks range from content ideation to keyword research to content creation itself.
Content SEO often goes hand-in-hand with On-Page SEO, so a Content Marketer with On-Page SEO background is much preferred by employers. Content Marketers need to have great communication skills and able to adjust to various communication tones and styles.
A Link Builder or Link Building Specialist focuses more on off-site duties, specifically promoting website and its contents around the Internet to gather high-quality back links.
Some of their duties involve prospecting for link opportunities and reaching out for mentions and shout outs to relevant websites and blogs.
Link builders need to be adept at spreadsheets (Google Sheets or Excel) and possess great communication skills because you'll be emailing and talking to plenty of link prospects.
Are SEO Specialists happy?
For any professionals today, it's necessary to have a job that enhances your career path and personal growth. So if you're wondering, would I be satisfied as an SEO expert, career and personal-wise? The answer is YES.
Joe Pych, CEO of Bionic Advertising Systems, surveyed 601 professionals in the digital marketing field about their satisfaction with their job in the modern industry. He discovered that 78.4% of these professionals were satisfied with their current occupations.
Pych deduced that the people involved in the business - colleagues and other professionals alike - are monumental factors to this satisfaction. The extensive possibility for innovation also adds to the happiness factor.
Can an SEO Specialist work from home?
Well, that depends. A work-from-home (WFH) or remote work setup is possible if you're working as a freelancer or if you're working for an international company.
Most BPO companies in the Philippines still require their employees to work in the office, though. It's best to ask your local employer if a WFH condition is possible, especially now that the Telecommuting Act is in effect.
You have the highest chance of being able to work from home if your employer is from another country (outsourcing) or if you own an SEO business and therefore have complete control over your work schedule and location.
How To Become An SEO Specialist
1. Prepare your resume and cover letter.
When creating your resume, it's important to highlight your experience and skills-focused solely on SEO, not just background or knowledge.
As an SEO professional, you need to highlight what area of expertise. The hiring manager should be able to grasp your specialty when he or she scans your resume.
Before you make your resume, decide on a specialization first. Indicating expertise is more impressive than claiming to be a jack of all trades.
To help you create a killer resume that gets you hired in a jiffy, here are five resume-making tips to keep in mind:
On your header, lay down your most impressive and personal details.
Under your name, you can include "Technical and Hubspot-Certified SEO specialist." You're claiming here that you're an expert in Technical SEO, and you've got a certification from a known company to back that up.
Next, include the other small-but-still-important details such as your contact number, email address, your current address, and a link to your professional LinkedIn profile or your website.
Detail your work experience. The more quantifiable your work experience is, the better.
Which one sounds more credible to you?
"Wrote content that brought a huge volume of visitors to the client's website"
"Developed SEO-friendly content for client's websites that drove a 30% increase in their organic traffic"
It's the second one, isn't it? That's because you've got the numbers to back up your claim. It's the facts that would make the hiring manager swoon over your resume.
When listing your work experience, don't be shy to be as detailed as possible.
Include the relevant skill set for your resume.
Review the job post carefully. Most times, employers include what skills and experiences they're looking for in an SEO Expert. When you see them, include those in your resume.
If the job post didn't indicate the employer's required skills, you can always refer to our list above.
List as many relevant certifications you have as you can.
Certificates aren't required, but they're great proof of your expertise in your chosen specialization. Nonetheless, remember to list only the relevant ones in your resume.
Use clutter-free design for your resume.
You want to present a resume that's easy to scan. A minimalist or clutter-free resume with the right choice of colors and font style with enough white space can do the job for you.
If you need inspiration or easy-to-edit templates, you can use these SEO specialist sample resumes:
Tips On Writing Cover Letters
You'll also need to create a cover letter, which is a more detailed version of your resume with a more personalized feel to it.
A cover letter usually starts with a brief introduction, how you found the job post, and how you believe you're the perfect candidate for the job.
Then, proceed with backing up that claim with your years (or months) of experience in the SEO industry. Take the details you've listed in your resume and discuss them further here. What are the tasks you've performed for your previous employer? What results have you brought to your clients? How did you accomplish them?
Newbie Tip: If you don't have years of experience, jump straight to results. Your results carry more weight than the time you spent doing SEO. You could spend a decade in SEO and only know how to build directory links and web 2.0s, or you could spend 6 months and already know how to rank for local terms.
Next, describe the skills you can bring to the company. You can also discuss your educational background and certifications to support your application.
You can also provide sample solutions and strategies for the client whenever applicable. This way, you could prove that you've got the knowledge and capabilities to handle the job.
As the final touch, provide the employer with contact details and your willingness for more questions and clarifications about your application. Once done, express your gratitude for their time, and you're good to go!
You can use these cover letter templates for your personal use. Remember to edit them to make your cover letter speak your eligibility on your behalf:
Spruce up your Linked In profile! Not only will an optimized profile bring in organic views, it's a good complement to your resume and CV as well!
2. Take an SEO Specialist Training Course for your certification.
Whether you're looking to polish more your killer SEO skills, or you're looking to jumpstart your career in the field, here are the best online SEO courses you can take. Some of these also come with certificates!
SEO Training Philippines also has an online course brewing up for SEO professionals like you. The course will tackle fundamentals in the industry - keyword research, on-page and off-page SEO, Google tools, and the whole nine SEO yards.
You'll also get a one-on-one consultation with a proven SEO mastermind and exclusive access to a members-only Facebook group. How cool is that?
3. Take an SEO Specialist exam.
These are unofficial SEO Specialist tests, but hey, it never hurts to prepare before proving to companies that you're their next SEO rockstar.
Our own SEO training comes with a final assessment to see if you are equipped adequately to take on the role of an SEO Specialist. The passing rate is 70% and only those who passed will be given a Certificate of Accomplishment. You can take the final assessment anytime.
4. Apply to Job Listings or Find Clients
Once you are certified, you can now look for clients. The easiest way to do this is to apply for work through job portals like Online Jobs PH or Upwork.
Our training course focuses on building an SEO business and includes a module on how to generate clients.
5. Ace the interview.
Whether you're applying for a company or as a freelancer, you'll need to make a lasting first impression during your interview.
During the interview, you can expect the common get-to-know-you questions, such as what's your work experience, what are your strengths and weaknesses, why should we hire you, that kind of stuff.
You can also expect more technical and SEO-specific questions during the interview. Here are some of the common SEO specialist interview questions you may encounter:
Q1: What is your definition of SEO success?
There are different ways to tell if your SEO efforts are successful. It could be an increase in website traffic, successful conversion of visitors to customers, or ranking at the top for a particular keyword.
It's best to review the company you're applying for to get an idea of their goals and narrow down your answer.
Q2: Tell me about your keyword research strategy.
First, what tool do you use for keyword research? Identify that and describe how you use that tool to find keyword phrases that are specific yet promises good traffic and less competition.
Once you've got a list of potential keyword phrases, use a tool or a spreadsheet to organize them.
Q3: What SEO tools do you usually use for checking backlinks?
Here are the commonly-used tools for checking backlinks:
Q4: Run me through your website optimization strategy.
The first step is to assess the current quality of the website. Depending on the analysis, you can do A/B tests on web copy, images, web design, and more.
Assess the result of the new strategy to see if it works. If it doesn't, review the site's data and see which areas need improvement.
Q5: What black hat SEO practices should you avoid?
Some of the practices Google penalizes are keyword stuffing, buying links, poor content quality, and plagiarizing content.
Q6: What's the difference between SEO and SEM?
SEM is almost the same as SEO, except the former focuses on paid marketing opportunities, such as pay-per-click ads.
Q7: What factors in SEO are beyond your control as a specialist?
The way Google ranks your page is one major factor you can't control as an SEO specialist, especially for young sites.
It's the job of the marketing department to work on encouraging more people to link back to your site or share your content, which helps build your authority and a positive image over search engines.
Q8: How can you implement SEO for videos?
You can upload a transcript of the video so search engines can crawl the text.
6. Finally, equip yourself with the right tools.
Aside from the software you use, your workspace should have the correct gears and gadgets to make sure your workday can be as productive as possible.
Here's a quick list of the things I find useful in my workspace.
If you're looking to dive into the digital marketing industry that promises career growth, lucrative benefits, and steady demand in the field, look no further than the title of an SEO Specialist.
It doesn't matter if you're a newbie or a veteran in the SEO field. There are plenty of resources and courses you can use to broaden your knowledge for developing successful SEO strategies in no time.
Despite the promising career waiting at the end of the line, you must also be ready to face the array of roles, responsibilities, and challenges waiting for you. But, if you practice your analytical, communication, decision-making, and versatility skills, and rely on your solid background of SEO practices, then you've got nothing to worry about.
SEO is an evolving industry. As long as you know how to keep up with its trends and innovations, you'll have no problem being an outstanding SEO Specialist. Keep an open mind, be adaptive to changes, practice the information you've gained here, and you're all set!