How to get started & stay up-to-date in the SEO industry
How did you first get started in SEO? What drew you towards this career path?
@jpsherman In ’98 was US Army PSYOP & was responsible for information dissemination (malaria, land mines, etc) on internet taught myself.
@MatthewAYoung Honestly, I say down one day in 09 and was like, how can I make a career of messing around on the Internet?
@Tinu By accident. I made a bet with two friends about early Google. I won the bet (had to do with getting a new site to rank. I was working at the IT help desk for the IMF at the time. Later switched over to the SEO side of reputation management. Worked for a lot of brands. Saturn, MGM Mirage- I worked at the Starbucks in DC where the shooting was in the 90s too.
@iankeir1 I first started at the suggestion of a friend. I love how it’s always changing, and things are new and fresh each day.
@KeelyMajor My amazing internship at @DragonSearch 💁🏼 thanks to all who inspired me
@NicoleBlack414 First job out of college. Did writing and editing for a local SEO company for 2.5 years.
@PeterThistle Worked at a company called Net Nanny, an early internet filter – became interested in how language is processed programatically.
@scott_phillips_ When I started building websites for clients
@LauraLeeSEO ~10 years ago, first job out of college. Started #SEO team with my boss at WebMD — just the 2 of us.
@GetDoneDone We were really proud of our content, and wanted to make sure it reached the people who would be interested in it.
I’m hearing a lot of people mention right out of college. Is SEO something that was taught in your classes?
@LauraLeeSEO HA no. I was English/Spanish student in college =) Just happened to land in #SEO world
@iankeir1 nope, history major in college. came into #seo when i was looking for a new job
@jpsherman Biology/ Anthro major in college – accidentally fell into SEO – however, the science part really does help w/ experimentation.
@MatthewAYoung I have a masters in creative writing and wasn’t even aware of what SEO was, until I found content. But no, it wasnt a course offered. I pitched an SEO class to a local college once, but they were lukewarm on the idea.
@NicoleBlack414 Definitely not. I didn’t even know what SEO was until a month or two into the job. So I made a few mistakes at first.
@KeelyMajor As a current college student, SEO is mentioned in books but never talked about in class #disappointing
@GetDoneDone No, but it should be standard for anyone who wants to get into web copy.
@scott_phillips_ When i graduated from college SEO hadn’t quite been invented yet
How did you learn SEO? Internship, job training, mentor, course, on your own?
@GetDoneDone On the job training, which was been so helpful. Getting real-life experience is key to understanding SEO. Love hearing where we all learned from. Now, it’s almost like if you don’t know it, you can’t survive/thrive with content.
@LauraLeeSEO On the job testing/trail & error, conferences and seminars, and mentors! But mostly tests, trial and error.
@jpsherman Learned seo on my own at first, but first SEO job was at an agency – where I had luminaries like @jennyhalasz teach me.
@iankeir1 I did a lot of reading and was lucky to get offered a chance by this great agency @DragonSearch. Also, had a lot of great mentors @CaitlinBoroden @jacquesbouchard @Sonray just to name a few.
@MatthewAYoung At first tinkering, but I had the privilege of working for @BruceClayInc for a handful of years once upon a time.
@Tinu In the beginning I was completely self taught- read things, did experiments. But then I started going to conferences.
@NicoleBlack414 I learned a lot at work, but the scope of my task was so narrow that I really had to get out there and read a lot to learn more.
You meet an aspiring SEO. What advice do you give them to get started?
@LauraLeeSEO I’d tell them what my boss told me — be confident and stand by your decisions. But back your decisions with data!
@Tinu Read up on the foundational knowledge, subscribe to industry blogs. Focus especially on industry publications with multiple viewpoints (MOZ, SEL, SEJ), hit a conference. Experiment. Test. At the same time don’t believe everything you read. Test everything. Believe results, what you can prove &/or what tests well.
@jpsherman build a website and understand that first, grok information architecture, content & the tech, learn a bit of code. Build a space where you can completely screw it up, then recover. go black hat, then go white hat. try to rank for weird things.
@iankeir1 Read, Read, and test. There are a lot of great blogs and start tinkering with a site
@GetDoneDone Be comfortable with change. What we learn today, may not perfectly apply tomorrow. Fall in love with perfecting your craft.
@NicoleBlack414 Literally no one knows everything about SEO, but there are amazing resources with data & proof that can help you keep learning.
Who has a degree in marketing – do you think this background has had a significant impact?
@iankeir1 While I don’t have a marketing degree (History) I feel that it’s been helpful. Helps me look at the data and draw conclusions
@CaitlinBoroden I have a visual arts degree and I think it’s really helped in the creative realm of SEO.
@LauraLeeSEO English degree – but it’s helpful! Because people seriously cannot spell!
@jpsherman Science degree that helps me ask the creative types, that’s fantastic!! how can we measure/ test it? My dad was an english teacher, i knew the diff of an adj vs. adv when i was 4, he’s the reason i love semantics.
@NicoleBlack414 English degree here. If nothing else it’s helped me understand how to target and write for different audiences.
@scott_phillips_ Currently getting my degree in marketing from the School of Hard Knocks. Will let you know how it turns out!
Now that you are in the SEO industry. How do you stay up to date? Blogs? Books? Courses?
@LauraLeeSEO Honestly, no books for me. Blogs, webmaster forums, conferences, and just doing my thing and learning every day.
@jpsherman all of these plus meeting new seo folks, keeping in touch with mentors & transitioning to speaking at conferences.
@iankeir1 Blogs (love @Pocket and @feedly ) and listening to podcasts.
@NicoleBlack414 Mostly blogs. All the classics, @moz, @sejournal, and whatever else I stumble upon (but not always via @StumbleUpon).
I love that podcasts were mentioned! Anyone have any to share?
@iankeir1 Some of my favorites are @Searchtalklive @sejournal #MarketingNerds and Copy Blogger.
@jpsherman I recently found a good seo podcast from @katetooncopy from AU – she’s brilliant & fun to listen to. Here’s the link. She recently did one w/ @dawnieando about AMP & it was really good.
Does your agency/company have a training program in place for new hires & current staff?
@LauraLeeSEO New hires do some basic SEO training (with me!) and we also do monthly training sessions on what’s new. Level of training depends on the role of course. Writers get fairly regular training.
@iankeir1 We have monthly meetings and trainings on every possible aspect of SEO
@scott_phillips_ Marketing school with @neilpatel & @ericosiu short 10 min. daily episodes — easy to consume on the go
@NicoleBlack414 Any general advice for improving SEO in a small, specific niche industry?
@CaitlinBoroden If it’s a client talk to their sales team. Find out the questions they get asked. It may spark something!