Breaking in and Breaking Through the SEO Industry

With SEO as an up and coming industry, there aren’t classes at every college to teach you what to do in the professional SEO world but I’m here as an SEO professional to give you insight in to the industry.

SEO and PPC are great industries to be a part of and now is certainly the time to get involved.  More companies each day are using small SEO businesses to build their web presence and with the right steps and study tactics while you are in college it’s a great career.  In this post, I’d like to share the skills necessary to succeed in SEO and what might help you along the way if you’re looking for a career in the industry.

1) Self Starting

SEO is an industry filled with many self starters finding a niche and building their own businesses. Many SEO professionals work from their homes on their own schedules so in this industry, you must know how to manage your time wisely after all, you are your own boss and if you’re not getting the work done no one else will!  One might assume you don’t necessarily need a college degree in this industry, but I’ve found certain skills such as time management I mastered in college where I balanced studying, internships, and free time.

2) Choosing a College Major

Considering most schools don’t have an “SEO major” (though a few classes are starting to pop up so check with your college campus), you might be wondering the best major to claim if you’re interested in the SEO field.  Personally, I majored in English with a focus on journalism which has served me well for all the writing I do in the field.  In this major I learned how to pitch story ideas which helps with getting content partnerships.  It has also served me well for those days I sit down to blog and need to get creative with what I write.

While being a strong writer is important to SEO, and with this field we can prove the naysayers who claim majoring in English is worthless wrong, other majors that are effective are Business, Marketing, and Communications.  A Business major is helpful especially if you are looking to start your own SEO company, it will ensure you are strong with the logistics of running a company.  In a Business major you also learn marketing strategies and in the SEO/PPC world it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and get creative with these.

In a Marketing and/or Communications major you will also learn marketing strategies and how to stay ahead of the curve so these are also helpful majors for this industry.

3) Breaking in to the Industry

In this economy, everyone is looking to get in to a money making industry where jobs will be readily available.  With SEO, your clients can change from month to month.  While the links you get may be booming one month, the next month you may have to report back to your clients that you weren’t able to get any links.  It is a business of ups and downs in web traffic and you must be prepared for you or the company you work for to gain and lose clients.  The best way to break in to any industry is to intern in said industry or a similar one during college.

You can look for major SEO/PPC companies in your town and e-mail them asking if they accept interns.  It is also important to stay up to date on current trends in the industry .  There are many SEO blogs (like ours) that will give you advice or keep you up to date on the changing business climate for SEO/PPC.  Following blogs such as SEO Moz will help to stay knowledgeable in the field and often give advice on how to break in to the field.

If you are looking to freelance by doing SEO or PPC for a few different companies to build a portfolio and gain clients, you could do this by reaching out to various companies explaining what you could do for them.  You should also continuously check job sites such as Craiglist for postings.  You can often find contract work there for SEO.

I hope this has been helpful for those looking to break in to the industry.  We at Search Pros love what we do and hope our readers can find a career path they love this much, be it with SEO/PPC or another career path.