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10 Things I’ve Learned in My First 18 Months of SEO

When I began working at Webspec Design as the SEO Strategist, it was up to me and a coworker to determine the initial pathway we would take running SEO campaigns.

I dove in head first, trying to learn everything I could about SEO and how to do it. I talked to my coworker, who had just about as much experience as I did, I delved into Search Engine Journal and a couple of other blogs, and, at first, I just had to act like I knew what I was doing.

Since then I have researched daily, explored where Google was headed with their search algorithm and worked through the major changes that came with the Hummingbird and Panda Updates. We’ve built up a solid base of satisfied clients who see major results from the ongoing work we do.

Over the last 18 months, I have learned quite a bit about SEO and what is important, what works, what doesn’t, and when to say no to taking on a new client.

SEO Should be Done at Your Agency

At Webspec Design, we get calls almost every day asking us if we would like to outsource our SEO services to them for just $1 and hour. Tempting, right? While these offers can seem attractive to the companies who are in the business just for the money, this isn’t a good option for a company that wants to maintain a level of transparency with their clients.

Our SEO department thrives and continues to grow our business based on the fact that we make the changes to the site, we keep our clients informed, and we meet with our clients in person on a monthly basis to learn more about what is going on currently in their company.

We genuinely care about where they want to grow, and these monthly meetings help build solid relationships with our clients and reassures them their website and digital marketing efforts are in safe hands.

Do Your Research

In SEO, it is imperative to keep up with what is happening in search. What updates are being made to algorithms? What are new techniques industry leaders have found helpful in running their own campaigns? What tactics are your clients’ competitors using on their sites?

These are important things to pay attention to so you can stay ahead of the next update and show your clients you have the experience and knowledge to run their campaign.

SEO Title Tags, Descriptions, Keywords, and Alt Tags Still Matter

While we all know Google considers page titles important and uses well-constructed descriptions to learn about the page, but many believe keywords don’t matter. Based upon in-house testing, I can tell you they do indeed matter, at least a little bit. I have had campaigns where I changed the page keywords to what is currently being searched most according to Google Adwords’ Keyword Tool and the rankings increase dramatically the next week without us touching anything else on the site. Content matters, but keywords are still in the equation for Google.

We have also found keyword / key phrase focused image alt tags and title tags have increased our clients’ rankings in Google Images greatly. Having 10 images ranked in the first three lines of images for their focus keywords has not only improved the traffic to their site, but also the amount of contact requests made.

Also, despite the fact that Google doesn’t put as much emphasis on the description and keywords, both Bing and Yahoo still seem to rely fairly heavily on them as part of their algorithm. Any good SEO agency shouldn’t ignore the other search engines just because Google has a more advanced algorithm.

Homepage Content is Extremely Important

You’ve probably heard time and time again that content is king, but homepage content rules over all. I had a law firm client whose site was having a hard time ranking for their practice areas because there was no content on their homepage. There was an image and that was it. After working with them to formulate the perfect paragraphs and keyword focused h1 and h2 tags to highlight specific areas and services, they saw their rankings jump from beyond the fifth page to the first page in a little less than two weeks.

Google reads the homepage to learn about your company, so be sure to include lots of quality information about the service or product you offer on the homepage of your site. A good way to incorporate more content on a homepage without disrupting the design is to create a content slider much like a photo rotator. All of the content in the slider is read by Google as residing on the homepage, so this is a great feature for when you are tight on space. Another way to save space on a page but still incorporate a lot of content is to use expandable “read more” links.

Both of these help you place great homepage content while keeping the current user experience intact.

Navigation Matters—A Lot

Where your menu is located on the page isn’t nearly as important as how it is set up. The order of the menu items, their labels and the pages contained in them are supposed to help your users – not confuse them. Besides helping your users, Google is reading these tabs too to learn about who you are as a company and what you do.

Recently, I had a client who wasn’t using the top menu on their site in the best way possible and I had an idea that their rankings and contact requests were poor because of it. The old tabs looked something like this:

navigation before 10 Things Ive Learned in My First 18 Months of SEO

I sat down with my team and we went through each tab and developed a much easier way to filter users to where they want to go. We looked at the site as if we were trying to figure out how they could accommodate our dining needs as well as our catering needs. To make the site more user and search engine friendly, we created new tabs and new pages to fill the menu and the result was amazing. Our clients went from not even ranking in the top 50 for catering words in our area to being in the top 3 or top 10 for many of them. The new menu looked more like this:

navigation after 10 Things Ive Learned in My First 18 Months of SEO

We moved the Gallery section to a side menu that appears a little lower on the page where the user can read the latest newsletter, see photos, and read reviews and FAQs. This new structure has increased rankings, traffic and contact requests simply because it is more user-friendly and it has better keywords.

Quality Content Really Does Make a Difference

The SEO industry seems like it can’t decide how it feels about content and its effect on search rankings. Some SEOs will tell you content isn’t as important as backlinks, but any content marketing specialists will tell you that content is king. My team has combined content marketing with SEO in our approach, so what have I learned to be true?

Medium to long length, quality content is king. Google is getting better and better at being able to serve up quick information about everything from restaurants to definitions to movie times. Google has even begun to select relevant information on a webpage and display it as a snippet in the search results.

google search result 10 Things Ive Learned in My First 18 Months of SEO

With Google reacting more like a human reading a page, our content has to be in-depth, relevant information about the topics we are discussing on a page. I’ve found that when your site is more of a resource it has better user engagement.

I have a client that hired us to create several resources sites for them. We filled each site with about 20+ pages of content explaining terms and procedures and their importance. When a user visits these sites, which rank very well for all of their target terms, they spend a good amount of time on the site and visit five or more pages on average.

It is time to start focusing on producing resources.

Backlinks are Something, But They Aren’t Everything

The members of our SEO team, myself included, don’t follow the edict that backlinks are the supreme to rank in Google. In fact, they are not even on our initial hit list for our clients. We have seen the items above seem to impact our client’s rankings a lot more than backlinks to their site.

A few quality backlinks are much more beneficial for a website than 50,000 spammy ones. I have actually seen several sites fall out of the top 50 because of their poor backlinks.

When we begin the backlink stage of the campaign for a site we go after the highest quality backlinks we can get. These include backlinks that pertain to the subject matter our client is in, have a higher page rank than our client’s site, and don’t have links out to poor quality and unrelated sites on them.

You Don’t Have to Say Yes to Every Potential Client

Turning down money can be difficult, but if you say yes to the wrong client it can cost you a whole lot more than money. There have been a few situations when we should have said no to a prospective SEO client, but since we were just starting out we didn’t know better yet. Here is what we have learned.

It is important to have a few meetings with your potential client before you take them on. This will give you time to see if there are any red flags and evaluate if they are a good fit for your SEO service.

If the answer is no, then politely let them know that you are unable to help them because it just wouldn’t be a good fit. Thank them for their interest and maybe point them in the direction of another agency who might be a better fit for their needs.

The last thing you want to do is get into a relationship with an unbearable client: not only does this negatively affect the productivity of your team, it also brings down the mood in your office which can effect all the work your team does. You also don’t want to enter into a relationship with a client that has unreasonable expectations for their campaign, such as first page results for all their keyword phrases within a month when they are currently not even in the top 50.

Keep in mind, just because you aren’t a good fit for a particular client isn’t an implication that they are terrible people. Sometimes differences in approach can make agencies and clients a poor match. Perhaps they focus on producing fast, affordable services and you focus on in depth services for an industry niche. There is a market for both, but you would make a poor professional match. Save yourself the headache and say no when you need to – you and the client will both be better off.

Make Sure Your Client Has Realistic Expectations

Every client who comes to you for SEO is looking for the same thing, first page rankings. They want to be in the coveted top thre and many expect you can make that happen quickly. It is important to explain first page rankings take time and money to achieve.

When you meet about beginning a campaign, make sure you have done your research. Ask yourself and your team some basic questions before the meeting. Who is ahead of them in the rankings? What basic SEO and content criteria are they going to have to fulfill in order to begin to move in search rankings? How much time do you realistically think it will take for them to get to the top, based on your experience with similar sites? What geographic areas are they targeting? What can they expect from your services in the first six months?

Remember – don’t make promises because we can’t control the search algorithms or what competitors are doing, but they should be fairly good estimates. Give them your best guess, barring any major algorithm updates. Don’t put your estimates anywhere in a contract, but if you have had success in the past with SEO projects like theirs you can use those as examples of what you can do for them.

Most clients understand that SEO takes time once you begin to give them an overview of everything involved.

The majority of clients are happy with gradual upward movement as long as you are transparent with what you are doing. They just want to know all the money they are spending on your services is resulting in leads. It is not unreasonable to tell a client that it is going to take a year or even two years to get the results they want – if you truly think that it will require that much time.

Transparency is Key

This is the biggest one. My team and I have learned that transparency is the key to every SEO campaign we run. A simple explanation of the process we use and a look at the areas we are focusing on during the month leads to a trusting relationship.

Rather than keeping our process under wraps and never contacting our clients after they start their campaign, we keep our clients as involved as they want to be. We keep clients in the loop and provide email updates every week, schedule monthly face-to-face meetings, and provide them with monthly ranking reports and Google Analytic reports. They know what is going on in their campaign every month and why it is important for their SEO.

As a result, our clients can see exactly what we are doing to their site and they see their rankings and site traffic increasing. Because of this, they trust us to run their campaigns, plus they tend to increase their campaign budgets over time, and implement suggested features on their site to improve user experience.

I have learned that when you are transparent, everyone wins.

Transparency allows for you and your client to have open, candid conversations when you need to discuss ideas and problems that inevitably will arise in their campaign. Moving your SEO process to a more transparent, open model will increase usability on your sites, improve client relationships, and gives your clients to a better return on their investment.

 

 

What do you find to be the most beneficial part of your campaign structure for your clients? What part of the formula results in the most upward movement? What is the most important thing you have learned since joining the SEO industry? Let me know your thoughts below!

 

Image Credits:

Featured Image: Andrea Kroeger via Wordle

Image #1: Screenshot taken by Andrea Kroeger on 6/26/14

Image #2: Created by Andrea Kroeger

Image #3: Created by Andrea Kroeger

 

 10 Things Ive Learned in My First 18 Months of SEO

Andrea Kroeger

SEO Strategist at Webspec Design
Andrea Kroeger is an SEO Strategist for Webspec Design in Des Moines, Iowa. She organizes and runs SEO campaigns for her clients while working in tandem with the Webspec team on new design, programming and content projects to improve user experience and boost rankings.
 10 Things Ive Learned in My First 18 Months of SEO

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28 thoughts on “10 Things I’ve Learned in My First 18 Months of SEO

  1. It’s amazing how changing image alt tags can have such a big impact on Google ranking! It can be a little time consuming, but it’s so simple and the results are huge. All you have to do is give your photo a proper name that describes what it is in a few words. If you have a photo of a car, instead of IMG382.jpg, try RedPorsheConvertible.jpg. Changing the ALT TEXT of the image to give it further relevance when people are searching. Back to the car example, have the ALT TEXT be: Porshe convertibles, [model of the] Porshe, Sports Cars, etc, whatever you deem appropriate. So easy right?

    1. It is quite amazing how Alt tags still make a huge difference in rankings, especially for Google Images. I have had several clients gain new business through their rankings in image searches. Thanks for taking the time to read my article!

  2. I don’t get this – “When I began working at Webspec Design as the SEO Strategist” and this “trying to learn everything I could about SEO and how to do it”. How can a company hire you as a SEO Strategist if you don’t know SEO ?!

    1. Alex,
      Thanks for taking the time to read my article. To be honest, I was surprised myself that I got the job. My background in web started in high school and continued in college through internships. I was actually a psych major with a large interest in web and web design. I began working for a woman that owned her own web design company an needed extra help getting all of the updates made on site and creating content for several of them.

      After I graduated I head about an opening for an SEO Strategist/Content Writer postion at Webspec. I figured it was a long shot to apply for a job that I had only a little relevant experience for but they told me that it was a new position at the company. Webspec was just beginning to offer SEO services when they hired me on. I had agreed that upon hire I would dive right into to learning as much as I could about SEO as quickly as possible. My background in HTML, content writing, website editing and eagerness to learn are what got me the job…

      1. Andrew, thanks for taking the time to read my article and for commenting. I am so glad you liked it! Psych has given me an interesting perspective on SEO and I am very glad to have a background in it. I use my degree everyday just not in the way the majority of my fellow psych majors do. Thanks again!

    2. …There are the basics that my coworker who had just a bit more knowledge about SEO than myself taught me. Aside from the basics (pre-Hummingbird) from that we both learned more every time a new post was made on blogs we followed and from reading up on the latest SEO publications as well as Google Algorithm updates. We made it our goal to try to figure out as much as we could about where the Google Algorithm is headed as well as the Bing Algorithm so that we were prepared for major updates like Hummingbird. I am happy to say that because of this philosophy of “Shoot for what Google wants tomorrow, not where they are today” every single one of our campaigns made it through the update without a hitch and many saw an immediate increase in rankings.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to read my article and if you have any more questions let me know! Have a great day!
      ~Andrea

  3. “Google reads the homepage to learn about your company” – this is interesting.

    And I totally agree with you the title and meta descriptions. They DO matter a lot because that’s how Google can determine what the web page is actually about. So working consciously on that area will greatly improve. Just like I’ve seen a great improvement in search rankings of certain pages where I just optimized the title and meta tags by doing a little of keyword research – no new links, nothing! So ya it works.

    Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned Andrea :)

    1. Jane,
      Thank you so much for reading about my experience! It is kind of scary how much the Googlebot is becoming like a human when it crawls your site. Having stellar headings that really convey what your site is about on the homepage will give you a nice boost in the rankings. My clients that I spoke about in that tip went from being nonexistent on the web aside from about 5 words that sometimes found themselves in the top ten to having more than 2/3 of the 60+ words we are targeting in the top 10 and almost every word we are targeting in the top 50.

      I have seen the same thing happen with just changing titles and descriptions. It is amazing how much the basics really do help your site when they are implemented correctly.
      I hope you found some of the other tips useful as well! Thanks again for reading and commenting!
      ~Andrea

  4. Andrea, thank you for the insightful article you’ve written. I especially liked the portion that explained that not all clients are going to be a good fit for my particular SEO services, and that it’s okay to say “no” and refer them elsewhere. So true, and saves time and hassle for all involved. Also, your thoughts on backlinks and their value was great to read – recently I’ve heard the praises of backlinks sung (in lieu of other forms of SEO, too) and I’ve maintained that other efforts are equally, if not more, important. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I am glad that you found the tips useful and I hope that they save you some trouble down the road especially in regards to difficult clients. I know how hard it is to turn down the promise of money from the start but go with your gut. When your gut says no go then don’t jump into a relationship thinking it is going to change in the future. I am glad that you are keeping up on the other components of SEO and not just going crazy over backlinks, From what I understand the camp we are in “Backlinks aren’t everything” is not the most popular one to be in but I have seen far better results from an overarching campaign than one that just focuses on backlinks, Thanks again for reading and commenting!

  5. This article in itself is a great example of quality content (but I expect no less from SEJ).

    I just signed on a new client for SEO services today and your article definitely helped remind me of some of the important things to focus on. Also, I never really thought alt tags had such a large impact on rankings and quality traffic, so I’ll keep it in mind going forward.

    1. James,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my article. It is amazing how sometimes the things that seem so minute are the things that make a big impact. Good luck with your new client and your SEO endeavors!

      ~Andrea

  6. Ya.. you says right SEO Title Tags, Descriptions, Keywords, and Alt Tags Still Matter because google can’t read our website without these technique. But Backlink is also important for a website if we take the backlinks from authority website. Backlinks also matter according to me which is very beneficial for a website ranking.. What do you think guys about backlinks??

    1. Puneet,

      First off, thank you for taking the time to read my article. I agree with you that backlinks are important, however in my experience so far I have seen rankings increase to the number one spot for most of my clients through a lot of the basics (titles, descriptions, alt tags, etc) and through a large quantity of quality content on the homepage and throughout the rest of the site. My company doesn’t focus on backlinks as a first priority for our clients because we have found other techniques to provide more value for our clients and turn results out faster.We usually look to find quality backlinks after we revamp the content on the site and ensure that all of the basics are in place. Quality backlinks are important and will always be a part of the SEO score but as Google moves closer to a more content based algorithm they are going to become more obsolete. I want to make sure that I am always looking out for my client and setting them up for success now and in the future.

      I am curious, have you found backlinks to be more beneficial than content driven approaches in the campaigns you run?

      Thanks!
      ~Andrea

  7. Excellent post, Andrea! I enjoyed reading your post and experience. Although, at first I was like shocked when I read ‘how you learned SEO’ even you were hired as an ‘SEO Strategist’. Anyway, your experience is a key thing and what you described is vital here. A lot of marketers say that SEO is dead, but the fact is that SEO can’t be ignored as it is one basic component of web marketing. SEO companies and webmasters must understand this that they have to work smartly, and don’t need to go for quick fixes. Do the right thing as recommended by Google, and you’ll get the response, sooner or later.

    1. Sabih,

      Thank you! And thanks for taking the time to read my article. I wrote about how I got the job in a comment above if you are interested in how I actually ended up in this position.

      I completely agree that SEO can’t be ignored as a basic component of web marketing, however we must be careful with our description of SEO now. SEO is not anything close to what is was 5 years ago or even 12 months ago. We have to maintain the White Hat basics and continue to implement them since they are at the foundation of ranking but we also have to be mindful that content is taking a larger role in the algorithms and that role is only going to continue to grow. A big part of what our roles are now, in my opinion, is creating quality content that is not only informative to those taking the time to actually read it but that it also contains keywords and phrases that pertain to the campaign.

      Working smartly is vital to a successful campaign. We usually ask new clients for a trial period of 3 months because that is about how long it takes our average campaign to begin to show some meaningful results. Also because if you can get someone to do something for 3 months you usually don’t have to convince them to continue once they see the results that are being generated.

      As for your thoughts on Google, doing the right thing by them, I couldn’t agree more.

      Good luck with your campaigns!
      ~Andrea

  8. Really enjoyed your article. I think that the eagerness to learn anything is invaluable and that is what puts anyone ahead in their respective industries. Like the saying goes: “Knowledge is power” and the more you know and understand the better you will be able to solve problems.

    Thanks again.

    1. Thank you Stefanus! Thanks for taking the time to read it and comment. I agree, the willingness to learn really does lead to success and knowledge is power indeed. It means we can make money for the services we offer because not everyone has the knowledge that we do.

      Thanks,
      ~Andrea

  9. Hello Andrea,

    really great to ready your article. Its also very impressive that you are a newcomer to this field and are already achieving very good results, plus consulting your clients professionally.

    For my site I am doing the SEO myself currently. I also started as a complete beginner. What I have learnt is that it is important to keep SEO simple. For example the URL, the H1 Header and the H2 should be the same, that helped a lot.

    Regarding the Alt-Tags. I do not use them for pictures… I try to keep all those things away from my site :) May be I do not know enough regarding this and that’s why I am doing that. But I am seeing good results with this strategy.

    Any ways, thank you for the great article. It was very much readable and also giving great information.

    Keep up the good work :)

    1. Sascha,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my article and comment. I am glad that you liked it and thank you for the compliments.

      I don’t necessarily agree that the H1 and the H2 and url all need to be the same but they do need to all include relevant keywords for your site that have been researched for the amount of impressions they receive in Google. If you are seeing good results with that then I won’t tell you you have to change them but make sure that all of the pages titles are different from each other or Google will begin to doc your overall score.

      Alt tags are very important for ranking images and can also help to rank internal pages on your site. I would highly recommend using alt tags on all of your images not only because it is necessary for ADA compliance (http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/web-designer/creating-an-ada-compliant-website/) but also because it is extremely helpful for Google. Google cannot see a picture on your site but it can read a description of what it is. You can tell google what the picture is with a keyword and a location attribute if applicable. A picture of a law office might have the alt tag “ABC Law Firm Elder Law Attorneys in New York City” this is not only try to the picture but also includes keywords for Google to show your image for in a search query. I can almost guarantee you will see better results for your campaign if you start using them.

      Hope this helps with the clarification of importance.

      Good luck on all of your SEO endeavors!
      Andrea

    1. Yorke,
      First, thanks for taking the time to read my article and comment. I would agree that most of the steps listed above are the beginning basics, however content is something that is always going to need to be updated, refreshed and expanded upon. I wold also consider backlinks a continual process.

      I am curious what you include in your campaign that I didn’t list above. What components did I miss in your mind?

      Thanks!
      ~Andrea

  10. Nice Post Andrea THANK YOU SO MUCH… :) This Post has given me immense knowledge. And if i shall ask you one thing, Is it important No Follow Link???

    1. Syed,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I am very pleased to hear that you found it helpful.

      The little piece of code rel=”nofollow” is a vital one when you don’t want to have too many outgoing links to either the same source or to unrelated content. Here are a couple examples that I hope will help you:

      Multiple Links to One Site Containing Related Content
      I have a client that runs a security company. They sell locks, safes, cameras, security systems, door hardware and more from a variety of brands. We link to each one of the brands websites from the site so that the client can see what each one looks like and also what finishes and styles the product might come in. We link to the same brand websites probably 20 times throughout the site (they have a lot of products). It is important to show Google that you link to content that is related to your business but you don’t want to link to that website too many times throughout your content or you can end up getting a bit of a negative hit on your SEO score so I would choose to link the site in one place without a nofollow and then put a nofollow on every other link to that site.

      Links to Unrelated Content
      My company has a portfolio on our website in which we link to the websites that we have done for some of our clients. We have nofollows on every single one of those links because they have absolutely nothing to do with webdesign, programming, SEO or content writing. We would be passing a lot of link juice to sites that have nothing to do with our industry if we linked out to them which would result in a drop on our rankings. We also post about new websites when they go live and include a link for our clients to go and check out the new website in our News section and we put nofollows on all of those links as well. Basically, if the content on the website you are linking to has nothing to do with the content on your site include a nofollow. That being said there is one situation in which you would want to not include the nofollow when you are linking to an unrelated website.

      If the website has a page or article about something that is related to your website, then link to it without the nofollow.

      Hope that helps!
      ~Andrea

  11. Hi Andrea,
    I’m currently trying to get a starting job in the SEO field. I have done some studying and reading about what works, what doesn’t or so they say. Since you were able to secure a position as a new SEO, what do you think was the main reason you were hired? I’ve been a Product Manager developing online software for 10+ years and want to move into SEO, some of my product based skills will help, project management maybe as well. But I’m wondering what to highlight in my resume to make it stand out so it at least gets a second look.

    Also, what are the main sites you read and monitor for all SEO changes and do you learn the most from those sites or do you learn more doing your own testing?

    Thanks,

    1. Hi Chris,

      First, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article.

      HOW I GOT THE JOB
      To be honest I got my job through connections. My Aunt was part of a networking group and she heard about an open position at Webspec Design. She mentioned my name to the member representing Webspec and sent me the job description link. I sent an inquiry email to make sure they had yet to fill the position along with my resume if they were still conducting interview. I got really lucky. They were just finishing up interviews that week and so I went in for my interview 3 hours later.

      Once I was in the interview I was honest about the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about SEO and they were okay with that because none of my competition did either and it was a new service for them as well. What I did have going for my was my experience in web design and content writing. I knew my way around photoshop, illustrator, dreamweaver and even had basic HTMl knowledge.

      We agreed that I would read up on SEO and study it while I began working on content projects and helping with miscellaneous tasks around the office if I was offered the position. Following the interview I was sent a test project. They told me to rewrite the content on the home page and a service page for one of the sites that they were currently working on and told me to write a blog.

      I submitted the project the next day (Friday) and received the job offer on Monday because they needed a replacement for the front desk immediately. I was going to be taking over for a part time girl who had just been beginning to dabble in SEO and worked on helping out with various office tasks. It was my job to begin offering content and SEO services.

      My situation is probably very different than how most of my colleagues got their start in SEO because of my company culture. The biggest thing that I tried to demonstrate in my interview was that I was ready to learn whatever I needed to succeed.

      Demonstrate through your resume that you worked with people in your office environment but also with clients. Your management experience is going to help to if you are looking for a job at an agency because most likely you will have more than one client, your load will be more along the lines of 8-15 depending on budget ranges and how many people work with you on those campaigns. I would also recommend highlighting any writing experience you have had or submitting any web writing samples in the form of a url at the bottom of your resume. Then include the basics, HTML knowledge, other programming languages are a plus, familiarity with WordPress, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, etc.

      If you really want to break into SEO use your connections and try to find/create a position at a company that you want to work for doing SEO and web marketing. Ask around your circles and see if they have a need for an SEO at their company or if they know of anyone looking for an SEO. You don’t just have to look at an agency, larger companies have the budget to hire a full time employee or even a full staff to work on their web marketing campaign.

      There are several tech job boards you can try too but in this day-in-age it is who you know and who they know that lands the interview the majority of the time. You can create these connections by reaching out to professionals in the field and getting to know them and what they love about their job. Once you have taken the time to form a professional relationship with them they will be more likely to recommend you for positions or let you know about new positions they find out about. Network, network, network!

      If you are finding that experience is holding you back from getting the position you want then find someone who knows the business in your area and beginning meeting with them in an internship, job shadow or tutoring format to learn more about SEO. This can be done after work or on the weekend. There are also some online tutorials and books that will help as well.

      RESEARCH:
      I read through SEJ every day to see what my colleagues have posted about what is changing in search. I check on what Matt Cutts has to say, watch Google Webmaster Office Hour Hangouts, and read through a variety of other SEO blogs. I also meet with my team to discuss articles that they have found across other sites. I would have to say through that the core of what I have learned has been through applying what I have read and seeing if it works. If it does then I add it to my arsenal, if it doesn’t I keep it in the back of my mind in case it would work for a different site depending on why it failed on the site I tried it on.

      Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing. I you need any clarification let me know!

      Good luck!
      ~Andrea

      1. Thanks Andrea,

        I appreciate you taking the time to explain your experience to me. I agree in the past most of the jobs I have gotten were based on knowing someone. So I’ll have to look into who i know and who they know a little more.

        I appreciate you being honest as well, many people would just say they got the job for other reasons as opposed to the real one.

        I’ll keep looking and trying to network to see what I can find and learning as much as I can.

        Thanks again for your help,

        Chris