What are the secret things about working as an SEO that you should know about? We asked industry experts you should know upfront and what has been different from their personal expectations.
Our panel of SEOs
Thank you to each panel member for their time to share their time and tips with us!
Mary Albright, Senior manager of SEO, Goat Group, USA
Follow Mary on Twitter: @Themerrymary
Follow Mary on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/albright-mary
Clorinda, Freelance SEO and content creator
Follow Clorinda on Twitter: @clorinda__
Daniel K Cheung, Team Leader, Prosperity Media, Australia
Follow Daniel on Twitter: @danielkcheung
Follow Daniel on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielkcheung/
Anett Pohl, Senior SEO Manager, beAround GmbH, Germany
Follow Anett on Twitter: @stress_particle
Jonas Sickler, SEO Manager at Terakeet, USA
Follow Jonas on Twitter: @JonasSickler
Follow Jonas on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonas-sickler/
Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Organic Performance Lead (Insure) MoneySuperMarket Group, UK
Follow Miracle on Twitter: @mira_inam
Follow Miracle on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/miracle-inameti-archibong-39168713/
Check Miracle's website: https://miracleinametiarchibong.com/
For someone considering a career change into SEO, what should they know upfront/what advice would you personally give?
Always be learning. There is so much seo knowledge out there and the community has become much more welcoming over the past few years. If you identify as a woman definitely check out womenintechseo.com
Also check out Aleyda’s seo learning roadmap! She has gathered a ton of great resources here: https://learningseo.io/"
Specialise in one specific niche of SEO. Being a generalist makes it harder for people to understand your strengths. Finding a job, or in my my case freelance work will be easy if you market yourself in one specific genre of SEO. I started with SEO audits and I think it's a great way to market yourself fresh out of your SEO training.
Daniel K Cheung
Forget everything formal education has taught you. SEO is a practice where there is not right or wrong answer and certainly, no universal truths. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Be prepared to ask yourself 'why' a lot and always question every piece of advice you see on Twitter, LI, FB or any other forum where someone is prescribing how to do SEO.
Find you own truth - this takes life experience and a willingness to be vulnerable; to make mistakes and to own up to them. And don't see mistakes as failure. Failing does NOT equal to being a failure - quite the opposite.
Think big but start small. SEO is one of those things that compound across time.
Don't put too much pressure on yourself. SEO is a really broad area. Be curious, ask questions, learn things and don't feel like you need to know everything. Find your niche and never stop learning.
If you identify as womxn, join the Women in Tech SEO community."
SEO is a field that requires critical thinking, creativity, and analytical skills. However, most people outside the field don’t fully understand the work, so you’ll face misconceptions regularly. It’s important that you feel confident in your ability to communicate the value and impact of SEO to stakeholders, colleagues, and customers so you can regularly educate.
SEO is so varied. There are very few set processes and challenges can be unique to specific industries, websites and stacks you might not have enough opportunity to learn if you are not exposed to a verity of websites across different industries. Try and do a few years agency side so you can be exposed to more challenges and get experience in different sectors across a variety of platforms.
Are there any expectations you had about this career path/the SEO industry that you have found different to reality, in either a good or negative way?
There’s no one formula that works for everything. You can learn all the things but each client and website is going to be different and you need to embrace that difference to be successful.
The positive have always been that I can work remotely. I've also been very lucky to work with very pleasant people. The negatives is the pressure of keeping up with what is happening in search on a daily basis and not falling for incorrect SEO advice. There is so much information and so much dispute over the fine details in SEO. At times I find it exhausting and I never thought this would be a huge part of my daily work routine.
Daniel K Cheung
The potential for career and income growth is very high. Digital is not that new and it is here to stay. Stay curious, find solutions, be a great communicator and you will be rewarded.
As I went into SEO totally by accident, I didn't have any expectations. So, no. :)
thought that I’d be able to jump into the field, learn a ton, and become an expert within a few years. But, the more I learned, the more I realized that there are no experts in SEO. We’re all just students. Once you call yourself an expert, you effectively stop learning, and that’s dangerous in an industry that’s constantly changing.
I really didn’t know a lot about this industry when I started so I really had no expectations. I do love how our job description keeps evolving in response to Google, getting buy-in from stakeholders and pushing through recommendations. I look forward to seeing what new skills everyone gets excited about learning in the next few years.