4 Steps to Being an SEO Professional
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So you're an SEO professional … but are you good at what you do? Do you want to get better? It doesn't matter what your job is, or what industry you work in, we all have room to grow in our careers. During my many years as an SEO consultant, I've learned a lot about how to solve problems and how to keep growing. In this post, I'm sharing my four tips on how to best improve your game in the world of SEO:
1. Put Your Ideas To The Test
Experimentation is important because it helps you try out an idea in a small way before applying it to your whole audience. As an SEO professional, you should be able to present your ideas from a place of knowledge and experience. You will get a lot more buy-in from your team, employees or clients if you can do this. The best way to do this is to put your ideas to the test. Try a new strategy out with 5-10% of your audience. Once you have those results, you can decide whether to apply the same strategy to your whole audience. And, you can present the overall idea or strategy from a place of knowledge.
2. Validate Ideas & Results by Connecting with other SEO Specialists
Experimenting is just the first step. The second step is to validate with other people in the industry with similar experience.
I really enjoy talking to other professionals in my field, and it's one of the main reasons I go to various conferences around the world. Usually at conferences, there will be a few secret gatherings or groups that meet to discuss experimentation. How to find such groups? Working for a famous company like Zapier gives you a foot in but honestly it's all about targeting the right people and having a "hit list". (If you want to know more about this, I'm working on a blog post that will go into more detail about how to network at conferences. We talk about things we've done. Some SEO strategies are not officially "OK'ed" by Google yet, so you wouldn't know about it unless you talk to these people.
This is the best, and sometimes only, way to learn about strategies and what other people have done. By talking with others you can learn what's working and what's not. It’s a way to share knowledge and strategies and can be really valuable for you as an SEO professional.
BUT – keep in mind that you have to be careful when sharing information. You have to pay close attention to proprietary information and trade secrets. Often, there is a great deal of info that your company or clients would prefer that you not share. This can be a very thin line when it comes to validating your work with others. You can share details of the strategy, but avoid conversations about specific results or how much money was involved. I think it is worth having these conversations – even though you have to be careful – because sharing knowledge is the only way to move forward. And this is true for life in general, not just SEO.
3. Be In The Know
This is good advice for almost any professional, in any career. Read up on what's happening in your industry! And the good news for SEO practitioners is that there are lots of great resources for this in our field. Here's a not-so-short list of places you can go to read up on what's happening in the world of SEO:
- Google Webmaster Central Blog
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Land
- SEO Roundtable
- Ahrefs Blog
- Moz Blog
All of these are great resources to learn more about the questions SEO professionals around the world are asking. But most of the time there won’t be a definitive answer to those questions. Instead, you’ll see debates going on about whether or not you should do this or that. Be sure to check out the comments, that's where most of the debate is! And for the most part, it's might all be true, depending on what kind of website you're working on, what product you're selling and the countries where you're selling. Like I said before, experiment, experiment, experiment!
4. No really, experimentation is super important
After you experiment, validate and read up on what's happening in the industry, what next? Experiment again. As an SEO consultant, I am always coming back to experimentation. It is the single most important thing you can do to be good at SEO. Learning and being good at your job is cyclical. Once you figure out a problem, it's time to move on to the next problem. If you try something new, and it's successful, you can't just stop there. You have to keep trying new things, and putting your ideas to the test.
You won't necessarily always be successful with every experiment. But that is all part of the learning process. The more you talk with others and research, the better your ideas will become.
Want to know more about building your SEO knowledge? I'd love to chat. Let's connect!