I’m sure many of you out there have the same question that I have recently. That question is “How have so many people learned about SEO and made a career about it?” There are many answers to this question, some made the change in career by choice and ambition and some made the change because they had to. Here are many of the responses I received by professionals in the industry:
Steven Schoolmeesters from a private SEO consulting firm replied with:
I was moved into the PPC department without training and pushed into the deep end of the pool. I took to the situation quite well by drawing on my years of experience in analysis and the scientific methodology. I learned, ask questions and made some mistakes along the way. Then I ask my previous employer “Isn’t there a better way?” and he told me to find it. I dove into the waters of SEO. The same waters I was told were treacherous and a waste of time. Connected with thought leaders who surprised me by their openness with knowledge and experience.
Then I recognized in order to grow I had to quit my job and take a consulting position. I completely revamped the SEO division, bringing the staff from 55 to 22 and increased the work product by over 1000 times. My job there was done and I was fortunate enough to be offered an executive level position Consulting over 700 people and their clients. From their I have been selected to represent One SEO/Social Media client. The company I work for.
I spend on average of 3 hours a day of MY time conducting research so I can stay at the head of the pack and use the skills the US Army Intelligence Corps. taught me to predict the enemy to anticipate what Google will be doing a year from now.
This has been a great challenge, and I regret none of it! I am glad my previous employer told me this was a waste of time, now go waste some of yours like me.
David Veldt responded with:
I first came across SEO years back when I was running my own small design & development company. I believe it was on some top-level article about best practices for building a site including making it “search-friendly.” A couple years later, I interviewed for a web developer position and they recommended I look into the SEO team instead, which would allow me to spend less time buried in code and more time writing, researching and diving into the wide world of digital marketing, which was much more in line with my interests, skills, background and education. Turned out to be a perfect fit!
Now, I’ve broadened my knowledge in digital marketing to include PPC, social and many more. It’s a slippery slope, but I’m glad I took the first step.
Andrea Kozek responded with:
My background is in communications; when social media began “popping up” as something we needed to care about, it kept getting pushed to the PR/comm team to manage, since it’s the discipline area of marcomm that’s used to two-way conversations. So, by default, I started learning how to best use it. From there, I took a social media contract role and did freelance SM work to build my skill set. My contract role turned into a FT role and SEO got added on, as content marketing and social media became more closely tied. I rolled PPC under my umbrella, too. My background may not be as technical (and with course work and training, I’ve been developing those skills), however understanding communications is critical to connecting with the end user.
Ben Guest even started his own consulting firm! Here is what he said:
Received my computer engineering degree, but found myself on the software side of things. Worked in IT for OSI Restaurant Partners, left them to take a chance with a small software company as an Integration Specialist, laid off by them in 2009 for economic reasons (which was actually a blessing), got into network marketing with an acquaintance trying to help me out (bad ethics and morals there), handled creating the website and started learning how to get traffic to it.
Downloaded someone’s SEO starter guide, got suckered into doing some black hat SEO article submission crap, and stopped that WAY before any penalties as it obviously didn’t feel right (honestly thought it was silly to have to do all that anyway).
If you want to form an agency that is well perceived, you won’t be exploiting any holes in the algorithm even though you can find them easily. Can’t risk being penalized and it get in the news affecting the perception of the company, ya know…
Took a week’s worth of Google adWords and Analytics training from a Google certified partner (learned real industry scenarios through them), tapped directly into the source of those search engines to gain as much knowledge about them as possible, stayed away from everyone else’s “theories” as I mentioned my almost bad experience, took the intelligence approach and just implemented my Integration Specialist skills to experiment on the algorithms themselves.
Took a risk on some experiments that caused a lot of sweat loss, and viola, we’re getting excellent results, been penalty free, and work is now coming in automagically just by sharing the knowledge here on Linkedin.
We currently have 6 clients, and I run daddy day care. As soon as we land that 7th client, we’ll be bringing mommy home to watch the little one and daddy can go full out on this industry and take it OVER!
We have also just teamed up with a local developer, and continue to grow every day! Having the ability to be at home, take care of our 9 month old son, build a business to help other businesses, and meeting new friends every day is exactly why I say being laid off was a blessing!
Just keep it moving forward, take measurable risks, tap into the source and you’ll do just fine!