How do I Become an SEO?

Mar 4th

This year was my third SES conference. I think while eating lunch 2 of the 4 days people described my ebook and site to me without knowing I was me, which must mean I am getting a good bit of market saturation. :)

Many of the people who talked to me at past SES events either were SEOs or wanted to know how to hire one. Recently my inbox and at SES a much higher percent of my inqueries were people asking "how do I become an SEO?"

I have been a bit of a branding whore so it would seem that over time I would get more questions like that, but I think a ton of people have recently been entering the SEO market. The Google IPO and the like brought many new faces to the field.

Some companies are still out to lunch though. The last day of the conference I met a person who read my ebook and wanted to chat. He was the single employee webmaster / programmer / backend database / web marketer for a few nationwide stores which were doing over $5,000,000 a year in sales from one of the websites.

It would make sense that a person working on salary doing all that work may want to go it alone. If I were him I would.

The general things I think that can help people who want to jump into doing SEO are:

  • Start a site about something that interests you. Get involved in that community.

  • Your first site may totally suck. Mine did. and the second and third did too... the beauty of the web is that nothing is permanent and you rapidly learn from your mistakes.
  • Do not be afraid to be wrong or make a mistake.
  • Go after a niche. A large part of the reasons my first site sucked was because I was a bad writer and bad designer. An equally large reason my early sites sucked was because they were too broad in scope.
  • If you are unsure of how to niche out your idea look for feedback from blogs and forums and Google Groups. If you do create a large site you will be able to break out many of the ideas into their own smaller sites.
  • Build content on that site using a regular human voice. Try to build an audience by participating in other communities.

  • Within any channel or site limit the number of choices you give people to make it easy for them to do what you want them to. If you have another product idea or target audience you may want to set up another website to sell it.
  • Read a ton of literature about topics that interest you. If you know a ton about a topic it is far easier to crank out a ton of content about it.
  • Subscribe to RSS feeds of topical blogs.
  • Don't worry about keyword density. Write pages that are focused on usability and conversion. Use headings, subheadings, and the like to work the appropriate words into the content.
  • Use descriptive anchor text. Use many variations.
  • If you sell SEO services most people who want to buy SEO services want services which can not be done at the prices they are willing to pay unless you do things that will damage their brand. Stay away from bad customers. If you can create passive income streams they will pay you just as much as bad customers do while requiring far less work.
  • It is better to have a few strong partnerships than to spread yourself too thin working for a ton of customers. A good way to find some customers might be to talk to local merchants you know and trust and do profit share partnerships with them.
  • Price points target your audience. If you are the cheapest on the market you will find the people who can't afford good products or are not interested in fully committing. About 5 months ago I doubled the price of my ebook and get less refund requests and customers who are more serious and more friendly.

Once you understand how to do well within one social network on the web you can parallel that to other fields that may interest you.

Published: March 4, 2005

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Comments

June 16, 2011 - 8:46am

I'm doing a guide on getting a job in the SEO industry at the moment: http://www.david-whitehouse.org/learn-how-to-become-an-seo/.

I was lucky enough to land my first job working for David Naylor, he's based in my home town!

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