How to Become an SEO Specialist

search engine optimization specialist
Interested in a fast pacing, ever evolving career? Then SEO Specialist may be right for you.

SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is one of those hot careers brought to us by the internet. As an SEO Specialist your job is get your client's sites to rank high (preferably number one) in search engines when certain search queries are used. It is basically a type of digital marketing, and you'll find many digital marketers with skills in SEO.

One of the many great things about becoming an SEO Specialist, is the flexibility. As an SEO Specialist you have the option to work with a marketing agency, or freelance and work on your own. Demand is also high as many businesses are now moving online; and many new businesses are being started who require people skilled in ranking high in search engines. With that being said here's how to become an SEO Specialist.

What Are The Responsibilities of an SEO Specialist

Chances are at some point you've had some question that you needed answered. Whether it's related to school, an item you need for your home, or a trip you plan to take, your first instinct in this day and age is to search Google (or another search engine) for the answers you need. Well the websites that you first see are not there by accident. They have been "optimized" so to speak, so they show up when you enter your search query. A website that ranks high is more likely to be clicked, and therefore more likely to have there goods and services found by prospective customers.

Your job is to work behind the scenes to make this happen. Your responsibilities will include things like keyword research which is just a fancy way of saying researching search queries, making changes to websites to match those search queries, and creating content. Here is a great article by HerCampus summarizing the day to day responsibilities of an SEO Specialist.

How to Receive Training as an SEO Specialist

As a new age job that was created after the dawn of the internet age, there are very little formal training options for becoming a SEO Specialist. It isn't necessarily a career path that necessitates getting a four year college degree, and you'll find that many employers don't request college degrees from potential new hires. So how do you get started in search engine optimization?


One of the best ways to get started with this field is by simply reading. Books are a great resource as many of them have been written by top search engine consultants, and contain tips you may not find anywhere else. Some of the top recommendations for those interested in learning search engine optimization are SEO 2019: Learn Search Engine Optimization with Smart Internet Marketing Techniques by Google Certified Professional Adam Clarke, and The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization

Websites, Groups,  and Forums

SEO is an ever changing field. Techniques that were once popular can be made obsolete with just one update. For that reason while books are a great resource, it's essential to have resources that can keep up with this fast changing field so you'll always be in the know. Websites such as Moz by SEO gurus Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig, provide tips and techniques as well as constant updates on changes in the field. The website also provides a forum where experts in the field discuss changes and shares tips. Facebook Groups are also another great resource, though many of the top groups tend to be closed.

Take Courses

Courses are a great way to see search engine optimization in action, and see how techniques are executed to drive results. Best places to find courses in SEO are Udemy, Hubspot, Yoast Academy, and SEO Bootcamp by Moz. Hubspot is free and great for beginners. Udemy offers affordable courses that can help you expand your knowledge. For more in depth coursework Yoast Academy and SEO Bootcamp by Moz are a great choice. 

Get Certified

As mentioned before there aren't four year college degrees in search engine optimization available. Certification isn't also a thing in the industry, but for those who would like to have a piece of paper to show there are options available. Hubspot, a well recognized marketing company, offers certifications with there courses that can be displayed on your LinkedIn page. Moz also offers certificates for successful completion of there highly rated SEO Bootcamp.

How to Gain Experience in SEO

So you know how I said there really aren't many formal education options available for this field? Well that's because your reputation as a good SEO Specialist will come down to experience. Bragging rights in this field isn't getting a 4.0 GPA in college, it's being able to prove you can get a site ranked on the first page, and having a business reap the rewards associated with that.

Start a blog

Content is a huge part of search engine optimization. The more content a site has, the more likely it is to rank in search engines. So it helps to know what content to write, and exactly how to optimize the content so it is ranked highly in search engines. A great way to practice this is to start a blog. Blogging is a great way to develop your writing skills, put your SEO techniques into practice, and see the results.

Intern/ Build a Portfolio

Not confident in practicing on your own? Well you'll be happy to know that there are internship opportunities available in SEO. Many agencies hire interns to assist with there workload, and in return pass on valuable knowledge you'd likely never have learned on your own. Having a mentor to guide you on your journey may also make you more confident in your abilities, than learning on your own. Internship options can be found on Indeed.com as well as internships.com.

Where To Find Jobs in Search Engine Optimization

The great thing about being a SEO Specialist is there is a demand for your skill which means you can pretty much find jobs anywhere. One of the best places to start your search is Indeed.com. The popular job site is great for finding jobs with marketing agencies as well as companies who hire there own in house SEO specialist. If freelancing is more your thing, Upwork is a great site to register with, and is used by many prominent companies to find freelance SEO Specialists.

Do you have any other tips about becoming a SEO Specialist. Tell us in the comments below, our readers would love to know!

how to become an seo specialist

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