May the (SEO) force be with you
Earlier this year, I made the move to agency life at CandidSky from an in-house marketing role.
I came as a junior to help support and assist the rest of the team. In the months since, I’m proud of how far I’ve come, picking up new skills, advancing in my role and now running my own campaigns. I figured it would be nice to round up my five top tips for those in a similar position to myself all those months back; anyone thinking about, or just starting, a career in SEO.
But WAIT! With the new Star Wars film, Rogue One, set to be released this month causing a disturbance in the force around the CandidSky office, it would be a missed opportunity not to do a themed post. With this in mind, strap yourself in for a mix of arguably the worst Stars Wars based puns and tenuous links the Galaxy has ever seen…
Find yourself a Jedi Master
Much like Luke finding Yoda in the swamplands of Dagobah, I’ve been lucky enough to find three exceptionally talented SEO masters at CandidSky – my very own Jedi Council! Having the opportunity to call on the skills and experiences of all three has helped me to go from an SEO padawan to running several successful campaigns in a matter of months.
If you’re already at an agency this should be easy enough, but for those without that resource available, don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have on the likes of Reddit or Moz, both of which have active search communities.
Harness the power of the (analytics) force
Google Analytics is a powerful tool, it can tell you almost everything you need to know about a website’s performance (‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’). Unfortunately it can’t tell you the ‘why’, this is where you come in. Any person can pull off data from GA, but as an SEO you should be able to connect the data seen in GA with the context of the client’s campaign.
Take some time to learn as much as you can about data analytics (after all, there is 1.5x the demand for people skilled in GA than there is a supply, making you more valuable). I recommend starting with Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik, the Millennium Falcon of analytics books. At the very least, make sure you study for and take Google’s Individual Qualification to demonstrate your analytics powers.
Darth Vader and Kylo Ren can both read minds to get the information they want, fortunately you only need to read articles. Much easier. Plus, there are literally Death Stars full of great content for beginner SEO’s out there, which you should be gobbling up quicker than Jabba the Hut at an all-you-can-eat buffet. For starters, try ViperChill’s less frequent, but really in-depth blog posts, or Avinash Kaushik’s easy to read, yet super-informative emails.
Pro tip for Slack users: Set up an integration to pull in the newest articles from the top industry sites. You’ll never miss anything ever again, and, even better, you’ll always have a feed of articles at hand for when you want to take a quick break.
Get under the hood
Learn how to avoid looking for technical issues in the Alderaan-places (sorry), and get under the hood of a website! I can’t recommend doing a series of comprehensive technical SEO audits in your spare time highly enough – pick a varied mix of five websites and get stuck in. You’ll learn far more about technical SEO this way, and then when it comes to auditing a client’s site, you’ll have likely already come across the majority of any potential issues.
Resist the temptation of the Dark Side
Spun articles, paid backlinks, spam comments, keyword stuffing, cloaking; just a selection of the types of techniques upon which the foundations of black hat SEO sit. Learn about them, understand how they work, maybe even flirt with them a little in a test arena, but never give in to them – all you’ll end up doing is getting a hefty penalty and probably losing a client. Ultimately, it’s best to leave black hat SEO where it belongs… in a galaxy far, far away.