Visiting the Web sites of professional associations in the field is an excellent way to introduce yourself to search engine marketing. The Digital Analytics Association's Web site, https://www.digitalanalyticsassociation.org, is a good starting point. It provides information about professional development, events, jobs, sponsorships, and more. Start your own Web site or blog and learn how to move it higher in Web search results. Talk to SEO specialists about their careers and ask questions about their work experience. How did you train for the field? What do you like most and least about your job? What advice would you give to someone who wants to break into the field?
When consumers want to find a particular brand, service, or company on the Internet, they often use search engines. The first Web sites that appear as a result of a search are the highest ranked. In order to get their sites ranked high in search results, many companies and other organizations employ search engine optimization (SEO) specialists to make sure their sites attain this visibility.
SEO specialists’ main duty is creating a search engine optimization strategy for their clients. They study their client’s Web site to identify strengths and weaknesses. SEO specialists make sure section or page titles appearing throughout the Web site are clear cut. Do the titles reflect the content they head? If not, SEO specialists suggest alternate titles, or work with webmasters and writers to create better headlines, which help sites move up in search results. SEO specialists also make sure the Web site uses descriptors, or relevant keywords. For example, if the client’s Web site sells sporting goods, then keywords would include not only "sporting goods," but particular types such as "hiking shoes," "camping equipment," or "sporting equipment."
Web sites with extraneous coding, Flash files, and large images hinder search engines from finding them, so SEO specialists often limit their use. However, when image files and Flash files are used, SEO specialists make sure they are well documented for relevant codes, which will help them be more accessible for search engines.
SEO specialists use Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) coding to add text, tables, and images to Web sites. Proper HTML coding is important to ensure content is picked up during search engine activity. SEO specialists also rely on analytical tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics.
SEO specialists understand that appealing content is important to get users interested and engaged in a site, and that this content should be updated often to encourage users to keep coming back. They work with the Web site’s writers to create appealing content, at times editing their work to make sure the copy is rich with relevant keywords. Some SEO specialists write original content for their clients.
SEO specialists also build a client’s system internally, matching protocols to make sure all content is optimized across all types of platforms including Web sites, blogs, social media, video, and portals for retail sales.
Once a search marketing strategy is designed and implemented, SEO specialists continually monitor the site. They monitor and review search engine ranking reports, including paid search campaigns or those from Google or Yahoo, for example, to make sure their client stays highly visible.
SEO specialists also identify and create a keyword portfolio—relevant words to use within the site. This keyword portfolio is especially helpful when writing and tagging new content.
Many SEO specialists are employed by companies and organizations, though a good number work as independent consultants. SEO specialists working as consultants have additional duties pertaining to establishing and running their business. They market and advertise their services to potential clients, make presentations, and have office-related duties including paperwork, billing, and supervision of staff members.