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August 20, 2013
Prepping for a Career in SEO
 
All companies want to appear first on Google and in other searches, which means the demand for search engine optimization specialists is ever growing. Those looking to move into this niche can do so by focusing on a few key strategies.

When it comes to SEO, prospective employers or clients will be looking beyond the fancy resume and years of experience to site-specific proof that you can get top rankings for pages. In this field, it is all about the bottom line. Those in the know will look at source code and at ranking results. Gather a good 25 pages that rank well (top five on Google) for specific terms and keep them in list form, ready to turn in with that cover letter and resume.

Experience is still important, and usually mandatory for getting work as a specialist. But how does one get that initial experience? For one, you can volunteer to work on local nonprofit sites, or on commercial sites, with payment based on results. An alternative would be to start and manage your own websites on any number of topics.

Taking a local or online class in SEO couldn't hurt on a resume either. But in this ever-changing industry, what is even more important than a class is staying up to date on SEO and search engine marketing (SEM). One excellent resource is Search Engine Land, which sponsors the annual Search Marketing Expo, well worth attending.

One mistake that many people make when it comes to SEO is to focus on just one aspect of the puzzle. To be a specialist, one should understand the importance of code, meta data and content, and how to best optimize in each area. Although it is preferable if technical and content specialists are not one and the same, a specialist should have a good overview of all factors and then be able to delegate tasks to those with specific skill sets.

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Suzanne Ritchie is an independent career coach who specializes in helping her clients make the move into technical and marketing jobs.
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