The Thrill of the Search

If you work in search engine optimization, I know you know this feeling. The keyword you have been tweaking on your client’s site and for which you have been working on obtaining links for weeks now finally breaks into the top ten on Google. You ran a report and found that the SEO work your company has been doing for the past few months actually produced increased leads and sales for a client. Stop for a moment and think about the last time your client’s most important keyword gets a number one ranking.

What a rush, right!?!

In our office, there are definite moments of elation/joy/“FINALLY!” Of course, on the flip side, when a client’s terms start to slide, it’s not what you want to see. Working on a three person team, you get to experience it all – and it is definitely an experience I would want everyone to have. There’s no better way to learn SEO than to dive right in – keyword research, content audits, analytics!

I think one of the job requirements for working in SEO is that you have to love to learn.

To be really good, I think deep inside you have to have a passion for learning. People who work in SEO belong to a community of learners. We learn from each other on blogs, newsletters, and message boards as well as at seminars. The world of SEO is constantly changing. As soon as you think you have something figured out, the algorithms change, but we can all work together improve results for our clients. I’ve only been in SEO for six months and I know there are plenty of things I don’t know about how it works, but to hear my boss who has been doing this for almost a decade admit to others there are things that he doesn’t know convinces me that search is an ever-changing space that you constantly need to educate yourself about. In our company, we take time as much as we can to read newsletters and blogs, and if we find something particularly outstanding, we built our own electronic Knowledge Base where we can essentially bookmark, summarize, and tag information that we think might be helpful for SEO or clients down the road.

I think my newfound passion for SEO stems from my love of playing games (and thereby, my competitive nature) and my love of trying to find an answer for everything (I’ve been known to spend hours trying to find answers to random questions on Google – like, why do football players wear those bands above their elbows or what might be causing my zone valve problem on my heater?). Winning a game and finding a long-sought after answer, to me, produce that same rush that you get when a keyword finally hits! And what’s more, when keywords start slipping too far, the game begins again – what can we tweak – title tags, descriptions, footers? Were we too aggressive somewhere?

SEO is one big puzzle with lots of different pieces – we just try to put them together in the right combination.

These are the moments I love. The high fives. The random cheers. But you know what? What I love even more about SEO is the thrill of the search. There’s always more work to be done. There’s always another spot to move up, another term that could be tweaked, another client that can use our help. Sure, the money’s nice too. But life is short. You have to have fun, and SEO is definitely a fun job to have. And if I can help some people find what they’re searching for along the way, that’s not too shabby.