How to Start Your SEO Career in 4 Steps

Confession time - I did not major in SEO. In fact, most of my coworkers didn’t either. Digital marketing is a multi-faceted field that attracts folks from all walks of life, and having formal training in SEO is often not necessary to get your foot in the door and take the first step in your new career. Spoiler - experience and a willingness to jump in and learn is the name of the game. Keep reading to learn some tips to start your SEO career today and eventually get that first client or job.

Step 1: Learn the Basics

Learn the Lingo

There are seemingly millions of resources online for learning SEO, but start out slow and familiarize yourself with the terms. If you can’t tell, there are many acronyms to learn and understanding the marketing jargon used in this industry is a great place to start.


Check out Moz’s SEO Glossary of Terms or this awesome Seer blog post on Digital Marketing Terms & Acronyms to start understanding what we talk about when we talk about SEO.

Learn the Concepts

Now that you’re comfortable with the vocabulary, start wrapping your brain around the many strategies and tactics an SEO can employ to help a website’s performance. From content strategy to technical SEO, there are many topics you can learn about.


Learn about SEO basic concepts in Seer’s Essential SEO Starter Kit, our SEO 101 blog post, or in this comprehensive article from Moz.

Learn the Tools - Get Certified!

Once you’re familiar with what SEO is and the different ways it can affect a website, it’s time to learn the tools. At Seer, we often use Google Analytics to monitor clients’ website performance. They offer free training on the tool, and getting your GAIQ certification will help you stand out to potential employers for sure!


Learn more about the exam, including a study guide, from Optimize Smart. Also, Seer has a great blog post on Passing the GAIQ exam! Also check out the Google Analytics Academy for free resources and training materials to prep for your exam.

Step 2: Appreciate and Hone Your Soft Skills

Many people hired as SEO Associates don’t have all the “hard skills” right out of the gate because oftentimes, soft skills are a stronger indicator of future success. You can learn more about Seer’s hiring philosophy and more tips on How to Get Hired as an SEO Associate, but here are a few personality traits that will likely help you get hired at a digital marketing agency:

  • Humility: You won’t know everything on day one, so it’s important to be patient with yourself and stay humble! You’ll get there.
  • Eagerness to Learn: There’s always something new going on in SEO - that’s one of the reasons it’s a great industry to work in! You’ll never know everything, so it’s important to enjoy the process of learning.
  • Clear Communication Skills: When working with clients, it’s crucial to be able to clearly help them understand what you’re talking about and why they should take notice.  
  • Critical Thinking: If you’re tasked with someone seemingly simple like diagnosing a page’s decline, you’ll quickly see that thinking critically and problem-solving is the only way to wrangle all the potential causes and find out what’s driving change.

Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice

You understand the concepts of SEO, but what should you do now? The answer is practice any way you can - don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!  That’s the best way to learn and will definitely stand out when you apply for SEO positions.

Start a Website

This may be the best way to learn SEO by doing. Grab yourself a domain, a hosting platform, and boom! You can start understanding how to manipulate on-page elements to help your pages rank higher. Then throw some Google Analytics on your site and learn how to monitor traffic to your pages! The more you tinker, the more you’ll learn.

Step 4: Apply for that Job!

You’re ready. No, really. Don’t fall victim to imposter syndrome or doubt yourself. If you’ve followed the above steps, you’ll make a great candidate for an entry-level SEO position!

Bonus points if you prep by thinking about potential interview questions - here are few posts on how to ace an interview and 4 questions you’ll definitely get asked in an interview to get you started.

Interested in taking that first step in your SEO Career? Check out our open jobs.


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