Question by min: I saw a job opening titled “search engine optimization.” What are the qualifications for such a job?
I am a recent journalism graduate with significant reporting experience. Can I play up my research skills?
Answer by Frank Castle
Those jobs are for Software Developers only.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
A search engine optimization expert basically helps clients understands how search engines work and get their websites to the top of the search engines. Basically you need to be able to:
– Keep track of what’s happening with the search engines, including movements in datacenters or changing algorithms or new methodology (often from new patents granted) to rank web sites
– Know how each of the search engine works and what the different ones, especially the big three (Google, Yahoo and MSN) require for a site to get good rankings
– Understand the factors that can propel a site to the top of the search engines without resorting to black hat techniques (eg. doorway pages, excessive keywords, etc) that can result to the banning of the site
– Know the process how to make a site banned by a search engine and delisted in their index to return to the SEs database
– Know the latest tools available to help optimize a site from creating a Google sitemap to determining the right keywords of the site
– Understand both organic and paid search engine rankings, and know how to do both
– Manage and handle pay per click campaigns of the clients in the search engines, from determining the keywords, tracking conversions to keeping track of the costs
Research skills can be useful in terms of finding out ways how search engines work. But there are many forums and blogs where other webmasters and employees of these search engines gather that you simply go to these places to learn (e.g. SearchEngineWatch.com, WebmasterWorld, Matt Cutts blog, etc) that you don’t need any research skills at all.
Understanding and knowledge of programming is essential — e.g. managing .htaccess files, how to do 403 redirects, how to ensure dynamic URLs are accessible to the search engines. Many also help their clients plan and create content and analyze the usability of their websites to ensure better search engine access.
If you are interested in this field, I suggest you start going and reading up various forums at WebmasterWorld.com http://www.webmasterworld.com to understand the mechanics and dynamics of search engines. SEs constantly evolve so SEO experts need to be able to dissect and analyze the new changes in ranking websites and how their clients can benefit from these changes.
Search Engine Optimization has nothing to do with research. Search Engine optimization or SEO is a method of help sites rank well organically on the search engines. It takes years of experiences to be good at it.
Typically, there is no degree associated with this job title. Obviously, being college educated will always help you versus another candidate, but the more critical qualification is if you have ever performed any search engine optimization campaigns. If you have, prepare to show the potential employer results that you have received from your efforts.
Some SEO companies (like ours) will hire you for understanding the general concept of SEO. Sometimes a clean slate and a yearning for knowledge is better than anything else.