A lot of people ask, “are there training programs where I can learn search engine marketing” to which the expert could reply “yes and no.” Many professionals argue there is no training except the school of “just doing it.” Many others say there is plenty of training you could take, none of it specifically SEO-related. This coaching could take you in multiple directions or lead you to the Search Engine Optimization field specifically.
That’s because, as experts point out, an SEO consultant is not one thing; he is many experts wrapped up in one package. He can build websites. His understanding of the internet goes beyond average, surface-level details. This professional can write content that is engaging, original, and appropriate for a given platform or audience. He will probably have to possess business savvy in order to run his own company since most consultants in the field run firms alone or with just one partner.
Elements of the Job
What is it you are learning in this fast-changing, demanding industry? For one thing, you’ve got to know about key words. How is a search phrased and when does a local search really matter? In other words, are there products or services more commonly associated with regional and local searches than others?
How does PPC (Pay-Per-Click) work? When is it a good thing and when does it spoil the appearance or tone of a site? Where should a person post backlinks and will they ever work to a client’s disadvantage? Where does keyword content go — on the eCommerce site, a blog, or both of these and more?
Don’t forget reputation management, Google rankings, Google penalties, and social media. There are auditing and ranking pages; monitoring and reporting tools. Students of these marketing tactics must learn to find and to interpret this information. Then, if reports reflect poor performance, they have to turn things around for the client.
Where to Start
The details above scratch the surface of what it means to train as an SEO consultant. Many of the individuals working in this field started out with a little bit of knowledge in software, some writing experience, and an interest in how the system works behind the scenes. Some of them were website designers who appreciated the potential challenges of building and renovating sites for other people. In a sense, you might have already started your client consultation career.
If you are thinking of pursuing a deeper involvement, take some advice from people who currently do the job: spend some time with someone already doing client consultation. Shadow this person if he will let you. Watch what goes on behind the scenes and survey the pros and cons. It’s not a 9-to-5 job. A mentor might be happy to let a student complete some of his work without payment while watching and absorbing professional advice and skills.
Students interested in pursuing this career straight out of high school don’t officially need a degree, but some post-secondary studies would be helpful. Go to a job board online to find out what SEO companies look for in a potential employee. Customers aren’t likely to trust a 20 year-old with their needs, but if you can show real credentials that might change their attitudes.