SEO Process

How to Get a Job in SEO: The Insider’s Guide

Nick Eubanks
Last Updated: Mar. 28, 2024
How to Get a Job in SEO

If you’ve been learning everything you can about search for a while, then it might be time to take the next step and turn your newfound knowledge into a career.

Ready to discover how to get a job in SEO? You’ve come to the right place. 

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll explore the essential skills you need to hone (like deeply understanding search intent), the most effective ways to demonstrate your expertise, and how to make a lasting impression on potential employers.

Build Your SEO Skill Set

To stand out in the SEO job market, you’ll need to go beyond the basics and develop a well-rounded skill set. Let’s explore the key areas you should focus on to build a strong foundation in SEO and position yourself as a competitive candidate for entry-level positions.

Master the Fundamentals

Take the time to build your proficiency in the fundamentals before exploring more advanced SEO concepts. If you’re just starting out, our article on How to Learn SEO and Build a Career (Without Overwhelm) is an excellent resource for grasping the essential principles.

One of the most important aspects of SEO is keyword research. Develop a solid understanding of how to identify relevant keywords, assess search volume, and evaluate competitiveness. You need to be proficient in tools like Google Keyword Planner and Semrush to uncover valuable keyword opportunities.

Semrush Keyword Overview

In addition to keyword research, get comfortable using SEO tools such as Google Search Console. These tools will help you analyze websites, monitor rankings, and identify technical SEO issues.

Google Search Console

Get familiar with Google Search Essentials (formerly called Webmaster Guidelines). These are the rules of the game for SEO, and you need to understand how to work within these guidelines. 

Lastly, proficiency in Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel is a must-have skill for any SEO professional. You’ll use these spreadsheet applications regularly to organize and analyze data, create reports, and track your SEO progress. 

Learn how to use functions and formulas like CONCATENATE, Power Query, VLOOKUP, and XLOOKUP, as well as how to create pivot tables and charts.

By understanding these fundamentals, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle more advanced concepts. You’ll speak the language of SEO and stand out as a strong candidate for entry-level positions.

Enroll in a Course

While honing the basics is essential, taking your SEO knowledge to the next level can set you apart from other job candidates. One of the most effective ways to do this is by enrolling in one (or more) of the best SEO courses available online.

SEO courses will provide in-depth insights, practical exercises, and real-world case studies to help you better understand SEO strategies and techniques. When researching courses, look for ones that cover topics like technical SEO, link building, content optimization, and analytics.

Our course at TTT Academy, How to Build a Successful Career in SEO, is an excellent option for helping you stand out in the job market. Designed to help bridge the gap between theory and practice, this course will give you the tools and knowledge necessary to excel in your SEO career.

TTT How to build a successful career in SEO course

Connect with a Mentor

One of the most valuable steps to accelerating your SEO career is finding a mentor. An experienced SEO professional who can guide you, answer your questions, and provide insights and advice based on their experience in the industry.

Not sure where to find a mentor? Don’t worry! It’s not as hard as you might think. There are many ways to connect with seasoned SEO experts. 

Signing up for TTT Academy is a great start. This online community is home to a fantastic group of experienced SEO professionals passionate about sharing their knowledge and helping others succeed.

As a member of TTT Academy, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with other SEO enthusiasts, participate in discussions, and seek guidance from pros who have already navigated the challenges you’re facing. 

The community is known for its supportive and inclusive environment, which makes it an ideal place to build lasting professional relationships.

In addition to joining online communities, consider attending SEO conferences and meetups, where you can network with industry experts and find a mentor who aligns with your goals and values.

Start a Career in SEO by Getting Practical Experience

SEOMeetup Conference

Theoretical knowledge is essential, but when you’re preparing for a career in SEO, nothing beats hands-on experience. 

Let’s look at ways to acquire real-world skills and build a portfolio that showcases your skills to potential employers.

Jumpstart Your SEO Career with Freelance Projects

One of the most effective ways to gain practical experience in SEO is by taking on freelance projects. Freelancing enables you to apply your knowledge to real-world scenarios and cement your understanding of SEO principles and techniques.

Start by reaching out to friends, family, or local businesses who may need help with their websites. Offer your services at a discounted rate (or even for free at first) to build your portfolio and get testimonials. As you complete projects successfully, gradually increase your rates and take on more challenging assignments.

Remember, the key to success in freelance work is to deliver high-quality results, communicate effectively with your clients, and continuously improve your skills. Freelancing regularly will give you valuable experience and demonstrate your initiative and entrepreneurial spirit to potential employers.

Create Your Own Website

Don’t have a website yet? Now is the perfect time to create one. Building and managing your own website is a great way to get hands-on experience with SEO and demonstrate your passion to potential employers.

Setting up your own site will also familiarize you with popular content management systems like WordPress. Apply the SEO principles you’ve learned to optimize your pages and try to rank for relevant keywords related to your speciality.

Creating a Money Site From Scratch

Consider creating a website for affiliate marketing, where you promote products or services you believe in and earn a commission for each sale generated through affiliate links. A project like this gives you the chance to practice SEO and also gives you insights into user experience and conversion rate optimization.

Participate in SEO Projects or Internships

In addition to freelance work and creating your own website, participating in SEO projects or internships is a great way to gain practical experience and beef up your resume.

Look for opportunities to collaborate with other SEO professionals or agencies on projects, even if it’s on a volunteer basis. This will allow you to work alongside experienced practitioners, learn from their approaches, and contribute to real-world SEO campaigns. You can find these opportunities through online communities, social media groups, or contacting agencies directly.

Internships, either paid or unpaid, are another valuable way to get hands-on experience in SEO. Many agencies and companies offer internships to aspiring SEO professionals. You’ll get the chance to work on actual client projects (that require SEO reporting) under the guidance of seasoned experts. 

TTT SEO Monthly Report Template

Internships also provide valuable networking opportunities and can potentially lead to full-time employment.

When you’re participating in SEO projects or internships, make sure to document your contributions and the results you achieved. This will help you build a strong portfolio that showcases your practical experience and demonstrates the value you can bring to potential employers.

Create a Competitive SEO Resume

Your resume is your first opportunity to make a lasting impression on potential employers, so make sure it persuasively shows why you’re the right candidate for the job. 

Tailor your resume to the specific SEO position you’re applying for. Emphasize the skills and experience that align with the job requirements, and use industry-specific keywords to show your familiarity with SEO terminology.

When listing your SEO skills, be specific and mention the tools you’re proficient in using, such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Sheets, and Excel. This showcases your practical knowledge and makes your resume more compelling.

To really stand out from other candidates, use actual numbers and metrics to quantify your achievements.

Here are some examples of how you can include stats and accomplishments in your resume.

  • Improved keyword rankings: “Conducted in-depth keyword research and optimized site architecture, leading to a 50% increase in first-page keyword rankings within 6 months.”
  • Boosted conversions: “Collaborated with UX and content teams to optimize landing pages, which resulted in a 30% increase in conversion rates and a 20% increase in lead generation.”
  • Grew organic revenue: “Developed and executed an SEO strategy that contributed to a 35% year-over-year growth in organic revenue for an e-commerce client.”
  • Increased backlink profile: “Executed a targeted link-building campaign and secured high-quality backlinks from 50+ authoritative websites in the industry. This campaign improved the site’s Domain Authority from 35 to 50 in 8 months.”
  • Increased featured snippets: “Optimized content for featured snippets so the site captured 20+ featured snippets for target keywords.”
  • Resolved technical SEO issues: “Conducted a comprehensive technical SEO audit, then identified and resolved 100+ crawl errors, duplicate content issues, and broken links. The follow-up actions from the audit led to a 30% improvement in organic visibility.”

Where to Find the Best SEO Job Opportunities

With your SEO skills sharpened and your resume ready to impress, it’s time to start your job search. But make sure to streamline your search and minimize wasted time by looking in the right places.

Apply for Entry Level Positions on Job Boards

Job boards are a great place to begin your search for SEO positions. Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and SEOjobs.com feature a wide range of SEO positions, including entry-level roles.

Search the job boards using keywords like “SEO specialist” or “SEO analyst” in combination with “entry-level” or “junior.” 

SEO Specialist Job Posting

Don’t be discouraged if you come across job listings that require more experience than you have — some companies may be willing to provide training for the right candidate with a strong foundation in SEO. Throw your hat in the ring for positions, even if you don’t meet 100% of the recommended qualifications. 

SEO Specialist Job Qualifications

As you apply for jobs, tailor your resume and cover letter to each specific role. Highlight the skills and experiences that align with the job requirements, and demonstrate your enthusiasm for learning and growing within the company.

Be persistent in your job search, and don’t hesitate to apply for multiple positions that match your skill set. The more applications you submit, the higher your chances of landing meetings and giving great answers to SEO interview questions — which will ultimately help you secure your first SEO job.

Leverage Your Existing Network

Don’t underestimate the power of your existing network when searching for your first SEO job. Leverage your personal and professional connections to open doors to valuable opportunities that may not be publicly advertised.

Reach out to family, friends, and former colleagues to let them know you’re actively looking for an entry-level SEO position. Share your resume and a brief summary of your skills and experience, and ask if they know of any openings or can introduce you to someone in their network who works in the SEO industry.

Attend local meetups or webinars to expand your network and connect with professionals who can offer guidance or job leads. Ask questions and follow up with connections to build relationships and stay top-of-mind when opportunities arise.

SEO Surfers Facebook Group

Remember to leverage your online network as well. Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your SEO skills and experience, and engage with SEO-related content on the platform. Join SEO groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, and participate in discussions to demonstrate your knowledge, make new connections, and learn about new jobs.

If you’ve completed any SEO courses or certifications, contact your instructors or fellow students to see if they have any job leads or can provide recommendations.

Keep in mind that networking is a two-way street. Be willing to offer your own insights, resources, and assistance to others in your network, and they’ll be more likely to reciprocate when you need help in your job search.

Tap Into the Wisdom of SEO Communities

Engaging with SEO communities is a fantastic way to expand your knowledge, stay up-to-date on industry trends, and connect with professionals who can help you start your SEO career. 

TTT Academy is a membership community designed to help SEO professionals at all levels grow their skills and advance their careers. As a member, you’ll have access to exclusive content, expert-led workshops, and a private forum where you can interact with other SEO enthusiasts and industry leaders.

TTT Academy

In addition to TTT Academy, consider exploring communities like:

  • Google’s Webmaster Forum: This official Google forum is a great place to ask technical SEO questions and engage with Google employees and other webmasters.
  • The SEO Subreddit: With over 100,000 members, r/SEO is an active community where you can participate in discussions, ask for advice, and stay informed about the latest SEO news and trends.

To make the most of these communities, be an active and valuable contributor. Share your experiences, offer helpful resources, and engage in meaningful discussions.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get a Job in SEO 

Here are some common questions aspiring SEO professionals have about launching their careers.

What are the essential skills needed for a career in SEO?

To succeed in SEO, you’ll need a combination of technical, analytical, and creative skills. You’ll need to understand keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building and be proficient with SEO tools. Familiarity with spreadsheets like Google Sheets and Excel is also valuable. Soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and adaptability are crucial for working with clients and teams.

Can I get a job in SEO without a formal degree?

Yes, it’s possible to get a job in SEO without a formal degree. Many successful SEO professionals have developed their skills through self-study, online courses, and practical experience. Demonstrating your knowledge, passion, and results is more important than having a specific degree.

How important is practical experience compared to SEO certifications?

While SEO certifications can demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to learning, practical experience is typically more valuable to employers. Hands-on practice with real-world SEO projects, whether through freelance work, personal websites, or internships, showcases your ability to apply your skills and drive results. Certifications can complement your practical experience, but should not be your sole focus.

Is it hard to get a job in SEO?

Getting a job in SEO can be challenging, especially for entry-level positions, as many employers prefer candidates with experience. But by developing a strong skill set, gaining practical experience, and networking within the industry, you can increase your chances of landing the job you want. Be persistent, connect with your network, and learn continuously to demonstrate your value to employers.

Is SEO a high-paying job?

SEO can be a lucrative career, with the potential for high earnings as you gain experience and expertise. Entry-level SEO positions may have lower salaries, but your earning potential can increase significantly as you progress and take on more responsibility. Factors like location, company size, and your specific skill set can all influence your salary. With the growing importance of online visibility, the demand for skilled SEO professionals is expected to remain strong.

Invest in Your SEO Career Future with TTT Academy

As you’ve seen, kickstarting your SEO career takes a mix of technical know-how, real-world experience, and making the right connections. By nailing the basics, completing freelance gigs and your own projects, and participating in the SEO community, you’ll be primed and ready to land your first SEO job.

If you’re looking for the ideal launchpad for your SEO career, TTT Academy can help. It’s an incredible community jam-packed with exclusive content, expert-led workshops, and a private forum where you can rub elbows with industry leaders and other rising stars in the SEO space.

We’ve even got the perfect first course for you: How to Build a Successful Career in SEO. Instructor Kevin Indig will walk you through how to execute portfolio-building projects, build a network, and get the most out of your relationship with your mentor.

Get started today and get everything you need to snag your dream SEO job and jumpstart your career.