How to Get into SEO

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Hey kids!

First of all, thank you to all of you for the kind words and congrats on my new job :-)

I owe you all major updates - but long story short - I went to Minas for a week or so, came back and this past week was my first week working at Catho Online, and it's been great so far! It's definitely different than the agency. I have to clock in and log what I did during the day, and it's a much bigger company with bigger departments and such. The work, however, has been really great, my manager's given me a lot of responsibility up front and the coworkers whom I've met and hung out with so far are awesome!

One question a lot of people ended up asking me this week though was, "How did you get into SEO?" I mean, it's not something you really go to school for, most people have just kind of "fallen into" the field. SEO, howver, has been growing more and more and in my last post and a couple of others, readers have asked me the same thing, so I thought I'd give those interested a little 5 step guide!

1. Read, Read, Read. Read blogs, books, whatever you can get your hands on in terms of SEO. It's a field that's rapidly evolving at all times and you need to know if it's something you're willing to get into or not and if you want to keep up. You don't need to have a degree in a particular major to be an SEO (I mean, hey, I majored in International Relations!), but you do need to be internet savvy and want to learn everything from the IT to the marketing sides of the search industry.

2. Network. Since SEO is still a relatively small field, SEOs are super friendly and helpful (in general) when you have questions about strategies for your site or are just curious as to what the field is like. Good ways to network are:
- Attend conferences! There are hundreds of SEO or overall Search conferences all over the
world and you can usually find out when and where they're going on through Search blogs
or sites. And when you get there, talk to people. You're all there because you want to
learn more about search, so there's no reason not to, right?
- Join online communities related to SEO. LinkedIn, Search Engine Watch, and Google
Webmaster Central have great groups & forums that have all sorts of fun SEO discussions.
- GET ON TWITTER & LINKED IN. You have no idea how many SEO buddies I've made
on Twitter just by twitting tidbits on SEO and on LinkedIn just by having it in my profile
that I work with it or am at least interested in it.

3. Build your own site or blog. I'm guilty of not putting too much effort into my own blog (but that should be changing soon!) in terms of SEO, but if you have a site or want to put one together, try doing some of your own optimization by following ideas you read about in blogs and books, and then when you go to look for work in the field, you'll have your own little portfolio to show your future employers. Also offer to help your friends who are just starting up their own sites. And don't forget to use Google Analytics or another free analytics tool so you can track your results!

4. Look for niche job opportunity sites. IQ Workforce and SEO Jobs Finder have great listings for SEOs and Analytics jobs all over the world, the latter having a lot of entry level jobs too :-)

and finally

5. Have fun with it. SEO is a fun field to be in right now. As the internet grows, it's growing right along with it. And as search engines are changing, so's the field. So like I said before, make sure you're up for the challenge, but at the same time, don't kill yourself doing it. You want to do something you love!

I know this wasn't one of my regularly themed posts, but since so many people were asking about it and I'm on fire after this week, I thought I'd share.


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