How to Become an SEO Professional

How to Become SEO Professional

As an SEO professional, it has been a long and satisfying journey since the instant I decided to become an SEO specialist.

Since its inception in 1991, the evolution of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been manifolded. Search engine optimization professionals are bound to stay up-to-date with the changing algorithms and updates to grow in their professional SEO careers.


Right from my college level, I was naturally inclined towards the technology and digital world. 


But what attracted me towards turning into an SEO professional was – the mammoth growth of Google and the rise in online searches. 


The way this search engine dominated the internet searches and changed the way users obtained answers to their queries intrigued me towards making a career in SEO. 


But wait! My SEO learning journey never happened overnight. 


Lots of learning, observing, gathering knowledge, and trials and errors, along with intense practice – are what helped me evolve as a proven SEO professional.


If you are keen on becoming an SEO specialist and already started with your research about how to become SEO certified, SEO expert salary, or how to become an SEO expert, join me in this post as I decode the related secrets.


What is an SEO Expert?


An SEO expert helps brands to increase their digital visibility. And it is not just related to searching for keywords or building backlinks. 

An SEO professional helps companies to:

  • Rank high on search engines and increase visibility by crafting an SEO strategy
  • Increase lead conversion by drawing in more relevant traffic
  • Ensure the ad campaigns are targeted and result-oriented
  • Monitor the end-to-end performance of a website
  • Assess metrics and optimize SEO campaigns and website design 

Requirements to Become an SEO Professional


SEO is a young industry. There are no hard and fast rules about the minimum requirements to become an SEO professional. SEO is an in-depth subject that needs hands-on technical and practical knowledge. 

Like for most other professional careers, graduation is a minimum essential to begin a professional SEO journey.

That said, no one is stopping you from exploring the SEO basics for beginners and SEO fundamentals before your graduation. 

A closer look at the SEO specialist job description tells you that – 64.3% of SEO job descriptions don’t mention any degree requirements at all. 

So, if you are a student keen to step into a professional search engine optimization career, you can start your journey right now!

Why Should You Care For a Career in SEO?


Because the demand is huge and the availability is less. Have you ever taken a peek at SEO expert salary? Any guesses about the SEO fresher salary?

Take a look below:

SEO Professional Salary

Source: Indeed


SEO Professional Average Salary

Source: Glassdoor


Talking in terms of the US market:

With businesses moving digital creating a rise in the demand for SEO professionals and search engine marketing professionals, there’s not an ounce of doubt that SEO would be a promising career.

Steps to Become Search Engine Optimization Specialists


Here I explain how to become an expert in professional search engine optimization in four simple yet detailed steps. Should you need guidance with any of these steps or needing more clarification, don’t hesitate to let me know through your comments.


So, here we go!

Step #1: Laying the Groundwork

Step #2: Mastering Technical Skills

Step #3: Acquiring Allied Knowledge

Step #4: Implementing Best Practices


Let’s discuss these steps one by one in detail now.


Step #1: Laying the Groundwork


As an SEO professional, you deal with bots as much as you need to care for humans. By bots, I mean search engines.

Hence, understand how search engines work

  • What do crawlers do? 
  • Why do keywords matter and how do they make a difference for your client?
  • How do spammers impact a website’s authority and reputation? 
  • The best optimization practices to win in the search engine game and the malicious ones to avoid.
  • The difference between paid and organic search and how to cater to the SEO needs of budget crunched clients.
  • How is quality content imperative for SEO success?
  • The role of images and other multimedia in SEO results.
  • How to add value to website visitors compared to the competitors?
  • Key concepts of a website design and development including User Interface and User Experience.
  • Where and when to use different types of SEO – Local, Global, National, eCommerce, and many more.

Putting it simply, gather familiarity with technical terms – crawlers, optimization, metrics, dashboards, analysis tools, and other stuff. Understand each of them in detail. 

To achieve this:

Read and subscribe to related blogs. Gain knowledge from expert podcasts. Follow SEO professionals and learn and observe their work and findings. 


As an SEO professional, you should have mastery in – HTML, CSS, WordPress, Web Development, Web Metrics, Content Marketing, and Search Engine Marketing.


I suggest reading books (at least 1-2 standard books completely) to gather a comprehensive understanding. My picks would be:

  1. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization
  2. Marketing in the Age of Google
  3. Ultimate Guide to Link Building: How to Build Backlinks, Authority, and Credibility for Your Website, and Increase Click Traffic and Search Ranking
  4. Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-Figure Business With Zero Advertising
  5. Head First HTML and CSS: A Learner’s Guide to Creating Standards-Based Web Pages 
  6. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript All in One: Covering HTML5, CSS3, and ES6, Sams Teach Yourself 
  7. Professional WordPress: Design and Development
  8. WordPress: The Missing Manual
  9. Insider Secrets for a Successful Website Business
  10. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics

Once you complete this step, you are equipped with a basic understanding of SEO terms and concepts.

Step #2: Mastering Technical Skills


Now, it’s time to put the SEO specialist skills acquired in the previous step into practice. 

To accomplish this:

Start a website of your own. Create your webmaster Google account and submit it to the crawler for its indexing. 


Build the website and implement your technical SEO skills to bring it to the top. Leverage the content of power and backlinks to boost its ranking. 


Remember, the performance of your website is proof of your SEO expertise to your clients. It helps to increase your visibility when clients search for how to hire a freelancer SEO consultant.


Good writing skills are a bonus for an SEO expert, though not mandatory. 

Note that your job as an SEO expert is not to write the content. It is to leverage quality content and blend it with SEO skills to churn more revenue for your clients. 


At this point, you have a super-performing website driven with quality content and state-of-art SEO practices.

Now measure the traffic and metrics to assess the real-time performance.

To do so, here are the tools I use:

  • Moz: One of the indispensable tools for SEO marketers.
  • Ahrefs: Most reliant SEO tool by global SEO professionals that helps in creating effective SEO content strategy.
  • SEMRush: Another comprehensive SEO tool that is a part of an SEO professional’s day-to-day work.
  • Google Analytics: As an SEO professional, you just cannot ignore this at all to analyze your website’s metrics.
  • Google Search Console: To understand the traffic sources, search intent, social signals, and many more.
  • Google Trends: Your basic tool to perform keyword analysis.

The list of SEO tools is comprehensive. Many SEO freshers rely on free tools while SEO experts dig deep with premium ones. Whatever is the version of the tool, the main thing that search engine optimization professionals must not miss is utilizing it to deliver results to the clients. 


Understand where which tool comes to help. And how to improve the metrics by scrutinizing the generated reports. 


Step #3: Acquiring Allied Knowledge and How to Become SEO Certified


Professional SEO includes collaborating with a team of developers, content writers, marketers, digital marketers, search engine marketing professionals, and organizational heads. Thus, to grow in the SEO career, possessing allied knowledge about all these streams is imperative. 


Hence, gain an understanding of each of these horizontals. Take the help of online certifications, both free and paid to gather a comprehensive picture of an SEO specialist career. In fact, you can’t ignore the power of certifications, as they serve as proof of your capabilities. 


Another crucial trait of successful search engine optimization professionals is – their ability to simplify technical aspects to the clients and the team. You can succeed at this only when you have complete technical knowledge of SEO best practices. 

 Successful search engine optimisation specialists possess a thorough understanding of:

  • Business Needs
  • Content and Digital Marketing
  • Search Engine Algorithm Changes and Updates
  • Search Engine Marketing & PPC Ads
  • Website audit and analysis
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Offering SEO strategy to clients that caters to their business needs
  • SEO Challenges which vary from industry to industry.

Hence, if you want to emerge victorious in your professional SEO, you must constantly learn and refresh your subject knowledge. 


Aim at updating yourself at least once a year with the latest certifications. Stay current with newsletters and blog subscriptions related to SEO industry giants.


Step #4: Implement Best Practices to grow as SEO Professional 


As an SEO professional, nobody understands the power of backlinks than you do. 

Now let me tell you:

“Your real-time connections serve as your backlinks in acquiring a reputation as a trusted professional search engine optimization specialist.”

  • Connect with established SEOs, Content Strategists, Digital Marketers, Web Developers, Marketers, and Industry Leaders to learn how to tackle challenges that emerge in real-time and stay updated with related fields.
  • Start sharing your knowledge as an SEO expert on social media – LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, Quora, Medium, etc.
  • Be active on your personal website blog and educate your visitors and users with relevant content.
  • Create podcasts and Youtube videos on your SEO expertise and see the magic they do in increasing your stature as a search engine optimisation specialist.
  • Work with diverse clients to acquire practical knowledge and gain mastery in handling SEO challenges related to various industries. 
  • Request testimonials from your clients. They help you to showcase yourself as a result-driven SEO specialist.
  • Work in an agency to gather a deeper understanding of SEO challenges and business. It helps you to emerge as an SEO professional you might not have imagined ever!

I Can Guide You in Becoming an SEO Specialist


SEO is a real-time challenge. It is a long and challenging journey that enriches SEO professionals with time. With the increasing digital interactions among customers and businesses, search engine optimisation specialists are the need of the hour.


Despite the self-learning and online SEO certifications, you need the guidance of an SEO expert to turn into a successful SEO professional. Consult me for one-on-one sessions to learn SEO. I can reveal the SEO best practices and teach you SEO from scratch. 


Drop me an email at Follow Saalim Tahir on LinkedIn and shoot your queries related to SEO. I will be happy to guide you.


I wish you all the success in your SEO career! Let’s get in touch. 


How much does professional SEO cost?

Professional SEO costs based on your business needs – Local, Global, eCommerce, and National.

Can you do SEO yourself?

You can do SEO yourself. Note that SEO if not done properly can backfire. It is suggested to collaborate with SEO professionals with hands-on experience.

Is SEO a good career?

SEO is a promising career that has a bright prospective. Take the first step for a SEO career today!

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