How to Land a Job in SEO
April 12 2018 , 0 Comments
You’ve secured an interview for a role in digital marketing. Congratulations! But now that gnawing anxiety starts to loom… What sort of interview will it be? What questions will they ask? And how am I going to stand out from the crowd?
To help demystify the interview process for this sector, I’ve come up with six top tips to bear in mind when preparing for an interview in SEO. The criteria for a great SEO employee are easy to get your head around. It just takes a bit of preparation and research.
Know Your Lingo
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You’ve got that. But make sure you’re clear about what this really means. It’s not just a trendy acronym, but an indicator of an entire, advanced and evolving approach to online marketing. Alongside understanding what SEO is all about, make sure you’re familiar with the terminology of the chief strategies for SEO, including keyword-research, link building and metadata.
Prospective employers will be seriously impressed if you can talk the talk, but only if you can do so with genuine understanding and insight. Remember that golden rule about style over substance!
Imagine All The People
The fundamental point of SEO is that it curates web content in order to reach a specific target audience, and then appeals to that audience and holds their attention. It will therefore be absolutely crucial in your interview that you can show an ability to write with a specific audience in mind.
This is where SEO challenges you to get creative. Let your imagination go! When you’re asked how you’d write a piece of content for the purpose of SEO, really think of the person to whom you are writing. So, for example, if you’re working for a company that sells bespoke skiing holidays, then remember that a young, professional, childless couple are going to be interested in vastly different things to a large, mature family planning a multi-generational trip. Don’t go selling childcare services to the footloose couple, or raucous après-ski scenes to the family!
The Magic Keyword
One major way in which you’ll pitch the content to your target audience is through choosing appropriate keywords or phrases, and then enriching your content with those words. Again, the secret here is imagination. Put yourself in the target audience’s shoes and think about what they’ll be searching for. Which keyword might help attract those young professionals, and which will grab the attention of the large family? Again, it’s all about detailed, creative thinking!
If SEO is obvious, it becomes counterproductive. An article or blog post that is blatantly enriched with keywords is just not going to appeal to anyone, and can actually register as spam which is the last thing you want! The unsubtle use of keywords is such a pitfall in SEO that it’s even got its own term: stuffing.
In your interview, you’ll have to demonstrate that you’ll be able to achieve the requisite balancing act – enough keywords to make it constructive SEO but not too many to make it stuffed. A top tip here is to think creatively about how you can include the keywords. Don’t just repeat the phrase ad nauseam. Instead, think about how you could break it up with punctuation or pluralization.
Use the Toolkit
Increasingly, search engines are creating tools to help with SEO. Check out this really helpful beginners’ guide to what’s out there. Detailed knowledge of what’s on the market will certainly impress your interviewers. However, don’t treat these tools as gospel. They’re there to act as props for additional support, helping you – the real expert – to get your job done.
Know Your Strengths
Have you ever set up your own website? In this industry, practice makes perfect, so if you’ve had first-hand experience in getting to grips with how search engines interact with a site, then you’re onto a winner! If not, then think about how you function as an internet user. How do you navigate search engines during your own research? Is there anything that really helps you, or anything which bothers you in this process?
Similarly, try and think of instances in the past when you’ve had to write both creatively and critically. What sort of ingenuity can you bring to the table? Can you think of ways to make a piece of text as eye-catching as possible?
All in all, perhaps the most helpful thing to remember is that SEO is such a vibrant industry precisely because it uses human strengths and abilities to step in where algorithms fail to tread: creative writing, imagination and lateral thinking. So, think about how your unique skills can help transform a generic piece of content into a targeted, powerful search engine star.
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