Getting Started in SEO / Digital Marketing

With the rise in demand for companies to get more traffic and business to their website, professional SEOs are becoming more in demand. There is so much information out there that can some times be overwhelming for people just starting out or people wanting to start out in SEO. I have covered the main aspects below, with information on what to use, where to learn and some insights from experts in the SEO field.

Top Tools for the Trade

Google Analytics (http://www.google.co.uk/analytics) – An essential for marketers to gauge their efforts and very useful when trying to leverage more from your current visitors.

Analytics SEO (http://www.analyticsseo.com) – The all singing, all dancing tool which allows you to view all of your website’s data in one place. Combining Webmaster Tools, Analytics, link metrics and social information in one place.

Cognitive SEO (http://www.cognitiveseo.com) – The Cognitive SEO tool is great for monitoring a campaign, checking the links that point to your website, your website’s ranking positions and much more.

Ahrefs (http://www.ahrefs.com) – Ahrefs is (in my opinion) the best tool for checking what links point to your website, giving you the ability to see new and lost links along with a large number of other metrics.

SEOGadget for Excel (http://builtvisible.com/seogadget-for-excel/) – This great tool allows you to harness multiple SEO tools directly from Microsoft Excel.

Screaming Frog (http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/) – This tool is indispensable when looking through the build of your website, spotting mistakes and making your job much easier.

SEOCandy (obviously) (http://www.seocandy.co.uk) – There are a small amount of cool APIs and tools to help you get important information from websites.

Too many to remember? I will be posting the top SEO tools onto the blog in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled. Also drop any other great tools you know about in the comments below this post.

Top Read’s

There are literally 100s of SEO blogs out there and it can be difficult to know which ones are best to use. Below are some of the best blogs for keeping up to date with the latest updates and techniques;

Search Engine Land – http://searchengineland.com/

Search Engine Watch – http://searchenginewatch.com/

Search Engine Journal – http://www.searchenginejournal.com/

Moz – http://moz.com/blog

SEO By The Sea (Advanced) – http://www.seobythesea.com/

David Naylor (Not updated as regularly) – https://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/

RSS Aggregators You can also keep up to date with the latest news from across the web in one place by visiting the sites below;

Reddit – http://www.reddit.com/r/bigseo/

Inbound.org – http://inbound.org/

Where To Learn

Some online marketing techniques change on a regular basis as and when Google releases updates like Penguin & Panda, but the basics always stay the same. There are many “self-help” tutorials on the web however I have found that some of the best resources out there are the ones listed below.

Distilled U (https://www.distilled.net/u/) – Distilled U is a paid for service but is great for those wanting to follow lessons and take exams.

SEO Moz (http://moz.com/learn/seo) – Moz is a great place to learn SEO for free, they feature not only an SEO guide, but Social Media and Local SEO guides.

Google (PDF Starter Guide) – Google have published their own starter guide for SEO. What could be better than a guide from the people that set the criteria you are trying to meet?

Job Boards & Opportunities

There are a large number of job opportunities out there ona variety of well-known job sites. Be careful as these are littered with recruitment agencies advertising jobs that do not exist. I have listed below a number of SEO/Online Marketing specific job boards that are great when looking for your next adventure.

http://www.jobsinsearchmarketing.com/

http://inbound.org/jobs

http://www.clockworktalent.com/

Specific Agency Opportunities

http://builtvisible.com/careers/

http://www.creare.co.uk/jobs

http://www.rocketmill.co.uk/careers

A word from the Experts

I have reached out to some of the industry experts for their views on the SEO industry, how they got started and their top tips for people starting out. I also want to say a big thank you for everyone that provided answers to my questions below!

 


 

hp-logo

Matt Beswick (Founder)
Hidden Pixel 

 

# Years working in SEO:  Officially, 5… but more like 10 in one form or another.

What made you choose a career in SEO: It happened by accident really. We used to build Facebook campaigns, which morphed into running client campaigns and we also launched our own retail site. Being a big geek, SEO appealed and – 5 years later – I still love it.

Favourite thing about working in digital marketing: It’s always changing and, if you do good work, there are great opportunities to grow and expand.

Best Advice for New Starters: Don’t believe the hype (from either hat). There are things that work, things that don’t, and things that will get you banned. Experimenting with your own sites is something that every decent marketer should be doing instead of just listening to what everyone else says.

Best resource for someone learning SEO/Online Marketing: Distilled U is fantastic and very reasonably priced. If you get all the way to the end of their modules you’ll know more than most.

Best resource for keeping up with the latest SEO developments and news: Twitter is where I get most of the latest news, but the likes of Inbound, Moz, SEJ and SEL are also sites that I check most days.


 

crearelogoNick Rinylo (Director of SEO)
Creare

 

# Years working in SEO:  7 1/2 years

What made you choose a career in SEO: The need really to market the websites that we were building at the time, it was a case of stay ahead of the competition. Coming from an engineering background, the SEO field suited my skill set.

Favourite thing about working in digital marketing: Challenges and evolution of the delivery mechanisms, to expand on this we all have been exposed to Google’s adaptation of its algorithm whether it’s something I’ve done wrong or inheriting someone else’s work. Fixing and overcoming these challenges is always rewarding.

Best Advice for New Starters: As the industry has evolved specialisms have been created, find a passion and become an expert that adds value to the business you’re working for. The industry moves fast so don’t sit on your hands: read, test and research to evolve your job.

Best resource for someone learning SEO/Online Marketing: Educated trial and error. There are some great online authorities that are worth reading however nothing beats getting your hands dirty and figuring it out for yourself.

Best resource for keeping up with the latest SEO developments and news: Your colleagues, share what you find. I think this is about instilling an ethos within your business to push and develop job roles around the organisation, then you’ll have colleagues and your team showing you new things and keeping you at the edge of the industry.

 


 

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 16.39.42Richard Baxter (Founder)
Built Visible

 

 

# Years working in SEO:  My Linkedin profile says 10 years but it’s about 11 now.

What made you choose a career in SEO: I didn’t – I got interested in SEO after my boss at the time asked me how to get the company website to rank in Google. I started out clueless, working only on SEO part time, but the whole thing really started to get me hooked and over time I learned and perfected my craft.

Favourite thing about working in digital marketing: It’s really results driven, I particularly enjoy seeing the results and the output my teams are producing. I also really like witnessing that “penny drop” moment when you’re introducing someone to SEO for the first time and they’re starting to get it.

Best Advice for New Starters: Welcome! Here’s your list: You’re an SEO when you’ve: built a link, had a reddit frontpage, had a Searchmetrics chart go up and to the right for a sustained (read: permanent) basis, had happy client feedback, converted some of your traffic to sales / signups / registrations, knocked someone off the top spot for a competitive keyword, learned Excel, stats, analytics, carried out keyword research, completed log file analysis, convinced a client about those technical changes, designed a site architecture, wireframed a page layout, a/b tested that page, and lastly, you’re not an SEO until you’ve tripped a penalty AND got out of it. Please, don’t start a blog until you’ve done those things.

Best resource for someone learning SEO/Online Marketing: You can get a long way by watching every Whiteboard Friday, reading some of the top SEO blogs, attending a few conferences and asking this question of the speakers. If you could spend 20 minutes talking to experts like Dave Naylor, Joost De Valk, Marcus Tandler, Daniel Butler  you’d be well advised to. Mostly, though – by learning how to build a website and promoting it yourself. There’s no experience like experience!

Best resource for keeping up with the latest SEO developments and news: Barry Schwartz is excellent at getting the early warning out. Also, Search Engine land is excellent. I’d keep an eye on Google Webmaster announcements and learn how to collect your own ranking data with tools like AWR. Good luck and enjoy!

 


 

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 16.35.57Ann Smarty (Founder)
MyBlogU


# Years working in SEO:  Officially, 5… but more like 10 in one form or another.

What made you choose a career in SEO: I was looking for a part-time job and got hired into an ecommerce site. I got too excited and got involved in everything they were doing including SEO and social media. That’s about it. Here’s the full story

Favourite thing about working in digital marketing: Ever-changing…The way I’ve been doing SEO hasn’t changed much but all the things that are happening all the time have made the work really exciting. I love all those new social media trends and Google SERPs experiments we have to deal with on a regular basis.

Best Advice for New Starters: Don’t go crazy with SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization (making something optimal) and because people like low-hanging fruit, we are now dealing with another term which is actually an oxymoron: over-optimization. Whatever you do, think how it helps the user first, THEN how it helps a search engine.

Best resource for someone learning SEO/Online Marketing: 

Best resource for keeping up with the latest SEO developments and news: I think this one is all you need: https://www.seroundtable.com/ It covers all news as well as forum threads, etc.

 


 

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 13.47.26Tom Anthony (Head of R&D)
Distilled

# Years working in SEO:  7

What made you choose a career in SEO: It seemed like a puzzle, and I like puzzles! I had a background in web development, and at the time SEO was mostly technical so it was a perfect combo.

Favourite thing about working in digital marketing: That it constantly moves and changes, and you can’t stay still.

Best Advice for New Starters: Focus on specific areas that fit your skills. SEO is now a wide array of sub-specialities and nobody can be amazing at all of them. You need to know all the parts, but work out what part will be your speciality.

Best resource for someone learning SEO/Online Marketing: Moz.com blog is great, and I’m biased so think DistilledU is pretty cool as I see the work that goes into it. But there is no substitute for doing it the old school way and setting up some test sites.

Best resource for keeping up with the latest SEO developments and news: Inbound.org and MarketingLand, the Moz Google Algorithm History page is a go to resource for reference.

We hope that you enjoyed the post and enjoy your impending journey into the SEO world! Please drop a comment below if you want any more information and I will be more than happy to help!