How to get into the SEO Industry

When I was at university, SEO as a job barely existed.

It was a thing some people were already doing – but not something you could really do as a viable career.

These days universities might feature 1-2 lectures over the whole semester about online marketing – when I was there, there were 0 lectures.

Today, internet is everything.

Everyone needs to be successful online, and businesses understand that.

Problem is, there are still limited opportunities to learn about it.

  • Universities barely cover it
  • Specialised courses are generally short and only cover basics
  • There is no official training or certifications recognised by the industry (There should be but that’s for another post)

Read

The internet can be a scary place, but it’s also the BEST place to get a free education.

With a plethora of online courses, videos, blogs and communities you can get involved in, or just lurk.

The free information time is now, and SEO being a constantly changing industry – online is the perfect place to learn 24 hours a day.

Some of the best resources I can recommend to someone wanting to get into SEO are:

Do shit

Being good at SEO isn’t about the theory, it’s about getting your hands dirty.

If you are looking to get into the industry, or still studying at university, that is the best time to start something to help your learning.

  • Start a website selling a product or service. This doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking, but will be a website that you can test and learn things on a shoestring budget. Who knows – it might even take off!
  • Start a blog to write about your experiences or journey about learnings.
  • Do some pro bono work for friends and family to get some runs on the board
  • Offer to intern at a company in any way they might be willing to take you on.

Engage

Becoming visible in the industry is actually not a hard thing. It can be hard at first but by putting yourself out there a little you will make new friends and contacts, and gain some reputation points in a crowded market.

  • Engage with people on Twitter (Start following/reading/engaging with top SEO minds around the world)
  • Join some Facebook Groups
  • Join some Slack Groups
  • Attend some local networking events and chat with people
    • Hint: There are always recruiters and business owners at these events looking for people.

Be proactive

As with anything, being proactive is the key to starting out successfully.

Never wait for anything to come knocking – go get it.

  • Being proactive makes you stand out from 90% of other job seekers
  • A high percentage of people we actually hire are not actually applying for a role.

Generally people are good, and willing to help where they can.

Even if you are not looking for jobs, reaching out to people in the industry sets you up for one day when you might be contacting them for a reason.

I often reach out to people I admire for advice or to just say hello. If you are specific about what you ask for and don’t waste their valuable time – you would be surprised how successful you can be.

A great article resource on doing that can be found here: https://tim.blog/2008/05/19/5-tips-for-e-mailing-busy-people/

What now?

If you want to get into this exciting industry, all I can say is that SEO is a growing industry (SEO is not dead like some people will lead you to believe) and there are huge career opportunities for those who can become truly skilled.

4 Reasons I am pumped for Mozcon

I’ve decided to head back to Mozcon for the second year running.

I try to head to the USA for one conference a year to keep up with the latest developments in the industry. I realise there are Australian conferences too, but you just can’t get the same value and learnings in terms of quality of speakers and the networking opportunities.

I have previously been to Pubcon, Las Vegas for around 4 years running, and really enjoyed all aspects of it, but last year decided to make a change and ‘upgrade’ to Mozcon – and wwas not disappointed!

There are so many reasons I cant recommend Mozcon highly enough and I’ll try and reel off a few:

Speakers

Mozcon is a little unique where speakers don’t apply, you have to be asked. The speakers at this event are hand picked for the value they can provide to the entire SEO community, so you never have any fear you will end up listening to a sales pitch.

Some of the speakers I’m looking forward to:

  • Rand and Wil (Obviously!)
  • Oli Gardner – Unbounce
  • Daniel Russell – His talk “What We Learned From Reddit & How It Can Help Your Brand Take Content Marketing to the Next Level” has me listening already

Honestly, I just picked out a couple, but last year I don’t think I even had one session I tuned out on last year – the content is that great.

Networking

I am not super big into networking as a general rule. When we head to a USA based conference, networking is great to meet new people, but its rare for anything to turn into real business opportunities (Which is totally fine!)

Mozcon does a great job of having fun networking events, that are so well organised its unheard of at a convention.

Last year we had:

  • Pubcrawl
  • Ted Talk style event with food and drinks
  • Big end of conference celebration with drinks and bowling to finish off

To illustrate just how well they were put together, and it may seem like a tiny detail. but they had even organised different beer coasters at every location for each night of the conference. How is that for ATD!

Travel

One of the best things about attending a conference in an overseas country is the ability to combine my two favourite things – work and travel. Last year I was lucky enough to visit Portland on route to Mozcon. In addition Seattle was a city I had always wanted to visit, and one it turns out I loved. The opportunity to see places like this is something I am very lucky to experience.

This year, I am adding some family travel to the end of the conference and will be joined by my wife and daughter for a few weeks in New York and LA. What could be better!

Followup actions

Every conference we attend we come back with a huge list of things we want to start doing. Like everyone though, we NEVER do them all. What’s important though is we come back to a few very actionable things we can immediately change in our business, and without fail I can say that happens every time. While it may not always be something specific that is said at the conference, being out of our own office environment gives us time to sit back and think which always leads to productive ideas.

Will I see you there?

My 4 “Can’t live without” Android Apps

I am one of those people who don’t have a lot of apps on their phone. I don’t really play any games on my phone, and like to run a pretty clean ship when it comes to installing things on my device.

That said, I do run with a few very useful apps that I’ll outline here:

Rules: I am not going to talk abut anything thats just standard issue, or any social apps.

google_waze-06

Pocket casts

Far and away the best podcast app for android. Use it several times a day and it never misses a beat.

Lifx/Ring/Nest

I have recently installed a bit of technology in the house to bring a little bit of automation to things. I would not say these apps are PERFECT – but they all do their job effectively.

Runkeeper

I’ve tried almost all of the running apps and I find that this is the only one that does everything I need accurately. It’s also the only app I have that I have paid for the ‘pro’ version. Great software should always be rewarded.

runkeeper-update

Waze

Easily my most important app on my phone. Anyone who knows me knows I am terrible with directions. Not only does this app get me from a to b, it also ups my shortcut game and gets me everywhere a tonne faster.

Got any new recommendations for me?

Guide to Pubcon for Overseas Visitors

Pubcon8

I now consider myself a Pubcon veteran after attending the last 3 events (Not sure if this has earned me that title, but I’m running with it)

The reason I make the LONG trip from Australia each year, is for the quality of speakers, the people we meet, and the chance it gives us to focus on our SEO knowledge, to improve our product for our customers.

So if you are headed to Pubcon from a far away place like I am, below are some tips that will help to make your trip just that little bit better:

Pack light and load up.

Don’t overdo the packing. You will end up wearing lots less than you actually take, and you can buy anything you need over there (As well as wear some of the swag you get throughout the conference if you run out of clean shirts)

A few t shirts, shorts, dress pants, few shirts, and a jacket will have you pretty much covered for all occasions that arise. The other pro to packing light, is you can then do some shopping to fill those bags on your way home.

Adjust to the time difference as soon as you land.

This is a general travel tip I use everywhere I travel. As soon as you land starting adjusting to the time difference. If you land at 4pm, it’s 4pm so do what you would normally do, and hit the hay at your usual bedtime.
This is the quickest way to adjust on what is sometimes a short trip.

Only pre book accommodation, flights, & conference tickets.

Don’t go crazy with organising every detail, but ensure you have your hotel, & conference pass. Everything else you can wing it once you get there. Shows, tours, dinners, can all be booked easily and often cheaper when you land at the last minute, and you want to allow yourself to go with the Vegas flow.

Keep an eye on twitter for events.

Before and during your trip, stay on top of the Twitter hashtag to ensure you don’t miss out on formal and informal networking events, which are always the highlight of every event.

pubcon-matt-cutts

Network online with people from your own country attending.

Meeting people from all over the world is one of the huge draw cards of Pubcon, but it’s equally as beneficial to networking with your fellow countrymen. These events can often lead to great business partnerships, and long term relationships with people very relevant to your business.

Pubcon generally has a decent attendance from Australia, and we’ve met some great people in the industry that we still catch up with to this day.

Get a Sim Card before you arrive.

This is my personal preference, but a must do for me. Order a US based Sim card before you arrive and have it shipped to you (Plenty of options on ebay). Doing this will be easy (You can have the phone live 10 minutes after you land), and will save you the hassle of hunting down, and signing up in a cell phone store, which can sometimes take over an hour.

Having a working local phone number and data is a massive plus in Vegas as it will allow you to use Google Maps, make bookings, and stay in touch with your new friends, just like back home.

Night-Strip-Tour-by-Gray-Line-Las-Vegas-3

If you forget something, you can get it in Vegas.
Don’t be at all stressed if you forget to pack anything such as clothes, medicines, & toiletries, can all easily be purchased at any of the local CVS stores or drug stores.

If you are flying home on the Thursday night after the last day of the conference, check your bags at concierge in the morning.

I usually give ourselves a few extra days either side to enjoy our trip, but if you are on a deadline and have a late flight on Thursday night, check your bag with the concierge and checkout in the Thursday morning before you head to the last day of the conference.

That way you can enjoy the last day of the conference, the last night networking event, and then have a seamless trip to collect your bags and get to the airport.

Don’t be afraid to take an hour or two off during the day to see some sights.

Not interested in every session block? Don’t worry, it happens. If you have a quiet patch in terms of sessions you would like to attend, don’t feel guilty about taking a few hours out to do some shopping, hit the tables, sit by the pool, or even go see the Grand Canyon in a helicopter. It’s all part of the Vegas experience.

Be prepared for the weather.

If you are coming from colder climates like me, October in Las Vegas is generally the opposite of your current season, nice and warm! With some cooler nights at times so bring shorts, t-shirts, as well as some long sleeves and pants

Grab food when you can…

Pubcon never really stops, and you will be pretty busy the entire time. Don’t forget to grab some food when you can. A quick bite before the conference starts, or a couple of tacos on the way to the next networking event, will ensure you stay on your feet through the day, and long into the night!

The place literally never sleeps, but make sure you do (At least a bit)

The conference runs from 8.30pm till 5pm each day, and to keep up that pace you do need a little bit of sleep. But you’re in Vegas right, so it’s a bit tougher to get to bed early. Just remember pace yourself, and catch some shut eye when you can – you are here to learn!

And a few quick tips:

  • You can drink booze on the street and it’s totally fine (If you are out walking, grab a beer from a local store or CVS to save some money)
  • Carry small change for tips with taxis, drinks, meals
  • If you want to catch a show or visit one of the buffets, visit halftix.com boothes on the strip for a great deal
  • A monorail ticket will set you up for a good week of getting around, and is by far the best way to the LVCC. Other options are taxis (everywhere), and more recently, Uber.
  • Don’t forget your conference pass for the networking events. It’s what will get you in, and acts as a nametag.
  • Stay at a hotel on the monorail. We always stay at the MGM as it’s got a monorail stop inside the casino, which gives us an extra 20-30 minutes sleep each morning.
  • Easiest way to pay for things is on Credit Card, so try and get one without international fees if you can.
  • Avoid taking out cash from the casino ATM’s, they will sting you $5 + for each withdrawal.

I hope this list of tips helps a few of you out there, and I look forward to seeing everyone there in Las Vegas.

Some pictures of our Punt Road office in progress

It’s come a long way!