Let’s face it, the publishing industry is waning, newspapers are switching to digital and incorporating more and more blogging content and the only jobs for creative people who like to write are starting to be limited to marketing and specialty websites, especially in the growing ‘geek’ industry. You could, of course become a blogger but it’s a long uphill battle from the morass of millions of part time bloggers to Andrew Sullivan. SEO offers you the chance to stretch your creative muscles, write, surf the web and interact with people for a living.
What is SEO? SEO is credibility. Making a company look as good as it is and show up higher in the Bing or Google results page than it would naturally through the magic of keywords, with or without a link attached. Some of the less savoury methods of the past relied on a lot of links and keywords inserted into short bits of text but nowadays link building is becoming more and more link earning. You have to work to get the rankings up there, you need to choose the right keywords and convince the search engine that your website deserves to be ranked higher due to how streamlined and full of good content it is.
A good part of SEO work is comparable to what you would do at an affiliate management company, in fact it is no mystery why the two fields are so closely related. Your purpose is to promote websites in a honest manner and to that end you’ll have to interact with quite a bit of people over the internet, by mail or social media. This will often try your patience and test your social skills but if you’re creative and outgoing you’re not going to have a problem.
So what exactly do you need to know to throw your hat in the SEO ring? Well, you’ll need to have a basic grasp of marketing and know what promoting a product means, you’ll need to be fairly analytical and quick on your toes, find it easy to grasp and work with new concepts and be pretty good with computers and tech in general. You won’t need to know any coding, although it can help you to have some basic knowledge, but you do need to now how to use word editors to perfection and surf the web like a surf champion on an Oahu beach.
Most importantly apart from your internet schmoozing abilities you’ll need to be quite analytical in your approach nad understand the various factors that lead to a page ranking or not. You won’t need math but a hefty dose of common sense and a sharp mind are a must. Lastly and perhaps most importantly (although quite natural to a creative person) you need to know how to spin an epic yarn of words: write informative texts well and convey your information quickly and directly. Good writing skills are what often separates the wheat from the chaff in the SEO world and good content will get a lot more shares and links than bad content any day of the week. Good content, impeccable writing in terms of syntax and grammar is something that can often make or break your initial website pitch. Who could, after all, believe that you’re a good writer, if you can’t write an e-mail properly?
SEO isn’t some sort of coding nightmare for people who couldn’t cut it in IT. SEO is a challenging and dynamic field in which a lot of people cut their teeth on true content and learn the basics of proper writing and editing. So if you ever get a chance to work in SEO, take it over reporting on the local sports team. Not only does SEO open your perspective and allow you to write about pretty much anything but it pays well and it is a satisfying mix of writing and marketing perfect for the person who enjoys a challenge.
Paul is a social networking consultant and postdoctoral student looking to get his own start-up off the ground. He worked for a SEO and affiliate management company for a year and a half and he now guest blogs on SEO topics in his spare time.