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How to Become an SEO Specialist

Why an SEO Certificate Is Worth It

Ready to start your career in Marketing? Find out more about BrainStation's Digital Marketing Bootcamp

The number of available search engine optimization (SEO) jobs increased by 43 percent this year, with search marketing experience among LinkedIn’s most in-demand skills for 2018 and beyond. It’s not hard to see why: over 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

If you’re still unsure whether that further education would benefit you, read on for a few reasons why SEO training could be valuable for you.

SEO Skills Are Increasingly Important

Even as the SEO and SEM fields have changed, their importance has only grown.

One study of all web searches in May 2018 found that the click-through rate for the top-ranking search result was just under 30 percent – a number that plummeted to four percent for the fifth-ranked result. By the ninth result, a meagre one percent of searchers on average were still interested in clicking through – a far more dramatic drop-off than was observed just a few years ago.

Meanwhile, Internet users are simply searching more frequently. The number of core search queries from the top four search engines in the United States in April 2018 was 17.6 billion – up dramatically from the 10.12 billion who searched in April 2008.

It’s not surprising, then, that businesses are finding lucrative ROIs investing in SEO and SEM. According to a BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor report, companies spending more than $25,000 a year on marketing reported that search engine marketing and optimization provided the best return on investment, with 65.9 percent listing SEM/SEO as an extremely high priority or very high priority going forward – above email marketing, social media advertising or performance assessment.

Google and Other Search Engines Don’t Rest

Over the course of 2017, Google made a series of updates to its search algorithm – some minor, some relatively major.

Among the alterations made, two big updates in February and March seemed to target low-value content, a December update was intended to “improve relevancy,” while in March 2018 Google confirmed a “broad core algorithm update” intended to “benefit pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

The common trend among Google’s algorithm updates is that they seem to be prioritizing quality over quantity. Experts have also observed that Google appears to be placing a greater emphasis on website architecture and internal linking strategy. Further, sculpting – or editing away the needless bulk on your website – is a process that is becoming increasingly important.

Moreover, the rise of voice search is already having a transformational effect, with Google revealing in 2016 that 20 percent of queries through its platform were voice searches. Another trend that has developed at lightning speed is the sudden prominence of rich snippets and knowledge boxes, features that are already having a game-changing effect for SEO specialists.

And most professionals are readying themselves for a larger-scale shift to mobile, given that Google has already confirmed that more than 50 percent of searches are conducted on mobile.

Ultimately, it should be clear an SEO strategy that worked well just a few years ago might already be hopelessly outdated. Refreshing your SEO skills could be crucial in staying on top of an endlessly evolving field.

Not Just for SEO Specialists Anymore

Increasingly, even if “SEO” isn’t in your job title, you will likely be expected to have a firm grasp on optimizing your website to search-engine prominence.

A quick sweep of job-search websites will find that an understanding of SEO is considered a major advantage or even a prerequisite for jobs in many fields, including communications, content creation and management, marketing, social media, and some positions in journalism.

In BrainStation’s SEO courses, students learn the techniques and tools to create real-world search marketing strategies, with units covering: SEM; SEO, site crawling, on-page optimization and answer boxes; Google Search Console, rich snippets and data highlighter; pay-per-click advertising, ad groups and remarketing; and Google Analytics.

Even if you’re not planning on specializing in SEO and SEM Analytics, it’s clearly a competency that is valued.

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