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My job title is SEO Specialist and I work in a variety of industries as I am self-employed. The main industry I work in would be considered affiliate marketing as I operate several of my own web properties and generate revenue through affiliate marketing programs. I have worked in this field for three years now.
When I describe what I do to others I explain that I get a cut of the revenue generated by sales from my websites. I have to explain what an affiliate program is first so that people can understand how I make money from my websites. Once they understand affiliate marketing, it is easy to explain to them what search engine optimization is and how that drives the revenue I create.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my job satisfaction as a seven. If I were able to make more money without having to put forth a lot of extra effort, my job satisfaction would definitely increase as the flexible schedule provided with my line work would be much more valuable than it is. It is just a matter of finding a couple of niche websites that are able to make a good amount of monthly revenue without having to pay close attention to the data on a daily basis.
I got started in this line of work by working for an email marketing company. This company would make their money by sending affiliate marketing emails to large consumer databases. It was through this email marketing company that I was exposed to the world of affiliate marketing and all of the opportunities available within that industry. While managing email campaigns, I learned about SEO and PPC affiliate marketing and started creating my own affiliate marketing websites. Once those sites started making money, I never looked back and started to work for myself.
While in this position I learned several hard lessons, one being that you always need to continue learning and reading about new search engine optimization techniques. The search engines are constantly changing their search algorithms, so you need to stay in line with what they are doing and learn what techniques are still effective. I try to read as much industry news as possible to stay up to date on what the search engines are planning to do next.
I get up and go to work every day because I truly enjoy what I do. Being able to come up with an idea and see that plan through is very rewarding when everything works as it was supposed to. Something that really made me proud was gaining my first number one search engine ranking for a keyword. When working on my first website, I had a small list of keywords I was targeting to help increase traffic to my site. There was moderate competition for the keywords so I knew it was going to take some time and effort to achieve the number one ranking. However, once I did get to the top spot I saw my website's traffic increase along with the revenue, making all of that hard work worth it.
My job as an SEO Specialist can be a bit stressful at times. I am constantly monitoring the rankings of my keywords, ensuring that they are not dropping in the search engines. If they are dropping in the rankings, it can be quite stressful to figure out why certain keywords are falling and what I can do to help improve their rankings again.
If you are not careful, working in the SEO industry can be quite stressful if you do not maintain a proper work-life balance. It is very easy to get caught up in all the data you need to analyze in order to run a proper SEO campaign, which can really cut into your personal life. There have been a few times when I have found myself working way too much and becoming burned out. Once I realized it was so easy to get burned out in this profession, I made it a point to maintain a proper work-life balance that included visiting friends, going to the gym, playing sports, and setting aside some "me time."
Your educational background does not really matter when it comes to getting a job as an SEO professional. However, you will need to have some knowledge of HTML code and understand how the Internet works in general. Also, you need to be very analytical and able to dissect data and come up with actionable results. I do not think SEO could be taught in a classroom setting as a lot of work comes from experience and testing out new strategies to see what does or does not work in terms of improving your rankings.
Something I would tell a friend looking to enter this field of work is to not get discouraged easily. There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to search engine optimization. As long as you are tracking your results and noting what works and what does not, you should be able to formulate a good SEO strategy moving forward after a little bit of experience.