Posted by DaveSottimano
Let’s face it: SEO isn’t as black & white as most marketing channels. In my opinion, to become a true professional requires a broad skill set. It’s not that a professional SEO needs to know the answer for everything; rather, it’s more important to have the skills to be able to find the answer.
I’m really pleased with the results of various bits of training I’ve put together for successful juniors over the years, so I think it’s time to share.
This is a Junior SEO task list designed to help new starters in the field get the right skills by doing hands-on jobs, and possibly to help find a specialism in SEO or digital marketing.
How long should this take? Let’s ballpark at 60–90 days.
Before anything, here’s some prerequisite reading:
Project 1 – Technical Fundamentals:
Master the lingo and have a decent idea of how the Internet works before they start having conversations with developers or contributing online. Have the trainee answer the following questions. To demonstrate that they understand, have them answer the questions using analogies. Take inspiration from this post.
Must be able to answer the following in detail:
Explaining metrics from popular search tools
Project 2 – Creating a (minimum) 10-page website
If the trainee doesn’t understand what something is, make sure that they try and figure it out themselves before coming for help. Building a website by hand is absolutely painful, and they might want to throw their computer out the window or just install Wordpress — no, no, no. There are so many things to learn by doing it the hard way, which is the only way.
The site must contain at least one instance of each of the following, and every page which contains a directive (accompanying pages affected by directives as well) must be tracked through a rank tracker:
Set up rank tracking
The trainee can use whatever tracking tool they like; https://www.wincher.com/ is $6/month for 100 keywords. The purpose of the rank tracking is to measure the effects of directives implemented, redirects, and general fluctuation.
Create the following XML sitemaps:
Crawl the site and fix errors (Use Screaming Frog)
Project 3 – PR, Sales, Promotion and Community Involvement
These tasks can be done on an independent website or directly for a client; it depends on your organizational requirements. This is the part of the training where the trainee learns how to negotiate, sell, listen, promote, and create exposure for themselves.
Sales & negotiation
Facebook & Twitter Paid Ads
Project 4 – Data Manipulation & Analytics
Spreadsheets are to SEOs as fire trucks are to firefighters. Trainees need to be proficient in Excel or Google Docs right from the start. These tasks are useful for grasping data manipulation techniques in spreadsheets, Google Analytics, and some more advanced subjects, like scraping and machine learning classification.
Must be able to fill in required arguments for the following formulas in under 6 seconds:
Google Search Console
Explore machine learning
Log file analysis
The candidate must be able to do the following:
The candidate must be able to do the following:
Project 5 – Miscellaneous / Fun Stuff
These projects are designed to broaden their skills, as well as as prepare the trainee for the future and introduce them to important concepts.
Use a proxy and a VPN
Find a development team, and observe the development cycle
Have them spend a day helping other employees with different jobs
Get a website THEY OWN penalized. Heck, make it two!
Learn concepts of programming
Write 2 functions in 2 different programming languages — these need to be functions that do something useful (i.e. “hello world” is not useful).
Do an introductory course on computer science / build a search engine
I strongly recommend anyone in SEO to build their own search engine — and no, I’m not crazy, this isn’t crazy, it’s just hard. There are two ways to do this, but I’d recommend both.
Super Evil Genius Bonus Training
These days, SEO job requirements demand a lot from candidates.
Employers are asking for a wider array of skills that range from development to design as standard, not "preferred."
Have a look around at current SEO job listings. You might be surprised just how much we’re expected to know these days:
The list goes on and on, but you get the point. We’re expected to be developers, designers, PR specialists, salespeople, CRO, and social managers. This is why I believe we need to expose juniors to a wide set of tasks and help them develop a broad skill set.
“I’m a Junior SEO and my boss is making me do this training now, I hate you Dave!”
You might hate me now, but when you’re making a lot more money you might change your mind (you might even want to cuddle).
Plus, I’m putting you through hell so that….
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