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There’s no denying that search engine optimization is a pretty hot ticket for those seeking a lucrative profession these days.  As the commercialization potential of the internet continues to become more and more viable, people are turning to online communities as a means of hawking their goods and services.  The amazing thing is that individuals with a good idea and some marketing prowess can compete with major corporations in the online arena – provided they can reach a target demographic.  This is where SEO comes in.  As an SEO specialist, you’ll virtually be helping businesses to connect with a wider range of customers.  But you can’t just jump right into it by setting up shop and declaring yourself an expert.  Here are a few steps you’ll want to take before you look for work.

  1. Pick up a book.  Anyone interested in learning SEO can almost certainly do so on their own.  There is a wide range of literature devoted to exactly this sort of entrepreneur, from the simple (SEO for Dummies) to the technical (Advanced SEO Techniques) that can help you to learn the ins and outs of keywords, links, algorithms, and so on.  And for information on the guidelines of various search engines, all you have to do is go to the home page and do a search for SEO guidelines, and then download the PDF.  Just remember that they’re updated frequently.
  2. Take a class.  SEO has now become popular enough that you can find classes (both online and at some colleges and universities) that teach you how to get the most out of your online business and help others to do the same.  So if you’re having a little trouble going it alone, don’t hesitate to find the help you need to move forward.
  3. Join forums.  This is one of the best moves you can make when starting out in nearly any online business because it gives you access to the advice of people who have already been in the trenches for a while and learned a trick or two.  In addition, networking with the right people could lead to work down the road (as they pass along clients that they’re too busy to handle, for example).  SEOBook.com is probably the best industry forum, but at $300 per month it’s really only for serious professionals.  They do, however, offer training courses, so if you look at it like a tuition of sorts, it could provide a lot of added value over other courses.
  4. Make a business plan.  Like any business, you need to start with a plan.  Although you can most likely skip a trip to the bank to negotiate a loan (as long as you have a computer and internet connection at home, you’re good to go), that doesn’t mean you should just advertise your services and hope for the best.  You need to figure out the services you’ll offer, how many clients you can take on, and where and how to advertise your business, amongst other considerations.
  5. Start small.  You’re going to learn a lot as you go along and you don’t want to toss yourself into the deep end of the pool before you’re ready.  Each client is going to have different needs (some will be concerned with their traffic numbers, some will only care about page rank, some will be gunning for advertising dollars while others want to increase readership on their blog, and so on).  And you’re going to have to devote some time to solving their particular problems.  Give yourself enough time to do so, or you might face total burnout and a lot of unhappy clients.

 

About the guest author: Sarah Danielson writes for Coupon Croc where you can find discount codes for the best in dining and entertainment. Checkout the Thomson discount codes for your travel needs.

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