Training a New SEO

One of the interesting challenges in managing an SEO company is training new people to be top notch SEOs. I find that this is the easiest way to expand the size of the business. After all, SEOs are in scarce supply, and many of the best have their own SEO companies already. Here are 8 aspects of training an SEO generalist to consider when taking on this training task:

  1. A good SEO has both business / marketing skills and technical skills. SEO inherently involves an understanding of the technical details of a site’s implementation, but it’s also a marketing activity. Quality SEOs know that they are only a component of the marketing picture for a web site, and they understand that there are compromises that will be made from time to time due to other aspects of the client’s needs.
  2. Make sure your SEO in training has an entrepreneurial personality. SEOs are always going to be ask to deal with a wide variety of different problems, and need to be flexible and adaptable.
  3. Pick an initial area of focus. There are hundreds of things to learn in the SEO field. Don’t bury the person at the start. Let them focus on and master a specific area.
  4. Start slow. Don’t give them 5 clients to work on at once. Get them going on a single client, and help them to be successful with that client.
  5. Realize that your workload on that first client will go up. Training people is hard work, and you still need to make sure that the work gets done correctly for the client (first priority!). So in addition to doing almost the same amount of work, you will also be spending time educating your SEO in training. It might be the 3rd client or so before you get a net gain.
  6. Have all their work on the first 2 or 3 clients go through you. The client comes first. This will also give you the most visibility into what they have learned so far, and that they haven’t
  7. Be patient. It’s easy to under-appreciate the complexity of SEO. No single aspect of SEO is hard. What makes it hard is that the search engines keep their algorithms secret so knowledge is experience based, there are so many different details to learn, and the nature of search is constantly evolving.
  8. Lastly, in contrast to the title of this post, don’t think about creating SEOs, think about creating web marketers. The mission is to increase site traffic for your client, and there is more than one way to do that these days (consider social media for example).

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