A new job in a new industry guarantees that you will learn new skills. This holds true whether your new job is as a janitor (did you know that there are 5000 janitors in the US with a PhD?), a teacher, or an SEO.
Since I am in transition between my first and second SEO jobs (from in-house SEO to SEO agency), I thought I would take the time to write out a few lessons that I have learned. Many of these can, and might be, fleshed out into more detail in the future, but for now:
Six Lessons I Have Learned
Lesson 1: Learn how to use Excel.
Your work will be much easier (and you will get a lot more done) if you can spin some graphs, compose a useful VLOOKUP formula, and sort and filter information contained in tables. When you are dealing with tens of thousands of lines of data, your brain (and nerves) will thank you. To get started, read Excel for SEOs.
Lesson 2: Communicate with others on your team.
If you’re working on a team (and you probably should when just beginning SEO), take the time to learn the strengths of others on the team. For example, the team I just left consisted of three people. Ethan is super strong in Excel and Analytics. I learned a ton from him. Ryan is a workhorse and creative when it came to linkbuilding strategies. We all learned from each other and did some great work.
Lesson 3: Read everything you can.
Lesson 4: You will make mistakes.
Ask questions, make a plan to correct, and learn from these mistakes. As an SEO, you will have access to awesomely powerful tools, such as Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and others. Read documentation and best practices. If you’re not taking chances, you’re not going to learn as quickly, but do not be stupid either. Use tools like SEOmoz’s Pro Q/A (if you’re a Pro member). There are industry experts there just itching to help you!
Lesson 5: Put what you learn into action.
I used to follow some RSS feeds that did not add any value to my Google Reader. I have now un-subscribed from these. If the feed is not adding value that you can use, feel free to unsubscribe. Also, if you are reading too much, you’re not working enough. Use Postrank to filter out not-so-popular articles from your RSS feed.
Lesson 6: Have fun!
The SEO community is full of great people who are not only good at what they do, but are also very likeable and approachable. Don’t be afraid to engage and ask questions of them.
What lessons have you learned in SEO? I’d love to hear some input.