Do You Need a College Degree for an SEO Career?


Are you considering a digital marketing or SEO career?

Costly college tuitions and the time commitment needed to attain a degree can make higher education a challenge.

These obstacles prompt some people to seek jobs that don’t require a diploma.

For that reason, working in search engine optimization (SEO) may seem like an attractive option. However, the SEO career you choose will ultimately influence whether or not you need a degree.

The Case for College Degrees

A degree is an efficient way to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for a career. There’s usually no designated major for SEO, but there is a range of options interested students can choose from. From communications to marketing to information technology, each field will touch on SEO in different ways.

One of the best parts of a higher education degree is that it comes with plenty of intersections with other sectors. You’ll have plenty of skills to list on your resume before going into an SEO career.

Additionally, colleges and universities have a vast amount of resources outside of classes. Internships, professional connections and career development centers can be invaluable.

Pursuing a higher-level job right off the bat may require a degree. However, it’s not always a tangible option. Private colleges average around $35,000 for a school year, and many are much higher. Thus, a degree has become less of a requirement in the SEO world.

Learning Without a Degree

With the vast amount of online resources available, a degree may ultimately pale in comparison. A college education may include things you already know or that you could learn from an online course at a much lower price.

For instance, there are countless SEO courses and tutorials on how to code. This knowledge is a good foundation for SEO work. Therefore, anyone who wants to begin an SEO career should dedicate themselves to learning online. Since SEO covers keywords, tags, links, sitemaps, copywriting and overall user experience, there are many fields to cover.

With sites like Lynda or Udemy, users can acquire each of the top skills to have for an SEO career. These platforms walk users through step-by-step instructions and details on how to master the content, then practice and apply it in real life.

For example, Google Analytics is a vastly influential tool. Prospective SEO professionals can master every aspect of the field, from traffic monitoring and A/B testing to keyword optimization and advertising.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all online resources are free. However, they are less expensive than a college degree while still providing the necessary skills and know-how.

Taking the First Steps Towards an SEO Career

To enter the realm of SEO without a degree, job searchers should first hone in on their desired specialty and industry. SEO applies across sectors, from retail to real estate — every profession needs an online presence.

They can then build their hard and soft skills through the vast array of online resources. From research to keywords to competition, you should explore each SEO platform that can help develop necessary abilities. Marketing Nanodegree, Search Engine Land and Screaming Frog are some helpful places to start learning.

After building up a portfolio and strong resume, those on the job hunt can then try to make connections. Outside-the-box thinking will come in handy here, especially when remote work is the norm during the pandemic. Look for help from friends, family and former colleagues. An opportunity may present itself at any moment.

Finally, it’s time to apply for jobs. Marketing a resume correctly is key — it can make or break the recruitment process. With the right wording and all the proper certifications, you can begin your SEO career.

The Most Important Factor

The most important factor in your SEO journey is that you are adaptable to the industry. SEO can change on a dime — trends fluctuate and search engines alter the way they categorize success. Staying on top of the sector is the best skill to have. Then, you can easily move forward and obtain your dream job.

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