Not too long ago, I was chatting with another in-house SEO who claimed his method of staying on top of the search engine trends was by reading Search Engine Land, Search News Central, Search Engine Watch, and a few other news sites. He didn’t go to networking events or conferences. He didn’t believe in joining forums or paid communities. If he had a problem, he’d just go to Google Help. I seriously wanted to cry.
This is a common issue with in-house SEOs. You get so busy with the day to day operations of your SEO campaigns that you end up isolating yourself. When a problem occurs, suddenly you’re flying without a safety net, and you’re at a loss on where to get help. While those articles were good at keeping you up to date, they’re no substitute for a good contact.
Make Time For Learning and Networking
I’ve made a point of finding other in-house SEOs through:
SEO Conferences: Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, PubCon, and BlueGlass are just some of the conferences that I’ve attended in the past and found valuable opportunities to develop contacts in the SEO community. Keep in mind, it’s more than just attending the sessions, some of my most valuable insights were gleamed at 2am over a few beers at an afterhours party.
Premium Memberships in SEO Communities: Yes, being a member of a paid SEO community is worth it. SEO Training Dojo has been my lifeline on days where nothing was going right with my in-house SEO campaigns. When you’re active in a community, it’s easy to ask for help. They offer a weekly chat where other SEOs sound off about the latest trends. The community’s website has a forum and access to tools.
Local Networking Events: Many metro areas have active SEO communities. You can use Meetup.com to find other in-house SEOs in your area, or attend a networking event being sponsored by a local digital or interactive marketing association.
Social Media: When I meet an in-house SEO that really impresses me, I’ll send them an invite to connect with me via LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook. These connections can help you keep up with what they’re working on, finding new people to connect to or finding a job.
Forums: Since social media has become popular, I’m not as active within the forums. However, if you’re struggling with a problem and don’t have someone to lean on, you can possibly find answers by using a forum. Over the years, I’ve gotten good information from Webmaster World, High Rankings Forum and Cre8asite Forum.
When you start networking with other SEOs, remember to be yourself. Be honest about what you do and don’t know. Be there to learn, and don’t try so hard impress people. Don’t open a conversation by bragging about how you’re the best SEO or by putting down another SEO’s work. Seriously, you will turn people off if you try to make it a contest. Who knows? You might develop more than some valuable contacts, you might gain some friends who really understand what you do and help you when you’re in trouble.