Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to improvements in communications technology and the rising trend of businesses adopting remote models—but remote work isn’t the same for every industry. If you’re an SEO manager thinking about working from home, or if you’re already a remote worker thinking about picking up some SEO management skills, there are some things you should know before making the transition.
Preparing for a Career in Remote SEO
These are the considerations you’ll need to bear in mind before becoming a remote search optimizer:
- SEO responsibilities in a work-from-home setting. First, you should know that SEO is a friendly career choice for remote workers. The majority of your responsibilities will happen online, including updates to your company’s website, writing and publication responsibilities, and even communications with offsite publishers and other businesses. Meeting in person may help you communicate clearer, especially to an audience that doesn’t fully understand SEO, but your core responsibilities can be carried out without much interference from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Equipment needs. Your dependency on the internet and your personal devices does come with a flip side, however; it means you’ll need to invest in the right equipment if you want to be successful. You may need to upgrade your internet plan for greater reliability, and you’ll want to invest in a quality primary machine (preferably with a second screen; trust us, you’ll thank yourself later). One thing to keep in mind here is that if your internet goes down, you’ll be utterly helpless. Because of that, you’ll want to invest in a mobile hotspot that you can use as a backup.
- Full-time, part-time, or independent. Search optimizers have many potential career paths, each of which plays out differently in a remote working scenario. For example, you might become a full-time SEO manager for a company in practically any industry, or work directly for an SEO firm. You might only work part-time as a consultant for either of these companies, or you might become an independent contractor or consultant, building your own business. If you build your own business, you’ll have more control over how that business operates, but you’ll sacrifice some stability. On the other hand, if you work full-time for someone, your work-from-home schedule and responsibilities may be out of your control.
- Communication considerations. One of the most important elements in any search optimizer’s job is communication; you’ll need to work actively with other writers, developers, and team members to get things done, and you’ll need to report your results to your clients or supervisors. Face-to-face meetings are often best for this, so you’ll need to adapt your communication style to be effective. If you send updates over email, make sure you’re as detailed and descriptive as possible; if you have a conference call, keep your audience to a minimum and have a clear agenda before the meeting.
- Isolation from the brand. Understand that working from home is going to keep you separate from the core brand, diminishing the immersion factor and possibly interfering with the consistency of your team’s work. For example, if you and two other people are consistently writing in the same brand voice, your work may drift in tone if you’re working in isolated environments. You can compensate for this by staying in contact with your teammates on a regular basis, and keeping up with their independent work.
- Sheer competition. Finally, keep in mind that there is an overabundance of available contractors, professionals, and agencies competing for SEO jobs online. Since SEO is a digital skill that can be taken in many different directions, it’s an industry that has been flooded with suitable candidates. If you don’t already have a job lined up, or you don’t have much experience in the industry, it may be hard for you to find initial clients or become visible to quality agencies. For this reason, if you don’t have much SEO experience, it may be better to start your career in a physical office.
A Note on Experience
If you’ve never worked from home before and you’re thinking about transitioning to a remote SEO position, you may want to consider getting some independent remote work experience under your belt first. For some, that may mean starting as a part-time search optimizer, and for others, that may mean transitioning to remote work a few days a week before going full-time. Working from home affects everyone differently, so you’ll need the opportunity to learn how you perform in this environment before making the full investment. Once you’re comfortable with the idea of remote work and you understand the unique demands of your new position, you can pull the trigger.