Hi! 👋 We’re so glad to feature you on SEOjobs.com. Please introduce yourself to our site’s readers.
Hello! My name is Nick LeRoy (Linkedin | Twitter). I’m a Freelance SEO Consultant and owner of this site, SEOjobs.com! When I’m not working with my clients or this website I’ll be found hanging out with my wife and three kids or tinkering on my car.
Please share with us your current SEO role and for what company you work for:
I’m a freelance SEO consultant working for myself. As of this May, I’ll be in my fourth year freelancing 100% but have been in the SEO industry since 2009.
Can you share with us how you entered the SEO industry?
I graduated college back in 2008 when the economy was in a really bad situation. There weren’t a lot of companies hiring and those that had openings were looking to hire the best of the best. My GPA was sub 3.0 and we’ll just say getting interviews let alone job offers was very difficult.
I was extremely fortunate to have a family friend who happen to know someone in her network who knew someone (isn’t it always like this?) who was looking to hire a project manager. I jumped at the opportunity to be considered.
I went into the interview to be immediately told that the position was filled. However, the owner of this web development company was looking to hire a cheap resource to offer SEO services for his existing customers. Long story short, I was offered a 6-month contract starting at $18/hr. I was beyond excited and jumped at the opportunity to start working!
Nearly 15 years later and I still am extremely appreciative of this opportunity. I’m extremely fortunate to have a job in an industry that I’m passionate about and am able to provide for my family.
How did you start to learn SEO? What are you currently doing to keep up with the ever changing SEO industry?
Back in 2008/9 there weren’t a lot of SEO resources let alone courses. I lived on message boards such as SEOChat and read any and all blog posts that were published. I also recall finding an “SEO for dummies” book at Barns and Noble and being the poor (ex) college kid I remember reading it in the store as to save a few bucks.
I consider myself fortunate to have started learning SEO when the industry was still fairly new. I was able to grow as the industry matured vs the extremely uphill learning curve that new SEOs have today.
Can you share what factors are most important to you in an SEO career and why? When do you know it’s time for a new job? Do these same factors play a role?
My top three priorities in my SEO career are
- Earning Potential
- Work/Life Balance
Early on in my career, I was fortunate enough to have a lot of flexibility to self-teach myself and learn as much about the SEO industry as I could. I sacrificed both pay and work/life balance in the beginning but as I gained more experience I was able to command higher salaries and gain more control over my schedule.
My entire career prior to freelancing was agency side. While my earnings increased over time, I never was able to nail the work/life balance that I desperately wanted. It wasn’t until I went out on my own that I was able to increase my earnings, take full control of my schedule and continue to push myself to stay up to date with the industry.
All that said, my recommendation to everyone is to prioritize goals. When your goals are compromised or you realize you may be unable to obtain them, this is a key sign that it’s time for a new job.
My last word of advice is to always keep an eye out for open job positions you are qualified for. It’s extremely easy (and convenient) to stay in your current role. However, you may find out that you are underpaid or missing out on some really good opportunities. Interviewing doesn’t mean you need to accept the job. Keeping a finger on the job market is only going to benefit you!
What recommendations would you give to someone who is looking to join the SEO industry and get their first full-time SEO position?
Be curious and look for opportunities to be challenged. Too many SEOs have plug-and-play roles within a larger system implemented by their employer. The best SEOs I know are ones who are always challenging the status quo and looking to elevate their skillset.
I’m a huge advocate of creating your own website. Not only will it help you understand more of the technical aspects of a website (and its SEO) but you will gain first-hand knowledge of what SEO “levers” have an impact. No longer are you writing title tags or publishing blog posts simply because of “best practices”… you are actively researching/creating/publishing and measuring the impact yourself.
Last but not least, make sure you stay up to date with search engine updates. One of the reasons I started the weekly #SEOForLunch newsletter was to hold myself accountable for staying up to date with all the updates that occur. The good news for you is that while I spend hours each week putting this together, you can stay up to date quickly in as short as your lunch break!