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Personal Branding for SEO Professionals

Author:

Minnie Mururi

Last updated:

15/05/2024

Many businesses today rely on search engines to connect them to their audience, which is great news for SEO professionals, because it means our skills are in demand. 

But, how can we increase our visibility to these businesses? 

I believe that the answer lies in personal branding. The desire to learn and grow professionally led me to explore personal branding as a way to gain exposure, and get found by more businesses that require the services I offer. 

But what is personal branding?

I think personal branding goes beyond just showing off your expertise. It involves creating a strong identity that resonates with your potential clients and industry peers. Establishing a personal brand can help you become an authority, attract new opportunities and develop long-lasting relationships.

This might sound too good to be true. Read on to understand how personal branding works and how it can help you level up your SEO career.

What is Personal Branding for SEO Professionals?

Personal branding involves strategically positioning yourself as an expert, and building a strong image. It’s how you present yourself to your audience in order to ensure they understand who you are, what you do, and what makes you different from your competitors.

Today, there are thousands of SEO professionals in the market scouting for work. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?

Developing a Value Proposition to Grow your Personal Brand

Developing my value proposition was the first step I took when I was growing my brand. Your value proposition should reflect the unique skills and experience you bring to the table that set you apart from others in the field. 

To better understand what makes you different, you need to self-analyse: what makes you unique? Think about your skills, qualities, knowledge, and experience to understand what sets you apart from others in the industry.

Next, you need to understand your target audience. What are they struggling with? What are their needs? How does this align with your value proposition? What are you able to offer that others can’t? 

How to Identify your Unique Value Proposition as an SEO

Ever feel invisible? I did too! Then I went on a mission to build a personal brand that would showcase my expertise and attract opportunities. 

Here are steps I followed:

  1. Identify the unique skills and expertise that set you apart from other SEO professionals

This was hard for me because there were so many SEO writers just like me, and they were offering the same services, (SEO content writing), as I was. I knew they also wrote fabulous content just like I did. 

It was time to have an honest conversation with myself about how I could stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of my prospective clients.

I had great keyword research skills and technical SEO expertise, which many writers didn’t. Ranking pieces of content and getting multiple SERP snippets was my thing, and so I decided to showcase that in my portfolio.

You can see in the example below, I’ve highlighted a blog post I wrote for Moz and the results it achieved:

2. Identify your niche or specialisation

You need to determine if there's a particular niche or area of SEO where you excel or have a deep understanding. This could be technical SEO, content optimization, local SEO, e-commerce SEO, or SEO for specific industries. When you focus on a niche allows you to position yourself as an expert in that area and target clients with specific needs.

Instead of positioning myself as a “jack-of-all-trades” writer, I niched down to a "Freelance SEO content writer for SaaS and tech brands." I announced it loud and clear on my social media profiles. This move allowed me to better connect with clients who value specialised knowledge.

3. Research your target audience to clearly understand their needs and pain points 

Gain insights into the needs, challenges, and pain points of your target clients. Conduct market research, surveys, or interviews to understand the problems they face and the solutions they're seeking. You can also get this information from the online communities or forums where they hang around.

Also think about their emotional drivers. What keeps them up at night, and what fuels their aspirations? Empathy is key to creating a message that resonates on a deeper level.

You then need to identify the pain points most relevant to your expertise. Here's where your value shines! Come up with a compelling value proposition that directly addresses these challenges, positioning you as the hero who delivers solutions and desired outcomes.

The more you know and understand your ideal clients, the more your personal brand becomes targeted and impactful. You will attract the best clients if you connect with them from an emotional level.

For example, my ideal clients required more than just well-written content. They needed someone with strong writing skills, who understood their target audience, the purpose of the content, and how to measure SEO success. They wanted a hands-off solution. This understanding became the core of my personal brand.

4. Continuously learn and evolve

Continuous learning is the lifeblood of any successful career. It will help you transform and shape your personal brand. It was the key to setting myself apart from other writers.

Starting as an SEO writer, I quickly realised clients wanted to work with someone who understood not just "what and how" to write but also knew how to track and measure results. They needed strategic content that addressed their broader SEO goals, not just individual pieces.

This realisation made me go on a journey of exploration. I took content strategy courses that improved my ability to create targeted, impactful content plans. 

A real turning point for me came when I learned and mastered technical SEO under the guidance of Roxana Stingu. She helped me better understand the importance of website architecture in achieving better rankings and visibility.

I also took advantage of free courses and materials from SEMrush, and Learning SEO by Aleyda Solis, and I recommend you do the same. You can also take premium SEO courses from Blue Array and Udemy if you have the budget, and I promise they are worth it.

Here is what Laura Lancu, an SEO manager, had to say about continuous learning in SEO:

“Your development and management skills are in your hands. Combine that with strategic networking and staying ahead of trends, and you'll build a strong foundation.”

LinkedIn is a great place to display your certifications, and increase your chances of getting hired. In the image below you can see how I have displayed my certifications on my LinkedIn profile:

Can Personal Branding Lead to Tangible Outcomes and Opportunities?

In my experience, working on your personal brand isn’t a vanity project, it’s a golden ticket to seeing tangible success. But it doesn’t happen overnight, research shows that it takes about five to seven interactions for people to remember your brand, and that’s why you should view it as an ongoing process.

Personal branding can translate into tangible results and open doors to exciting opportunities when done right. I have had the opportunity to work with a range of great clients, just by putting myself out there.

Here are some of the benefits:

1. Client Acquisition and Retention

A strong personal brand gives your potential clients more confidence in your capabilities and expertise. They will likely choose you over your competitors if they see you as a knowledgeable and trustworthy expert.

According to Tory Gray, the CEO of Gray Dot Company,

“Be Consistent. Simply doing what you said you do goes a shockingly long way towards showing your value and making it easier for people to recommend you to your next client.”

Also, having a well-established brand can contribute to client retention as clients will likely stick with an SEO they perceive to be a leader in the field.

I have received many job offers from potential clients who had seen my content on Linkedin without sending cold messages or announcing I was looking for work. Just from the content they saw online, they were sure we were a great fit.

2. Career Advancement

Strong personal branding opens doors for promotions, and invitations to speak at conferences or events. For instance, I received an invitation to appear on a podcast thanks to my content on Linkedin:

3. Increased Credibility

Working on your personal brand makes it easier for potential clients and industry peers to view you as an authority. 

I share valuable insights, SEO best practices, industry updates, and showcase my in-depth knowledge through my social media posts. Doing this helps me to build trust within my professional network, and attract the attention of peers and potential clients seeking SEO professionals.

As a result, I often get appreciation, recommendations, and recognition – it's clear that my efforts are helpful to others: 

4. Increased Visibility

Improved visibility is the end product of a successful brand. You need to engage in industry conversations, participate in relevant forums, and participate in online discussions for your name to be related to your expertise.

For example, sharing one of my articles on LinkedIn led to a newsletter feature. Seeing my work resonate and reach a wider audience was incredibly rewarding:

5. Becoming an Authority

When you build a successful personal brand, you establish yourself as an authority in the SEO industry, helping you gain the trust of your audience and potential clients. It can also lead to more meaningful and professional relationships that come in handy when growing your SEO career.

How to Build a Successful Personal Brand on Social Media

Using social media platforms is a great way to build your personal brand. LinkedIn has become my go-to social media platform and just looking at my profile, you can see that I am a SaaS SEO content writer:

Here are steps I took:

1. Optimise your social media profiles

Ensure your branding is consistent across all your social media platforms.

As you can see from images below, I use the same bio, and profile and cover photos across both X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn. 

2. Be Authentic 

As you grow your personal brand on social media, allow your personality to be seen. 

Write in a natural-speaking style, be genuine and truthful. Don’t try pretending to be someone you are not! 

3. Networking and Collaborating with other professionals

Networking and building meaningful connections with your fellow SEO professionals, influencers, industry leaders and clients is a great way to build a successful brand. Attend online and in-person events, industry conferences and meetups. I refer to online networking and collaborations as the secret ingredient to a successful brand.

Each social media platform has its strengths. Identify key players in your field on LinkedIn and send personalised connection requests. Use X (formerly Twitter) to engage in industry conversations and participate in relevant hashtags. You can also join Facebook groups focused on SEO conversations and actively contribute. 

Always engage in meaningful conversations, provide value and establish mutually beneficial relationships. Networking is a two-way thing. You have to be helpful and authentic to foster long-lasting relationships.

4. Showcase Your Success Stories and Testimonials

Showing what your skills are speaks volumes. It actually demonstrates that you can deliver what you say you do. Share your successful SEO projects with your audience. Show how you implemented the strategies, the challenges faced, and the measurable results achieved. When you present real examples, you demonstrate your expertise and the impact you can make on clients.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask for testimonials and reviews from satisfied clients and colleagues. This is a great way to provide social proof and build trust. Display the testimonials collected on your website and social media profiles to showcase the positive experiences satisfied clients had while working with you.

The image below shows a post I did about a testimonial from a client after we successfully collaborated on a project:

4. Share what you are learning

Refrain from hoarding knowledge. When working on your branding, sharing what you've learned isn't a weakness, it's a superpower. Think of it as planting seeds – the more you plant the bigger the harvest. The same thing happens to your personal brand, the more you share, the richer your brand and influence will grow.

So, how does sharing fuel your brand? Firstly, it establishes you as an expert. From articles to social media posts, every piece of knowledge you share helps to position you as a trustworthy source. People naturally recognise those who know their stuff, and sharing is your way to claim fame.

But it's not just a one-way street. Sharing sparks conversations, questions, and feedback. This engagement builds real connections, making you approachable and helpful. You'll soon have a loyal community around your brand, boosting your trust and engagement.

Moreover, sharing your expertise showcases your ability to solve problems, think critically, and communicate effectively. This valuable skill set makes you stand out. Clients and collaborators see you as someone who can not only learn but also teach and apply knowledge, making you a true asset.

Sharing also attracts like-minded individuals. You connect with people who share your interests and thirst for knowledge. This fosters amazing collaborations, opportunities, and mutual growth. 

Finally, explaining concepts solidifies your understanding, identifies areas for improvement, and helps you articulate your knowledge in new ways. This constant learning cycle keeps your brand at the forefront and fuels your personal growth.

5. Curate and comment, Don't just consume

Don't just passively "like" other peoples’ content! Find industry news, trends, and insightful pieces that resonate with you. Share them on social media, adding your unique perspective and sparking discussion. This will help increase your engagement and help others stay informed.

6. Join SEO Communities

Don't be a lone wolf! Before I joined SEO communities, my growth felt slow, and I was isolated. Then, I discovered the power of the pack.

I have two favourite Slack communities - Women in Tech SEO and Mostly Marketing. These groups are made up of SEO professionals from all levels. 

The Women in Tech SEO community not only allowed me to connect with incredible people, but has also opened doors to countless opportunities. Being a member there feels like having a built-in network of mentors and peers, always ready to answer questions, share experiences, and offer honest feedback.

And the cherry on top? Via the mentorship program, I was paired with mentor Heba Said, who took me under her wing, and provided invaluable guidance and encouragement. She reviewed my work, offered strategic advice, and connected me with potential clients. The mentorship improved my confidence and skillset, propelling my career forward in ways I couldn't have imagined alone.

But it's not just about individual connections. Joining these communities gives you a platform to share your expertise and establish yourself as a thought leader. Contributing to discussions, creating insightful posts, or even offering mentorship yourself positions you as someone with valuable knowledge to offer. Your brand gains visibility and credibility, attracting potential clients and collaborations.

Sure, you can climb that hill alone, but why struggle when you can take advantage of the collective strength of the pack? Join SEO communities, share your voice, and let the connections, opportunities, and growth unfold. 

Final Thoughts

Personal branding for SEO professionals is an ongoing process that requires you to be consistent, dedicated, and continuously improve your moves. 

But remember, it’s not just about showing your SEO skills. It’s about effectively communicating your value proposition, establishing yourself as an industry thought leader. and positioning yourself as a trusted professional. 

Don't let inaction hold you back. Take action today, embrace the journey, and watch your brand grow. 

The SEO community thrives on collaboration. As you build your brand, could you pay it forward and help others? We all rise by lifting one another.

Minnie Mururi

Minnie Mururi - Founder, Witty Content Writers

Minnie is an experienced SEO content writer & strategist on a mission to help businesses have visibility on the SERP and get qualified traffic. She develops content strategies and executes SEO best practices to help businesses achieve their goals.

Website | LinkedIn