Brady O. Werkheiser
Published on February 4th, 2023 , 11:55 AM by Brady O. Werkheiser in
0.5 minute read

SEO Internships: Everything You Need to Know

What is an SEO Internship 2
Table of contents

What is SEO?

What is an SEO Internship?

What are the learning objectives of an SEO internship?

What Does an SEO Intern Do?

How are SEO internships structured?

How Much Do SEO Interns Make?

What can SEO interns expect during an SEO internship?

Why is an SEO internship important for marketing careers?

What college majors are best suited for an SEO internship?

Is an SEO internship right for you?

How to Find SEO Internships

Interested in applying to an SEO internship?

In this blog, we cover all the things you should know before sending in your application and accepting an opportunity. 

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a marketing discipline focused on building highly performant websites with helpful, quality content that attracts new visitors to a website.

For SEOs, the ultimate goal is to get web pages to rank at the top of search engines such as Google and Bing. By improving and optimizing a website, search engines will reward you by putting your web page at the top of the search engine results page (SERPs). This in turn will lead to more impressions, more clicks, and hopefully, more revenue or other desired outcome for an organization.

What is an SEO Internship?

An SEO internship is a marketing internship that helps college students or recent graduates learn how to use Search Engine Optimization to help businesses grow.

In an SEO internship program, you cover key areas of Search Engine Optimization including keyword research, on-page SEO, technical SEO, off-page SEO, content strategy, and other SEO disciplines.

What are the learning objectives of an SEO internship?

Some things you may learn during an SEO internship include:

  • How search engines work, crawl, index, and retrieve your web pages

  • How browsers render and display website content

  • How to structure and architect websites for usability and SEO

  • How to apply semantic SEO best practices for organic search visibility

  • How to communicate web performance optimizations to developers

  • How to plan, write and optimize blogs for inbound marketing objectives

  • How to use SEO tools like Ahrefs, ScreamingFrog, Dev Tools, and Python

Depending on the exact role, there are a number of tasks you may undertake after learning the basics of SEO. 

What Does an SEO Intern Do?

SEO internships can cover either of the two main disciplines in SEO - 1.) content-focused SEO and 2.) technical-focused SEO. Your internship may just have one focus, or alternatively be a combination of both.

Since each path is particularly unique, we will break down what each role may imply.

Content SEO Internships

If you are an avid reader, researcher, and have strong written skills - a content-focused SEO internship could be a great fit for you. This type of position can help you learn how to design content strategies and optimize content to drive more unique visitors to your website. A content SEO will be most interested in learning about Semantic SEO, Topical Authority, and E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).

Tasks a Content SEO intern may undertake:

  • Conducting keyword research

  • Creating topic clusters

  • Optimizing page copy

  • Help manage content flows

  • Updating/re-optimizing older content

  • Generating backlink reports and identifying link building tactics

  • Tracking data for content performance

All these efforts will ultimately help individual web pages (and subsequently the entire website) to rank higher.

If an SEO internship feels too technical for you, and you're looking to focus on research, writing, and editing as an intern, explore a content marketing internship program.

Technical SEO Internships

If you are more interested in web development, scripting tools like Python, and understanding how search engines work, an SEO internship can help you become a Technical SEO that focuses on helping businesses improve their page speed, meet Google’s Core Web Vitals recommendations, and ensuring companies are discoverable on the internet.

If you fall somewhere in between content marketing and technical SEO, an SEO internship can help you identify the area most aligned with your talents and interests.

Tasks a Technical SEO intern may be responsible for:

  • Analyzing site and page performance

  • Finding and fixing crawl errors

  • Enhancing site architecture and submitting sitemaps to Google

  • Making a website mobile-friendly

  • Ensuring security and accessibility of web pages

  • Adding schema markup

If some of these didn’t make the most sense, don’t worry - you’ll learn most of this at the beginning of the internship. As previously alluded to, technical SEO is more… technical. If you want to learn more about technical SEO, check out this blog from Semrush.

Based on your interest and natural talents, one of these paths will be the best option for your desired experience.

How are SEO internships structured?

SEO internships are typically structured with weekly learning activities (e.g. articles, videos, certifications) and hands-on projects to solidify your theoretical understanding of SEO from entry level topics such as how search engines work, to technical SEO topics such as Python for SEO.

10-Week SEO Internship Topics

Here is a hypothetical breakdown of the topics you might expect to find for a 10 week SEO internship program.

  1. How Search Works

  2. Semantic SEO

  3. Keyword Research

  4. Topical Authority

  5. SEO Writing

  6. On-Page SEO

  7. Off-page SEO

  8. Technical SEO

  9. Core Web Vitals

  10. Website Audit

Depending on the SEO intern's technical capabilities, technical topic areas could be switched out for other important SEO niche such as local SEO, B2B SEO, international SEO, or eCommerce SEO.

How Much Do SEO Interns Make?

A paid internship in SEO typically pays anywhere from $15 to $25 per hour, depending on the role, location, company, and prior relevant experience.

It’s important to note that some SEO internships are unpaid, but may still provide valuable experience and potentially qualify as course credits at your university.

What can SEO interns expect during an SEO internship?

SEO interns can expect a guided, hands-on experience that covers the full spectrum of SEO disciplines from how search engines work to learning how to identify, implement, and benchmark technical SEO optimizations with a team of marketers and developers.

SEO interns should expect to gain experience analyzing websites using various enterprise-grade SEO tools including but not limited to Ahrefs, ScreamingFrog, Google Search Console, and meeting with team members across departments to learn how SEO impacts each aspect of the website migration, design, development, and content creation process.

Why is an SEO internship important for marketing careers?

An SEO internship is important for marketing professionals because traditional marketing, communications, and computer science degrees do not cover search engines in detail during undergraduate programs, and SEO is a core discipline for today’s digital marketers and website developers to understand.

Search Engine Optimization is a marketing niche that is highly valued by businesses and one of the least understood marketing skills, which makes the demand for qualified SEOs extremely high.

How can college students use an SEO internship for their marketing careers?

Interns who graduate from an SEO internship can leverage their experience to land a job working at a web development agency, as an in-house SEO analyst, or use their understanding of SEO to transition their marketing career into a related marketing field such as content marketing, PR, or paid advertising.

What college majors are best suited for an SEO internship?

The best college majors for SEO internships are computer science, information science, marketing, business, finance, communications, journalism, English, psychology, philosophy, and pre-law.

Computer science and information science majors will have a strong working knowledge of how websites, servers, and the search engines work which is a good primer for the technical SEO responsibilities of an SEO internship.

Marketing and communication majors will have a strong foundation in writing and content development to support the content marketing responsibilities of an SEO intern.

Psychology, philosophy, and pre-law students also make good candidates for SEO internships because they are strong researchers, logical writers, and persuasive communicators who can tap into consumer behaviors.

What college majors are not suited for an SEO internship?

College students majoring in health care professions, non-computer engineering majors, supply chain, and natural sciences are not the best suited candidates for an SEO internship.

While your major does not dictate whether or not you would get accepted to an SEO internship program, the learning curve for understanding how websites are developed and how to write consumer-facing research articles would be more difficult for candidates with majors in these backgrounds.

Depending on the types of clients your prospective SEO internship company serves, your background in healthcare, life sciences, and engineering disciplines could position you as a strong candidate because of your domain expertise.

Is an SEO internship right for you?

An ideal candidate for an SEO internship should have an interest in some of the following fields; writing, editing, research, critical thinking, communications, problem-solving, psychology, education, relationship marketing, social media marketing, A/B testing, experimentation, web development, data analysis, algorithms, scripting, or machine learning.

There are multiple disciplines within SEO that an aspiring marketing professional can focus on based on their natural inclinations.

What are the qualifications for an SEO internship?

To qualify for an SEO internship, intern candidates should have a preliminary understanding of digital marketing and the role of SEO in the digital marketing mix; candidates should be strong writers, researchers, and communicators; and interns should be passionate and unafraid to learn about how search engines, browsers, and websites work from a technical perspective.

How to Prepare for an SEO Internship

Before starting an SEO internship, it is best to prepare by learning as much as you can about the company you’ll be working for, their customers, and the tools they use.

Understanding your company, customers, and tools is important because there are different niches for SEO such as Technical SEO, Local SEO, and eCommerce SEO that have different strategies, tools, and processes to achieve results.

SEO Influencers to Research Before your Internship

Once you understand the SEO niches that your company is focused on, find SEO thought leaders in those niches and familiarize yourself with their perspectives and research. Here are a few SEO publications, SEO influencers to help you get started:

SEO Internship Job Interview Questions

If you’re interviewing for an SEO internship, be prepared to answer interview questions that cover the following topics:

  1. In your own words, describe how a search engine works?

  2. Why are you interested in completing an SEO internship?

  3. What are your professional goals?

  4. How does an SEO internship factor into your career goals?

  5. What interests you the most about Search Engine Optimization?

  6. Why do you want to complete an SEO internship with our company?

  7. What is your experience writing blogs or website copy?

  8. What is your experience completing SEO campaigns?

  9. What do you hope to achieve during your SEO internship?

  10. What is your experience working with web developers and cross-functional teams?

How to Find SEO Internships

The best way to find SEO internship jobs is to search for “SEO internships” through Google’s Job Search, Indeed, LinkedIn, or Built In. You can also make a list of SEO agencies close to you, and visit their career pages.

Where should my SEO internship be located?

It's best to look for SEO internships in your state because you are more likely to get hired since that’s where the company does business. Otherwise, the company you're applying to would need a business license to operate in that state, or they would need to hire you as an independent contractor. This is necessary if you are a paid intern.

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Table of contents

What is SEO?

What is an SEO Internship?

What are the learning objectives of an SEO internship?

What Does an SEO Intern Do?

How are SEO internships structured?

How Much Do SEO Interns Make?

What can SEO interns expect during an SEO internship?

Why is an SEO internship important for marketing careers?

What college majors are best suited for an SEO internship?

Is an SEO internship right for you?

How to Find SEO Internships


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