What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a marketing discipline that focuses on building high performance websites and inbound marketing content that adheres to Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines to attract new visitors to a website through organic channels such as Google, Microsoft Bing, and other search engines.
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.
An SEO internship is a structured program that covers key areas of Search Engine Optimization including keyword research, semantic SEO, on-page SEO, technical SEO, off-page SEO, content strategy, schema markup, and other SEO disciplines.
What are the learning objectives of an SEO internship?
The learning objectives of an SEO internship are to:
Understand how search engines work, crawl, index, and retrieve your web pages
Understand how browsers render and display website content
Understand how to structure and architect websites for usability and SEO
Understand how to apply semantic SEO best practices for organic search visibility
Understand and communicate web performance optimizations to developers
Understand how to plan, write and optimize blogs for inbound marketing objectives
Understand how to use SEO tools like Ahrefs, ScreamingFrog, Dev Tools, and Python
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 and SEO intern might expect to find when accepting an offer for an SEO internship program.
How Search Works
Intro to Technical SEO
Core Web Vitals
Python for SEO
SEO Application Review
Depending on the SEO interns technical capabilities, a technical topic such as Python for SEO could be switched out for another important SEO niche such as off-page SEO (i.e. link building), local SEO, B2B SEO, international SEO, or eCommerce SEO.
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.
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.
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 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 SEO internship might be right for you if you have an interest in writing, editing, research, critical analysis, communications, linguistics, problem-solving, consume psychology, education, relationship marketing, A/B testing, experimentation, website development, data analysis, algorithms, scripting, machine learning, and working in collaborative team environments.
There are multiple disciplines within SEO that an aspiring marketing professional can focus on based on their natural inclinations.
What types of SEO specialization is right for me?
SEO professionals typically fall into one of two specializations: 1.) content-focused; 2.) technical-focused. Based on your interest and natural talents, one of these paths will be the best option for your SEO career.
Content-Focused SEO Analyst
If you are an avid reader, writer, and researcher, an SEO internship can help you learn how to design content strategies and optimize content to drive more unique visitors to your website. A content-focused SEO will be most interested in learning about Semantic SEO, Topical Authority, and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
Technical SEO Analyst
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.
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:
Aleyda Solis - International SEO
Addy Osmani - Technical SEO and Core Web Vitals
Koray Tugberk - Technical SEO & Semantic SEO
Tl;dr Marketing - SEO Newsletter
SearchPilot - SEO Case Studies
Lily Ray - SEO Influencer
John Mu - Google Search Advocate
SEO Internship Interview Questions
If you’re interviewing for an SEO internship, be prepared to answer interview questions that cover the following topics:
In your own words, describe how a search engine works?
Why are you interested in completing an SEO internship?
What are your professional goals?
How does an SEO internship factor into your career goals?
What interests you the most about Search Engine Optimization?
Why do you want to complete an SEO internship with our company?
What is your experience writing blogs or website copy?
What is your experience completing SEO campaigns?
What do you hope to achieve during your SEO internship?
What is your experience working with web developers and cross-functional teams?
How to Find SEO Internships
The best ways to find SEO internships is to visit the career pages of SEO agencies, search for SEO internships on job listing sites like Indeed, search LinkedIn jobs for SEO intern programs, or use advanced search operations in Google such as “intitle,” quotation marks, or boolean operators like “OR,” to find pages that mention SEO internships.
What are the benefits of an SEO internship at Webstacks?
SEO interns will benefit from paid, hands-on experience performing search engine optimization tasks for some of the world's fastest-growing SaaS, FinTech, and Blockchain startups, 1-on-1 coaching from Webstacks SEO experts, cross-functional learning opportunities, direct experience working in a fast-paced and fun agency environment, and the option to work remote.
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.