When I first started learning SEO in 1998, it wasn’t even called Search Engine Optimization. It could be hardly considered an industry at that time and more an after-thought once a website went live on the Internet. People with SEO skills were not in high demand.
The core practice was keyword stuffing, with very little on-page and off-site SEO involved.
But as search engine technology progressed, so did digital marketing techniques.
How Long Does It Take To Learn SEO?
It can take several weeks to learn technical SEO to a professional standard. But the good news is you can perform basic SEO almost straight away. By the end of the day, you should have taken your first steps into SEO.
However, it will probably take many months for you to see any reward for your hard work. There is a long feedback loop when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.
Ideally, to understand the basics of any SEO strategy, you should learn how search engines work. I’ll cover the basics later on if you want to get more involved in the subject.
Secondly, there are things that Google expects from websites; these include having fresh content as often as possible along with clear navigation and good page titles, among other criteria. These can be done immediately, but they might not have an effect straight away, so patience is required when learning SEO.
There are two key points to remember when learning SEO: relevance and authority.
Relevance is about the content on your website, so you need to know what people will be searching for and create relevant pages of information that can answer their questions or concerns. Authority comes from links; other websites linking back to yours as a source of valuable information.
You can start implementing these two important aspects of SEO straight away. Create a list of keywords that you will use on your website for relevant pages, then ask relevant sites to link from their site to yours.
The better the quality and relevance of links, the higher authority they have, so make sure any site linking back is a higher-authority site than yours.
It might take some time before search engines recognize your new content as being valuable, but if you keep going with this technique over time, it will build up momentum until eventually what you are creating starts ranking high in search results naturally because people want to visit sites with good information about topics related to those searches!
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of making sure that your website appears as high up on search engine results pages (SERPs) as possible.
This can mean different things in different contexts- for example; it might be about having a keyword appear in the title tag and meta description so that Google knows what your page is all about.
Or it could be something a little more complex like ensuring that you have enough backlinks to avoid being penalized by Google’s ranking algorithm. However, the ultimate goal of SEO is to catch the attention of a user who’s searching for information and convince them to click through to your page first and hopefully stay there long enough to convert into a customer.
Google’s algorithm is continuously updated, so what worked well in the past might not work as well right now. It’s important to stay up to date with changes and hope for favorable results.
Understanding the goal of SEO
The goal of SEO is to improve your site in search engine rankings. This can lead to a higher volume of traffic and potentially more conversions for your business.
As you produce more high-quality content, you’ll gain an advantage over your competition. Since more people will be coming to your site and engaging with it, the higher chances they’ll convert into a customer.
For the best results, it’s important to:
Know your audience: SEO is a complicated strategy that requires some time and effort. You should know before you start what type of content will likely resonate with your target market.
Keep in mind that this will change over time as well since search engines are constantly updating their algorithms.
Your keywords also need to be relevant for SEO purposes; when writing articles or blogs, always have them in mind so they can help guide you on where to put more emphasis and detail into certain areas of the article at hand.
Webmaster basics: Before diving headfirst into Search Engine Optimization techniques like link building, make sure you’re familiar with how web admins work (i.e., robots crawling the site).
Creating content: When you’re creating and optimizing your content, always be sure to keep in mind that humans are searching for information too. Remembering this will help steer clear of over-optimization techniques like keyword stuffing or as many backlinks from other sites using automated tools.
How do I start learning SEO?
So how do you learn about SEO? Well, there are lots of books on the topic available online or at your local bookstore – and Google has a lot of information too. If you want more personalized attention, though, consider hiring an SEO consultant. They provide you with specific advice tailored to your website needs.
There are many different ways to take courses or find good resources online, like blogs (SEO for Dummies) or videos. These can provide training on best practices, techniques, and strategies so that you’re prepared when Google inevitably makes changes that could affect your rankings.
Not to mention this SEO tutorial.
But the best way to learn the SEO basics is by doing it.
Learning how to be an expert in SEO takes time. It would be best if you had a deep understanding of the different factors that affect ranking, as well as a willingness to keep up with changes and learn new techniques.
It’s important to practice what you’ve learned – if you don’t actually try out your knowledge, then it’ll stay theoretical forever. Well-known experts can provide valuable advice on best practices for specific industries or types of websites, but you’ll need to get your hands dirty too.
Keywords & Keyword Research
Knowing which keywords to target is the first step of any successful SEO campaign.
To start your keyword research, you’ll need to find:
The right keywords – based on what people are searching for and how they’re phrasing their queries.
Audience’s intent – what is this person looking for? And pain points (what problems does it solve?.
When you have a list of possible search terms, you can determine which ones will give your website exposure while also providing value to the visitor. This process should be ongoing as new trends emerge in popular culture or changes happen within industries that may impact marketing strategies.
I have a separate tutorial on keyword research here.
The goal here is not just getting to number one on Google but rather ranking well across all platforms so that visitors see quality content about their specific needs when they type into any search engine.
Your website will be competing with many others, so the more it ranks on Google now and in the future, the better your chances of being discovered by potential customers who are looking for what you offer.
On-site SEO is the art of optimizing the things you have control over; elements of the website itself.
On-site SEO includes:
− Keyword Research
− Title Tag
− Meta Tag
− Headings and Labels (H tags)
− Content Creation, Organization, and Optimization
– Images with ALT text or File Names for SEO purposes.
– Linking to other articles on your site
– Page Speed is also a factor here as Google will penalize slow loading times by lowering rankings.
– Site Map if you have one to help visitors find pages quickly
– Redirects can be used too when URLs change over time, so that old links still work even though the content has been moved elsewhere
– URL structure should include keywords within it
– The site should be easily navigable to help visitors find the content they’re looking for. A navigation bar on every page is a good idea, as well as breadcrumbs
Off-site SEO is all the things you cannot control, like:
– Link building from other sites
– Social mentions on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter
One of the major ranking signals for Google and other search engines is the number of inbound links pointing to your content.
A backlink is a vote for your website, and generally speaking, the more votes a website receives, the higher it ranks.
It’s important to note that not all links are good, and a high-quality site with quality content can be penalized if they link to spammy or irrelevant sites.
The best way to find relevant backlinks is by doing keyword research on the competition – what sites rank in search engine results pages (SERPs) when you enter key terms related to your niche?
These could include blog posts, forums, other websites, etc.
Find these places and contact them about adding a link directing readers of their website over yours. This is especially true if you find broken links that need to be replaced anyway.
Learn how search engines work
On the face of it, search engines might seem complicated, but they are just databases. They store information about web pages, then list them in order of relevancy for each search query.
One major part of the Google algorithm is called RankBrain.
It’s used to determine how a page should rank.
The RankBrain algorithm is based on Google’s Knowledge Graph, which has information about practically everything you can think of.
Rankbrain uses this knowledge to determine the relevance of web pages.
Google’s AI looks for connections or relevancy between topics. RankBrain aims to understand the context of a user’s search and the content displayed to that user.
For example, if someone searches for “apple,” RankBrain will determine if the user means apple fruit or computer company Apple Inc.
The process will only get more complex as the Knowledge Graph becomes smarter and we continue integrating artificial intelligence into it.
Google looks at many other factors to determine relevancy, from keywords used in content to backlinks pointing to your website or domain name and on-page elements such as text surrounding links, etc.
The goal of SEO is to be used as part of a content marketing campaign that will help you get ranked higher by these algorithms. It’s all about making sure pages are suitable for what users are likely searching for when they use those keywords.
White hat SEO vs. black hat SEO
Terms like “white hat” and “black hat” might seem like an oxymoron, but there is a huge difference between the two.
White hat SEO refers to using strategies and techniques that don’t violate guidelines or policies. This means no keyword stuffing, spamming links, etc., to rank higher on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). On the other hand, black hat SEO can include “illegal” practices like link building schemes or buying backlinks from sites with high domain authority.
While the tactics may seem different, they both have one goal: to build a website with quality content that will rank high in the results.
Black Hat SEO is much more aggressive, often using manipulative techniques such as keyword stuffing or hidden text to trick people into clicking on links.
White Hat methods are much safer for web admins because they don’t involve any shady practices – instead of relying on things like adding new content pages rather than just repeating old ones.
They also use keywords naturally without overstuffing them throughout their page’s body copy so Google can actually read it! It takes patience, but if you’re willing to put in the work, White Hat SEO will be more successful in the long run.
Can I learn SEO by myself?
Can you learn SEO by yourself? Yes, in fact, many people are successful with their personal endeavors. I first learned SEO by myself in 1998 but didn’t do it in a professional capacity until 2001.
However, I strongly recommend finding an SEO professional to train you.
An SEO specialist will be able to give valuable guidance based on years of experience, but the knowledge that comes from being actively involved in this field will prove invaluable when trying times arise.
And the best way to learn is by doing it. Learning how to be an SEO expert takes time, which means lots and lots of reading – so make sure you find resources that suit your learning style or work environment (i.e., audiobooks, ebook, videos, etc.).
Hopefully, this SEO training will help you off to a good start and help increase organic traffic to your website.
Search engine optimization can be both an art and a science, requiring strategic thinking, creativity, technical knowledge about how search engines work, and statistical analysis in determining what content will make you stand out from other websites.
It’s not just getting to number one on Google but rather ranking well across all platforms so that visitors see quality content about their specific needs.
Your website will be competing with many others for rankings, so the more content you produce now, the better your chances of being found in the future.
While I hope you found this basic SEO guide useful, the most important thing to remember is that advanced SEO requires constant work and dedication.
With that in mind, the rewards are great: optimized content attracts a better audience who seek out your website for their needs in terms of service or product offerings.