When someone says SEO expert they’re usually referring to a person that knows how to optimize websites so that they can get higher traffic from searches. A fair share of the people who decide to pursue a career in digital marketing go through SEO coaching; however, most of them quickly learn that it doesn’t give them the entire skill set needed to become an expert in the field.
In this article, we will look at 10 steps that you can follow in order to become an SEO master. Some of them don’t take long and are easy to do, while others take a long time to master and need to be repeated constantly. However, in my opinion, that’s the only way to really become an expert at anything – by striving to become better every single day.
10 Steps to Becoming an SEO Expert
Many people may be skeptical as to how only 10 steps can help you become an SEO specialist. However, I do believe that becoming great at anything doesn’t require you to do something extraordinary, more so it needs you to do the most ordinary things, but to do them consistently.
Now, without further ado, let’s get started.
Take a Course and Get Certified
Getting a certificate for a certain skill is incredibly important. Firstly, it enables you to practice the job on your own, and secondly, it gives you credibility as a professional on sites like Linkedin, Upwork, and Fiverr (the sites where you are most likely to find work).
Along with that, a good course will allow you to learn more about SEO, create partnerships with other future marketers and meet more knowledgeable people whom you can ask for advice.
Despite my belief that courses are a great way to start with digital marketing, it’s good to remember that not all courses are equal. That’s why if you notice that a particular SEO coaching style doesn’t fit your needs and is mostly a waste of time, then it’s better to just stop attending it, ask for a refund and start looking for a new one.
Work on Your Skills
It’s highly likely that earning a certificate won’t be enough to land you a job in SEO. You will also need to have a particular skill set.
When it comes to SEO, there are two main skills you need:
- Ability to create fun and engaging content
- Ability to perform analysis of data
Creativity is important for everyone who wants to work in SEO. If you have a writing background, that will certainly be extremely helpful once you start creating text specifically for search engine optimization purposes. By having a way with words, you will be able to make content that’s both engaging for your audience and also serves Google’s “needs” and gets the site more traffic.
Being able to work with and analyze data is also vital, as most SEO specialists often need to consider numbers and predict up-and-coming trends.
Understand What’s Valuable to Search Engines
It’s true that all search engines work in a different way; however, they all have one end goal in mind – to retrieve the best possible result for the end-user. Many factors go into determining which “the best” result is; however, there are ones that are the most common:
- Relevance – the content must be relevant to the query of the user.
- Positive experience – the user should be able to consume the content easily.
- Trust – the search engine should be confident that the result is valuable to the end-user.
Here it’s also important to remember that search engines often change the way they operate, which means that you always have to stay up-to-date with current news surrounding each search engine – Google, Yahoo, etc.
Nonetheless, the main rule remains – search engines value content that’s unique, engaging, and relevant to the search query.
Learn How Search Engines Work
The idea behind search engine algorithms is to show the user the highest amount of quality relevant search results. From there, the user can pick one and click on it, in order to consume the content. Usually, people don’t tend to search through the many pages that Google searches offer; instead, they choose one of the first 10 options they’re presented with. That’s why the ranking of your website is so important – you want it to be the first thing that people see.
That’s precisely what SEO’s job is: to make your website’s content visible to search engines. That’s why when you create content, you have to think about how the user will read it and also about how search engines can more easily find it. Normally, search engines perform three main functions:
- Crawl – Crawling is the process where search engines send out robots in a quest to find new and relevant content. This content doesn’t necessarily have to be a website – it can also be a pdf file, a video, etc; however, regardless of the format, it’s always discovered with links.
- Index – The search engine stores and processes information about relevant content that was once found in a huge database. This is called indexing; it allows search engines to produce high-quality results as quickly as possible.
- Rank – When a user searches for something on the search engine, it uses its index to try and solve the searcher’s query in the best way possible. After that, it ranks the content by how relevant it is to the user’s search – this process is called ranking.
Understand SEO Strategies and Tactics
Now, you already know that first, the search engine crawls and indexes a website, afterwards it uses different factors including authority relevance and trust to determine its rank. By knowing that, SEO experts can create strategies that help make the rank of a website better. Here are some of them.
Following on-page SEO best practices can help search engines determine how relevant the content is. Basically, on-page SEO aims to provide the user with valuable information that’s related to his or her search query.
One of the ways search engines determine how popular a website is is by the number of external links that point back to it. These are also known as backlinks, and while many people know that they are important for organic search rankings, high-quality backlinks are also important for local SEO when businesses want to be found in a specific geographic region.
By doing a proper analysis of the available keyword data, you can get a better sense of how your audience searches for information and what exactly people are looking for. This can be very helpful when creating content that’s relevant and easily discoverable.
This is one of the SEO skills that most people find hard to master. All in all, it’s mainly focused on optimizing the website for search engines. This process includes fixing linking errors, restructuring sitemaps, addressing usability issues, improving page loading speed, optimizing tags, developing the proper structured data for each page, and so much more.
Learning and using these basic strategies is a key step to becoming an SEO expert.
Continuously Do Research
Digital marketing is an industry that’s constantly evolving so new methodologies appear very often. That’s why it’s important for you to always keep up with new research and to follow current trends.
With SEO, that’s even more vital as search engines often change the way they work and you always have to keep up. This constantly evolving environment makes SEO coaching difficult, because often what was relevant six months ago is now obsolete.
Along with that, new tools for digital marketing appear almost every day. Knowing which ones are worth using and paying for also requires a fair amount of research, so make sure you’re testing at least one or two new apps every six months.
Gather HTML Knowledge
If you enroll in a standard SEO training course, you will probably hear about HTML, but won’t learn much about it. However, I believe that knowing the basics of HTML is vital for any aspiring SEO expert.
Search engines aren’t people. They don’t analyze your website by reading; instead, they look at your site through its code. In order to optimize it in the best way possible, you also have to be able to look at it that same way. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest a bit of time in basic HTML training – not necessarily learning how to full-on code, but instead just learning the simplest things and how to do them. Even if you start small, soon enough you will feel more comfortable about working with the code, which will allow you to do technical SEO better than your colleagues who are clueless about HTML.
Discover What Tools Work For You
In every job, you need to have some structure and a working methodology that enables you to work well. This applies to organic SEO as well. That’s why I recommend that you find what works best for you and then build a way of working that enables you to be efficient and drive results for your clients.
Furthermore, digital marketing lets you use a lot of tools that make your day-to-day work a lot easier to do. Some tools analyze traffic, others look for relevant keywords, help with writing content, and many other things. With so much choice available, it’s easy to start using everything at once and then find yourself in a situation where you’re managing the way the tools work, instead of doing the actual job you’re being paid for. That’s why it’s important to only use software that truly helps you do your work better. My advice is to try and test out one or two tools at a time before deciding whether they’re worth it or not.
Learn to Work with Data
SEO is one of the most analytical and technical parts of digital marketing. That’s why understanding data and being able to work with data is crucial for any SEO expert. In order to do that, you will need to learn and understand as many SEO metrics as possible. Some of the most common ones inlcude:
- CTR (Click-through-rate) – the number of impressions that get turned into a click
- Organic Session – how many times the page was viewed in a browser
- Clicks – how many people clicked on the page from SERPs.
- Positioning – the ranking of your site when a relevant search occurs on SERPs.
- Impression – how many times the page was viewed on SERPs.
All of these metrics are used to measure different aspects of search behavior. By analyzing them you can get valuable insights on how to drive your strategy. You also need to remember that analysis on data is performed constantly, as it’s the best way to figure out whether your content is currently helping to drive traffic and what you can do to improve results in the future.
Try to Always Keep Learning
Build a network, talk to other marketing professionals, read a book on SEO – all these are different ways that you can keep enhancing your knowledge in the field.
In this fast-paced environment, it’s crucial that you keep learning and never stand still. Of course, there’s no magical way to keep gaining knowledge. There is no “best book for SEO experts” or an SEO masterclass that you can sign up for. It’s all about striving to learn new things every day, even if they seem like minor details.
That’s something I love about digital marketing and SEO in particular: there’s always something new happening, things are always evolving and trying to become better. It’s a job where you can never be bored as your surroundings are constantly getting updated and thus more exciting.
Tailor An SEO Learning Plan Around Your Life and Interests
As you’ve already figured out, there is no easy path to becoming an SEO expert. The good news is that regardless of whether you are interested in SEO for ecommerce, local business, or ranking your personal blog, there are many different ways to go about it and all of them can lead to success – you just have to find what works best for you.
For some people, a training course is the only way to feel secure about their knowledge; for others it’s better to read books on the subject and learn on the go. No matter what way you choose, the 10 steps provided in this article are certain to accelerate your digital marketing career.