Search engine optimization is always evolving. Google updates its algorithm constantly – sometimes multiple times per day – and implements one or two major updates per year; updates that completely upset the balance. This means that it’s impossible to stay abreast with changes if you aren’t actively trying and testing your own SEO strategies.
Unfortunately, conventional methods of learning aren’t particularly relevant in the SEO world. For example, if you were to undertake a three year degree in the subject, the fast paced nature of the business would make many of the techniques from the first and second year redundant by the third. It would be pointless. Additionally, books and study materials would have to be updated quarterly at minimum!
The only way to teach yourself SEO is to actively seek out information online. If you want to get started on your Internet marketing journey, the following 4 tips will help.
Blogs are the heart and soul of the SEO world. Any Internet marketing company worth their salt will ensure they will post comprehensive pillar content and case studies where their clients can get a little insight into their practices and methods – you should do the same!
At the very least you must subscribe to the following:
Matt Cutts – Head of Google’s Webspam team. This makes him one of the only genuine “verified” authorities on SEO.
HubSpot – One of the most prestigious Internet marketing websites out there.
SEMpo Blog – Need I say more?
Sign Up to Mini-Courses
Courses from Udemy and similar streaming tutorial websites are different from further education in that they don’t provide formal qualifications, and many are simply made by ordinary people. If you are going to buy an online course just remember to assess the background of your potential tutor to make sure they’re experienced. And don’t expect the techniques to withstand the test of time. Immediate application is usually key to getting your money’s worth.
Additionally, streaming websites such as YouTube and Fab How are a hotbed for information if you have specific questions and no money to invest. There are many thousands of Internet marketers on the web trying to make a name for themselves by establishing their brand through video blogging sites, and opening doors for viewers.
Attend Video Conferences and Meetups
When I refer to conferences I’m not only talking about formal gatherings in fancy country clubs. In today’s day and age the majority of conferences and seminars are conducted online. Creative Live is a great place to start if you don’t want to invest outright in an online course. Here you can watch conference calls and seminars free of charge in real time, and then have the option to purchase the content afterwards.
Many of the world’s largest SEO expos will also sell digital-only tickets, allowing you to watch the events online. Alternatively, you could consider setting up your own meetup on Google Hangouts. To find free speakers put a callout on Reddit or approach thought leaders via social media. You’ll be surprised what secrets people in the business will be willing to let go if you pay them the compliment of asking for their advice.
Build and Maintain Websites
The learn-by-doing approach is often the most effective way to learn SEO as you’ll literally see what works and what doesn’t. That said, it takes a lot of time. While it used to be possible to buy a domain, build a WordPress website and get it near the top of Google in a matter of days, unless you manage to develop pillar content that goes viral, this probably won’t happen.
Most search marketers agree that it takes around six to nine months for the Google sandbox to place a website in its most natural position. During this time it will go up and down the index, seemingly on a whim, before it settles. Therefore, if you choose the learn-by-doing approach, you won’t really be able to assess your efforts and how well they are working/not working for six months to one year.
Fortunately search engine optimization is one of those industries that doesn’t require any formal training. It’s a business that anyone can master from home. All that’s required is a computer and Internet connection. So if you’re eager to learn, there are really no excuses!