If you’re new to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), learning all there is to know may seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry just follow these 4 simple steps and you will quickly become an SEO pro.
Whether you are providing information, entertainment, products or services, smart SEO will match you to relevant search users, significantly increasing traffic from those you want to serve.
Here’s how to become an SEO pro in 4 simple steps:
Step 1: Get to Know Search Engine Guidelines
When you know what you want to say and who you want to hear it, make sure that search engines are one of those “people” you want to hear your message. The best way to do that is to get familiar with their guidelines.
As search engine technology continues to advance, it focuses increasingly on the search engine users and their behaviors in order to deliver them the quality content they are searching for. In other words, you could say that web search is less about websites and more about people. Old-style SEO which focused on algorithms and keywords will no longer do. You have to think about your users first and foremost.
Search engines have become sophisticated enough to identify the sites that are useful to people. These sites are well-organized and deliver quality content to their visitors. Websites with weak content and made little effort in thinking about user experience will not perform as well in search rankings as more in-depth websites that simply give people what they are looking for.
Search engine guidelines list the dubious tricks that are used by novice marketers and spammers to gain traffic. Of course, they suggest that you avoid these. Take these warnings seriously as search engines are sophisticated enough to spot this kind of behavior and it will be detrimental to your search rankings.
Since Google is the major player in search, their guidelines can be considered the benchmark for other large search engines too. Check out the following links to make sure that you are following best practices in regards to your SEO and web content.
Stick to search guidelines and you’ll be creating a site that is not only search engine-friendly but is good for human users too.
Step 2: Read Beginner Guides (Many of Them)
Everyone’s approach to SEO is a little different, so reading beginner guides and taking note of the common themes is a great way to find the standard SEO practices that work best.
Try not to read anything that is over two years old, because SEO changes fast. If you are working on a new website, then reading the current literature on SEO gives a competitive advantage because you can apply current best practices working from the ground up rather than having to redo an older website.
By reading a variety of guides, you will notice core concepts that are consistent and you may notice that there are some elements that have not changed all that much. The concept of having great content, for example, isn’t going anywhere soon.
Here are some of the best SEO beginner guides to get you started.
The Inbound Marketing Curriculum List is well-worth the time you invest in reading it. Following its advice will save you time and effort in the long term as your SEO skills move towards focusing on Inbound Marketing strategies.
Inbound Marketing is the natural evolution of SEO. You should start evolving now to optimize your site and its content from the start. Don’t waste your energy creating random content that isn’t suited to your website’s theme or what your visitors are looking for. Create killer content and present it in a way that people and search engines can find easily.
Tip: You may also be interested in watching SEO: The Movie.
Step 3: Get Virtual Mentors
Not only is the internet a great resource for text on SEO, but it’s full of people who want to help you make the internet better by producing high-performing websites with quality content. Reach out to people in the online space and avail yourself of the wealth of knowledge and experience possessed by veteran SEO specialists and inbound marketing pros.
Look for sites that do SEO well, emulate their practices and connect with those who make it happen.
Moz’s Whiteboard Friday is one example of where to watch videos on the cutting edge of SEO from the best in the business. While Inbound.org is a great place to connect with professionals as well as peers.
Use tools such as Evernote, Scoop.it! or Delicious to keep an organized library of resources. Refer to your bookmarks as you progress through the SEO landscape and optimize your first sites. Having a catalog of useful articles at your fingertips is a valuable and powerful personal resource that will fast-track and supercharge your success in SEO.
Step 4: Make it Official with Free Certifications
Getting certified is a consideration for marketers who want to round out their digital or content marketing skills as well as non-marketers who wish learn digital marketing methodology. It’s also useful for entrepreneurs and students seeking internships or full-time positions.
In addition to sharpening up skills, getting certified may give you the confidence you needed to get out there and consult otehrs. A certification is evidence — aside from websites on which you have performed SEO — that you know what you’re doing.
Certification doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are links to two of the best accreditations you can get and they are both free.
Congratulations you're now on your way to becoming an SEO consultant!
Don’t wander blindly into SEO. Take these 4 steps and you’ll go from SEO novice to Inbound Marketing Pro in no time.