How to Learn SEO and Become an SEO Expert

Do you ever wonder how Google ranks articles on search engine results pages, or SERPs? Well, producers of web content wonder too, which is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Digital enterprises learn SEO principles to achieve better search rankings. By taking SEO courses, you can learn how to apply these same principles to your website.

As businesses compete to capture online audiences, the demand for SEO skills increases. Let’s explore what it takes to learn SEO and where to go for training to also master search engine marketing (SEM).

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of boosting a website’s ranking by improving the quality and quantity of web traffic. Practicing SEO helps a website beat out other websites in the search results. It involves changing your website in ways that make it look more attractive to a particular search engine.

Every time a user makes a search query, the search engine ranks results on the basis of keywords and backlinks. These two ranking factors correspond, respectively, to On-page SEO and Off-page SEO, which are the two major types of SEO. 

  • On-Page SEO. All the work done to a website, including writing content for it and optimizing it according to search engine guidelines, comes under On-Page SEO.

  • Off-Page SEO. Anything done to boost a website’s search result rankings without making any change to the website itself comes under Off-Page SEO. It primarily involves link building to direct traffic from other sources to your website. The more informative and legitimate the site that links back to your website, the more effect it will have on the search ranking.  

What Jobs Use SEO?

Search engine optimization has created a huge rush of jobs. An SEO analyst, for example, is someone paid to help a client improve their website’s ranking in the search results.

According to the Houston Chronicle, an expert in SEO can expect to earn anywhere from $41,000 to $108,000 per year. As long as search engines remain the primary means through which people find information online, SEO skills will continue to be in high demand. 

Below is a list of jobs that use search engine optimization.

  • Business Marketing Consultant. The main job of these consultants is to plan and create marketing schemes and manage public relations for their clients. They measure the effectiveness of existing strategies and suggest changes accordingly. According to Zip Recruiter, their average salary is around $53,000.

  • Digital Marketer. A digital marketer generates leads for a business and uses social media to build a brand’s presence on the Internet. An Indeed estimate places their average salary around $59,000. Candidates with a diversified skill set in strategic marketing, including SEO skills, have opportunities to earn more. 

  • Content Marketer. This type of marketer promotes the content itself, trying to put as many eyeballs on it as possible. SEO helps them get the best results out of their marketing campaigns. According to PayScale, the average salary is $50,838, with more experienced content marketers earning around $64,000. 

  • SEO Manager. In addition to knowing search engine optimization, SEO managers should have some experience with search engine marketing. They are responsible for creating an SEO strategy in collaboration with a team of SEO analysts, content marketers, and writers. Their average salary on PayScale is $70,000 per year.

Steps to Learn SEO

Men Discussing work at the office.
If you’re new to this field, there are many beginner guides to SEO to get you started.

Learning SEO is an iterative process. You start by learning about Google’s ranking algorithms before moving on to marketing strategy and more complex SEO tools. Below are the steps that a student should take for a strong SEO education.

Step 1: Understand the Concept of Search Engine Optimization

To be able to improve a website’s ranking in search results, you should work to understand the mechanics of keywords and backlinks. You should know how and why these tools affect rankings and understand how to use them without sacrificing user experience. 

Step 2: Explore Keyword Research

The next level is developing a keyword strategy based on what users are entering into a search engine for a given topic. You need to know how to shape your website’s content around target keywords, for both the user’s and the search engine’s benefit. It is not enough to know what the optimal keywords are. You must also understand the user’s intent.

Step 3: Learn How to Make Backlinks

By earning links from known and legitimate websites, you’ll be in a better position to outrank your competitors. Backlinks are absolutely essential because Google rewards websites that trustworthy sites link to, and penalizes websites that spammy sites link to.

Step 4: Enroll in an Online Course

There are a ton of resources and online tutorials that you can use to learn search engine optimization. Any number of online beginner’s guides to SEO can teach you the various aspects of SEO. But to learn how to implement SEO strategies and to master keyword tools quickly and efficiently, you need to enroll in an actual online course.

Step 5: Keep Your Skills Fresh

The last and most important step is to keep practicing what you learned. Knowing the theory of something is different from putting it to practical use. One great way to gain practical experience is by joining an SEO community. By surrounding yourself with experts, you will have reliable resources in your corner, as well as access to updates in the SEO world.

The Best Online SEO Courses

There’s no better way to learn anything than by taking courses. It can be difficult, however, to select the right course for your interests, goals, and skill level. To save you the trouble of doing the research yourself, we have compiled a list of some of the best SEO courses that you can take online. 

SEO 2021: Complete SEO Training + SEO for WordPress Websites

  • Provder: Udemy
  • Duration: 10 hours of on-demand video with lifetime access
  • Prerequisites: Students must have an active account on WordPress
  • Extras: Certificate provided upon completion

This course covers 50 SEO factors for reaching the highest spot on search engine results pages. It is one of the bestsellers on Udemy and has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

In addition to the SEO factors at the heart of the course, you will also get a brief overview of keyword research and how to optimize your page loading speed.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialization

  • Provider: UC Davis (Coursera)
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 5 months

This course goes over the basic theory behind the algorithms used by various search engines. But you won’t just keep your head stuck in the clouds. You’ll also gain practical knowledge and real-world skills that will help you build your career as a digital marketer.

Beginner Local SEO: The Foundations of What Google Wants

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Duration: 43 minutes of on-demand videos
  • Level: Beginner
  • Cost: Free

With a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, this Udemy course is one of the best free courses you can find online. It’s geared towards small business owners who want to understand what Google is looking for so that they can outrank the competition in their local area.

Complete SEO Training with Top SEO Expert Peter Kent

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Duration: 8 hours on-demand video with lifetime access
  • Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of building web pages
  • Extras: Certificate provided upon completion

Peter Kent is one of the OGs of search engine optimization. If you don’t have time to read his SEO for Dummies, take this well-reviewed course instead. Upon completing this course you will have a firm knowledge of how you can use SEO to gain more traffic. It covers how to pick the right keywords, build your site, understand the role of content, and so on.

SEO Training Course: Learn How To Achieve Sustainable Organic Traffic Growth

  • Provider: HubSpot Academy
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Level: Beginner
  • Cost: Free

This free course will help you learn all things SEO, including giving you an inside look into how HubSpot uses blogging to get the top spot on Google. You will learn how to enhance your website, build backlinks, and leverage the tactics that Google’s very own blog team uses. It contains 3 lectures, 15 videos, and 2 quizzes for self-evaluation.

Why Learn SEO?

Search engine optimization is one of the most interesting job roles in the world, with one of the highest skill-to-pay ratios. SEO analysts are always in demand, and the industry seems unlikely to run dry any time in the foreseeable future.

There are not only plenty of corporate jobs for SEO analysts but also a number of remote jobs that allow you to work from anywhere from the world. Learn SEO today, and you can look forward to nothing less than a bright future with limitless opportunities.

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