Search engine optimization (SEO), you know what it is or are familiar with the concept, but is learning it important to you? SEO has always been a fascination of mine, but never a full-blown priority until recently.
I follow a simple mantra, if nobody can see you, nobody will buy you. In other words, if your posts, products, and services show up on the ninth page of Google search results, it will be difficult to attract traffic/visitors to your website (no/low traffic = no/low sales). Therefore, understanding and implementing SEO activities can lead to attracting more visitors and sales.
Many studies highlight the importance of being on the first page of search results. Call it convenience or laziness, most searchers limit their clicks to page one results. According to Philip Petrescu, “On average, 71.33% of searches result in a page one organic click. Page two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks. On the first page alone, the first five results account for 67.60% of all the clicks and the results from 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%.”
Learning about SEO and applying the best practices won’t guarantee top rankings. However, it will provide you with strategic advantages and allow you to pick SEO battles more wisely. For example, I’ve chosen not to write about certain topics because those posts would not likely show up on this first page of results given the competition.
Who Should Learn SEO
Although SEO is just one of many online marketing activities, it’s a critical one to learn. Understanding SEO obviously helps with ranking in search engines, but it also helps with ranking wherever search is applicable. For example, on Amazon. You should learn SEO if you:
- Own or manage a website or blog
- Conduct internet marketing activities–affiliate, content, social media, video, and so on
- Generate revenue through online marketplaces–Amazon, eBay, Fiverr, and Upwork
- Value SEO/SEM as part of your digital marketing strategy
Your goal should be to develop an excellent knowledge base to implement a viable SEO strategy. Taking too many courses won’t lead to a greater understanding of SEO because the law of diminishing return will quickly set in and data points will become redundant. I recommend referencing two or three courses and resources.
In a quest to learn SEO, a person can get easily overwhelmed by search results (the irony). Fortunately, my exposure to e-learning platforms gave me a head start on where to look.
Coursera provides global access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online. They’ve partnered with Stanford, Yale, and Princeton to name a few. Students can take courses for free or pay to obtain course completion certificates as I did for a marketing course I completed. Additionally, Coursera offers multi-course specializations in various subjects.
Coursera offers a robust six-course SEO specialization in partnership with the University of California. I’m currently enrolled, and after completing the first course, I was thoroughly impressed and look forward to taking the others. Moreover, I recommend paying for the program, if you wish to expand your career options or desire to become an SEO consultant.
Moz started in 2004 as an SEO consultancy and expanded in the same direction to offer a range of software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Their brand has become synonymous with SEO, and they’re considered a global authority. In fact, a search for “what is SEO” yields two Moz results on page one (that’s walking the walking).
Moz offers a treasure chest of online learning resources including guides, webinars (Mozinars), quizzes, whitepapers, and more at their website. I explored several of their resources which proved to be beneficial.
While Moz is synonymous with SEO, Google is search. Google commands nearly two-thirds of US search activity, and they have an incredible global brand. Millions of online users prefer Google over their chief rivals, for example, Bing and Yahoo. Suffice it to say; most training resources structure their contents based on Google’s search engine, algorithms, and announcements.
Google doesn’t offer an SEO training course per se, but their brief SEO starter guide is a must read–I recommend reading it after you learn a few things about SEO. Furthermore, their suite of free tools including Google Analytics, Webmaster, AdWords, and others embody nuances to excel in SEO. For example, their free keyword planning tool found in AdWords is used by millions of SEO practitioners including myself. Furthermore, I rebooted my Webmaster account when I was reminded of its value through the Coursera course. Google offers free training for their various tools and platforms.
There are several excellent WordPress SEO plugins–All-In-One-SEO and Yoast–, but unless you understand SEO, the plugins will prove useless. Yoast offers the second most used SEO WordPress plugin, and for training purposes, they have an academy consisting of a blog, ebooks, and courses. Also, their YouTube channel is worth exploring.
HubSpot provides a lot of useful content regarding online marketing, and they offer many guides on different marketing topics. I was very disappointed with their much touted Inbound Certification course which yielded very few insights regarding SEO. As a result, I don’t recommend it.