Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of influencing the online visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. 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 or find 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). So, 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 your SEO battles more wisely. For example, I’ve chosen not to write about specific topics because those posts probably wouldn’t rank well (given the competition). Also, I’m always on the lookout for negative SEO attacks.
Who Should Learn SEO
Although SEO is just one of many online marketing activities, it’s the most critical to learn. Understanding SEO helps with ranking in search engines and wherever search is applicable, for example, on Amazon. You should learn SEO if you:
- Own or manage a website or blog
- Have a desire to expand your digital marketing strategies
- Conduct internet marketing activities such as affiliate, content, social media, and video marketing
- Generate revenue on online marketplaces, for example, Amazon, eBay, Fiverr, and Upwork
SEO Courses, Tutorial, & Resouces
In a quest to learn SEO, a person can get overwhelmed by search results (the irony). Fortunately, my exposure to SEO content and e-learning platforms enable me to point you in the right direction. I recommend referencing two or three courses and resources. Thereafter, the law of diminishing return will set in and insights will become repetitive.
- Alphabet (Google)
Google is synonymous with search. Google commands nearly two-thirds of the US search activity, and they dominate in other regions. Most training resources structure their contents based on Google’s search engine, algorithms, and announcements. Google offers many platforms to learn about online marketing and SEO. Their brief SEO starter guide is a must-read.
Coursera provides access to the world’s best education through partnerships with top universities and organizations. For example, they’ve partnered with Stanford, Yale, and Princeton to offer online courses. Students can take courses for free or pay to obtain course completion certificates. Additionally, they offer degrees and specializations in various subjects.
Coursera offers a comprehensive six-course SEO specialization in partnership with the University of California, Davis. I completed several courses in the specialization and was thoroughly impressed with the content. I recommend paying for the program if you wish to expand your career options or desire to become an SEO consultant.
- Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Journal (SEJ) is dedicated to producing the latest search news, the best guides, and how-tos for the SEO and marketing community. They publish insightful articles such as “The Death of Organic Search (As We Know It)” and other content relating to online marketing. They offer a beginner’s guide to SEO that is worth reading.
Moz started in 2004 as an SEO consultancy and offers 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, they have two results on the first page for the search query “what is SEO.” Moz offers a treasure chest of online learning resources including guides, webinars (Mozinars), quizzes, whitepapers, and more.
Yoast offers a top-rated WordPress SEO plugin, and for training purposes, they have an academy consisting of a blog, ebooks, and courses. Also, their YouTube channel has a lot of educational content.
HubSpot publishes a lot of useful content regarding digital marketing, and they have many free guides. However, I was disappointed with their much touted Inbound Certification course, which yielded very few insights regarding SEO. Check out their blog for articles on SEO.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that has everything you need to sell online, on social media, or in person. Their blog is excellent, and they have many posts about SEO including beginner and intermediate guides for e-commerce SEO.
Skillshare, Udacity, and Udemy are popular e-learning platforms and have SEO courses. Also, YouTube has thousands of videos about SEO.