Search engine optimization (SEO) is rapidly growing as a digital marketing strategy as more businesses realize the benefits of optimizing their websites and bringing in new business from organic search results. The dramatic growth of this industry makes an excellent opportunity for people skilled in SEO to build strong careers. Whether you’re a recent graduate, someone looking to go in a new direction with their career, or even just looking for a profitable side hustle, it’s a great time to get started in building your own career in digital marketing. In fact, even if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to promote your own website, it’s a great idea to learn SEO—that’s how I got started in this business. Search engine optimization is a great opportunity for anyone with the interest to learn and build a career. Whatever your background, this article will help you get started.
Becoming a digital marketing expert is a valuable skillset and one that can help you build the life you want for yourself. It offers a multitude of opportunities, from working for a digital marketing agency or a business’s marketing team to freelancing our building your own digital marketing business, which allows you to control the projects you take on and work your own schedule. There are many remote jobs available as well, allowing you to choose where you live and sometimes even when you work.
However, if you want to be competitive enough to make a career in the SEO industry, you’ll need to build a strong skillset. That means doing your research, practicing, and always looking for ways to learn from others. It’s important that you don’t develop an ego, because as soon as you’re convinced you know what’s best, you’ll begin to make mistakes. SEO is a constantly changing practice, and the online landscape is always evolving with the market and the changes in algorithms. The best SEO experts remain on their toes, always learning and ready to adapt strategies the moment something changes—an algorithm change can mean having to rework a large portion of your website, or worse.
Here are top three tips for anyone who wants to begin learning SEO:
- Create a site you can experiment with to acquire new skills.
Start by building a WordPress website. If you’ve never done this before, learning what goes into building a website will give you important background knowledge that will help you later down the line. I recommend choosing a site that’s about something you’re interested in but isn’t high-stakes—so don’t build a site for someone else or use your business website as your test subject. If you have a hobby, that might be a good place to start. It should be something that’s easy for you to produce content about.
You’ll use this website to practice things you want to learn. As humans, we tend to learn best when we put things into practice and experience them for ourselves, so this will help solidify things in your mind. It will also force you to troubleshoot problems, which is another important part of the learning process. You can use this website to run tests to compare and contrast strategies and see which works the best. Ultimately, this website will play an important role in your learning process and give you a low-stakes place to experiment and practice.
- Watch videos and read books about SEO.
There are many excellent and free or inexpensive learning tools available for improving your SEO expertise. I recommend consuming multiple types of media, as each has different benefits to offer. Nowadays, people tend to vastly underestimate the value of books and the information they contain. You can buy an expensive course on SEO that may teach you a lot, but there’s also a good chance there’s a $15-25 book that covers the same information. If you’re looking for a book to start with, I’ve published Law Firm SEO and Honest SEO will be available in the Summer of 2023. Both are great places for beginners to learn the basics. You can also check out what’s available at your local library—just remember that with books, it’s possible that information may be outdated, so it’s important to always check the publication date.
While it’s easy to search for specific questions and read articles about SEO, you’re not going to get the full picture and understand the basic principles as well as if you read a book or take a course, both of which are more likely to cover the topic as a whole and bring up things that a short article won’t mention. Courses are another great place to start. Ahrefs has some excellent resources that I highly recommend, including a free, six-chapter course that covers the basics, as well as a blog and a Youtube channel.
- Practice everything you learn as you learn it.
Move one step at a time. Using the website you built at the beginning, stop at the end of every chapter you read or video you watch and practice whatever you’ve just learned. While taking notes on what you read or watch is a great way to help cement things in your mind and easily reference what you’ve learned, it isn’t enough on its own. Those lessons will fade from your mind unless you practice them, and if you speed through topics, you won’t get the level of in-depth knowledge you need to become an SEO expert. Taking action on each thing you learn will help you build a strong foundation to move on to the next step. Don’t rush—write down any questions you have about a topic after you’ve learned about and seek out the answers before moving on.
I truly believe that SEO is a fantastic opportunity that can lead to an excellent, exciting career. The ever-changing nature of digital marketing makes for a job where there’s always something new to learn and new ways to grow. With these three simple steps, you can easily build a strong foundation to begin your journey in SEO, wherever you hope it will take you.