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How To Become An SEO Expert The Right Way

Search engine optimization jobs are not only on the rise, but they are also quite lucrative. Even freelance SEO experts can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars a month.

In this post, we’ll list down all the steps you need to make to become an SEO expert yourself. Let’s start with the basics.

Understand the Inner Workings of Search Engines

You expect a doctor to know how the human body functions. For SEO hopefuls, that means having a basic understanding of how search engines work.

But to be clear:

It’s not enough to know the difference between Google and Bing. No, sir.

Your job as an SEO expert is to get your pages on top of SERPs using the best strategies.

However:

Google uses a proprietary algorithm to rank the billions of pages it finds online. And there are constant changes to the algorithm. What does that mean for you? On a good day, your pages would surge toward the top of the search results page. But there’s also a chance that it’ll drop your pages lower.

SearchEngineLand published a post that details the eight most substantial Google updates to date. It’s worth checking out if you want to get a better understanding of how it affected SEOs over the years.

By knowing how search engines work, you could anticipate these changes and create better short- and long-term strategies.

Break Down Your Understanding of Online Marketing Into Concepts

Online marketing is a broad subject matter. SEO is just one of its components. With it comes search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and a whole bunch of other marketing concepts.

Now, do you need to be an expert on all of these marketing concepts? Not at all.

But you do need to understand what each one does. Why? Because they often run in conjunction with SEO. They are all bound to cross paths at a certain point.

As an example, affiliate marketing often uses SEO strategies to rank affiliate sites. SEO makes use of content marketing to generate backlinks. And when you publish content, you work with a social media team to promote your posts. All of them work in harmony despite different people running each department.

We suggest that you study each concept on its own and slowly work your way down the list. And after you do, you’ll have a better understanding of what your role is as an SEO expert.

Learn the Top Ranking Factors

What makes pages rank?

We’re not talking about the technical side of search engine optimization — at least not yet. Google has its reasons why it ranks pages in a specific order. The SEO community refers to these reasons as ranking factors.

Throughout your journey to SEO proficiency, you’ll come across ranking factors like meta tag optimization, site speed, and internal linking. And while they do play a huge role in optimizing a site, there are three key factors you need to address before moving on to the others.

When Google ranks pages, it asks itself three things.

Does This Page Have the Information Users Are Looking For?

Google only wants to show results that address its users’ concerns. People who are looking for news in Los Angeles won’t see reports on the latest riots in a country that’s on another continent. That’s not what their users are searching for.

But it goes deeper than that.

How you feature the information is just as important. When users type “how to fix an iPhone”, they’re not looking to buy a new phone. So while an iPhone ad might be relevant, the top search results would likely link to DIY phone repair websites or video tutorials.

seo expert - learn ranking factors - fix iphone

Who Is Presenting the Information?

It’s not just the information that counts. Who’s presenting it is equally important.

If users trust your website, your posts have a better chance of appearing on top of search results.

As to how Google determines if you’re a high-authority site, it relies on various factors including how many people are linking to your posts. In principle, the more people point to your domain, the more Google trusts you.

Do Users Want to See This Page?

You may have the right content. Your site could be a trusted source. But if it falls short on execution, other sites will outrank you.

What does that mean?

Google wants to show the very best the internet has to offer. So it likes to promote sites that care about the user experience.

Does your site load fast? Is your content clear and concise? Do you have images that help get your point across? Can your site load on mobile devices? Do you have the right keywords?

These are just a few of the questions Google asks itself when evaluating a site.

Research What SEO Tools to Use

Not only do you have to grasp the basics of SEO, but you’ll also need to figure out what tools you’ll need.

What are some of the tools commonly used in SEO?

Arguably the most important one would have to be Google Analytics. This monitors data like website traffic, traffic source, and conversion rate.

Next, you’ll need tools for research. I use SEMrush for all our needs. It lets me do technical SEO audits, backlink checks, social media analysis, content optimization, competitor research, and more.

how to become seo expert

Note: We published a SEMrush tutorial for anyone interested in trying out the tool.

What tools you use will depend on you, your resources, and your needs. If SEMrush or any of the other digital marketing services go beyond your budget, there are free alternatives available though do keep in mind that these often come with limitations.

As for the features, find SEO tools that offer the following:

 

 

    • — Find a tool that can audit your site and assign it a grade. Having this feature saves you from having to evaluate a website manually.

 

    • SEO Crawler — You want a tool that can crawl through your site to find technical issues like duplicate content and broken links.
    • Mobile Optimization — An excellent SEO tool should also assess your site for mobile compatibility. Advanced SEO tools even tell you how you can improve your website and make it mobile-ready.

 

  • Ranking Report — One of the main functions of an SEO tool is to tell you how you’re performing in search engines based on keywords you provide.
  • User-Friendly Interface — SEO is hard enough as it is. So you want a tool that’s easy to work with. And if you run into any issue, you’d want a dedicated support team that you can call at any time.

Get Hold of Proper SEO Training

Internet research can only get you so far. If you want to learn SEO, you’d want to get a hold of proper training.

I have training courses that you can take to learn more about the different aspects of SEO. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced SEO, I have something available for you.

seo expert - seo training - craig campbell - seo marketing expert

Here are other SEO courses that we highly recommend:

  • Kyle Roof’s On-Page SEO Course — Why not learn from the man who built PageOptimizer Pro, an on-page SEO evaluation tool. Kyle is also the co-founder of High Voltage SEO, an SEO firm. In his course, he talks about his method for ranking sites based on Google algorithm experiments he has conducted over the last few years.
  • SEMrush Link Building Course — Have an hour to spare? Then there’s no reason why you can’t check out the SEMrush Link Building Course. There are four lessons included that covers backlink research and analysis, avoiding Google penalties, internal linking, and building links. Best of all, the course is free for everyone.
  • Local SEO: A Definitive Guide To Local Business Marketing — If you’re looking for the best tutorial on local SEO, then here you go. This course has the distinction of being the highest-rated course about local SEO on Udemy. It includes five hours of video content and 17 articles about the subject.
  • Affiliate Lab by Matt Diggity — Matt is an accomplished affiliate marketer who now wants to share his time-tested affiliate marketing strategies. If you’re trying to study SEO to earn passively through affiliate sites, this might be the course for you.
  • Authority Site System by Authority Hacker — While marketed toward affiliate marketers, the Authority Site System talks about SEO essentials such as market and keyword research, setting up websites, and content creation.

Build a Website

Build a website using everything you’ve learned from the courses you took. Imagine that it’s your first client’s website. What do you need to do?

And while you’re at it, you can familiarize yourself with the content management system. WordPress users, for example, can install plugins to see what effects they’ll have to your operation. You can explore WordPress themes to determine which ones are the easiest to work with.

We’d suggest that you first become an affiliate marketer. The skills involved closely resemble those in traditional SEO. Plus, it lets you promote products that aren’t yours (meaning you don’t have to deal with the likes of inventory management and customer support). It’s a great way of applying what you’ve learned minus some of the risks.

Narrow Down Your Niche

You need to pick an SEO niche to work in. Your website can’t cater to everyone. The only way you’re going to be an authority figure is if you specialize in one thing. This is a much more manageable approach than becoming an SEO generalist (jack of all trades, master of none).

There are two ways of going about this.

You can either become an SEO that focuses on a specific discipline like link building or site audits.

Or:

You can provide SEO services to a specific sector of the market. You can do SEO for dentists in New York, for example. This is what Delmain.co is doing right now.

seo expert - narrow down niche - delmain - local seo expert

Distil Knowledge Into Systems

You won’t be able to do everything yourself. Especially when it comes to SEO. That’s why having a system in place is essential. Not only do you keep your SEO campaign organized, but it also gives you an idea of what tasks you can delegate to others.

Now, this will only work if you’re familiar with SEO concepts. That’s why having some training is essential.

Also, by building your website and familiarizing yourself with content building, site management, external linking, and other SEO concepts, you’re able to determine where your strength lies.

Outsource Properly

Hire people to work on things that you can’t handle.

Maybe you can write great articles. But can you write consistently? Can you meet deadlines? How many can you write in a week? If you think you can spend your time better elsewhere, hire freelance writers from sites like Upwork instead and let them deal with content publishing.

become an seo expert - distill knowledge - upwork

Or maybe keyword research is too time-consuming for you, or perhaps it’s simply not your thing. Then find people would be comfortable doing that on your behalf.

But how do you find the right SEOs to work with?

There are a couple of factors to consider:

    • Experience — How long has the expert been working in the industry?
    • Rating/Reviews — Is the SEO expert getting favourable reviews?

 

  • SEO Skills — Does the candidate possess any specialized skills like link building or SEM?
  • Rate — Can the candidate work within the budget you’ve set?
  • Strategy — Does the candidate use white hat tactics (Google-approved strategies) or black hat tactics (frowned upon in the SEO community)?

In SEO, not only don’t you need to know everything, you don’t have to do everything either.

Learn how to create your system and delegate tasks.

Replicate SEO Results to Other Sites

Should your website see some success, you can shift your focus on other websites. You can start another site and practice on that some more, or you can use a friend’s site and optimize it using the strategy you’ve developed.

Once you’re comfortable, you can start looking for clients to work with. And when they ask you for samples of your previous work, you can show them the sites you’ve built.

Having websites that rank will be crucial in finding clients to work with. So keep on adding new sites to your portfolio. And revise your strategy as needed.

One thing to note, though: Ranking a site will take some time. You need to be patient. Just because you’re not seeing results now does not mean the strategy is ineffective. It could take weeks to months before you see the full impact of all your SEO efforts.

Also, be aware that whenever Google makes updates to its algorithm, pages tend to fluctuate in the rankings. Just because you’ve hit the number one position does not mean it’ll be there forever.

That’s why it’s just as important to:

Keep Testing

When you have a strategy that’s not working, make some tweaks to see if that would fix the problem.

A/B testing (also known as split testing) is the process of pitting two versions of the same web page against each other to see which one would perform better. It’s widespread in SEO to do split testing.

It allows you to test page copy, call-to-action (CTA) buttons, or even page layouts.

Keep Learning New Things About SEO

SEO is one of those disciplines that continues to evolve. So you’ll need to keep up with the times. Don’t grow complacent. Just because your strategy works today does not mean it’ll stay effective a year from now.

There are websites and forums dedicated to SEO professionals. Sites like Moz and Search Engine Journal are just a few. SEO experts are usually ecstatic about sharing their findings. And so are other users who are starting. You can always reach out if you have questions.

Or you can try learning through SEO meetups in your area, marketing conferences, social media (Facebook Groups is a great start), YouTube tutorials, and even podcasts.

seo expert company - ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the best and most popular SEO tools in the market. However, this didn’t stop them from extending their reach on Youtube as well. With over 111k subscribers to date, their ability to churn out useful content allows them to position themselves even further as one of the best SEO influencers in the world.

seo expert - keep learning - search engine journal show

And for those on the go, you can always download podcast episodes like this one from the Search Engine Journal Show.

There are plenty of ways online to get the latest information on SEO.

Conclusion

Becoming an SEO expert, while painful, can be quite rewarding. Get the basics by signing up for a course. Make sure you have the right tools. Practice everything you’ve learned by building your website and then add it to your portfolio.

Develop your strategy and test it rigorously. You want to stay up-to-date on all things SEO. Keep an eye out for any changes to Google’s algorithm.

By doing these things, you’ll surely be on your way to becoming an SEO expert.

 

seo profile image

Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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