SEO can be daunting; especially for a small business owner or young professional just starting out.

To make matters worse, there are millions of pages of outdated information, misinformation, or just plain bad information about how to properly implement an SEO strategy.

Here’s the good news: there is more than enough FREE training materials available to turn a knowledge-hungry newbie into an SEO expert.

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The key, of course, is to know what’s important and then invest the time necessary to master those things. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a pro in hundreds of areas. You just need to tackle the essential website optimization items.

What follows are the top factors for optimizing a website in 2019 and places to find free courses to master each.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to those actions taken at the website or server level designed to improve search results. More specifically, those actions which affect crawling, indexing and rendering of webpages.

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The end goal is to get as many high-value pages indexed and ranking as possible.

Here are some courses and guides that are certain to boost your technical SEO skills:

Courses

Guides

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Content Marketing

“Great content” is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to ensure any measure of organic success.

As one of three confirmed Google ranking factors, you better have a solid understanding of the kind of content that appeals to both users and the Google algorithm.

These courses and guides will put you on the right path:

Courses

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Guides

Schema

Schema markup, is a form of microdata. It creates an enhanced description (a.k.a., rich snippet), which then appears in search results.

Schema provides added context to a page which can be useful to both users and search engines. Schema often provides context to a page which may otherwise be ambiguous.

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It doesn’t appear as though anyone is offering a free course on schema, however there are several useful guides on the topic, including:

Guides

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User Intent

Google is working hard to understand the context of search queries. Their goal is to return search results aligned with searcher intent.

If your website doesn’t conform to Google’s understanding of intent for a particular keyword, there is nothing you can do to reach the top of the SERPs.

For that reason, it’s critically important to convert any traffic that you do manage to drive to your page. The following courses and guides will help you maximize the ROI on the traffic that does come to your site:

Courses

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Guides

Website Speed

Page speed can impact both traffic and conversions.

According to Google, “the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds… yet 53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.”

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In short, fast page speed equals a good user experience. Slow page speed equals a poor user experience.

For that reason, Google now uses page speed as a ranking factor. If you have a need for speed, check out these courses and guides:

Courses

Guides

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Link Building

Thanks to Google’s Penguin Algorithm and machine learning algorithm (RankBrain), links that are both earned and thematically related, carry more weight than ever.

To be clear, I’m referring to the types of links that conform to Google webmaster guidelines. Not links that are acquired or paid for by using various link schemes.

Check out these guides for and courses for successful link building techniques

Courses

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Guides

Mobile-First

Know this: mobile search is local search. Fifty percent of all mobile searches have a local intent. Winning at Local SEO requires a unique skill set. Hone your skills by checking out these courses and guides:

Courses

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Guides

User Experience

User experience (UX) is all about understanding users; their needs, values, abilities, and limitations. Good UX also takes into consideration the goals and objectives of the business.

The best UX practices improve the quality of a user’s experience. If you are interested in providing a better user experience, then look into:

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Courses

Guides: A Collection of UX Guides Created by Google for Select Industries

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The Takeaway

It will never be easier to execute a winning SEO strategy than it is today. Take advantage of it. Arm yourself with the knowledge to succeed. You won’t regret it.

Disclaimer: Some of these courses are free, but contingent upon completion within a limited time (trial period). Others are free, if you choose to audit a course and forgo a certificate. Select guides may require submitting an email prior to downloading.

More Resources:

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Pixabay
In-Post Image: Pixabay