This Ask An SEO question comes from Jessica from Louth, who wrote in:
“I’m currently a full-stack marketer but find myself drawn to SEO.
I’m not sure where to start gaining experience, though.
What direction would you suggest to start in and do you have any book/course recommendations?”
Learning SEO can be daunting.
I’ve been working in search engine optimization professionally since 1998 (that’s 23 years for anyone counting), and I still learn new things every day.
But that doesn’t mean that aspiring SEO pros are out of luck.
Quite the contrary.
Many great resources are available for newbie search engine marketers to sink their teeth into.
And unlike when the other “Original Gangster” SEO experts and I learned the craft, there are some established resources that (almost) everyone agrees are great places to start.
A Word Of Caution
Even the best advice is rarely universal.
What works on one site very well may fall flat on another.
The only way to know if an SEO tactic works for you is to test it.
You can read theories about algorithms and code tweaks constantly, but until you put those theories into practice on your site, you don’t know if they will work.
Even if you physically see evidence of how well a technique worked on another site, there is no guarantee the same technique will result in similar results when implemented.
Simply put, you don’t know anything until you test it.
But reading other SEO pros talk about their work is part of the job.
You will be amazed at the ideas our industry generates daily.
If you aren’t interested in reading what other SEO experts are doing, you are probably in the wrong field.
Lots Of Places To Learn The Basics
SEO isn’t rocket science.
I compare it more to plumbing.
I can probably figure out how to fix a sink by watching YouTube videos, but I’ll probably flood my house.
After all, the only thing in my toolbox is a checkbook.
If you are interested in getting into SEO, you might flood a few sinks at first.
But if you have a basic understanding of how websites work and are willing to put the time and effort into learning the craft, you’ll soon be the one everyone calls to fix their proverbial sink.
You can learn the basics in different ways.
Some people prefer to build their own site and experiment until they know what works for them.
Others prefer to learn from online courses like the stellar beginner course from Search Engine Journal.
Moz also has a great beginning SEO primer.
When looking at these online courses, pay attention to the last time the course was updated.
The basics of SEO don’t change all that often.
But the details change all the time.
It’s important to be sure you are getting the latest information.
You can also seek out an SEO mentor.
Take inspiration from others who have shared their SEO career stories.
Learn about the different areas of SEO knowledge you could sink your teeth into and start prioritizing what you want to learn first.
Study the questions you’re going to be asked in SEO job interviews. How prepared are you to provide the best answer?
If you want to learn SEO for a specific vertical, find out who is doing great SEO in that vertical and follow their work.
Buy them a beer – you’ll be surprised how much most people will share once they become your friend.
Make sure you are always reading and always learning.
It’s easy to become a good SEO.
If you want to become a great SEO, it will take significant time and effort.
- Top 8 Skills Every Great SEO Professional Needs to Succeed
- Good SEO vs Great SEO: Experts Share 6 Key Differences
- SEO for Beginners: An Introduction to SEO Basics
Featured Image: Anton Vierietin/Shutterstock
Editor’s note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, who have been hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Got a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!