If you want to become an SEO expert, you’ve come to the right place.
There’s no denying how much the SEO industry has grown over the past few years. SEO spending is nearing $80 billion – that’s for the U.S. alone. Imagine how much it can garner globally. This goes to show that people are relying on SEO experts more than ever. For those aspiring to become an SEO expert, this means endless opportunities in the industry.
But what does becoming an SEO expert entail? How do you transition from being a novice to ultimately owning your own SEO consulting company?
With almost a decade of experience working alongside SEO agencies, we’ve seen a two-man team flourish into an SEO business with a seven-digit revenue. You can be that, too. Get actionable steps, resources, and insights to become a real SEO expert that businesses will trust.
1. Why Become an SEO Expert?
Every SEO expert has to start somewhere.
You’ll find some SEO specialists began their career as writers, while others were website developers who worked with other SEO professionals. Advancing to SEO expert status is not just a step up for your career, though. If you master the art and science of increasing website rankings, you can use this to start an SEO business.
SEO Skills Help Shape Your Authority
As businesses turn to SEO experts to help them improve their online presence, how do you stand out from the thousands of others offering SEO services? Becoming an SEO expert provides you with additional leverage over those with only a basic understanding of search engine optimization techniques. Neil Patel started his path to SEO when he was 17, and now you can’t find any SEO professional who hasn’t heard of him. The same goes for other SEO experts out there—Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz, Danny Sullivan are household names in the SEO digital marketing sphere.
Expertise is a Ticket to Getting the Trust of Clients
If you’re a business owner looking for an SEO expert to help increase your rankings, you’re not going to invest in someone who only has surface-level expertise. You want to work with someone who can walk the talk. This is how your clients will think. Developing your SEO expertise provides clients with the assurance that they’re working with someone who knows how the digital landscape works.
Becoming an SEO Expert Cements Your Career Path as an SEO Consultant
The more you develop your skills as an SEO, the more clients will hire you. With more clients in your care, you can start building your own SEO consulting business and expand your team.
2. The Fundamentals to Become an SEO Expert
What’s the first thing you need to learn to be an SEO expert? We start with the basics.
Understand What SEO is All About
The key to becoming an SEO expert is understanding how search engines work, what the common SEO terms and definitions are, how keywords affect a website’s rankings, and what you can do to make an impact.
What is SEO? SEO is the process of ranking organically by strategically inserting keywords into the content so the website becomes relevant to users searching for those particular keywords. Search engines like Google crawl websites and add these to their index – a process called crawling and indexing. When a user searches for keywords associated with a website, Google retrieves information that matches the query from its index and shows this on search results.
The more relevant a website is to a user’s query, the more visible it will be on search results. That’s the basic explanation, but it’s important to note that search engines account for other factors to increase website rankings.
Know the Pillars of SEO
Every SEO expert needs to thoroughly understand the pillars of SEO, so they can develop strategies that align with the goals of a business. As you advance your SEO expertise, you’ll easily determine how each of these pillars is connected with one another.
SEO starts with knowing what keywords users type in search engines. Your SEO strategy banks on which keywords are essential to rank a website. This is why to become an SEO expert, you need a basic understanding of how keyword research works.
Important keyword research skills you need to learn:
- Identify keywords based on impressions, clicks, and CTR.
- Understand how keyword and user intent work together.
- Use proper anchor texts based on keyword research.
- Develop content topics that align with the right keywords.
Resources for You:
- Key Takeaways from How to Do Effective Keyword Research Webinar
- How to Group Keywords for Silo Pages
- Integrating Semantics in Your SEO with LSI Keywords
On-page SEO includes making sure all on-site elements are functioning as they should be. An SEO audit should be done to determine a website’s health. Meta tags have the right keywords. Page speed is optimized. Web pages have proper inner links. All these are important aspects of a website’s on-page SEO performance that every SEO expert should have knowledge of.
Important on-page SEO skills you need to learn:
- Conduct website audits.
- Optimize Meta tags for more conversions.
- Optimize for page speed.
- Link pages that are contextually relevant to one another.
Resources for You:
- How to Do an SEO Audit: A 10-Point Checklist to Optimize Websites
- On-Page SEO: An Actionable Guide
- Simplifying SEO Key Takeaways: 6 Core Metrics You Need to Know
Google’s Penguin algorithm has been a game-changer to how SEO professionals have been doing link building. Relevance is key. This means being more critical of how you build links to a website and making sure each link matters to the users. Every SEO expert needs to have mastery of effective link building to help clients develop their website’s authority.
Important link building skills you need to learn:
- Identify high domain authority websites.
- Create your link building outreach email.
- Develop content topics that align with the audience of your guest post prospect.
- Use the right keywords to guide your link building efforts.
Resources for You:
Think of this as part of your on-page SEO, but with more focus on the technical elements to help search spiders crawl and index websites more efficiently. This includes making sure the website is mobile-friendly, adding schema markup, and optimizing website architecture.
Important technical SEO skills you need to learn:
- Implement proper schema markup.
- Optimize URL structure.
- Optimize robots.txt and XML sitemaps.
- Improve website navigation.
Resources for You:
- What’s Technical SEO? 8 Technical Aspects Everyone Should Know
- Technical SEO: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- The Beginner’s Guide to Technical SEO
If you think SEO is simply about stuffing content with tons of keywords and expecting the website to rank, better think again.
An important aspect of becoming an SEO expert is knowing how content marketing amplifies a website’s ranking. You can have the best blog post on a website, but does it stop there? An effective content marketing strategy is not an option; it’s a necessity.
Important content marketing skills you need to learn:
- Write content based on buyer personas and user intent.
- Develop content that drives audience engagement.
- Create a content calendar to scale your content writing efforts.
Resources for You:
- Content in SEO: How Does It Fit into Your Strategy?
- Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Content Marketing Strategy
- How to Develop a Content Strategy: A Start-to-Finish Guide
Get SEO Training
There’s no four-year SEO course offered in colleges and universities, as of writing this post. But, we have the internet to thank for making today’s SEO knowledge base accessible to those who want to become an SEO expert. You can start your journey as an SEO expert by:
- Subscribing to an online SEO course. You’ll be amazed at how many SEO courses are offered on Udemy, Teachable, and many other online platforms. Some are free; others may require you to subscribe for a fee.
- Join an online SEO community. The thing with SEO is that everyone gets to experiment. With an industry as big as SEO, there’s no shortage of online communities that provide advice and share insights with other SEO experts. Quora, Reddit, LinkedIn groups, and Facebook groups are great places to mine SEO insights from other professionals.
- Get SEO certification. Getting certified helps solidify your SEO expertise. Allot a couple of hours per day for SEO courses and take the certification exam upon completion. Google Analytics Certification is one course you can complete in three hours – it’s free and accessible to anyone.
3. Putting Your SEO Knowledge into Use
Learning about SEO is one thing, but applying your knowledge is the crux of the matter. You need to test what you’ve learned and to see for yourself how effective an SEO expert you are.
Start with Your Website
Most SEO experts started by experimenting with different strategies as the digital marketing landscape changes. Can you guess what they used to test their SEO hypotheses? Their very own website.
Testing your SEO knowledge on your website not only gives you free rein over what strategies to apply but also allows you to implement them fast.
For instance, you want to apply your content optimization knowledge. You can select from a list of top-performing blogs and pages on your website, do quick keyword research, then optimize the content of these pages based on your data. This allows you to develop a predictable SEO workflow that you can apply when you transition into SEO consultancy work.
See How SEO Works with Other Digital Strategies
SEO is just one aspect of the digital marketing sphere. To become an SEO expert means learning how to complement SEO with other digital marketing strategies.
For instance, you can experiment with SEO and PPC to look at how you can combine strategies. Use keywords from your PPC for your SEO strategies. Look at your data – identify keywords with the highest conversion rate and optimize pages with these terms. Learn how to analyze top performing ads and see how the content was structured. This will help you determine how to write your Meta tags to improve the clickthrough of your pages.
Familiarize Yourself with the Best SEO Tools
How can you refer to yourself as an SEO expert if you’re not familiar with the best SEO tools? Just like any handyman, having the right tools is as important for an SEO expert. There are tons of SEO tools available today – free, paid, or freemium. If you’re starting as an SEO expert, you’ll need to have tools for the following:
- Keyword research
- Site audit
- SEO monitoring and rank tracking
- Link building and backlink analysis
- Competition analysis
You don’t need to have everything. Only choose the SEO tools you really need to rank websites.
4. The Learning Never Stops for SEO Experts
Changes in SEO are never-ending. What works today may not be the same in the future. This means there’s always something new to learn about and to try as you advance your SEO expertise.
Keep Up with Industry Trends
Stay ahead of the curve and keep track of SEO trends, algorithm updates, or any change that can impact how you do SEO. The more you read and experiment with strategies, the more you can solidify your SEO expertise.
Dive into More Advanced SEO
You’ll eventually need to dip your toes into more advanced SEO concepts, such as Analytics, User Experience, and Conversion Rate Optimization. You don’t need to be an instant SEO expert on these topics, but knowing how they play into your SEO strategy can make a difference.
For instance, familiarizing yourself with how to measure the success of SEO campaigns on Google Analytics can help you make more informed decisions. This is an important skill set every SEO expert should have.
Key Takeaways: Ready to be an SEO Expert?
Becoming an SEO expert requires time, effort, and dedication. It’s when your curiosity will get piqued a lot. To summarize, here are the important pointers as you start your path to becoming an SEO expert:
- Understand the fundamentals: Know what SEO is, develop a deeper understanding of different concepts, and master the pillars of SEO.
- Apply your SEO knowledge: Test what you’ve learned on your own website. Learn how SEO works with other digital marketing strategies. Make time to learn about different SEO tools.
- Don’t stop learning: Stay on top of SEO trends and learn how they affect current strategies. Dive into more advanced SEO strategies.
Ask questions, explore the uncharted SEO strategies, and you’ll soon see how much your SEO skills have advanced. Let us know how your journey as an SEO goes.