There is obviously no shortage of information on SEO.
But thanks for turning up here :)
The sheer avalanche of SEO information can be overwhelming, for beginners and experts alike. Who do you know who to listen to? What information do you need to know, and what information is filler?
Why should you even listen to SEOBook?
1. Most Information Published On SEO Is Filler
You can learn 80% of what you need to know about SEO pretty quickly. You don't need the additional 20% in order to achieve, unless you're a masochist - otherwise known as an SEO professional :)
Most of the information you'll come across on the topic of SEO is written by, and for, a professional/enthusiast crowd. There is a massive echo chamber of opinion, constantly replenished, produced using publishing tools based on the notion of communicating something, often.
It can result in a lot of noise, and not much in the way of signal, especially when you're learning. If you're starting out, and want to focus on learning SEO, it's a good idea to tune the industry chatter out. It's more likely to confuse than help in the early stages.
2. Understand The Business Of Search
Search engines aren't your friend. At best, they tolerate SEO, but only when it aligns with company goals.
The search engines have a business to run, and their goals aren't the same as yours. Whilst search engine reps often come across as helpful and friendly, because they typically are helpful and friendly people, keep in mind that what they are saying serves their company first and foremost. Any advice they give you is, quite rightly, designed to further company goals.
That's their job.
Chances are, your goals and the search engines goals will be aligned in many areas, but take their advice with a grain of salt. They don't care if your site succeeds or not, as there are plenty of other sites to index.
3. Define Goals
Before you undertake SEO, define your website goals. Do you want to make more money? Get more attention? Get more leads?
The purpose of SEO is to get your site seen in the search engines. Your aim is to attract the visitors that help you achieve your goals. A high ranking for a certain keyword won't necessarily help you achieve your goals unless your site matches visitor intent.
Think about the web from a visitors point of view. What do they want to find? What content will they engage with? What will they spend their money on?
There's little point ranking well if the content you provide doesn't make you money and/or gain audience. It's getting increasingly difficult to rank pages that aren't closely aligned with the searchers intent. So, the more you understand your audience, and the more content that matches their intent, the more you'll get out of SEO.
4. Get A Credible, Well Organized Course
Like SEOBook's course for example ;)
This isn't a sales pitch. There are a number of great courses out there. Choose one or two that suit your budget and objectives, and dive in. Chances are, you will need to shell out some money, but the cost of a decent, well structured course is nothing compared to the wasted effort spent heading in the wrong direction.
In a nutshell, SEO is about about publishing content people want to engage with, and linking. You need to create content that matches visitor intent, you need to be crawlable, and you need to have inbound links. Good SEO courses will have this message at their core.
Did I mention links enough?
5. Connect With People
It's natural to want the secret sauce - those secret dark techniques that result in number one rankings.
Whilst this was characteristic of SEO years ago, it's less true now. These days, SEO is more a holistic, strategic process aimed at connecting with people, as opposed to a dark, technical art aimed at tricking machines.
Focus on making connections with people. That means understanding what people want. You can do this by undertaking basic market research, using the search engines themselves!
Don't listen to me. Well, maybe just a bit. Don't listen to the repeaters in forums.
Test and measure for yourself. It's one of the best SEO courses you can do. It's ongoing, and it's free.
Start with a simple, focused well constructed site. What is a well constructed site in terms of SEO?
With every change you make, every new SEO strategy you adopt, test the results. Did the change help you achieve your website goals? Did you get more traffic? Better quality traffic? If your rankings improved, did this result in more/better traffic? It can be difficult to isolate variables at the best of times, but there is no chance of doing so if you try too many techniques all at once.
Make changes one step at a time. Test and measure repeat. Become at expert at measuring SEO against your goals.
Build up your own private knowledge base of SEO in your niche. Your niche may require different strategies to other niches, which is why well-meaning advice in forums and on blogs can hinder you. You'll also become a better judge of who is offering you good advice, and who is just repeating something they heard.
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