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How to Learn SEO: Ultimate Bushwhacking Guide

So you’re ready to learn and become an SEO. How did that happen? Want to work the digital marketing industry? Need to give your business a boost? A windscreen flyer? It doesn’t matter; the rules stay the same. You could apply to a college, get an internship or take an online course but why not take advantage of the vast open resource on which you will be basing your decision. Pull up a website, yours or anyone else’s, on the tab next to this. Go ahead, don’t be scared.

The following is your jump-start into learning SEO.

Learning SEO is similar to applying the SEO processes of conception, research, application, reporting, and adaptation. This mentality is the most advantageous for maximizing results. You must stay focused on achieving that goal, taking care always to reference the primary question of SEO: “Why?” As such, to learn SEO, you need to understand it. Follow Rafiki; he knows the way.

Understand the goal of SEO

Why you would perform SEO breaks down what exactly search engine optimization is. SEO entails all of its elements, hacks, and pentagrams, the purposes of which should be to achieve your goals on the website.

Learn to understand the goal of SEO:

Open a variety of different websites. Amazon, Apple, YouTube, blogs, news websites, porn — don’t snigger — some of the best/worst SEO gets done on porn websites. How did you find them? Did you search Google for “golf clubs for sale”? What made you choose them over any other? Was it your trust in the CNN brand? What does the website want you to do while you are on it? Should you perhaps watch all the videos?

List and categorize the websites by type. Label each of them with the answers to the questions above. These are the primary goals of SEO on those websites and the pillars of SEO:
• Searchability
• Relevance
• Usability
• Trustworthiness

You will generally find that like websites share similar SEO goals. The sites that best achieve these goals are those whose SEO elements excel in one or more of these areas.

Focus on a single goal

Tackle learning SEO in the same manner in which you would tackle a big meal, a large person or your actual optimization: one part at a time. Solid knowledge in one area will better allow you to see how principles are interchangeable in another. This measured approach also allows for better tracking of why you may or may not have achieved results.

How to choose a goal:

Choose one the websites you previously opened, let’s pretend no-one knows which one was still open. Choose the SEO goal that you believe was the most successful. That will ensure that the website goal you are looking at has most likely addressed the primary SEO elements associated with it.

That will be your step-off point into the minutiae associated with this SEO goal. You need to ensure your knowledge and work on an element adequately addresses the primary question of SEO, why, before moving onto the next.

Analyze how the goal is achieved

Now that you have an understanding of what you need to work on, you can now learn what SEO elements go to achieving that goal. You will most commonly be working with these elements as a search engine optimizer. All of these elements work together in different spheres of influence to complete a specific goal.

How to identify SEO elements

Identify the elements that caught your eye and tipped you to an SEO goal. Make a note of their names if you know them, such as “page title,” or position and content, “search page result title” if you don’t. Congratulations, you now have your syllabus complete with working example. Now it’s time for research.

Researching will remain a constant as an SEO, from student to practitioner to tutor. Of course, a reliable internet connection is a necessity. Focus first on the unknown variables. Research the correct names for the SEO elements of which you are unaware; it will make learning easier later with less backtracking. Next, research the proper function of each of the components of which you made a note, for example, the role of a meta-title, what the HTML version looks like, and where you inserted it on the web page. Take note of what made the meta-title on the webpage appealing to you.

The following is a good resource on the SEO anatomy of a page:
link-assistant.com/images/news/perfectly-optimized-page/title-image.png

How does an element achieve the goal?

You should now drill down further into that single SEO element, understand how it fulfills its role and how you can make it gleam, make it shine. That is where your previous knowledge of what were your elements’ strengths comes into play.

How to learn what makes a good element

First, ask yourself what it did well for you. Take a look at other, similar websites. How do they compare to yours? What makes them appealing? How can you incorporate the best of both within the limits of the SEO element’s functionality? How to best improve readability for both search engines and people?

Apply your knowledge of the subject on the web page as well as of your potential visitors to inform your design and language choices as niche lingo and visuals will bolster relevance and trust. Apply your knowledge of the SEO element with the intent of maximizing its possible effect based on how that element contributes to your SEO goal. That is to improve usability and searchability.

Repeat, test, record

SEO and learning SEO is an exercise in repetition grasshopper. Success comes to the search engine optimizer that most consistently and diligently attends to each SEO element, for each SEO goal, to improve the website’s overall standing. Not only online but also in the minds of the people who interacted with it. Wax on.

You will need to test your results regularly. Get in touch with the online community if you don’t have access to a website and can’t implement changes yourself. Search forums for solutions to the SEO goal/element you focused on. Post your solution and speak about your reasoning. If it’s wrong, learn why. Ideally, you have access to a platform where you can put your learning into practice. Changes online take anywhere between two days to three weeks to reflect and resolve. Bundle your SEO work into projects that allow you to test their efficacy on a single SEO goal. Wax off.

Record your progress through both learning and your SEO plan. One of the most powerful tools at an SEO’s disposable is data. Attempt to peer into the heart of your foes and take note of competing websites and record the movement of persistent appearances of the same site. It will all allow you to improve your skill/website when you begin again at the beginning. Wax on.

Using the right tools for the job

While you learn about each SEO goal, element and best practice you will become acquainted with a host of different SEO tutorials (exhibit A), SEO companies, SEO blogs, ex-SEO CEO’s that are pro-blog and post-SEO blogs that are now companies. You will also come across a range of SEO tools. The plethora of info and tools may seem overwhelming at first, some touting to do everything and more besides. SEOs are lazy you see, and a do-it-all tool is preferable to limit the staggering number of tabs you have open at one time. Don’t panic.

Remain focused on the SEO element with which you are working. What do you need to do with it? What are you going to do to improve its SEO? Your most common tool will be something to extract information about it, page speed, micro-data, size, or meta-data. The next tool will be that which you use to implement your SEO plan, a JavaScript compression tool, a thesaurus or smaller images. Your final tool will be one that allows you to monitor the results and record your efforts.

Choose your tools based on consistent accuracy, usability, and active online support.

Class dismissed, homework

SEO is in constant flux. If you are good at SEO, then every day will be a learning experience. As such, the best way to learn SEO is to do it, and this guide was geared to ensure that you aren’t afraid to tackle the learning of it. Focus on the goal, drill down on the details, test, record, and repeat. That is the best way how to learn SEO. Wax off.

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