What is the best way to learn how SEO works?

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Travis Brown
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We feel the best way to learn SEO is to learn about a few best practices quickly, and then start implementing them while learning more along the way. Don’t waste a lot of time in taking lengthy courses without actually experimenting with the techniques.

For example, one good first step might be connecting Google Search Console (GSC) to your site so that you can start to see data from it. You might start with watching a 15-30 minute video on YouTube giving you an overview of how to use GSC. Then spend a few minutes getting it connected to your site.

If your site is already getting traffic and isn’t brand new, it might take a few days to get some data within GSC. Once you do, you can keep reading or watching more tutorials on the platform while also experimenting with it in real time. This follows with the effective teaching principle of:

  • Tell me
  • Show me
  • Let me try

Just keep this in mind when you’re learning. You want to get to the “let me try” phase within minutes or an hour or two. Much longer than that and you might lose a lot of what you learned.

What will it cost me to learn SEO?

You can learn SEO entirely for free. There are also paid courses out there from numerous providers, and anywhere from affordable monthly subscriptions to thousands of dollars for bootcamps.

The difficulty comes from the sheer number of educational sources and trying to find quality providers that won’t waste your time.

We’ll be putting together resource lists to help you cut through this noise and finding cost-effective SEO training solutions that fit your needs.

How long will it take me to learn SEO?

Like we said before, our team firmly believes in the 3 learning principles we previously mentioned. We feel that you can begin experimenting with SEO on the same day you start learning it.

After a few weeks, you’ll start to feel competent and a bit more confident in your abilities to handle SEO on your own.

After a few months of hands-on implementation, you should feel quite confident.

For the in-depth technical side of SEO, some of this can get into web development territory and can take a long time to master. Regardless, there’s sort of a Pareto Principle at play with SEO.

What you learn and actively implement within the first few months might only be “20%” of some of the SEO tactics out there but, it’s also doing 80% of the work for you.

How frequently will I need to update my SEO skills?

Going back to our principle of trying to keep SEO simple, we think it’s a good idea if you continue learning about SEO at least once per quarter. Don’t take this to mean chasing algorithm exploits.

Rather, continuing to learn about new ways of creating a better user experience with your website. Also new ways of improving website performance, reducing steps in your ecommerce checkout process, etc.

Aside from some of these technology improvements, some of the more traditional efforts like content strategy and content writing won’t actually change much. Some of these basic efforts follow fairly basic principles.

This is why we like to say learn what “the right thing” is early on, and just keep doing the right thing and it will pay off.