How to Become an SEO Expert?
What Is an SEO Specialist?
An SEO specialist, also known as an "SEO consultant," is an individual who optimizes websites to achieve higher search engine rankings.
In other words:
An SEO specialist is someone who knows how to gain more traffic from search engines.
How to Become an SEO Specialist?
The most common ways to become an SEO specialist are:
- Attend an SEO course.
- Obtain an online SEO certification.
- Create your own website.
- Practice by optimizing websites.
- Work as an SEO Specialist in a company.
- Find SEO clients.
What Traits Should an SEO Specialist Have?
SEO involves more than just optimizing meta tags on a website.
In fact, the best SEO specialists are individuals who have experience in various areas of digital marketing. Basic SEO tasks include optimizing title tags, descriptions, and similar elements. However, it also encompasses other skills such as copywriting, coding, and web design.
Moreover, essential traits for an SEO specialist include:
- Finding high-volume, low-competition keywords
- Basic HTML knowledge
- Proper placement of keywords on a webpage
- Intermediate to advanced level copywriting skills
- Proficiency in visual content like videos and infographics
- Link building to important pages and development
- Understanding how technical SEO affects rankings
- Staying informed about emerging SEO trends and Google algorithm changes
In the rest of this article, I will delve into each of these traits in more detail.
Specializing in SEO
If you're serious about becoming an SEO specialist, the better you understand the intricacies of search engine optimization, the more successful you'll be.
Let's dive right in.
Finding and Selecting Keywords
Keyword research should be the first step in any SEO campaign.
When you choose the right keywords, you'll find your site skyrocketing to the top of Google's search results for terms thousands of people are searching for each month.
Choose the wrong ones, and your site might be buried deep on the 5th page of Google.
Keywords are that crucial.
No SEO education is complete without a section on content marketing. That's because in 2023, ranking without stellar content is nearly impossible, even if your site is perfectly optimized for search engines.
A great place to start with Content Marketing Guide is Moz's Beginner's Guide to Content Marketing.
Technical SEO Optimization
Technical SEO is one of the most underrated aspects of SEO overall... Yet almost every website needs technical SEO. Technical optimization is especially crucial for large websites with thousands of pages, like e-commerce and news sites.
Building links between pages is a BIG part of SEO. And this likely won't change anytime soon. So, any SEO expert, whether specialized in technical SEO or content, needs to be good at creating backlinks.
You can learn about SEO all day.
But if you want to be an SEO expert, you need to do real SEO work.
When it comes to turning your SEO skills into practice, there are three ways you can go about it.
Work on Your Own Site
I started with SEO this way.
And I recommend most people who ask, "how do I become an SEO expert?" follow this path.
The reason is clear:
When you work on your own site, you can make changes FAST.
You don't need to message your boss on WhatsApp to ask if changing the title tag is okay.
You don't need to email your client's web designer to add an image to a page.
When you see something that needs to be changed, change it and see the results for yourself.
Test → Learn → Improve. Working on your own site allows you to learn SEO 10 times faster than working on someone else's site, not just in terms of SEO but also in understanding 100+ ways that contribute to a successful website. Design, copywriting, building an email list, social media, networking, and more.
Working on your site isn't the only way to learn SEO, though. There are other avenues you can explore outside of this option...
The idea of gaining experience with a client's site might seem daunting. After all, you're not an SEO expert yet, so why would someone give you work?
- Having read something about SEO (like this article) means you likely know more than 90% of small business owners do.
- SEO is a lot of work. So even if a client knows more about digital marketing than you do, they probably don't have the time to do SEO on their own.
- Your first SEO client will likely pay you very little (or sometimes, nothing at all). Think of this as an apprenticeship. This way, no one expects you to work miracles, and no one can pressure you.
Working at a digital advertising agency or a private company is another path to becoming an SEO expert.
The plus side here is that you'll be working with a team already familiar with SEO. The company you work for can help you learn the ropes quickly.
Test and Learn
The best SEO specialists I know have one common trait:
They ALWAYS test.
By the way, I can confidently say that "testing" is the single thing that propels people to the top of their fields.
However, testing in SEO is a challenging task. So, if you're going to conduct SEO experiments, there are a few fundamental paths you need to follow.
Seek Big and Consistent Results
The higher your conversion rate, the more likely the change you made caused it.
Let me explain with an example…
Look at the organic traffic stats for this page on my site over a 30-day period: I didn't touch the page. However, you can see there were quite minimal increases and decreases over a month.
If this is the change you see, it's probably normal fluctuations caused by Google.
Is it possible for a significant change in Google's algorithm? Yes. But it's much more likely that our change led to the increase in traffic.
To be sure, try the same change on different pages. If they all respond the same way, you can be confident that what you did supported the rise.
Things You Can Test
In theory, you can test almost anything.
However, some SEO tasks are relatively easy to experiment with:
- Title tags (keyword optimization)
- Content creation (how-to posts)
- Content lengths
- Internal links (Link Building)
- External links (Backlinks)
- If you want to test more, you can experiment with different backlink strategies, search engine tools, and social media promotions.
Implement Advanced SEO Strategies
Now it's time to take our SEO work to the next level.
If you want to be recognized as an "SEO Expert," you must learn the topics I'll cover in this section.
You don't need to be the world's leading SEO guru. But at least you should know what an Hreflang tag is.
Having knowledge about advanced SEO tools and resources is essential. Let's continue.
When I say "Analytics," I'm mostly talking about Google Analytics.
Understanding Analytics is crucial for two main reasons:
- Analytics is a tool that measures the success of an SEO campaign.
- Analytics can help you find SEO opportunities that are impossible to discover otherwise.
Here are a few resources I believe will help you:
In a perfect world, you'd be dealing with nearly perfectly optimized sites. A magic touch would be enough to get to the top.
But we don't live in a perfect world. 🙂
In the real world, you'll find yourself battling duplicate content, Google penalties, awful UX, and more.
SEO audits are critical; they help you categorize a site's SEO efforts systematically.
Is User Experience a direct ranking signal?
But User Experience significantly influences SEO indirectly.
Imagine your site is hard to use. Searchers on Google will leave your site, returning to the search results, damaging your ranking.
If you're planning to start an SEO agency (or work in a specific area), local SEO will consume a significant portion of your day. The reason is that the majority of SEO clients are local businesses, such as dentists and lawyers.
Learn how your competitors are getting their traffic. Examine what content and links work best for your competitors and where they are coming from.
SEO Site Audit
Knowing how to optimize one title tag is essential and straightforward. But how do you optimize 80,000 title tags on an e-commerce site?
This is where site audit comes into play.
Scaling SEO can be challenging. Site audit and review are significant parts of an SEO expert's job. Without a system, you might find yourself starting from scratch with every new project.
For a blog post: you need a topic, keyword research, writing, drafting, editing, and a design infrastructure.
To create high-quality content, you need a repeatable system:
- Find keywords people are searching for.
- Rank keywords based on search volume. Download the list to Excel.
- Exclude keywords with a difficulty of 30 or more.
- Optimize the content for SEO.
Stay Updated with Emerging Trends
The SEO industry is ALWAYS changing.
Since there are always new things to learn, I recommend checking out these 5 SEO trends that emerged recently if you want to stay at the top of your field.
This graph shows almost everything you need to know about the evolution of voice search up to 2023: As you can see, the number of voice searches is rapidly increasing.
In fact, voice search optimization is one of the most crucial skills that modern SEO experts should possess.
However, it's still in the early stages to optimize for voice search. Because it's not yet entirely clear how to optimize voice searches 100%.
It's no secret how vital video is for SEO and how it's booming right now.
According to Cision report, by 2024, 82% of all traffic will be video.
Google recently reported that Google Lens can recognize over 1 billion objects.
Google Lens can now recognize over a billion objects. (Thanks to artificial intelligence)
As AI advances, visual search will become even more sophisticated.
How do you optimize a page when the "keyword" is an image of a cat? Who knows. But it's a new trend to consider.
Featured Snippet Optimization
According to the latest data from SEMRush, Featured Snippets appear on about 13% of search engine results pages.
This presents a BIG opportunity for most websites. Featured Snippets grab a lot of attention and are positioned at the top of search results.
Meeting User Needs
What the user wants is essentially what they instantly want to find when they do a Google search.
Are they looking for information? Or are they looking to buy something?
When you create your content from the user's perspective, climbing up in the rankings becomes much more straightforward.
I hope this article has helped answer your question about "how to become an SEO expert."
Now, I have a few questions for you:
In which area of SEO do you want to specialize?