If you’re thinking of entering the world of search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll certainly discover its many potentials particularly in terms of profit and flexibility as you move forward. With an abundance of SEO jobs out there for the taking and how being a digital nomad offers many benefits when it comes to work lifestyles and schedules, this ‘work from home’ alternative is indeed a promising prospect for many.
With the current pandemic forcing a significant number of global employees into ‘work from home’ arrangements and shifting businesses regardless of niche to search engine marketing (SEM), your decision to jump into the digital freelance service bandwagon is not that surprising at all. In fact, so do millions of other professionals around the world.
But don’t be overwhelmed by all the figures and jargon you read about SEO just because you are starting from scratch. Believe it or not, you’re just in time to learn its fundamentals and still be part of a freelance industry revolution wherein digital marketing is poised to catapult modern marketing way into the future.
In this article, we at Course Belt will let you in on the most common questions about this marketing tactic, share with you some basic and useful tips to jumpstart your career, and give you more insights that can help turn you into an expert digital marketing practitioner in no time.
The magic of SEO
It’s fair to think at first how search engine optimization can be difficult to learn especially if you don’t know the first thing about it. But If you truly have the heart and time to understand how the whole process works, you’ll breeze into more of its advanced elements in no time. Soon, you’ll find yourself taking in more SEO jobs and clients and making a living as a digital expert.
As in every new journey, step one is always knowing what it’s all about. Search engine optimization in a nutshell is a set of processes and tactics you perform to boost a website or blog’s visibility high up in search engines like Google Search, Bing, or Baidu among others. For this article, we’ll be focusing on Google Search as it continues to hold its number one position, creating traffic for an estimated 90% of all online search engine markets from 2010 to the present. The higher you get your sites on top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), the better chances they have when it comes to visibility, engagement, and lead generation.
The reason why 70% of marketing professionals think that SEO is way better than pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is because of its ability to allow your client sites to tap the right and specific target markets who type in keywords into the search bars. Plus, they can be done in the form of organic content that won’t require ad accounts free as opposed to a PPC approach. In the trillions of search keywords typed in by users every year, most are likely intended to search for products or services. Depending on how well you do with your strategies, your clients’ sites can enjoy higher rankings that are right there on top of the SERP with paid ads, jumpstart more digital marketing efforts, and significantly improve their businesses.
However, learning about SEO is not a one-thing deal. Through the years, the way people search what they need online and their purchasing behaviors change prompting both search engine platforms and practitioners to adjust accordingly. For example, if in 2010 search engine algorithms simply looked for keywords density (or how many times a keyword appears within an article) to determine site ranking, these days, that type of ‘overstuffing’ is considered a huge no-no.
With more sophisticated algorithms in the way search engines determine how relevant a site’s content is to a user’s need, today’s SEO is more inclined to be more interest-centric for users and should be able to answer their queries as specific as possible. In short, optimizing your content to get picked up by search algorithms and get higher rankings continues to be an ever-developing practice that requires constant focus and attention.
Starting your SEO career
Starting a career in SEO is a step-by-step process that requires an elaborate learning plan. As you gradually learn the ins and outs of each process, the easier you’ll understand the next.
First, identify your learning curve or how far you’ve educated yourself about its various processes. Some of the basics involve the use of keywords and how to do proper keyword research, on-page optimization, link-building, and metric analysis. Learning about these basics will lead you to practicing this digital marketing tactic as you have already understood its significance to online marketing.
Contrary to what many think, being a practitioner doesn’t require any college degree. As long as you are equipped with the right solutions that lead to higher SERP rankings for your clients’ landing pages, then you’re good to go. Just remember that SEO is not merely a pastime you get into and turn your back from when the going gets tough. Learning advanced digital marketing concepts requires professional discipline to the point that you can even come up with new marketing strategies for your clients.
On average, learning the basics will take about six months. By this time, you’ll be well-versed in its fundamental theories and can perform basic processes already. But don’t expect to see results after your first six months as data will come in a few months after the first time you have applied your skills. Just be patient and try to learn more about digital marketing as you go along.
To have a better grasp on how SEO works, sort through hundreds of credible webinars online like the ones we offer at Course Belt and earn certificates that will land you your first client easily.
Drafting a learning plan
As stated earlier, your learning plan should come in the form of a step-by-step guide. Depending on your learning curve, you may adjust your plan’s steps accordingly but for our novice SEO readers out there, here’s a simple guide that will help you draft your learning plan.
Know more about how search engines work
Take the time to familiarize yourself with how Google Search’s algorithms work vis-a-vis SEO. Remember that the main principle lies in doing what you can to attain higher rankings in the SERP so that makes Google Search the best platform to study for this.
The significance of SEO in digital marketing as a whole
As a part of SEM, SEO is the part where you utilize organic content to increase traffic to a site. Learning how this process is different from paid advertising gets you closer to appreciating how it can better benefit your clients and upgrade your skills in digital marketing at the same time. You may also apply what you’ve learned to other aspects of SEM including email marketing, social media management, or content marketing.
What are the different SEO processes?
As SEO continues to evolve, you’ll stumble upon over 250 ranking factors while studying the entire process. These factors all contribute to optimizing your content or site elements and are categorized into four sub-processes with their respective rules:
- Technical – may comprise such elements as your site’s code, domain, breadcrumb menus, navigation structure, etc.
- On-page – may comprise such elements as title tags, meta descriptions, headlines, header tags, etc.
- Off-page – may comprise such elements as link-building, guest blogging, social media, etc.
How does keyword research and application work?
Knowing whether exact matching or long-tail keywords is best for your content management strategy is always important as these are where your efforts are all anchored. Learn how these keywords align with your target audience’s search intent by mastering essential factors in keyword research such as search volume, ranking difficulty, competition, and average monthly search figures among others.
How do you measure your performance?
Lastly, learning about your SEO key performance indicators like organic traffic figures, search rankings, click-through rates (CTR), average session duration, and bounce rate will help you adjust your strategies accordingly. The best tools you can check out for this if you are already practicing optimization are Google Analytics and the Google Search Console which both give you useful insights on your site and landing page performances and important figures to consider.
Start your SEO journey now!
No one is an island in learning SEO and the best way to start your digital journey is by knowing where to find the right educational platform that will stay with you throughout your progress. Course Belt is a new and promising platform born out of the need to create viable technological and academic solutions amid COVID-19 challenges.
Find a wide library of quality and comprehensive modules, and resources on basic and advanced SEO and more via Course Belt’s all-access pass and jumpstart your freelance career now!