Just three little letters strike fear in the heart of many marketing professionals: SEO. Are you, like so many others, immobilized by worries of whether you’re doing it right? Or perhaps you’re just not using it at all?
While learning SEO can be intimidating, the truth is it's one of the most invaluable tools for helping the right audience find your website. Here's a closer look at SEO, the role it plays in helping marketers do their jobs better, and some easy ways you can start learning it today.
What is SEO?
The words “search engine optimization” (SEO) may be a mouthful, but there’s a simple premise behind it: making sure people who are looking for your website -- or the products and services offered by your website -- find it through organic, non-paid, searches.
SEO today is not the same today as it was 10, 5, or even one year ago. While keywords, link-building and other old school techniques used to be the end-all be-all of rankings success, search engine algorithms have gotten smarter.
In fact, the algorithms used by sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo and the others are now aimed at identifying and rewarding high-quality websites which add value -- good news for marketers who prioritize these same attributes.
Why SEO Matters
Now that you know what SEO is, it begs the question: why does it matter? Because a well-executed SEO strategy can significantly improve search engine rankings and relevant traffic coming to your site.
Take search engine behemoth Google, for example, for which 90 percent of internet searchers never venture beyond the first page and the top 10 ranked websites garner 94 percent of all clicks.
In other words, if your website doesn’t make it into one of these coveted spots, it’s as good as invisible. If prospects and leads don't find your site when they search for a solution, will they ever find you?
Resources to learn SEO
Today, SEO is one of the most cost-effective tools for marketers. Even better? An abundance of free tools are available to help marketers maximize SEO, including keyphrase demand analysis, backlink analysis, ranking analysis, keyword density analysis, and various other analytical measures. Wondering about specific SEO tools? Check out LunaMetrics’ roundup of its 15 free favorites.
Many marketers still don't know how to perform SEO, especially entry level marketers. So, if you're an entry-level marketer and want to wow employers, learn SEO to stand out from the crowd since most employers don't expect to see that kind of experience.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get in on the SEO action at any phase of your marketing career. HubSpot’s guide, “How to Learn SEO: 10 of the Best Resources to Bookmark” is a smart starting point, and includes primers from everyone from Cranberry Radio to Google itself. (Because who better to learn from than the person making the rules?)
Still think SEO is beyond you? Consider Red Evolution’s “Simple 1-2-3 Guide to Getting Better Research Results,” which breaks the concept down into three simple parts: writing awesome, valuable original content which uses the words and phrases used by people searching for whatever you’re selling; making it easy for them to share and link to it; and to keep at it. When you look at it this way, what's not to understand?
Gain Real World Work Experience
And speaking of the “keep at it part,” there’s no better way to become an expert at SEO than to learn by doing. Perhaps you can’t land a job yet based on your limited SEO skills, but you can land an internship. In this environment you can really dive deeper into SEO and hone your new skill.
One last thing to keep in mind? SEO isn’t a destination, but a journey. In fact, there’s no such thing as mastery when it comes to SEO for one simple reason: it’s constantly evolving. This is why the best SEO marketers are committed to continuously learning and improvement. Ensure that your skills stay relevant...and that your website stays at the tippy-top of search rankings.
Want to learn SEO among other in-demand digital marketing skills? Check out the DCI apprenticeship programwhere you'll be immersed in all things digital marketing for 12 months.