How to Learn SEO Fast and Effectively

By | November 7, 2019

In 2009, I started my first website and it
was a rude awakening. The consumer need was strong, the product
was great, and I thought I was one heck of a guy. Now, after telling my friends and adding some
spammy posts on classified sites, I was making like four hundred bucks a week which
was awesome and super-exciting back then. But I wanted more! So I started researching about digital marketing
strategies and came across search engine optimization. And after hours of learning, the only thing
I came out with is that SEO is the key to natural and scalable growth. But I was a busy guy making four hundred
bucks a week. So I did what all entrepreneurs are supposed to do. I hired an agency. Two weeks later, the agency disappeared and
I was angry. So I mustered up my energy and decided to
learn SEO myself. Fast-forward almost eleven years and I’ve
been able to rank sites, sell them for profits, and here I am, creating SEO tutorials for
one of the biggest SEO tools out there. Now, eleven years is a long time to learn SEO. So today, I’m going to share with you how
I would do things differently so you can get a shortcut to higher rankings and more traffic. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up aspiring SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Welcome to the world of SEO: the place where
nothing is certain and so called SEO experts are preaching completely different things. It’s a crowded and noisy space where it’s
easy to get information overload from so many conflicting tactics and strategies. And if you’re spending the majority of your time
reading and consuming guides on how to do SEO, then you won’t have time to actually try it
and become dangerous. And for that reason, this tutorial is going
to highlight some of the principles that I think are absolutely critical to learn SEO fast and effectively. Let’s get to it. Now, the first thing you need to do is nail
the fundamentals. Let’s say you wanted to learn how to drive a car. Before you can get to things like drifting,
you need to learn the rules of the road. You need to learn how to start the car, accelerate, and gradually hit the brakes to come to a smooth stop. Without these fundamentals, you wouldn’t even
be able to get from point A to point B. And SEO is the same. You need to nail the fundamentals before you
can generate meaningful traffic to your site through search engines like Google. So the two SEO fundamentals you should learn
are keyword research and on-page SEO. After that can come the basics of technical
SEO, and a couple of link building strategies. Now, rather than going any further into these techniques, I recommend watching some of our step-by-step
tutorials that are all in the description for you. Alright, so after you’ve nailed the fundamentals,
something I highly recommend doing is getting an internship at a respected agency. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Now, whether you want to build your own authority
sites or become VP of SEO at a large company, the best place to start your career in SEO
is by getting involved with people who are right there in the trenches. And the great thing about agency work is that
you get the opportunity to work in various industries and on multiple types of websites. Rather than Googling or looking to a jobs
board for something like “SEO internship,” write a list of people or companies you respect
in the industry. These might be people you follow on social media, or you might be subscribed to their email newsletters. After you have your list, take some time to
get on their radar. You can do something as simple as leaving thoughtful comments on their content because it’ll pay to be a recognizable name and face in their inbox. Then reach out with your value proposition
in how you would be a great fit for their company. Now, I do want to note that if you have
zero experience in digital marketing, offer to work for free for a few months. Yes, it might be a stretch, but you’ll be getting
valuable experience, some hand-held help from someone you respect, and an understanding
of what SEO looks like as processes. Perform the best that you can, learn as much
as possible, and that internship could very well turn into a paid or permanent position. Another thing I highly recommend is to apply
the 80/20 rule to SEO. The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle,
suggests that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. And since “effects,” aren’t going to come
from reading or watching videos, I suggest you spend 80% of your time practicing SEO
and 20% of the time learning. If you’re spending more than 20% of your time
consuming content, you’ll end up wasting time and information overload can paralyze you
from doing anything at all. And as your knowledge grows, you’ll find that
you won’t get distracted by shiny tactics and become hyper-focused on things that will
actually make a difference for your bottom line. The next thing you should focus on is refining processes rather than searching for shortcuts to methodology. Seth Godin said: “Things that look like shortcuts
are usually detours disguised as less work.” SEO in itself is a process and tasks often
require multiple steps. And these so called “shortcuts” can often take
you two steps back instead of one step forward. So rather than looking for things that may
violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, focus on breaking down micro tasks within
your macro tasks and then improving efficiency. For example, if you’re noticing that finding emails
takes up a lot of your time in your link building process, consider outsourcing that or using the spreadsheet
from our 15-minute link building campaign starter. Or if you feel like publishing new content
takes up way too much time, then take 10-minutes to research
productivity processes for blogging. Then try the processes out rather than hiring
writers for $10 a pop. The next thing in my opinion, is one of the
greatest skillsets that all great SEOs have. And that’s perseverance. SEO requires practice. And practice requires perseverance. And like all good things in life, the greatest
things come through failures. The best way to illustrate what I mean is by
using the topic of link building as our example. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard
people say things like “link building isn’t important.” It drived me crazy. Even Google explains that their algorithm
looks at things like the “quality of content.” And the example they use to define quality is that
if other prominent websites link to the page, which is a proven sign that the information
is well trusted. On top of that, there are numerous industry
studies that show clear positive correlations between the number of unique websites linking to
a page and the amount of search traffic the page gets. And the same goes for the number of keyword rankings. So why so much hate towards link building? Because it’s hard and if you don’t have grit,
you won’t survive. Now, I don’t blame people for hating on link building. Afterall, the process usually requires outreach to complete strangers trying to get them to link to your site. But it’s all about perspective. If you think about it like that, yea… it’s annoying. But if you can think about it as a way to bring something
interesting and valuable to people’s attention, those emails are usually welcomed. So as you try some different SEO-related tasks,
keep your head up. Accept rejection instead of feeling down and
take it as a learning experience instead. For example, if I were completely new to link building, I’d send around 50 emails with one approach. Then I’d measure and see how people responded
based on the number of link conversions. Then I’d take my learnings and improve on
the next 50 emails. By analyzing your successes and failures,
you’ll always be improving and outreach will become a natural and somewhat fun way to connect
with other people in your space. After you’ve had some practice, the next thing
you need to do is prioritize based on the things that are working for you. The last site I sold was in the health niche. And throughout 2018, on average, I worked
on the site for maybe 2 and a half hours per week. Now, what worked really well for that site
was targeting low-competition topics since health is such a huge niche. So with the limited time I had, I spent most
of that doing keyword research. I’d send a rough outline to a freelance writer,
have my editor polish the article, and then finish it off with some on-page SEO work. And that alone resulted in more than doubling
my organic traffic. In fact, if you look at my link profile, it was
actually declining during that same time period. And it wasn’t until January 2019 that I started
focusing on building links and ranking for more competitive keywords. And shortly after I started, the site was bought out. My point is that you don’t need to do everything
at once if you’re a one-person team or you’re not fully committed to a project. Instead, focus on the things that are working
within the time you have available. And then start branching out to other things
that can help give your organic traffic a boost. Last but not least, SEO is a game of patience. We conducted a study on how long it takes
to rank in Google and we found that on average, only 5.7% of pages ranked in the top 10 within
the first year of being discovered. And what was even more surprising is that
nearly 75% of pages never ranked in the top 100 in the first year. Generally speaking, if you’re targeting keywords
that your site can compete for, you’ve nailed the keyword research and on-page SEO, and you have enough links to be competitive, then I’d say to give it 6-12 months to rank. Now, while SEO is time-consuming, the rewards
are obviously incredible. Free, passive, and consistent traffic that
doesn’t fade over time. So my recommendation right now is that if
you’re completely new to SEO, nail those fundamentals by watching our tutorial on doing keyword
research for new websites. Then actually go and do some keyword research. And after you’ve done that, watch our tutorial
on doing on-page SEO. Then actually go and do some on-page SEO. Again, I’ve linked up all videos in the description
that I think you could massively benefit from, so check those out and if you have any questions,
leave one in the comments below. And of course, if you enjoyed this video,
make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO tutorials. So keep grinding away, do more than you read,
and I’ll see you in the next tutorial.

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