Getting Started: Learning SEO

Whenever I attend a search marketing event I am always impressed by the number of people who are self-taught in SEO and PPC.  I graduated college around the time search marketing was gaining ground and fell into a job where SEO was already a big part of the marketing strategy.  I was fortunate enough to be taught by people who had been practicing search for several years already.

For those marketers who didn’t start out in search, the time has certainly come to learn about it.  More and more marketing jobs are requiring online experience and in the current job atmosphere can you afford not to?

How does one go about learning SEO?

Read Read Read

The great thing about the search industry is those in it love to talk about it.  And more importantly, they write about it.  There are a many number of high quality search blogs out there that can help you get started.  Here are a few:

  • Search Engine Land – SEL is one the best places to find information from experts in the industry.  They are always featuring great articles and even a how-to section.
  • SEOMoz – Rand and his crew are always providing great tips and advice through the blog and video tutorials.
  • Sphinn – Sphinn is the social network for those within and interested in SEO, PPC and Social Media.  Find some of the best posts of the day here.

Forum Participation

Forums can be a great place to get information on search and direct answers to your search related questions.  As long as you aren’t spamming, people are always willing to help out a fellow SEMer.

  • High Rankings Forum – Run by Jill Whalen, this is one of the best SEO forums, particularly for beginners.  You can find good responses from intelligent people.
  • SEO Chat Forum – With over 65,000 members and 600,000 posts you will likely find a topic that suits you.

Attend Events & Webinars

Search Engine Strategies (SES) and Search Marketing Expo (SMX) are two great conferences that can provide you with more knowledge than your brain can hold.  However, if you don’t have the budget to attend one of these, there are smaller events all over the place.

  • SEO Meetup – With groups all over the world you can likely find a meeting near you.  It’s a great place to meet others who are new to the industry and share ideas once a month.
  • SEMPO – SEMPO works very hard to advance the search marketing industry and the site offers a world of information. Find events, webinars and industry information on the site.
  • SEMNE – SEMNE holds some really great events for New Englanders.  They cover topics ranging from PPC to SEO to online PR.  Low cost events that are certainly worth attending.

Take a Course

Many companies will offer training courses for businesses, but for those looking to learn on an individual level, SEMPO is a great place to start.  They offer classes including “Insider’s Guide to Search Engine Marketing” and “Advanced Search Advertising”.  Check out SEMPO Institute for more information.

Get a Website & Experiment

Just like everything else in life, practice, practice, practice.  Maintaining a website is not the simplest solution but it will definitely help you better understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO.  Try to find a website that is already built but is no longer maintained.  If it is something that interests you, contact the owner and see if they are willing to sell it.

These things will start you on your way and introduce you to the world of search.  Be careful though – Once you get started you may just be addicted for life!

Here are some other great reads on learning SEO:

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Melissa Sopwith — Melissa Sopwith, Marketing Manager, Guidon Performance Solutions, a Teletech Company

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