Learning SEO can take you down a rabbit hole of thousands of gurus pushing their latest advice on their blogs, and you’ll often find conflicting advice. Of the tens of thousands of people who try to learn SEO each year, not many have the persistence to stick it out and open the floodgates of traffic to their website.
It can be frustrating knowing where to start, or what courses to take, or whether you should find free online training, or supercharge your training with a paid programme.
Even after being in the SEO industry for 10 years, it is still tough keeping up with all the content and advice that is being published every single day.
So, what is the best way to learn SEO?
We’ll look at
1. Hands-on SEO training
2. Online training
3. Free bloggers advice and
4. Local SEO courses within your community
1. Hands-on SEO Training
There is no doubt in our mind that the best way to learn SEO is with hands-on training.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn ~ Benjamin Franklin
Yes, we are biased. Pulse is the platform where you are able to learn SEO in a hands-on environment. Pulse will take you through each step to fully optimize your website while explaining why and how to do what we recommend.
People who have their own website to practice on, or work for a company that has an established website, then getting into your code or content management system and implementing what you have just learnt.
How does Pulse make learning SEO so simple?
Pulse is fundamentally a ‘website auditor’. A website auditor is a tool that scans your website, and performs dozens of checks on it, to discover what you are doing wrong, and what you could be doing better, in terms of optimizing it for SEO.
However, Pulse goes a step further. The Pulse platform is different from most site auditors in that when we discover something on your site that needs fixing, we explain why it needs fixing, and how to fix it.
As seen in the image below, each Pulse check on your website features a Results tab, a Learn tab, an Explain tab, and a Repair tab.
The contents of each of these tabs are pretty self-explanatory. In a nutshell:
The Results tab tells you what is broken, or could be improved, on your website. We don’t use example websites, we use your own website.
The Learn tab will tell you why this is important for SEO, the effect it has on your site’s performance, and outline why you should fix it.
The Explain tab provides a succinct 2 to 3 paragraph explanation of what we have discovered needs fixing, and why you should fix it. We have designed this page to be in an ’email format’ so you can literally copy and paste our explanation to your boss or web developer if you are trying to explain to them what needs improving on the company website.
The Repair tab does exactly what it says. We provide an outline of how to repair the issue and provide a range of additional resources so you can follow the official guides for platforms such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.
What would you be paying if you purchased an alternate tool to audit your website? Take a look at the prices of ahrefs, MOZ Pro, and SEMrush below. The average price is $176 per month…to get told what is wrong!
2. Learn SEO with Online training
There are literally hundreds of paid SEO courses online. They can range from at home recordings of self-confessed gurus doing their best to make a quick dollar, to in-depth professional courses designed to teach you every nitty-gritty aspect of SEO, from on-page optimisation, to link building, to content creation.
Learning SEO from these online classes is good if you want to sit and watch videos, or download the audio and listen to it in your own time, like on the morning commute to work.
Udemy.com and Lynda.com both have a variety of online SEO courses that you may want to consider. At the time of writing, Lynda has a whopping 1,864 results for SEO training courses, and Udemy has 549 results.
I do however question the quality of the majority of these courses. One of the SEO courses in the Udemy screenshot below shows 8 hours of content over 158 lectures…which means 3 minutes per lecture! You have to wonder if they made each lecture so small to be able to boast they had “158 lectures”…
Personally, I’m hesitant, but at $14 per course you may be able to spend a few weeks trying 4 or 5 until you find one up to the quality that you are looking for.
Some of these courses are still selling content created many years ago (of which many of the techniques form this error no longer work). Looks for courses keep their courses reasonably up to date with the latest SEO techniques.
The date the course was last updated can be seen in the course description. Although three or four years doesn’t sound like much, web design principles and SEO techniques change rapidly!
Alternatively, go straight to the horse’s mouth (so to speak). Google themselves actually have a good selection of content to get you started, Start with their “Steps to a Google-friendly site” then take a read of “Do you need an SEO?”. These are both great articles and written by the King Pins of SEO.
Google also provides a great Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide that is worth a read.
3. Following Expert bloggers to learn SEO
More search engine optimization professionals keep their fingers on the pulse of the industry by following a number of bloggers. They are a great way to stay up to date with the latest tests & results others have been experimenting with.
In our mind, learning from bloggers is a supplement to a more formal SEO training programme, and not a replacement.
4. Local SEO courses
Personally, I’d only recommend attending an in-course person if you thrive off the interaction with others. In my opinion, they are often overpriced and provide little more value than an online course would.
However, this is one person’s opinion, and I’m in no position to be able to comment on all local SEO courses. There may be a top quality course available in your area.
If your company is paying, by all means, jump right into the best course you can attend.
However, if you are on a budget, online self-directed learning is typically the cheapest way to learn SEO, and you get to complete it in your own time, at your own pace.