You did it! You made the leap to a new job, department, company or entrepreneurialism. There is a lot going on and so much to learn! And good for you because you are about to be uncomfortable, pushed and challenged. And maybe like me, you find yourself needing to learning SEO (search engine optimization). Plenty has been written on what to learn, and what is often forgotten, in SEO and so many other practices, is how to learn. At the time of writing, I’m finishing up my first month of working in SEO execution. It’s amazing what has been picked up in such a short time. What has helped with picking up these new skills is a handful of tips and tricks (some specific to SEO and many not) that can be applied to your own learning.
Moz SEO Learning Center
Moz’s SEO Learning Center is what’s up. As far as content and subject matter, this is a gold mine of knowledge. Any topic you need to better understand from terminology (there will be a lot) to categories within SEO or starting from the beginning on how SEO even works, this is a great place to start. You may find other tools down the road you like but for engaging content that’s easy to follow, Moz is where to start.
Change Location in Google
SEO can be very geographically specific. One of the first projects I got was for an automotive repair shop in Salt Lake City. I live and work in San Diego. I needed to know what the SERP (search engine results page) looked like for someone searching in Utah. This brings up the Google Developer Tool in Chrome. It may seem scary at first but you’ll be fine. A simple Google search for instructions will get you on your way.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
No joke, these are lifesavers. There are so many out there at different price points to match your budget. You are going to get absorbed into learning, projects and so forth and getting distracted can be easy. Each time your attention is broken it takes time to get back to where you were. Put your phone away, throw on some comfortable noise-canceling headphones and get lost in your work. The feeling you’ll get after realizing it’s been two hours but you figured it out is addicting.
Get a Mentor
You’ve probably heard this before and it’s as applicable here as it is for getting a mentor when starting a business. Reading articles will help with getting ideas, definitions, tricks and so on but inevitable you’re going to run into questions that search engines will have a hard time answering. Having someone who can help you in these moments will save you time and frustration. A mentor can also help you create a learning plan specific to your goals, answer questions, execution strategy and validate your ideas.
Curiosity, Persistence, and Confidence
Perhaps a little fluffy but remember that while you’re learning SEO, it was another skillset or ability that led you to learning SEO. Either you or someone else is confident in your ability to learn and apply SEO concepts. So, when it’s hard, don’t get discouraged. Be confident in yourself that with persistence, you will find an answer. And when you find a question, go down that rabbit hole. It may be more time-consuming in the short term but the long-term payoff is worth it.
Tie Actions to How and Why it Matters
As you’re doing SEO, tie your efforts back to the questions on how and why it matters. How will this effort impact the website or page and why do I want that to happen? How will I fix broken links for my website help? Well, there will be no longer be dead ends on my page. This means better user experience and with SEO, user experience matters. This overly simplified example shows how action impacts the site and the payoff. There are so many connections to how and why it matters so remembering to answer that will help you do SEO that is not just good for Google but for your site visitors.
These industry-specific and universal tips and tricks have been huge for me while beginning my SEO adventure. Knowing how to learn is just as important as what you’re learning. Hopefully some, all, or at least one will help you in your learning inside and outside of SEO! Happy optimizing!
Sam White, MBA is a senior account manager and search engine optimizer for New Dimension, a digital marketing agency located in San Diego, CA. Over his career, he has worked in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the US on initiatives including both education and marketing. He focuses his efforts on turning complex ideas into actionable and measurable steps.