Great SEOs Aren’t Born, They’re Built: Approaches for Accelerating SEO Knowledge

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In the pursuit of great digital marketing and website optimization experts, agencies may feel that pickings are thin and that’s because they are. Too many marketing strategists employ low value and black hat tactics, and others serve as little more than best practice parrots, only able to recite rote tactics and unable to deploy imaginative solutions.

Against such odds of finding trustworthy and capable SEO experts, employers may turn to their own people to elevate them into the very thing desired. There are any number of paths that can be taken in order to sharpen an in-house staff’s SEO skills, but none are easy or quick.

One Good Mentor Can Go a Long Way

There’s always something to be said of a good mentor and working in a small to medium enterprise fits handily with a mentor, as it allows the newbie SEO to be thrown into the deep end of an active project. One of the greatest challenges to learning any skill is simply knowing if one is on the right track. Are mistakes being made, and if so, how critical are they? Can they be fixed? Was the attempt even partially correct.

A mentor can assist in learning with one on one attention and serving as a light in the darkness. Mentors can answer those questions and so much more and are probably the single best way to prevent a student at any lesson from feeling intimidated and discouraged by failure.

Expect to Put in Extra Effort… Outside of Work Hours

Like so many occupational skills, reading and hearing the academia isn’t enough, and only seeing the moving parts in action really demonstrates the value of the knowledge imparted. Naturally, the broader a knowledge base the trainee has, the better, and so they should spend personal time pursuing associated skills.

Some of these extracurricular activities include operating and optimizing a personal website in order to learn WordPress, HTML, JavaScript or a web programming language, such as PHP. It’s first hand technical knowledge and experiences like this that will help to distinguish a higher grade of SEOs from the “best practice parrots”.

It can be safely said that finding a worthy mentor is just as daunting as finding a skilled search engine optimizer, and that the trainee will have to draw from existing resources and learn on their own. There’s a plethora of tools and classes available to this end. Courses at Udemy are helpful in learning internet, HTML, and web development fundamentals. Online classes at programs such as can assist in learning specific target skills like PHP, MySQL, server administration and more.

  1. Udemy: Learn anything at your convenience –
  2. Ed2go: Internet course that pack a punch –

Stay Current and Learn from the SEO Community

Following authoritative SEO bloggers will also help expand knowledge. The best current SEO blogs to follow are:

  1. Moz: Industry experts in all things SEO –
  2. SearchEngineLand: Breaking news on search engines –
  3. SERoundTable: More news on search engines –
  4. SEOBook: Connect with SEO experts worldwide –
  5. Google Webmaster Blog: Learn from the masters at Google –
  6. Bing Webmaster Blog: Tap into the sources at Bing –

The Real Value of Certificate Programs

There are also numerous certification programs available for perusal, but these should be considered more discriminately. Is it necessary to pursue such certifications when working with in-house personnel? Especially when fruits of the training labor are already seen firsthand? Even so, there can be some merit in the skills learned throughout certification programs. Both Moz and BruceClay have good training programs:

  1. Moz: Breakneck SEO training online –
  2. BruceClay: Highly rated SEO training courses –
  3. Distilled U: A solid resource of videos and articles for developing SEO skills –

Google Training & Enterprise Tool Training

Of course, sometimes it’s best to focus fire on the skills in demand, rather than seeking a broader skillset. When it comes to digital marketing, nothing really outshines the need for Google specific expertise. Google programs that teach and certify include:

Finally, there are higher end tools used by Fortune 100 companies such as:

Face Forward with Both Eyes Open

Regardless of the path followed to equip an in-house team with the tools and skills needed to tackle SEO and digital marketing challenges, it’s best to always keep in mind that this are a tomorrow-facing industry. What’s valid today may not be in a month.

Another tip: It’s important to gain a familiarity with emerging technologies such as big data, AI, machine learning, and automation.  It’s wise to remain aware of the offerings of those who most strongly influence trends, like Google, Amazon, and Apple.

  1. Google: Google uses AI to transform the internet –
  2. Amazon: Watch machine learning grow –
  3. Apple: Discover Apple’s work in machine learning –

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