What Do SEO Professionals Focus on Learning?
As has been written about many times on this blog, SEO is an incredibly complex science of sorts. There are dozens of unique metrics and technical considerations that must be mastered in order to fully grasp the extent of its functionality, which makes it feel like an alien concept to many who try to understand it.
Ultimately, SEO professionals spend years focusing on a variety of SEO-related tasks and concepts to become experts. Most, however, managed to focus on a few key concepts initially in order to build a foundation of professional knowledge.
Let’s examine what areas SEO professionals tend to focus on in order to earn and maintain their mastery of the art.
Search Engine Basics
Given the core of SEO revolves around, well, search engines, it only makes sense that a concrete understanding of how they work is essential to mastering SEO. In the modern day, search engines must balance a complex variety of algorithms to determine which pages are going to rank prominently and which will be left in the dust.
Ultimately, pinging your website content to search engines will only get you so far if you lack the understanding of how search engines evaluate content. Likewise, comprehending how search engines fetch data in the first place is mandatory: without a clear understanding of how search engines find and document pages, you likely will fail to understand a litany of more complex and nuanced SEO elements in the future.
There are numerous ranking factors that SEO professionals are aware of and consider when creating content and optimizing page. Ranking factors are essentially the most important components that search engines use to determine which pages get seen first.
By far, the most important ranking factor that search engines use is relevance. This ensures that completely off-topic pages are not shown to users. Authority is another major ranking factor, and pertains to your brand’s overall digital reputation with search engines (as well as domain age, URL structure, and other niche factors). In today’s world especially, another major ranking factor is mobile-friendliness: given that most search engine traffic now comes via mobile devices, a website that isn’t friendly to mobile users is eliminating the majority of its potential search traffic (search engines like Google do not rank non-mobile friendly results to mobile users highly in SERPs).
Keywords & Links
Ultimately, pinging your website and search engines with content is only part of beginning the journey of becoming a SEO professional. In order to adequately target the right search results and build authority, keyword research and link building are both absolutely required.
With keyword research, blogs and brands can determine exactly which niches and SERPs are ripe for targeting and which ones are less than ideal. With link building, you can generate additional indicators that vouch for the credibility of your website (in the form of backlinks) that also help drive additional traffic to your pages, posts and/or products.
While it can take years to fully master the art of SEO, focusing on these key elements initially can provide you with a foundation from which mastering the rest of SEO becomes much easier. Whether you’re learning for the first time or ensuring that new trends in the field don’t leave you broadsided, focusing on search engine basics, ranking factors and keywords & links is the key to expert understanding.