I joined the world of SEO aided with a degree in ComputerEngineering, an MBA and a passion for marketing…but that still wasn’tenough! There was so much to learn which was both challenging andexciting at the same time. Here are some of the main things that I’velearned in my first month in SEO:
1. Don’t believe everything you read
That was the first piece of advice mycolleague gave me on Day One. The vast amount of information spread allover the internet is overwhelming and you tend to take a lot of it toheart; don’t! I’ve lost track of the endless blogs and resources I’veread and tried to absorb during the past month, but I have concludedthat there is no such thing as ‘matter of fact’ when it comes to SEO.The one way to confirm the authenticity of what you read is by testingit.
2. Learning is by doing
With SEO, you can spend all your time‘learning’ it by reading all the books in the world but to no avail. The best way to learn all the right strategies and techniques is toimplement them yourself. One trick I’ve used is to just use SEO in myeveryday life! For example, in my first week of producing SEO audits, Imade it a habit to check out the title tags, URL consistency andcanonicals on all the webpages I visited in my spare time; even thosethat just have memes of random cute babies! The more you observe,analyse and experiment; the more it all starts to make sense.
3. Character limits are not as easy as they seem
At first, I thought the entire conceptof sticking to the character limit for title tags and meta-descriptionswould be easy; after all, I’m used to the 140 character limit fortweets! But boy, was I wrong! It’s not just about your title tags beingtoo long. Another problem might be that they’re too short. Or sometimesthey are the right length, but they don’t use the right keywords. Orperhaps they’re inconsistent in structure compared to the rest! I alsofound out about the significance of embedding long tail keywords intitle tags in the process of on-page optimization and how that can rankhigher in less time than competitive keywords. Yep, not as easy asTwitter.
4. Quality over Quantity
I use the word‘keywords’ on a daily basis now and I’ve come across a number ofwebsites that spam their pages with the keywords they want to be rankedfor. From a user point of view, it looks ridiculous…from an SEO point of view, it’s a crime. SEO is about quality not quantity. It’s not aboutstuffing every possible keyword that you want to be ranked for; it’sabout doing a thorough keyword research to target the right ones.Keyword consistency that is non-manipulative in nature is what you need. Steady, interesting and accurate information are the main methods toobtain better search results for your website. Avoid the negative userexperience and being penalized by Google by using reliable relevantkeywords on your website.
5. Content is King
I must have come across this expression in every content marketing book I’ve read but it’s the truth.
SEO and content always go hand in hand; you can’t change one withoutchanging the other. They need to complement each other at all times.It’s well known that homepage content is important because Google readsit to learn more about the company, but I was surprised by the number of websites that lack content on their homepage because they’d ratherstick to visually appealing images or flash. Relevant, in-depth and high quality content is what Google and your audience are looking for, notjust pretty pictures.
6. Put yourself in the user’s shoes
The best tactic to approach a new website for the first time is to take those SEO shoes off and put yourself in theposition of the user. Let’s say this website sells vintage stationary;ask yourself: what would a user type in the Google search bar if that’swhat he/she’s after? Remember, understanding the user’s intent shouldalways be your starting point.
Once you’re on a website, browse it just like a user who’s interested in vintage stationary would browse it. How are those menu items looking? Is there enough content on the homepage?How many clicks did you need to do to reach a product that you want tobuy? How easy is the checkout process? Not rushing this process andasking myself as much questions possible, truly helped me see thingsfrom the user’s perspective.
7. It changes all the time
There’s nothing stable about SEO. It’salways changing as it tends to evolve with the market which means youcan’t get comfortable with a certain strategy and just stick to it. Youneed to stay updated with all the latest news on search to planaccordingly. A valuable lesson I’ve taken away after one month is I need to do my research before working on a new project to make sure that I’m up to date with all the latest trends.
What about you? What was your firstmonth of SEO like? What are some key things that you have learned during your time in the industry? Let me know your thoughts below!