Learn SEO: The Process from Beginner to Advanced

There is no standard way to learn search engine optimization (SEO). Ask anyone who works here at SEJ how they got started in SEO and you’ll get a lot of different stories.

It can be frustrating because if your business has any online presence at all, you need to know at least SEO.

Maybe you just launched that awesome new website and want Google to rank you on the first page.

Or maybe your existing website isn’t getting the traffic you want. Or you just want to start a new, in-demand career.

Whatever your reason for wanting to learn SEO, you’ve come to the right place.

Right now, some of you are probably a little scared. All this talk about search algorithms and keyword research and reciprocal links sounds complicated.

Relax, despite all the technical jargon, SEO is not that hard to learn, even for a beginner. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort.

This article will give you a step-by-step plan to follow to build your SEO skills from scratch or improve your existing knowledge.

And while we can’t promise you a top Google ranking, we promise that if you put in the work, you’ll see results.

Your Guide To Learning SEO

Before we dive into the first step on the road to becoming an SEO Jedi, let’s take a quick look at what we mean by search engine optimization.

According to Google’s developer guide:

“Search engine optimization is the process of making your website better for search engines.”

In other words, it’s figuring out exactly what changes you need to make to your website to make it more relevant to search.

The elements of SEO fall under two main categories: on-page and off-page.

As you might expect, on-page SEO elements are the parts that are on your website. These include:

Off-page SEO elements, on the other hand, are the ranking factors that come from outside your domain. This focuses primarily on link building and getting other high quality websites to link to your content.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of mastering SEO.

Step 1: Master The Basics

One of the best things about Google is the vast amount of information available. While they won’t give away the secret sauce of what drives the algorithm, the search engine giant is surprisingly clear about what does and doesn’t factor into the rankings.

And even better, they’ve provided an extremely helpful SEO starter guide for people just starting out in the field. This is an overview of how search engine optimization works, including definitions of common terms and the basics of getting ranked.

If you’re starting your SEO education from scratch, this is the perfect place to start.

It will tell you how to get your site on Google, the best ways to control crawling so the search engine can find your content, and indexability, which will help it understand what your content is about – and what kind of search it will be a good fit for.

Every year at SEJ, we produce several e-books on various SEO and digital marketing topics. One such e-book is our SEO For Beginners Guide, a comprehensive starter guide and how-to for many common SEO tasks.

Step 2: Dive Deeper Into The Technical Side

Once you feel confident that you have the basics of SEO down, it’s time to move on to more technical concepts.

Once again, Google has provided several excellent resources for your educational purposes.

A good place to further educate yourself is the webmaster guidelines for maintaining your site’s SEO. It can help you get started with intermediate to advanced techniques to increase your ranking or deal with other SEO issues.

This includes information on how to deal with duplicate content and canonical pages, using robots.txt files to tell Google which pages to crawl and index, building and submitting sitemaps, and other ways to help Google understand your site better.

Depending on the type of content you have on your site, you may need to use different strategies to maximize exposure.

For example, videos are a popular form of content that requires extra SEO work to ensure they rank as high as possible.

If you’re using anything other than plain text (and you should be—no one wants to scroll through a wall of text), make sure you check Google’s content-specific guidelines.

Step 3: Create An SEO Process

At this point, you hopefully have a reasonably good understanding of what SEO is and how it works.

And now it’s time to put that education into practice by developing and implementing your own SEO process.

If you are working with an existing website, the very first thing you need to do is an SEO audit. This is quite an extensive work, but once again, Search Engine Journal to the rescue!

We’ve created an e-book that will guide you through the entire process of evaluating your current SEO efforts using a helpful checklist.

After you understand where you stand now, it’s time to build a strategy. If there was just another helpful e-book you could use to guide you through that process – wait, we have one.

This is a step-by-step guide (plus a template) to building your year-long SEO strategy, with month-by-month guidance to help you measure results and improve your rankings.

And when it comes to performance monitoring, Google Search Console gives you tons of analytics and information you can use to improve your website traffic. It would behoove you to familiarize yourself with this tool.

Step 4: Optimize Your Content

It’s impossible to overstate how important your website content is. Content is what drives people to your website, encourages them to take action, and is the whole reason your website exists in the first place.

So, after you’ve done the backend, technical, and strategic work necessary to increase your rankings, it’s time to focus on your content.

Your content strategy should be a big part of your overall strategy, as discussed in the last step, but this is where the rubber meets the road.

This is where you want to craft the keyword-rich (but not overstuffed) copy, build a solid structure that’s easy for bots and humans to read, and improve the overall content experience.

For detailed information on how to perform this, see this webinar.

Step 5: Build Your Backlinks

This has been touched on already, but it deserves a step of its own.

Your inbound links tell Google a lot about how trustworthy your site is.

For example, if you fall for one of those link farm, pay-per-link scams (which of course you never would), Google will probably ignore those links.

On the other hand, if the Chicago Tribune directs people to your site, Google may well see that endorsement in a good light and consider that link valuable.

But how do you build links? Did you really expect us to ask that question and then not have another great eBook that answers that question in depth?

Download and read this for everything you need to know about building and maintaining a fruitful link building campaign.

Step 6: Don’t Forget About Humans

With all the technical parts of search engine optimization, it can be very easy to forget the main purpose of your website: to provide value to actual people.

And lest you think that Google search is entirely made up of a series of computer programs, don’t forget that actual people verify the algorithm’s work.

These people are known as search quality assessors. They follow a comprehensive guide to determine how well Google search results meet the needs of the searcher and evaluate the quality of your pages.

So always keep that in mind – that even with all the title tag and image optimization and responsive design work you’ve put in, at the end of the day SEO is about people.

Step 7: Never Stop Learning

Wow, that was a lot. Now you can just sit back and relax and enjoy your new title of Sixth Degree SEO Black Belt, right? Not even a little.

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing.

Some of these are so small that you won’t notice them, while others make a big difference in the kind of ROI queries generate. And this constant flux means the last thing you can do is rest on your laurels.

Fortunately, there is a vast sea of ​​SEO resources out there, including this website, where you’ll find all the news, as well as regular updates and blog posts on a variety of topics related to search engines.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about some great online courses to help you take your SEO skills to the next level.

For your convenience, we have provided a select list here and you can check out some of them in more detail in this post on SEO certifications.

Free SEO Courses For Beginners

Coursera’s Search Engine Optimization Basics: This 13-hour, 4-module digital course (created by the University of California, Davis) is designed to help you understand how search algorithms affect organic search results. It covers everything from building an effective strategy to analyzing and optimizing your existing website.

Ahrefs’ SEO Training Course: This program, presented by SEO tool software provider Ahrefs, consists of 14 lessons divided into four modules, consisting of two hours in total length. It will teach you the basics of SEO, including how to perform keyword research, technical SEO and link building for beginners.

Shopify’s SEO Training for Beginners: Ecommerce platform Shopify offers a 30-minute course designed to help online entrepreneurs get up to speed on the basics of SEO. This course will provide you with a repeatable framework you can use to improve your company’s search engine ranking.

Yoast’s SEO for Beginners Training: Another SEO tool provider, Yoast’s SEO Beginner’s Course includes two hours of instructional videos, PDFs, and quizzes to practice what you’ve learned.

WP Courses’ Introduction to Search Engine Optimization: This free course is designed to teach you how to improve your website for both search engines and human visitors. It covers the basics of SEO, including performing keyword research, creating great content, and optimizing your website for maximum rankings and traffic.

Bruce Clay SEO Training: Bruce Clay is known as the programmer of the first website analysis tool. Now he runs a search marketing company (Bruce Clay, Inc.) that offers a wide range of digital marketing services. This online course will teach you how to improve your website ranking with an emphasis on E-A-T. It includes more than 15 hours of instruction spread over 48 videos.

Next.js’ Introduction to SEO: This text-based course offered by the production framework Next.js provides a quick, four-page overview of SEO. It covers search engines and bots and web performance topics, emphasizing using them with Next.js.

Hubspot’s SEO Training Course: This short course offers free certification and focuses on the business impact of SEO. With six lessons built around 22 videos and three quizzes, it uses Hubspot’s blogging strategy as a core example to explain how SEO works.

Intermediate To Advanced SEO Resources

Got the basics down and ready to move on to more advanced topics? There are many great resources out there, including:

Semrush Digital Course: Online Visibility and Content Marketing SaaS provider Semrush has assembled one of the best libraries of SEO content available anywhere. These free lessons, which usually last an hour, are hosted by various experts and cover almost every aspect of digital marketing you can think of – including a dozen on search engine optimization.

Ahrefs’ Advanced Link Building Course: This 14-lesson course can be completed in under two hours. It is designed to equip you with strategies for building links at scale – that go beyond traditional backlink tactics. It will teach you how to structure and distribute outreach emails, validate campaigns and manage your link building team more effectively.

Coursera’s Advanced Search Engine Optimization Strategies: This free 25-hour course focuses on technical, mobile, and social strategies to improve traffic to your website. It will teach you more advanced SEO skills such as improving website architecture, evaluating competitors and developing global strategies.

LinkedIn Learning: Formerly, the educational arm of social networking site LinkedIn offers a variety of SEO topics, from beginner to advanced. It offers a free trial, but then costs $19.99 per month for unlimited access. LinkedIn Learning has 86 SEO-related videos, many of which specialize in one particular aspect, such as SEO for e-commerce sites or structuring data for web crawlers.

Advanced Technical SEO: A Complete Guide You didn’t really think we’d make this list and not include another one of our eBooks, did you? Maybe we’re biased, but this free downloadable eBook will teach you everything you need to know about technical SEO, including finding the best hosting company, structuring your website to be crawler-friendly, and best practices for pagination, along with a amount of other useful information.

Google Analytics Academy: While not strictly an SEO course, this certification is well worth earning if you’re serious about SEO and improving your skills. This free course will help you better understand the content and digital marketing industry while ensuring you get the most out of the tools the search engine giant makes available.

Stay Up To Date And Get Optimizing

As you can see, there is quite a lot that goes into search engine optimization. And even experts learn new things every day.

Hopefully at this point you’ve learned a little about SEO basics and where you can learn more about them.

And after you’ve reviewed some of the associated material, it’s time to put your new knowledge into practice.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately – remember that search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes it can take months for the changes to start appearing on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Just remember that this is an ever-changing environment, and what worked yesterday may not work today. This is partly due to shady SEO specialists gaming the algorithm through things like keyword stuffing and article spinning (ie recreating content with different words).

But the main reason you need to stay on top of SEO is Google’s never-ending quest to provide better and more relevant results.

For now, this means focusing more on search intent than keywords, but who knows what that will mean tomorrow?

The only way to stay is to keep working when you get there. Because if you kick your heels up, it won’t be long before your hard-earned ranking goes to a hard-working, smarter optimizer.

Never stop learning and now go out and get to the top of the search results!

Featured image: fizkes/Shutterstock

How can I practice SEO if I don’t have a website?

The easiest way to learn SEO without a website is through free SEO blogs. You can read about basic SEO practices and case studies from bloggers who are experts in SEO and share details about how search engine optimization works for websites. Here are some blogs you can check out: SEO Chatter Blog.

Can SEO be done without a website? Many SEO strategies such as increasing traffic for higher ranking on SERPs involve the use of a website. Can SEO be done without a website? Yes. SEO works well with websites, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of its capabilities without a website.

Where can I practice SEO for free?

Top 10 Free Online SEO Courses

  • Free SEO course (Reliablesoft)
  • Free SEO Training: SEO for Beginners (Yoast)
  • SEO Training Course by Moz (Udemy)
  • Free SEO course (ClickMinded)
  • SEO Training Course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth (Hubspot)
  • On-Page and technical SEO course (SEMRUSH)

Can I teach myself SEO?

It is possible to learn how to do SEO on your own, you don’t need to be an SEO specialist or expert. The first thing you need to do is convince yourself that SEO is not difficult. If others can do it, so can you. All that is needed is the willingness to learn and time.

How can I start SEO without a website?

A GMB listing is the first answer to “can SEO be done without a website?” GMB is an online business listing because it ranks locally on Google. The information helps potential customers find a business when they enter a search term to find similar services or products.

Can I do SEO by my self?

You can certainly do SEO yourself or DIY SEO (Do It Yourself SEO). With a little research and a lot of practice, anyone can learn how to do SEO for their business. A quick way to get started with SEO is to enter your URL here and then focus your SEO efforts on the recommended action points.

Is Learning SEO worth it?

SEO is worthwhile if you have the right strategy in place and work with a partner who knows how to get results. About 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and the exit rate for SEO clients is much higher than for traditional marketing. So SEO provides an impressive return on investment (ROI).

Is SEO hard to learn? SEO is not that hard to learn. All you need to do is be willing to allocate the necessary time and effort to learn the various SEO concepts. If you’re new to SEO and wondering what it takes to go from beginner to expert, this post is for you.

Does SEO still work in 2022?

Will SEO still be relevant in 2022? Yes of course. Although some SEO tactics that were effective in the past have stopped working, SEO continued to evolve. Constantly reinventing itself to try to better match user intent, reducing spammy, ineffective tactics to improve.

Is SEO Still Relevant 2022?

The fact that SEO works just fine even in 2022 as a method of delivering improved commercial results for business websites and their owners, combined with the need for continuous research into what works, makes it still relevant as a digital marketing method, but even more so as a valuable service and a rewarding…

Is SEO a good business in 2022?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an increasingly popular skill in 2022. Businesses of all sizes need to focus on SEO to grow and attract more visitors to their websites. If you have expertise in SEO, starting an SEO business is an excellent way to make a living.

Is SEO going to end?

SEO is not dead, but evolving Don’t believe everything you read. SEO will be around as long as search engines do. But SEO is an ever-changing industry. It continues to evolve.

How SEO will change in 2022?

By 2022, expect SEO rankings to be more competitive in providing high-quality content that is useful to internet users. Content that only tries to fish for audiences by linking to unnecessary sources will not be effective as it is today.

Is SEO worth learning in 2021?

People can discover your business at any time or place, leading to more visitors and customers! That’s why organic traffic and SEO are more important than ever!!! And you can bet that any investment that goes into SEO is worth it.

Is SEO a good career in 2022?

Search Engine Optimization Career Opportunities ‘Yes. SEO is a good career option as it is among the most sought after careers in digital marketing.

Is Learning SEO worth it in 2022?

Yes, SEO is worth it – in 2022, in the future, in the past and always. As long as websites and search engines exist, SEO is necessary. SEO in 10 years will probably be very different from SEO today, but you always need to make sure that your website is sending search engines the right signals so that you can be found.

How can I become SEO Expert in 2021?

Steps to becoming an SEO expert

  • Learn the basics of how search engines work.
  • Understand SEO strategies and concepts.
  • Attend SEO training.
  • Stay up to date with industry trends and news.
  • Get to know SEO tools.
  • Experiment with SEO tactics on your website or blog.
  • Show employers your efforts and results.

Is SEO a good career in 2021?

It is very lucrative when you can develop a proven process for acquiring new customers. And the last way to expand your income in the SEO business is to build websites that you own. You can then use your SEO skills to increase organic traffic.

Is SEO worth learning in 2022?

SEO is a promising career in 2022 because it gives you access to various opportunities. You can work in-house, take on clients and even start and develop your own websites. In addition, the three most popular websites,, and, are the largest search engines.

What is the best SEO strategy in 2022?

The Best SEO Strategies for 2022

  • Check the core network and invest in improvements.
  • Target long-tail question keywords for People also ask.
  • Create keyword clusters to rank for multiple one-page searches.
  • Use AI content tools, but as a supplement.
  • Try out content optimization software.

How SEO will change in 2022?

By 2022, expect SEO rankings to be more competitive in providing high-quality content that is useful to internet users. Content that only tries to fish for audiences by linking to unnecessary sources will not be effective as it is today.

Is Learning SEO worth it in 2022?

Yes, SEO is worth it – in 2022, in the future, in the past and always. As long as websites and search engines exist, SEO is necessary. SEO in 10 years will probably be very different from SEO today, but you always need to make sure that your website is sending search engines the right signals so that you can be found.

Is SEO a good career 2022?

‘Yes. SEO is a good career option as it is among the most sought after careers in digital marketing. There are several organizations around the world that hire SEO professionals to generate better content and thus produce more leads.

Which is an important first step in SEO process?

You may ask what is the first step in the search engine optimization process for your website? The answer is keyword research. Knowing your target audience and what they are searching for is the main key to optimizing the reach of your website.

What are the steps involved in the SEO process? The SEO process step-by-step

  • Investigations.
  • Reporting and goal setting.
  • Content building.
  • Page optimization.
  • Social and link building.
  • Follow-up of reporting and analysis.

What is the first thing to do before SEO?

Provide an intuitive, neatly organized navigation and sitemap. Include your contact page (and information) prominently and throughout your website (perhaps in the footer). Include well-written, descriptive content on every page of your website. These things will get you started.

Which is ideally first step of SEO?

The SEO process starts with building a clear picture of what kind of content your target audience likes to consume. Once you understand what your target audience is looking for, you can begin to decide what content to create and what keywords to target.

What is first step for on-page SEO?

Page content is the heart of on-page SEO. It tells both search engines and readers what your website and business is about. The first step to creating high-quality content is choosing relevant keywords and topics.

Can I learn SEO on my own?

It is possible to learn how to do SEO on your own, you don’t need to be an SEO specialist or expert. The first thing you need to do is convince yourself that SEO is not difficult. If others can do it, so can you. All that is needed is the willingness to learn and time.

Is it easy to learn SEO? SEO is not easy. But it’s not rocket science either. There are things you can implement right away, and there are concepts that will take much more time and effort. So yes, you can do SEO on your own.

How can I learn SEO at home?

The bottom line for many SEO experts is something like this: “Optimize your title tags, make sure your site loads quickly, then write a lot of blog posts, ask for some links back to your site, and you’ll see your site start to rank better.†Although these SEO experts tell you that it takes more than this and…

How long does it take to learn SEO?

If you can learn SEO for a couple of hours every day, you can master the basics of SEO within 4-8 weeks and land your first SEO job in 3-6 months. If you can learn SEO full time, you can master the basics yourself within 1-2 weeks.

Can I learn SEO in 2 months?

It takes 1-3 months to learn SEO at a basic level and as long as 6-18 months to learn SEO at an advanced level. How much time it takes to learn SEO depends on the number of hours each day you can study search engine optimization.

Can I learn SEO in a month?

Although it’s a career-long journey, you can actually learn SEO in about a month—enough to make a big impact on your website and, by extension, your business as a whole.

Can I learn SEO without coding?

The short answer is: no, SEO usually doesn’t require much (or any) hands-on coding. You can certainly do a great job with SEO without touching code. But the longer answer is that yes, a good sense of how programming works, or even an ability to do some coding yourself, is always a useful skill to have.