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SEO 31 min read

Where A Beginner Can Learn SEO In 2021: Ultimate Guide

Where A Beginner Can Learn SEO In 2021: Ultimate Guide
Автор статьи о продвинутых инструментах Serpstat
Editorial Head at Serpstat
Alongside the growing demand for SEO professionals, SEO has become a skill that multiple digital specialists are expected to possess.

Overwhelming. Time-consuming. Contradictory. Too-technical. Outdated.

There is a lot to complicate this undertaking and let the assailing doubts win. But here's the best part: this article shares the tried and tested step-by-step guidelines on how to learn SEO and help you become an SEO expert in record time. You will gain access to some sources of education that will assist you in diving into the challenging world of SEO and come off with flying colors fast and easy.
Alongside the growing demand for SEO professionals, SEO has become a skill that multiple digital specialists are expected to possess.

Overwhelming. Time-consuming. Contradictory. Too-technical. Outdated.

There is a lot to complicate this undertaking and let the assailing doubts win. But here's the best part: this article shares the tried and tested step-by-step guidelines on how to learn SEO and help you become an SEO expert in record time. You will gain access to some sources of education that will assist you in diving into the challenging world of SEO and come off with flying colors fast and easy.

Step 0: Explore paid education options

No. We are not going to talk about fee-based eLearning courses in this article.

There are ample paid choices on the web (and if they are ranked as Top 5, they probably know how to do SEO).

To start with: when would paid education actually be the right choice?

Or even more importantly: what aspects should be taken on to tip the scales in favor of the paid option?

If you are still having doubts, this step gets you covered and unveils the pros and cons of paid courses.

Advantages of paid courses

Straight-to-the-point content. Unlike self-learning, paid courses are well-organized and based on credible sources. Different opinions on various SEO aspects are often available online. The choice of a fee-based option eliminates the chances of trusting outdated info written by non-professionals.
Vivid learning schedule. Now that the eLearning sector has progressed during the pandemic, online learners can enjoy even more flexibility. Some options offer learning modules that are available online within a system. Other options still require the student's presence at a fixed time. In any case, it brings certain time constraints to ensure the learner's progression on their studies.
Training. They say experience is the best teacher. Paid courses often offer simulations with realistic scenarios to help the students master specific learning blocks. Moreover, it creates an excellent opportunity to access real-life use cases, challenges, and techniques that are still found effective.
Home assignments. No theory is good enough unless you know how to apply it masterfully. Extra work on a subject at home goes beyond fixing the results. It allows you to dig deeper into the topic, get acknowledged with additional data, face new challenges, collect further questions, and find answers later on.
Feedback. For beginners, insights from SEO experts with hands-on experience are priceless. As you study and practice, questions are inevitable. Although you can always Google them, consulting the tutor helps alleviate any concerns and hunt down a question completely.
Social learning. Networking has been proved to assist in skills development and improvement. Often, paid courses have private chats or groups where the students can share valuable data they come across, ask even more questions, and discuss a matter with the peers.
Certification. There is always psychology involved in the learning process ― the sense of achievement pitches in a lot. The ability to demonstrate the proof of completion after inverting effort, personal time and budget pay off in the students' higher engagement.
Prestige. Prestige definitely matters, especially when it comes to online education. While many would choose a course provider that is a household name, employers are no exception. Employees from respectful courses seem to be more qualified.
Motivation. In the ocean of the available information, the self-learner can get carried away easily and conscience-stricken. Poor self-management skills will trigger the collapse of such an endeavor. Fee-based courses often strive to keep the learner motivated. They provide nuggets of information to keep the process comprehensible and include various gamification and motivational elements to back up interest.
Exclusive benefits. Paid courses often collaborate with SEO automation platforms and have access to their trial/basic accounts. It creates a unique opportunity to learn about the available options and make your choice based on your needs, requirements, expectations, and budget.

Disadvantages of paid courses

Expenses. As the name implies, you will naturally have to part with a certain amount of your budget to access all the course privileges.
Lack of personalization. Some learners may dislike the cookie-cutter approach that specific in helping avoid that. Otherwise, you can always opt for a free trial or a demo prior to subscribing to a course. Doing your homework helps.

Step 1: Study books, guides, and academies

Let's start from the top and understand the basics.

To recognize how search works and study its components, a couple of hours will be enough.

However, to become a pro, a more lasting time investment will be required. You must comb through all the mentioned resources.

Books to get introduced to SEO

As a starter, we recommend the following reads:
SEO Fitness Workbook: The Seven Steps to Search Engine Optimization by Jason McDonald Ph.D., the SEO guru. Updated in 2020, the book teaches how to reach Google and Bing rankings. From the McDonald's book, you will learn how to define your goals, do keyword research, carry out on-page and off-page optimization, do content marketing, and even learn the most critical Google Analytics metrics.
SEO for Dummies (7th Edition) by Peter Kent. The readers often remain dissatisfied when finishing a book on SEO: some authors have a tendency to focus more on self-promotion than on the subject. But this book is not the case. It explains complex things in a high comprehensible manner―from social media techniques and voice search optimization to website registration guidelines to directories and indexes.
3 Months to No.1: The "No-Nonsense" SEO Playbook For Getting Your Website Found on Google by Will Coombe. This book was written by a professional with seven years in the SEO career under his belt. The edition is likely to be the first-timer on the majority of online bookcases but yet worth a mention. Besides an SEO blueprint and checklists, the book includes free video tutorials. Importantly, it touches on the topic of WordPress SEO, local and eCommerce SEO, Google penalty diagnosis.
These three books are a sufficient list to help you make the first moves towards SEO basics.

However, to be on the firm ground, you must keep moving.

As you can see, each book on our list mentions the year of its edition. SEO changes instantly, and one year in the SEO universe could equal five years in ours. It takes time for the editorial team to republish a book. In the best-case scenario, a book gets updated once a year, which means some data has high chances since then.
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Webmaster guidelines from search engines

Now that you know the basics, thanks to the read books, it's high time to dig a little deeper and explore the primary sources of information, i.e., the official webmaster SEO guide that is freely available online.
Google Search Central. This resource is well-structured to make the learner's navigation smooth and easy. You'll see the four tabs: Introduction, Just the basics, Beginner SEO, Advanced SEO, and a navigation panel on the left. The layout of the Search Central makes the learning flow highly intuitive. Importantly, many of the learning blocks are followed by explanatory videos, which can be a significant advantage for auditory learners.
Bing Webmaster Tools Help & How-to. Similar to Google, Bing brings critical data on how Bing crawlers find, index, and rank web pages. The resource navigation is transparent too. On the left panel, you'll see a variety of tabs dedicated to specific topics. Separately, you are offered to navigate away to the Microsoft Bing Webmaster Tools. With their help, you'll be able to analyze backlinks, manage keywords, run an SEO site audit, etc.
Bing Webmaster Tools guidelines for seo
Source: Statista

Serpstat Academy to learn the basics

Further, you should consider signing up to a platform that can allow you to refresh, solidify, and apply practically the obtained knowledge.

The new free Serpstat Academy combines all that a learner needs to plunge into the SEM and SEO worlds.

Without any budget expenditures, you'll be guided to:

  • Valuable insights into keywords and their research
  • Unique case studies from niche professionals
  • All-in-one SEO platform to explore what powers such solutions can bring
serpstat academy

Step 2: Start reading SEO-focused blogs and forums

You've probably guessed it ― to learn SEO fast, you'll have to read.


And to become and remain the best, you must keep your knowledge up-to-date. Educational use of blogs has been found effective.


Let's prove the point and leave no room for concerns.

Advantages and disadvantages of reading educational blogs

Today, it doesn't take long to build a blog and paint yourself as an expert. Just a blog about SEO doesn't mean the data provided will be reliable and unbiased.

However, if you opt for a resource that is kept updated by the niche experts, it will bring you the following set of benefits:
Convenience. The pool of options can be overwhelming. Keeping a close track of the changes in the SEO world based on a handful of resources helps stay tuned without much effort.
Opinion seeking. As the beginner, many feel the need to know how an expert would deal with a specific issue or a case. Professional blogs are like an open repository of experience-based scenarios. Why not learn from the experience of others?
Blog ambiance. It rings especially true when using a specific SEO platform. We are social beings and need to be a part of some community. If you are passionate about SEO, why not quench that feeling of satisfaction.
Sense of fulfillment. Isn't it enjoyable to find perfect information in a couple of mouse clicks? Plus, when a blog is fun and shares trendy insights, why not come back and keep being amused.
Solution-seeking. We come to blogs for help. SEO can be challenging and changeable as the British weather. The ability to find support, step-by-step guidelines, and help on dedicated platforms is priceless.
Correspondingly, to help the readers take full advantage of a blog, the editors strive to include a variety of content types on their resources. Best-of-breed SEO blogs often cover such topics as SEO, content marketing, PPC, analytics, SEO trends, marketing in general, and are eager to share insightful case studies.

Conversely, if you do trust non-professionals, the results can be deplorable:
Confusion. Dealing with ambiguous data, in the beginning, can make the learning process more complicated. The data that you've just sliced and diced can get messed up, leaving you unclear about this or that SEO concept.
Misinformation. Outdated and wrong info can turn into a disaster and lead a website to an SEO failure. Making deadly SEO mistakes because of somebody's incompetence is certainly no picnic.

Best blogs to learn SEO fast

We've been doing SEO since 2013. Based on Serpstat's experience, we've compiled the Top 7 list of blogs with the most useful and frequently updated content to get you covered:
Google Webmaster Central Blog. It is certainly not a bad plan to receive the news straight from Google. Moreover, the resource teaches you SEO best practices, shares quality guidelines on how to get your site rank higher in the SERPs and allows getting deeper insights into how your pages look like for Google. All this assists in acting according to the situation and making the required improvements.
Search Engine Journal. This blog focuses entirely on SEO and all that is related to it. From complete link building guides, insights on SEO for beginners, PPC and digital advertising recommendations, to social media marketing guidelines granulated to highlighting each network peculiarities, analytic, local search ― these are just some of the topics in Search Engine Journal.
Serpstat blog. The distinctiveness of this blog is in sharing insightful SEO, SEM, and PPC data from both Serpstat's experiences and one of the niche experts. Annually, we announce authors' ranking, which includes the most read author, the most popular author, and the authors of the most discussed articles. Notably, each blog author is a well-recognized niche professional that uncovers insider and credible insights on a chosen topic. Plus, Serpstat offers a distinct selection of use cases and how-to guides on the blog.
Semrush blog. Founded in 2008, this blog is no exception, i.e., it strives to cover any and all topics related to SEO. They are content marketing, paid media, social media, SEO news.
Search Engine Land. The source claims itself as a leading blog for news on SEO, advertising, analysis. Launched back in 2007, the site shares Google algorithm updates, local search marketing trends, and a variety of SEO guides. Curiously, Search Engine Land strives to cover breaking SEO news daily and does its best to provide all the critical information for an SEO specialist.
Backlinko blog. Do you remember the article about bucket brigades in content marketing? If no, that's certainly the place to do your search and thus improve your content marketing metrics. If you intend to focus on content optimization for the SERPs, that's the place to follow. You will learn about building a backlinks strategy, explore content promotion strategies, etc.
Ahrefs blog. From the beginner's guides to SEO success, this blog will teach you how to explore and close the content gap, and all the details behind on-page SEO. You will learn how to do outreach, eCommerce SEO, how to deal with broken links, etc.

Step 3: Dive into webinars and educational videos

Webinar meetings are another best way to learn SEO and get on the path of becoming an SEO specialist.

Without sacrificing quality, educational videos have caught up quickly thanks to their convenience, simplified perception of information, affordability, relevancy, and timeliness of the offered content.

Importantly, they bring the ability to interact with the niche experts and often enable the learner to receive Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). It helps the students not only get started as SEO specialists but also stay on the top of the field instantly.

But what channels are worth following closely?
Google Search Central
If you are looking to learn new up-to-date info straight from the tin, this YouTube channel should be your first stop. It covers some SEO lightning talks, best practices, updates, and answers multiple user questions. Plus, you will find some Search Console video trainings there.
Search Engine Journal webinars
The goal of any webinar is to solve a set problem, i.e., teach the audience to easily deal with a scenario similar to the topic covered in real life. This resource offers a variety of live webinars that would require you to register for attendance.
serpstat webinars
Besides live videos, Serpstat also offers access to free videos of your choice. You will only need to fill out the form to get access to the records. Curiously, you'll find videos about YouTube SEO, the best tips and advice from SEO trainers and consultants, and so much more.
green lotus academy
Being a Premier Google Partner, Green Lotus Academy offers a series of SEO webinars and video tutorials free of charge. From boosting brand authority to increasing your Google ads ROI and keywords research, you'll uncover multiple pieces of valuable data here.
brian dean youtube
A series of how-to SEO video tutorials are available here. You will not only learn the SEO basics, but discover priceless insider details on this channel. Note that no video has less than 100K views making this source a must-have on our list.

Step 4: Follow SEO gurus on Twitter

Do you think you've had enough sources of information?

No, not at all.

Twitter has been picking up steam because of providing straight-to-the-point data.

Building relationships with influencers on Twitter will not only help you uplift your knowledge and SEO skills but help you interact with the best-of-the-breed data that these personas share.

Our list of leading SEO celebrities to follow:
You are welcome to follow the Serpstat Twitter too, and stay tuned!

Step 5: Subscribe to educational newsletters

Where to learn SEO if you don't want to miss a thing?

Subscribe to an educational newsletter on SEO-related topics and the valuable data will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Many strive to forward the most valuable information. However, often, the promotional content outweighs the value of a letter. We've shortlisted the most outstanding newsletters that bring true value and are worth subscribing to:
Backlinko newsletters promise to send the subscribers "insanely actionable content", and they actually do.
Serpstat newsletter offers to subscribe to their emails practically on any website page and boasts focusing on covering specific topics in their emails.
Subscribe to the most interesting newsletter
Get сases, lifehacks, researches and useful articles weekly
Sparktoro newsletter from Rand Fishkin, Co-Founder of Moz. You will get posts via email with Pro SEO insights.
Nick LeRoy newsletter and their #SEOforlunch weekly newsletters will keep you up-to-date during your lunch break.
Search Engine Journal in their newsletter subscription form offers to specify the topics of their future emails: SEO, PPC, social, content, as well as specify newsletter frequency.

Step 6: Explore Quora and Reddit

Quora and Reddit are question-and-answer websites.

On the one hand, people use these platforms to ask questions, answer them or get answers, and follow threads of their interest. On the other hand, these questions are gold when doing SEO and content marketing (but that's probably another topic).

Competitor runs ads on my brand name…
New Google Analytics setup
How do you source your clients?

As SEO changes take place, the users tend to adapt and work out a way out. Discussion threads are a perfect means to involve networking when facing new SEO challenges and in need of a solution.

SEO communities come in handy.

Make sure to follow these threads, discussions, and communities as some of them are chosen by over 1 million people:

Step 7: Find internship

Practice makes perfect.

Yes, Captain Obvious.

Nevertheless, you should certainly consider an internship with a company where more professional SEO experts can guide you through the processes and share their experience-proven knowledge.
seo internship
Importantly, you will get the required experience and relevant job experience to include in your resume.

Moreover, SEO internships are a great means to learn SEO free and paid and polish your theoretical knowledge to perfection while getting tangible results in the form of improved rankings and happy customers.

Stories from experts

I started a site in 1996 after reading a book on learning HTML in 2 weeks. I had a friend who needed a job, and an idea on making money as a registered agent. I kept on improving the site over time and learned from where ever I could. At one point, I read Roger C. Parker's Guide to Web Content and Design: Eight Steps to Web Site Success. A friend sent a link to me for AltaVista, and the site was submitted there. I learned about topics such as usability and UX and found Jakob Nielsen and Jarrod Spool online and read a lot of what they wrote, as well as ingesting books about information architecture, which I would recommend highly for SEO.

I joined a forum for small business and website promotion, which evolved into a forum on SEO and Usability, and ended up as an administrator there, which hosted a number of SEOs from who I learned a lot. I learned more about CSS and HTML and gave lots of feedback to people in the Website hospital of that forum, where I ended up learning about how to audit sites and ask their owners questions about those sites. I had learned to use Xenu Link Sleuth to learn about site architecture and link consistency and adopted Screaming Frog to later do those things.

I also look at resources from Google — Blog posts and the Webmaster Central forum, the Support pages, and the Google Developer's pages, which are worth learning from as well.

The W3C Schema Mailing list is worth subscribing to also. I do not add too many emails to my account and include information about new updates and releases.
Bill Slawski, Director of SEO Research at Go Fish Digital
I'd highly recommend the Twitter community, the number of resources shared each day by genuine industry experts is unbelievable. It's also really good to get involved in chats and listening to webinars.

At absolute each week we have multiple in-house training courses across multi-disciplines so everyone has strong all-round knowledge.

We're also big believers in trialing experiments where possible too.
Ben Austin, Founder and CEO of Absolute Digital Media
I was at the gym, one of my friends approached me. It was my last year at the university. He told me that there is something called SEO. I thought that it was a kind of element from chemistry or a kind of molecule name. I was about to ask, can we cook and sell it... Then, he explained it to me. Luckily, he was a Black Hat SEO, so that this coincidence helped me to not become a sheep for every official search engine statement.

I have applied to an agency from Turkey, I started as an intern. One day, luckily, I have clicked on Bill Slawski's previous blog, seobythesea.com from a SERP. From there, I have explored Shaun Anderson's hobo-web.co.uk.

Since then, I read from them. In 2019, I have started to learn Python, thanks to Hamlet Batista. And, for the last 3 years, I listen to Cindy Krum's and Marie Haynes' webinars, and podcasts.

I even read everything that Rand Fishkin has written, including the Art of SEO. I learned SEO by reading 4-5 hours every day. And, I protect this habit. For instance, today, when I was at the gym (again), I have listened, Bill Slawski's latest Edge of the Web Radio podcast, then I listened to Google's latest Search Off the Record Podcast Episode.
Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR, Founder at Holistic SEO & Digital
I very much agree about Twitter. Wish I found it sooner. Moz Whiteboards and blog were great. But nothing replaces great dialogue on Twitter because those discussions are amplified by trusted voices, rather than good SEO.

Also, groups like Areej AbuAli's Women in Tech SEO and Aleyda Solís's Learningseo.io didn't exist before. Incredible resources.
Jonas Sickler, Prolific SEO and marketing author


So this is where beginners need to rely on other sources of education to learn how to do SEO?

Statements from representatives of the search engines. This can come from their official blogs, unofficial personal blogs, statements in interviews by other SEOs, things they say at conferences, and in personal face-to-face meetings at networking events.

Experiments, testing and observations. Now not all statements by SEOs may be trustworthy, not all experiments could be conducted correctly, but that is up to you to figure out and see who to trust and not trust. Not everyone may draw the same conclusions from the observed data.

Sharing of knowledge with other SEOs. This happens every day on online forums and social media groups.

Actual on-the-job training. I know a lot of SEOs learned the most this way, by being employed at a company doing SEO and learning from some mentor in the company where all of the first 3 I mentioned become reference resources, but the actual how-to is at their job.

Enrolling in some training programs. Most of these SEO schools are online. There are good ones and there are better ones. Pay attention to the teacher and their credibility, experience and reputation. And decide from there if you want to enroll in an online course or not.
Benj Arriola, Senior Digital Analyst at Analytics Pros
Either B2B or B2C, a corporation or a startup, the essential part of online website traffic comes from organic search―or 68% of visitors according to Smart Insights.

Improving website traffic is a serious endeavor, and our guide on how to learn SEO in 2021 will help you accomplish it front-to-back.

We've done our best to cover all the essential sources of information that can assist you in progressing from the beginner to an SEO Pro, and thus achieving your online business objectives.

Each block of this guide provides links to more insider resources. Thus, you are welcome to study at your own pace and return to the required block when necessary. Just bookmark this guide for easy and fast access!

As you master the science behind SEO, don't be afraid of making mistakes and getting confused. Don't give up! Our team is always ready to offer a friendly hand to help you get things straight.

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