Why you should Learn SEO in 2021
In 2021, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become the backbone of digital marketing strategies due to its limitless scope and growth potential. Being able to be found on Google, Bing, and other search engines means that the (virtual) world is literally on your doorstep.
Over the years, we’ve become more reliant on search engines than ever before, due to their ability to answer all of our questions and guide us to the very information we need at the instant click of a button. We’ve even developed an ingrained habit of turning to search engines to acquire our information within milliseconds, which even saw Google’s own brand name make its own appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary.
There’s been no indication that SEO is slowing down any time soon, or that SEO is ‘dead’.
Therefore, teaching yourself SEO might have been a thought that’s run across your mind recently. You might also be wondering if it is even possible to learn SEO from scratch, or without prior marketing education?
To cut a long story short – it is absolutely possible to learn SEO yourself regardless of prior education and experiences. As long as you’re willing to put the time and effort into learning through the right resources, anyone can learn the art!
Maybe you’re considering SEO for a potential side project, maybe you represent a small business that is considering ramping up their SEO efforts, or you are just a curious reader researching around the topic and want to find out more.
This article was created to prove that anyone can benefit from learning SEO, as long as their time and effort are spent on the right resources – which we have provided below.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving your website so it will appear for relevant organic search results in search engines like Google and Bing.
In theory, if your website appears in searches, users will click on your search result – helping to bring traffic (people) to your website. This traffic is essentially ‘free’, as you appear for organic (non-paid) listings.
The idea is that if you set out and follow an effective strategy that prioritises best practices set by search engines over a long-term period, this will hopefully result in your website receiving more visitors month-on-month, resulting in increased conversions (which depending on your website could mean more sales, more downloads, more sign-ups, etc)
There are roughly 3.5 billion searches performed each day on Google. Google reports that 15% of all queries are entirely new and never been searched before, on a daily basis. As search engines are heavily relied on to provide information and answers to questions at the instant, SEO has become increasingly relevant, especially as we draw ever closer to a digital world.
Key Skills Acquired from Learning SEO
Having a basic understanding of SEO is a valuable resource that you can take with you anywhere and gives you countless advantages. It really doesn’t hurt to know how to be found on a service we all use every single day to search for specific information!
Research shows that Organic Search drives over 50% of internet traffic to a website, and that over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic, making Organic Search one of the most dominant channels to date, and one of the most increasingly demanded skills from employers.
There’s a reason Microsoft labeled SEO as the hardest skill to learn back in 2020! Therefore, taking the time to learn can result in real dividends later down the track.
As you start delving into the realm of websites and search engines, you will passively pick up a few additional skills on the way:
- Understanding Basic Page structure – you will begin to see what a clean page should look like
- Understanding Site Architecture – As you pencil out the customer journey for a website, you’ll notice flaws in the website architecture. For instance, how many Clicks does it take for the user to get from the homepage to the checkout page?
- Software Analytics – Understanding website data and how to draw insights and opportunities through software like Google Analytics, Google Search Console & Semrush
- User Experience (UX) – What does a user experience as soon as they enter the website? Is the navigation seamless, or is it clunky to use? Does the page look overcrowded with tons of information crammed in? Are your users jumping through too many hoops to perform a transaction?
- Local Business Presence – acquire vital knowledge, particularly useful if you’re a small business and want people in the local area to find you.
- Keyword Research – understand what people are searching for, the answers they are looking for, the words and terminology they adopt, the type of content they wish to consume, and spot opportunity
- Content Creation – this goes hand in hand with keyword research. Content creation involves planning a content strategy and serving up topics that users will enjoy, all while providing value.
- Basic Knowledge of how Websites and Search Engines Work – along the way, you’ll pick up basic coding elements from HTML, CSS & JS while exploring the technical side of SEO.
Learning SEO From Scratch
So it’s all well and good that we know what SEO is, and the skills up for grabs… but where is the best place to learn SEO?
Learning the SEO basics from scratch with free resources is entirely possible, and there is an abundance of online courses to learn from all from the comfort of your own home.
We did all the legwork for you, and listed our favorite go-to SEO resources to help arm those in their journey into becoming a true SEO Jedi!
This course by Google is a brilliant beginner resource for building the foundation of your digital marketing knowledge, and most importantly, explains how to set up digital marketing channels for your business.
Best of all, this course is completely free, and perfect for dipping your toe into the world of digital marketing by learning the basics of most digital channels. You can get a feel for how these channels work together to help businesses get found online, while understanding how to use Google’s digital marketing platforms and analytical tools to uncover opportunities.
The all-in-one course covers Search Engine Optimisation, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Social, Video, Email, Mobile & International over 26 modules jam-packed with bitesize videos and quick quizzes to test your learning.
It’s a brilliant resource to build a foundation of digital marketing knowledge, find a specialist area that appeals to you the most, and develop skills.
As a bonus, you receive a certificate upon completion of this course, which can help to showcase both your knowledge and passion in digital marketing on your CV, if you’re interested in a digital marketing career.
Probably the most detailed SEO guide on the internet and perfect for absolute beginners, created by the content team at Moz. Their guide is a free resource, with 7 chapters dedicated to explaining the very basics of SEO, and all the details in how search engines work to find, index, and rank websites.
If you’re intrigued about exploring Technical SEO, the Moz guide also delves into the technical side in later chapters, presenting this out in layman terms.
Invest a few hours into reading the Moz guide from start to finish, and you’ll come out with a wealth of information and guidance.
Hawk Academy was created by StudioHawk to make SEO accessible to everyone. It teaches the very fundamentals of SEO while giving a rare behind-the-scenes insight into the processes and optimisation strategies used by a specialist SEO agency that has created award-winning SEO campaigns.
The course deep dives into each pillar of SEO, covering everything there is to know about On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, & Technical SEO, alongside detailed tutorials and plenty of custom templates to take away.
While following the course’s roadmap, you can implement learnings on your own project in real-time to help build an SEO strategy that will help to build and increase your organic traffic for your website.
StudioHawk’s project website Wine Regions Australia was created for just this reason to show real results throughout the course, and that you really can rank a website from scratch!
It’s impossible to freeze SEO at one point in time as the industry changes on such a constant basis with new algorithms and updates which means information quickly becomes outdated and redundant. Hawk Academy noticed this flaw and ensures that content is constantly reviewed and new modules are added regularly, to ensure that learnings are fresh and concurrent.
If you’re interested, explore Hawk Academy’s free modules by creating a free account today to get started on the SEO Roadmap and learn how to rank your business on Google.
Learn SEO By Doing SEO
Practicing SEO is essential for solidifying learnings and gives practical context to all the information you have acquired. However, not everyone has their own website or blog to practice on, and it’s not always feasible to create them out of thin air.
So how can you actually practice SEO learnings without access to a website or a blog?
Instead, why not look at a small website you visit regularly, analyse it using free SEO tools, and create your very own SEO audit out of your findings? Maybe there’s a blog that you read religiously, a small retailer you purchase your gym kit from, or you could even perform an audit on your favourite local café around the corner that happens to have its own website.
There are always ways to improve a website, and developing your eye for spotting technical flaws or minor tweaks that could improve the user’s experience will help to add practical context to all of your newly acquired knowledge.
Have a look at your chosen website and use your learnings to find areas that aren’t abiding by SEO best practices and can be optimised. You can use a free tool like ScreamingFrog to gather website information at scale and speed, alongside a browser extension like SEO Minion to gain a wider lens into the errors and opportunities of a site on the URL level.
For example, are the title tags and meta descriptions optimised according to best practices? Maybe the homepage content is lacking and could benefit from more description to help users understand the purpose of the website, or could generally use a refresh as it was written 2 years ago? What does the heading structure look like? Do they use multiple H1s throughout?
Create your very own SEO audit and experiment as you please. This will give you the chance to practice writing reports and begin condensing SEO terms into a language that everyone can understand, which is really important as an SEO. If you’re unsure about your findings, you can use the above resources to refer back anytime.
Be confident in yourself, and most importantly, have fun with the process!
We hope this article has been able to provide some guidance on starting your journey into SEO, or at the very least, new areas and resources to explore!
Partnering with an SEO Agency
Working with an SEO agency means that you can gain the benefits of expert SEO specialists building your SEO campaign while simultaneously learning SEO. At StudioHawk, we are strong advocates of SEO education, and we work with you every step of the way to ensure that you have a strong understanding of SEO and understand the results that we achieve on our monthly campaigns.
If you’re interested in learning more about a StudioHawk SEO campaign and how we can help increase organic traffic to your website, contact us today.