Get Started in SEO: 1 Week Crash Course
New to online marketing? No problem. We have a super overview to get you up to speed in only one week, and plenty of reading materials to get you speaking SEO and implementing your very own online marketing campaign in no time*.
* there will be a lot of reading and learning, perhaps even some tears before we are done. But the rewards are there for the taking and, if you survive to the 7th day, you're guaranteed to reach the third circle of awesomeness**.
** or at least feel the superb high of achievement.
Learning SEO: Day 1, SEO Overview
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to the practice of optimizing your site to be as search-engine friendly as possible. More details: What is SEO?
Reading Material: The Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz
Get started by read the intro page. We'll be using this guide throughout the rest of week, so keep it handy!
The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors
SEO is largely broken down into two main areas: On Page Factors and Off Page Factors. Search Engine Land further breaks these down into 6 groups: Content, HTML, Architecture, Links, Trust, Social and Personal. Review the periodic table to get an overview of the topics we'll be covering in the next few days.
Learning SEO: Day 2, Search Engine Rankings
A lot of big and small things go into calculating search engine rankings. For instance, Google claims they use over 200 factors to determine the position of sites in their results. Read more: What factors are involved in search engine rankings?
Reading: From The Beginners Guide to SEO, read the first 3 chapters (don't worry, each chapter is a bout 1-2 pages long.) These will cover how search engines work, how people use them, and how SEO helps search engines make better use of your site.
Don't forget to checkout the Search Engine Ranking Factors survey to get a strong idea of what search engines are thinking when they rank websites.
Learning SEO: Day 3, On Page Factors
On page factors are those that you can control because they reside on your site. These includes everything from the HTML your site uses to markup titles, to how quickly your server responds to a page request.
Reading: From The Beginners Guide to SEO, read chapter 4: The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development.
Google published its own SEO Starter Guide (pdf) focused on on-page factors. It is a bit long but covers great details and is definitely worth a review now or at a later date.
Learning SEO: Day 4, Content is King
The richness and quality of your site's content is probably the single most important factor in online success.
Reading: From The Beginners Guide to SEO, read chapters 5 and 6 covering keywords, usability and content.
From the SEL Guide to SEO, read chapter 2 on content. This chapter provides follow up articles to cover all your questions. You may want to bookmark a few of those for reading at a later date.
Learning SEO: Day 5, Inbound Link Portfolio
Your inbound link portfolio is the strongest off page concern in SEO. It represents the quality and diversity of links pointing to your site. Search engines like Google like balance in linking and prefer sites that display a well-rounded, organic-looking, authoritative array of inbound links.
Reading: From The Beginners Guide to SEO, read chapter 7: Growing Popularity and Links
From the SEL Guide to SEO, read chapter 7 on trust and authority. This chapter provides a richer overview of authority. Start framing this knowledge under the question: what are good vs bad links?
Learning SEO: Day 6, Social Media
Social media is the future of the web and the fastest growing area of SEO. Your social media presence can contribute authority and plenty of traction to your SEO efforts.
Reading: We are still reading from Moz but this time is the blog post Your Guide to Social Signals for SEO.
From the SEL Guide to SEO, read chapter 6 on social media. As usual, this guide contains a wealth of links to additional knowledge. Be sure to bookmark some for future reading.
Learning SEO: Day 7, Advanced Topics
Wow! You now know so much about SEO you could start your own consulting firm. When your clients come to you for knowledge they probably will have some advanced questions about sitemaps, XML, RSS, Robots.txt... and even more, they will bring up concerns about penalties for bad behavior such as keyword stuffing and cloaking. Let's make sure we cover those subjects so you can always answer like an expert.
Reading: From The Beginners Guide to SEO, read chapters 8 and 9 on tools and services, as well as myths and misconceptions. You get a huge bonus point if you make it to the 10th and final chapter on tracking results.
From the SEL Guide to SEO, read chapter 9 on violations. Now that you are set to start optimazing your on page factors and carefully develop your link portfolio, it is just as important to know what NOT to do in SEO. As usual there are plenty of links to additional reading on this guide. Make sure to come back for more knowledge as time permits.