3 Years Later, Everything I’ve Learned About SEO, The Good & The Ugly

I’ve been learning SEO (search engine optimization) for a while.

It will make me rich, or so I thought when I first started.

I’m telling you freely. I’ve not earned the amount I expected. (My major earnings are from being a content writer, which is something I do before diving deeper into SEO). Calculating how much I have spent, the work I have done, and the time I put in, I probably have spent a few thousand.

But that’s not the point of today’s post. I want to share some valuable tips for people who are trying to learn SEO in 2022 or the nearest future.

Are you starting a small business? Are you trying to understand this type of marketing?

Well, you’re welcome to this page.

Brace up, though. Most of the time, I tell the truth, especially when writing on this blog.

Back story

I started learning SEO in 2020 during the lockdown.

I was taught the basics, understood some black hat techniques, and started a self-help blog.

But I lost interest because I wasn’t seeing results after a few months into it.

SEO blogging was consuming. It demands a lot of time and work. The reward at the beginning is nonexistence. So I gave up my former blog.

No more blogging. No more SEO.

However, I was deep into it already. All the knowledge was like a waste if I didn’t continue.

The communities I had joined were still giving tips and updates. Gradually, I began to see my mistakes and possibilities.

I permitted myself to start over.

I took an SEO course (Hubspot academy) started this blog, and began to implement what I’ve learned.

I continued taking other courses, like Semrush technical SEO course and the HubSpot content marketing course.

So, here I am.

This blog has 50 blog posts so far. The result hasn’t been great, but I am seeing progress which is all that’s important at the moment.

Everything I am sharing comes from starting and quitting and then starting over.

10 Things I Realised while learning SEO

Learning SEO is a journey. It will help you understand a lot of things about the popular websites you read and how they make money.

I can’t mention all the things the process has done to me — the obsession to check the Google search console every minute, the search for the latest SEO writing tips, the persistent questioning of why my post isn’t ranking, the wait for a new trend, or what Google Updates.

But I will summarize all the important things for those learning SEO from scratch.

Let’s begin.

#1. It’s hard

No one has it easy nowadays. Google doesn’t care about your desire to make the internet a better place or your purpose in life. The other search engines don’t care, either.

So to make real progress, you have to do the work. My mantra is to do something every day to get what you want. Even if it is five minutes studying or tweeting a line, do something EVERY DAY.

#2. Learn the fundamentals of things

To have a successful career as an SEO consultant, you need to be good at three things.

  • How a website works
  • How search engine works
  • The mindset of website users

These are important. Many beginners think they have to learn just SEO, but it’s more than that. Your job is to know the expectations of users and how a search engine or website works. Then use your understanding of all these to facilitate business goals.

But first, you have to start with the foundation. I mean that you have to pick books and courses that help you understand the concept behind each — website, search engine, and human psychology.

Once the foundation is good, you can build a house or a big-bold mansion on what you have.

Without a sound knowledge of the fundamentals, you’re doing SEO like a preschooler in physics lessons. It’s going to be very hard. You might end up going in circles.

I will recommend taking an SEO course, one web development course, and books that explain marketing or human psychology. They won’t just help to become an SEO professional. They will help you in every other endeavor you start.

#3. Practice

You will realize that most of the things you learned aren’t working for the first few months. It’s normal.

But why?

Well, blame it on SEO course sellers who tell you about some magic in their course curriculum.

When you start practicing SEO, you will realize a lot of truth.

And you won’t follow through with most of the best practices until you realize the need to obey them. Call that ‘reality-check’.

You will learn about your carelessness or forgetfulness and amend your ways. In your next project, you won’t make the same mistake.

And that’s the beauty of it. Practicing SEO is far greater than all the courses and articles you’re reading.

So start a blog, get a job as an intern, or volunteer somewhere.

You will get more value from doing the work than from reading how to do the work.

3. Consistency matters

This is one of my mistakes. I didn’t put effort regularly.

Because I have to put food in my mouth, I would blog for a day, then go away, to return next month or next week.

Now, I know better.

I know I should create a habit that allows me to learn SEO and implement that knowledge every week.

Looking back on my lifestyle and the work that put food on my table, I could have allocated 45 minutes of studying every day plus blogging twice a week.

This blog is about 1 year and two months old. I could have written 50 blog posts in, say, six months.

If I was learning SEO for 45 minutes every day, I should be in a better position knowledge-wise.

But plans are easy to follow in your head and fantasies. Reality always has different ideas.

What I can do now is to improve my commitment to the process.

Want to know how to teach yourself SEO? Learn the fundamentals and start practicing. Stay consistent for a year or two.

#4. About Courses

Some of the questions I see include, how do I learn SEO?

There’s one answer for that: PRACTICE.

But before you start practicing, you need to understand the basics.

Courses or working with someone/small agency are your best bets.

However, one thing to correct in my journey is the continuous search for more knowledge before I start practicing.

That’s bad. Doers (who have the right knowledge) will change their world. Not just consumers.

What I would do differently is, study a course. Then start practicing. I will go back to the course material from time to time until I grasp the whole concept.

I will keep learning more after I start practicing, not before that.

This will be my simple roadmap for learning SEO:

Learn — practice + reconsult learning materials — action — seek new learning materials — action — repeat all.

5. Networking/content distribution are important

Have I said no one cares about your new websites yet?

For beginners, no one will care.

With time, people will begin to notice you and what you’re building.

But to grow faster, you have to network. You have to distribute your content effectively.

Write guest posts. Meet people and tell them about your website. Tell them to check it out.

You should put as much effort into distributing as you create content. Share, share and share where people would like to see your content.

#6. You still have to pitch

I am very poor at pitching or sending cold emails to strangers that aren’t expecting one from me. My introverted head always thinks it’s offensive and annoying.

But as an SEO professional, you have to pitch and send cold emails. That’s how you get jobs and backlinks during the early days.

I used Hackernoon, LinkedIn, Quora, and Twitter.

You might ask why I am not getting a lot of traffic yet.

Answer — I have not been as consistent with distribution as I should have been.

#7. Use Topic Clusters

Topic cluster helps search engines to understand your website faster. Keeping things organized will make it a lot easier and better for crawlers. You’re likely to rank for some of the keywords too.

An example, the last 10 posts on this blog have the central keyword “content writing.” I have written many posts around that and linked to the main page with “content writing” as its target keyword.

This process will tell both search engines and visitors that the blog has extensive resources (and keywords) around that central keyword.

By the way, this is someone’s case study I am experimenting with.

If you check my earliest blog posts, I was writing about everything that matters to a business owner — productivity, sales, social media addiction, SEO.

You will get better results if you start with topic clusters. Check this post to learn more about it.

8. It takes time

This is the saddest part of it. Some people double down their effort and commitment, which is great.

However, they still have to wait and be patient for the results. It is what it is.

9. You can get addicted

It’s addictive. Simple.

If you keep doing something regularly, you’ll get addicted.

10. Things change

I am not making money yet, and people are already arguing about the possibility of Artificial Intelligence taking up the work of content creation.

I have to update my knowledge regularly because I’m in a somewhat technical field, and things change quickly. Adaptation is paramount.

How?

  • Stay connected with other people in the industry. Use Twitter or Reddit
  • Subscribe to industry newsletters. Most SEO tools have one (Ahref & Semrush are great).

Learning SEO is fun

It’s more rewarding when you start seeing results in the Google search console. It’s like being a miracle worker.

But that result is hard to come by, and I’m hoping I won’t give up a second time.

Do you need SEO content writing services? You can check the service page from the Menu to see the full description of how I can help you grow your business. Send a mail to hadehwrites(@) gmail.com.

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