In 2009, I started my first website and itwas a rude awakening.
The consumer need was strong, the productwas great, and I thought I was one heck of a guy.
Now, after telling my friends and adding some spammy posts on classified sites, I was making like four hundred bucks a week whichwas awesome and super-exciting back then.
But I wanted more! So I started researching about digital marketingstrategies and came across search engine optimization.
And after hours of learning, the only thingI came out with is that SEO is the key to natural and scalable growth.
But I was a busy guy making four hundredbucks a week.
So I did what all entrepreneurs are supposed to do.
I hired an agency.
Two weeks later, the agency disappeared andI was angry.
So I mustered up my energy and decided tolearn SEO myself.
Fast-forward almost eleven years and I'vebeen able to rank sites, sell them for profits, and here I am, creating SEO tutorials forone of the biggest SEO tools out there.
Now, eleven years is a long time to learn SEO.
So today, I'm going to share with you howI would do things differently so you can get a shortcut to higher rankings and more traffic.
[music] What's up aspiring SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche.
Welcome to the world of SEO: the place wherenothing is certain and so called SEO experts are preaching completely different things.
It's a crowded and noisy space where it'seasy to get information overload from so many conflicting tactics and strategies.
And if you're spending the majority of your timereading and consuming guides on how to do SEO, then you won't have time to actually try it and become dangerous.
And for that reason, this tutorial is goingto highlight some of the principles that I think are absolutely critical to learn SEO fast and effectively.
Let's get to it.
Now, the first thing you need to do is nailthe fundamentals.
Let's say you wanted to learn how to drive a car.
Before you can get to things like drifting, you need to learn the rules of the road.
You need to learn how to start the car, accelerate, and gradually hit the brakes to come to a smooth stop.
Without these fundamentals, you wouldn't evenbe able to get from point A to point B.
And SEO is the same.
You need to nail the fundamentals before youcan generate meaningful traffic to your site through search engines like Google.
So the two SEO fundamentals you should learnare keyword research and on-page SEO.
After that can come the basics of technicalSEO, and a couple of link building strategies.
Now, rather than going any further into these techniques, I recommend watching some of our step-by-steptutorials that are all in the description for you.
Alright, so after you've nailed the fundamentals, something I highly recommend doing is getting an internship at a respected agency.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.
” Now, whether you want to build your own authoritysites or become VP of SEO at a large company, the best place to start your career in SEOis by getting involved with people who are right there in the trenches.
And the great thing about agency work is thatyou get the opportunity to work in various industries and on multiple types of websites.
Rather than Googling or looking to a jobsboard for something like “SEO internship, ” write a list of people or companies you respectin the industry.
These might be people you follow on social media, or you might be subscribed to their email newsletters.
After you have your list, take some time toget on their radar.
You can do something as simple as leaving thoughtful comments on their content because it'll pay to be a recognizable name and face in their inbox.
Then reach out with your value propositionin how you would be a great fit for their company.
Now, I do want to note that if you havezero experience in digital marketing, offer to work for free for a few months.
Yes, it might be a stretch, but you'll be gettingvaluable experience, some hand-held help from someone you respect, and an understandingof what SEO looks like as processes.
Perform the best that you can, learn as muchas possible, and that internship could very well turn into a paid or permanent position.
Another thing I highly recommend is to applythe 80/20 rule to SEO.
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, suggests that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
And since “effects, ” aren't going to comefrom reading or watching videos, I suggest you spend 80% of your time practicing SEOand 20% of the time learning.
If you're spending more than 20% of your timeconsuming content, you'll end up wasting time and information overload can paralyze youfrom doing anything at all.
And as your knowledge grows, you'll find thatyou won't get distracted by shiny tactics and become hyper-focused on things that willactually make a difference for your bottom line.
The next thing you should focus on is refining processes rather than searching for shortcuts to methodology.
Seth Godin said: “Things that look like shortcutsare usually detours disguised as less work.
” SEO in itself is a process and tasks oftenrequire multiple steps.
And these so called “shortcuts” can often takeyou two steps back instead of one step forward.
So rather than looking for things that mayviolate Google's Webmaster Guidelines, focus on breaking down micro tasks within your macro tasks and then improving efficiency.
For example, if you're noticing that finding emails takes up a lot of your time in your link building process, consider outsourcing that or using the spreadsheetfrom our 15-minute link building campaign starter.
Or if you feel like publishing new contenttakes up way too much time, then take 10-minutes to research productivity processes for blogging.
Then try the processes out rather than hiringwriters for $10 a pop.
The next thing in my opinion, is one of thegreatest skillsets that all great SEOs have.
And that's perseverance.
SEO requires practice.
And practice requires perseverance.
And like all good things in life, the greatestthings come through failures.
The best way to illustrate what I mean is by using the topic of link building as our example.
I can't even tell you how many times I've heardpeople say things like “link building isn't important.
” It drived me crazy.
Even Google explains that their algorithmlooks at things like the “quality of content.
” And the example they use to define quality is thatif other prominent websites link to the page, which is a proven sign that the informationis well trusted.
On top of that, there are numerous industrystudies that show clear positive correlations between the number of unique websites linking to a page and the amount of search traffic the page gets.
And the same goes for the number of keyword rankings.
So why so much hate towards link building? Because it's hard and if you don't have grit, you won't survive.
Now, I don't blame people for hating on link building.
Afterall, the process usually requires outreach to complete strangers trying to get them to link to your site.
But it's all about perspective.
If you think about it like that, yea.
But if you can think about it as a way to bring somethinginteresting and valuable to people's attention, those emails are usually welcomed.
So as you try some different SEO-related tasks, keep your head up.
Accept rejection instead of feeling down andtake it as a learning experience instead.
For example, if I were completely new to link building, I'd send around 50 emails with one approach.
Then I'd measure and see how people respondedbased on the number of link conversions.
Then I'd take my learnings and improve onthe next 50 emails.
By analyzing your successes and failures, you'll always be improving and outreach will become a natural and somewhat fun way to connectwith other people in your space.
After you've had some practice, the next thingyou need to do is prioritize based on the things that are working for you.
The last site I sold was in the health niche.
And throughout 2018, on average, I workedon the site for maybe 2 and a half hours per week.
Now, what worked really well for that sitewas targeting low-competition topics since health is such a huge niche.
So with the limited time I had, I spent mostof that doing keyword research.
I'd send a rough outline to a freelance writer, have my editor polish the article, and then finish it off with some on-page SEO work.
And that alone resulted in more than doublingmy organic traffic.
In fact, if you look at my link profile, it was actually declining during that same time period.
And it wasn't until January 2019 that I startedfocusing on building links and ranking for more competitive keywords.
And shortly after I started, the site was bought out.
My point is that you don't need to do everythingat once if you're a one-person team or you're not fully committed to a project.
Instead, focus on the things that are workingwithin the time you have available.
And then start branching out to other thingsthat can help give your organic traffic a boost.
Last but not least, SEO is a game of patience.
We conducted a study on how long it takesto rank in Google and we found that on average, only 5.
7% of pages ranked in the top 10 withinthe first year of being discovered.
And what was even more surprising is thatnearly 75% of pages never ranked in the top 100 in the first year.
Generally speaking, if you're targeting keywordsthat your site can compete for, you've nailed the keyword research and on-page SEO, and you have enough links to be competitive, then I'd say to give it 6-12 months to rank.
Now, while SEO is time-consuming, the rewardsare obviously incredible.
Free, passive, and consistent traffic thatdoesn't fade over time.
So my recommendation right now is that ifyou're completely new to SEO, nail those fundamentals by watching our tutorial on doing keywordresearch for new websites.
Then actually go and do some keyword research.
And after you've done that, watch our tutorialon doing on-page SEO.
Then actually go and do some on-page SEO.
Again, I've linked up all videos in the descriptionthat I think you could massively benefit from, so check those out and if you have any questions, leave one in the comments below.
And of course, if you enjoyed this video, make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO tutorials.
So keep grinding away, do more than you read, and I'll see you in the next tutorial.