I have been working as an SEO Expert for about 6 years now. I have ranked personal websites, I have worked with clients from all over the world and I have had SEO jobs too where I had to manage client websites to rank them higher on SERPs.
When I wrote my How to become a digital nomad guide, a lot of you asked me on social media to write a blueprint on how to become an SEO expert.
That’s what this article is all about.
As an SEO myself, I have seen the industry first hand. I have ranked sites, I have coached 1000+ students in Bangladesh to rank their own websites with Passive Journal University (my coaching in Bengali language). I even did a public case study where I bought a domain, built a site, ranked it and sold it, while documenting the whole process live for my students.
Hi, I'm Khalid...
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So I know one or two things about ranking websites on the first page of Google (which is what SEO is all about).
Ready to find out how to become an SEO expert yourself in next 6 weeks?
Let’s dive in!
The Knowledge Phase
Assuming you don’t even know what SEO stands for, we will start with the knowledge phase. This phase will last for 2-3 weeks depending on how good you are in receiving information.
In this phase, we would like to experience a 30,000 feet overview of the SEO industry (aka, the big picture).
Fortunately for you, as you are already here, I would like to give you a quick overview of the knowledge phase, just to make your life a little easier.
So you already know that SEO is the process of getting a website ranked first on search engines like Google for keywords (a keyword is a word that people use to search for information on Google).
There are two basic divisions in the SEO world which are, on page and off page SEO.
On Page SEO
Everything that you do within the website (fixing titles, fixing copy, images, internal linking, fixing technical issues and 100s of other activities) would be considered on page SEO.
Off Page SEO
Things that you do outside your website to get you ranked higher would be off page SEO. For example, when you are sharing an article on Facebook, you are not directly doing anything on your website. Or, when you are getting a backlink (more on that later), you are not changing anything on your personal website.
You get the idea.
In the knowledge phase, you will have to gather as much information as you can about both on and off page SEO.
This shouldn’t take more than 4 weeks if you ask me. Though it seems a lot, there aren’t a lot of information that you need to gather as a beginner.
Here’s what I would do if I had to learn SEO again..
Now that I know I need to learn both on and off page SEO, I would google the term ‘on page SEO’ as the first step. Here’s what I get from Google with a quick search.
As you can clearly see, industry leaders like Moz, Ahrefs and others have published great guides around the topic of on page SEO. They are simple to read, easy to understand (for the most part) and actionable too.
I would take a day or two off and read everything that I see on the first 5 pages of Google (50 results approximately).
I don’t need to necessarily understand everything that I am reading because it is still early days. I would probably not understand some of the lingo, some metrics and even some of the words but that’s alright.
I don’t need to understand everything as I am just in the knowledge phase.
Once I am done reading everything from the top 5 pages of Google, I will go for YouTube. Here’s a quick video to get you started:
Note: I don’t personally agree with some of the strategies mentioned in the video but I still think this is a good starting point for most of you as a beginner.
Now I will simply follow the same strategies for ‘off page SEO’ by Googling the same. Ideally, I will receive great suggestions from Google (thanks to the SEO effort by people in the industry) and I will read everything that I can find about off page SEO.
We are at the very end of the knowledge phase. If you have followed along, now you have a very clear idea about everything related to on and off page SEO.
The final nail on the coffin for now would be reading a book. I recommend ‘The Art of SEO’. Here’s a link in case if you want to buy it on Amazon.
In case if you are not a fan of reading books, I would recommend downloading it on Audible (free for first 30 days). Also, just to let you know that this is a ‘huge’ book so make sure you got enough time to cover this.
The Action Phase
If you have spent a good amount of time in the Knowledge phase, you now know enough about SEO than 99% of people out there.
However, this knowledge means nothing if you don’t implement it to see what you learnt is true or not.
That’s where the action phase kicks in.
I would recommend starting by creating a simple blog. It can be a website under your name, it can be a blog on something that you are passionate about or it can be just a random project to test your learnings.
This is important. Don’t assume you learnt SEO by reading and listening to books + videos. You learnt nothing till you implement your learnings.
If you are new to the world of internet marketing, you will quickly realize at this stage that you don’t know a lot of things.
Maybe, you don’t know how to even create a blog. That might happen and there’s no shame in that.
In that case, we will simply create a new Knowledge phase to learn how to create a blog.
Again, go back to the journey, start by Googling how to create a blog and you will find thousands of quality resources, for free.
Start reading and you will have a blog before you know it.
Once you have one, start implementing your learnings. Do those small H1 changes, do the meta boxes, do the image Alt text, do off page SEO, get a few Backlinks if you can.
Don’t worry about succeeding or failing the battle. You are just learning.
By the end of action phase, you should have a website that is ranking on Google for some competitive terms.
If that’s not the case, go back to the knowledge phase and start gathering more knowledge.
The action phase and the implementation phase sounds similar but they are a little different. An implementation phase is where you will try to earn your first $ using your SEO skills.
You are not an SEO if you have not made any money doing SEO.
So we will try to make some money at this stage.
Fortunately, there are 100s of ways to make money with the skills you learnt so far in the world of SEO. I will just recommend some of my favorite methods but you can go your way and it doesn’t have to match mine.
Search engine optimization is a booming industry. According to Search Engine Land, the SEO industry is worth $65 Billion USD and that was in 2016. It is well over $100b now if you ask me.
Every day, thousands of jobs are posted on these marketplaces where freelancers bid to get the job.
It is not the easiest of methods because you have to compete with other freelancers to get a job but it gets easier once you get your first job.
If you head over to my About Me page, you will be able to look at my Upwork profile. I used to be a freelancer and I still occasionally do freelance work. It is fun, it is good money and you get to meet so many amazing clients on top of that.
Get a SEO Job
Why not get a traditional SEO job?
If you head over to popular job search portals like Indeed or LinkedIn, you will see 100s of SEO jobs there, published daily.
Yes, some of those will require you to work from the location so it might not suit the digital nomad lifestyle, however, it is still a start and some of them allow you to do work from home.
SEO positions typically start at around $25,000/year and it can go as high as $70,000/year on average (of course there are exceptions).
Try to apply for an entry level position, tell them why they should hire you and you will soon have a SEO role in a company.
Start Your Own Business
If you are confident with your SEO skills (thanks to the knowledge phase), you can start your own business now. It can be creating and ranking blogs to make money with methods like Ads, affiliate links or it can be selling SEO service directly to companies using your skills.
That’s what we do with our SEO service here.
I would not recommend starting your own SEO business, if you are new because there’s no reason why a client should allow you to play with their business when you are not experienced and haven’t proven anything.
A good idea can be offering free SEO services to clients to get noticed and you can always take it from there.
Our quest to understand, how to become a SEO expert ends here. It is your time now to take actions. Before you start your journey of taking actions, tell me in the comments, what stage of SEO you are in right now?
Are you a rookie who has never ranked a website? Are you somewhat experienced who has got a few clients but don’t have a complete understanding of SEO or are you an expert, who has ranked and sold websites or worked with businesses and are now looking to grow?
Would love to know your thoughts.