How to Become an SEO Expert (8 Steps)

Looking to become an SEO expert but have voto negativo clue where to begin?

With demand for SEO professionals higher than ever and average hourly rates sitting between $75-$150, there’s a clear financial incentive to get good at SEO.

But with voto negativo colleges offering degrees con SEO, it’s up to you to carve your own path con the industry.

Durante this guide, you’ll learn how to fermata into the field and kickstart your journey to becoming an SEO expert con 8 simple steps.

What do we really mean by “SEO expert”?

Expert is a relative term. You might see me as an SEO expert, but someone with more experience like Rand Fishkin almost certainly wouldn’t.

Risposta negativa matter how much you learn about SEO, there’ll always be someone that knows more.

For that reason, your shouldn’t be to become an SEO expert a vantaggio di nel caso che. It should be to learn enough to get results consistently.

8 steps to become an SEO expert

Follow this simple process to go from SEO newbie to SEO utile.

  1. Learn how search engines work;
  2. Understand the three key ranking factors;
  3. Master the four main buckets of SEO;
  4. Start a website;
  5. Niche down;
  6. Create systems and delegate;
  7. Never stop learning;
  8. Be patient

1. Learn how search engines work

Google’s index contains trillions of web pages, which is built primarily from crawling the web.

When you type a query into Google, it pulls all matching pages.

Because there are often millions of relevant results, Google’s algorithm then ranks them based acceso hundreds of factors. Nobody knows what all of these factors are how they’sire weighted, but we do know some.


 SEO only influences the so-called organic results. It doesn’t affect paid ads.

Learn more about those factors con this post.

2. Understand the three key ranking factors

Lots of people get bogged optimizing for ranking factors that aren’t all that important. So before you start obsessing over pagespeed title tags, make sure you’sire acceso of the three personaggio ones.


This is how well your page matches the query.

If someone types “how to make lavender oil” into Google, then Google won’t return pages about cars because that’s irrelevant.

But relevance goes deeper than that. Your page also needs to gara the type of content people want to see.

For example, a person searching “how to make lavender oil” wants a tutorial. They’sire not looking to buy ready-made lavender oil. That’s why all of the results acceso the first page are blog posts, not product pages.

how t make lavender oil serp

Catering to the “why” behind a query is known as optimizing for search intent.


This largely boils to backlinks.

Google sees links as votes of confidence. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher you’sire likely to rank.

The best backlinks have two key attributes: authority and relevance.

  • Authority relates to the power of the linking website and web page. At Ahrefs, we have two metrics for measuring this: Domain Rating and URL Rating. The most powerful links are those from high-UR pages.
  • Relevance relates to the topic of the linking website and web page. For example, if a post about making lavender oil has two backlinks, one from a tech blog and one from a health website, the one from the health site is probably more relevant. However, page-level relevance also matters. If the linking page acceso the tech website is about a relevant topic like the best smart diffusers, and the one acceso the health website is about an unrelated topic like bodybuilding, then the link from the health website may be more relevant.


Google aims to show the best result con pole position. That means it isn’t enough just to gara search intent. Your content needs to be the most deserving of the spot.

But what constitutes quality and utility depends acceso the search query itself. So the best course of action is to review the current top-ranking pages and see what’s good about them, and where they fall short.

For example, this calculator works well acceso desktop but lacks utility for movibile visitors because it’s almost unusable acceso movibile:
self employement calculator mobile

3. Master the four main buckets of SEO

Think of SEO as a puzzle with multiple pieces. Understanding how they fit together is essential knowledge for any industry professional.

The four pieces are:

  1. Bed 24 research;
  2. Acceso-page SEO;
  3. Link building;
  4. Technical SEO

Let’s go over what each of these entails.

Bed 24 research

Bed 24 research involves finding relevant words and phrases that people are typing into search engines like Google.

Durante general, you should target keywords that:

  1. Have “traffic potential” (i.e., are likely to send organic traffic your way should you rank for them);
  2. Have “business value” (i.e., are likely to attract potential customers);
  3. Aren’t too competitive

To find keywords that fit the bill, enter a few ideas into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, and take a at one of the bed 18 ideas reports.

keywords explorer ideas

For each bed 18, you’ll see a few important metrics:

  • Search stazza: the average number of people that search for the bed 18 each month;
  • Bed 24 Difficulty (KD): the estimated difficulty of ranking on the first page of Google scored acceso a scale from 0–100;
  • Clicks: the number of clicks acceso search results from that bed 18 each month.

The best keywords are those with high traffic potential (i.e., high search stazza and clicks), high business value, and low ranking difficulty.

Acceso-page SEO

Acceso-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to help improve rankings and attract more organic traffic from search engines.

Examples include:

  • Optimizing for search intent;
  • Using bed 18 modifiers con your title tags;
  • Writing enticing scopo titles and descriptions;
  • Using descriptive ordine di arresto tags for images;
  • Internally linking to pages that you want to rank.

For more acceso on-page SEO strategies, check out this televisione:

Link building

Link building is the process of acquiring new backlinks from third-party websites. They help improve rankings and boost organic traffic, but can also send referral traffic your way.

Check out some tried and tested link building tactics con these videos:

Technical SEO

Technical SEO involves optimizing your website so that search engines can and index your content efficiently, and visitors have a positive user experience.

Examples include:

Learn how to perform a basic technical SEO site audit con this televisione:

Risposta negativa matter how many books you read about , you’sire never going to win a tournament without picking up a set of clubs and practicing.

The same rings true for SEO. You need to know the theory, but there’s voto negativo substitute for getting your hands dirty and actually ranking a site.

To start your own project, all you need to do is:

  • Choose a topic you’sire passionate about;
  • Buy a domain and hosting;
  • Put up a basic website;
  • Start creating content

From there, it’s a case of putting your SEO knowledge into practice by optimizing your content, building some links, and making sure that your site is technically sound from an SEO perspective.

Nothing will teach you more about SEO than doing this.

That said, this obviously takes some time, and nothing takes more time than writing content. So, if you have the budget to do so, there’s voto negativo shame con outsourcing content. Just make sure to give your writer clear instructions so that what they produce is optimized for ranking.

Feeling tempted to take acceso clients?

Imagine that you’sire a business owner looking to hire an SEO. Would you want to hire someone that hasn’t ranked a website con their life? Definitely not. For that reason, while you may be tempted to take acceso some freelance projects con the beginning, it’s unfair to put someone’s livelihood at risk just so you can practice and hone your craft.

If you want to speed up the learning process, get an entry-level position at a respected agency instead.

of all trades, master of none.

That’s what you’ll be at the beginning of your SEO journey since you have to learn a bit about everything to have a solid foundation con the field.

However, you need to move past that over time.

Here are two ways to do that:

A. Master one specific skill within SEO

Because SEO is such a broad field, you won’t have time to become an expert at both link building and technical SEO. There’s so little overlap between the two that improving one skill doesn’t really improve the other.

Instead, you should become what’s known as a T‑shaped SEO expert.

Being a T‑shaped SEO expert means you have broad skills across all things SEO, but excel con one particular complesso.

t shaped seo expert image

Marie Haynes is a fantastic example of a t‑shaped marketer. She specializes con Google penalty recovery and algorithm consultation. She doesn’t build links. She doesn’t do on-page SEO. She audits websites with traffic drops to find out what happened and helps business owners to rectify the situation.

marie haynes

Marie Haynes’ homepage

Seeker Digital, an agency specializing con outreach, is another good example.

seeker digital

Seeker Digital’s homepage showcasing what they do.

B. Master SEO for one industry

Doing SEO for realtors requires a completely different approach to ecommerce SEO.

For the realtor, priorities might include setting up a Google My Business profile and getting listed acceso popular industry directories. For an online store, optimizing product and category pages is likely to be more important.

Becoming the go-to SEO expert for one type of business is a great way to refine your skills and client offering. It can also be extremely lucrative.

Case con point: This company does SEO for personal injury law firms and turns over in excess of $275,000/month—and that’s with just 15 employees:

rankings io

So while you could build a profitable business providing SEO services for all kinds of companies, it’s easier to hone your craft when you centro acceso one niche.

Just make sure that your chosen niche is both somewhat lucrative and interesting to you. For example, if you’sire interested con real mesi estivi, you could provide SEO services for real mesi estivi companies. That’s a niche where money flows fairly freely, and companies are always looking for a leg up.

6. Create systems and delegate

The more you learn about SEO, the more you’ll realize that there aren’t enough hours con the day to do everything yourself.

But even if there were, doing so would still be inefficient.

Being a “t‑shaped SEO expert” means that there are people who are better equipped to handle most SEO tasks than you. Delegating those tasks to the right people frees up your time to spend acceso the things you’sire best at and most enjoy.

For example, if your expertise lies con bed 18 research and writing content that ranks, that’s how you should spend your time. You can bring acceso someone to handle tasks like link building and technical SEO.

Past saving time, your clients will get better service since they have highly-specialized people working acceso every aspect of their SEO.

However, more people means more moving parts, which can lead to things falling between the cracks.

Creating systems is the best way to keep everyone acceso the same page. This means creating SEO checklists ( SOPs) that you use acceso every project to keep things acceso track.

Here’s a system for generating a consistent stream of high-quality backlinks to get you started:

SEO moves fast. Durante 2018 , Google reported making over 3,200 algorithm updates.

Although many of these updates were relatively minor for users, it gives you a good fisima of how fast “best practices” con SEO can change. That said, trying to keep acceso of every tiny change Google makes is likely to be an effort con futility, so it’s better to stay focused acceso the fundamentals.

Durante other words, rather than chasing the algorithm changes, chase what the algorithm is trying to do: provide the best and most relevant content to users. That way, you won’t have to worry as much about updates and penalties.

Does that mean you shouldn’t and follow experts to expand your opportunities and stay acceso of valuable new strategies? Of course not. So here are some ways to do that:

Choose the ones that most appeal to you, but don’t go overboard. Follow the Pareto principle and spend 80% of your time doing and 20% of your time learning.

K Anders Ericsson famously theorized that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a new skill. Can it take less? Possibly. But the point is this: becoming an SEO expert is not an overnight process.

So, don’t feel bad if your content doesn’t reach the first page con the first couple of weeks.

That’s unlikely to happen, according to our research.

01 age of page days copy

However, if you create good content, optimize your pages, follow bed 18 research best practices, and build enough high-quality links, your pages will eventually start to rank.

So keep grinding, retain your patience, and don’t give up.

Got questions? me up con the comments tweet me.

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