How to Learn Search Engine Optimization

Woman taking notes learning about SEO.
If you’re new to SEO, it can be overwhelming. There is so much to learn and no shortage of resources out there to choose from when learning SEO.

The main priority as you embark on your SEO learning journey is to ensure you are getting the best information. This is not a regulated industry, and you will find different levels of SEO advice ranging from downright harmful to the best of the best.

In this article, I will outline how to learn search engine optimization, starting with the most important steps. I’ll also explain when and how to use the SEO resources out there along the way as we discuss:

SEO Training

SEO training is one of the best ways to start learning search engine optimization. There are many SEO training courses out there. I may be biased when I say that we have one of the best.

Structured SEO training is designed to get you familiar with the foundations of SEO so you can start doing SEO and building on your knowledge.

Since the 1990s, I’ve trained more than 5,000 students on how to do search engine optimization. The events of 2020 impacted all in-person SEO training, but we pivoted so that we could continue to provide the SEO education people need now more than ever.

So in March 2021, we launched an online version of our popular SEO training course.

The 12-section course covers all the important concepts and strategies in SEO, taught by me. But we raised the bar and made it more than just training. Our is a complete subscription website that gives you access to tons of SEO materials, live Q&As, SEO tools, and a forum to ask questions … in addition to the online course.

SEO Work

This one may seem obvious. But the best way to learn how to do search engine optimization (after you’ve had the proper training and are also up to speed on search engine guidelines like Google’s) is to dive in and do it.

And to be clear, you cannot do only keyword research for five years and claim you were doing SEO. Becoming an SEO requires expertise in a lot of practice areas.

SEO is best learned via experiments. Take an SEO symptom, determine the problem, solve it, and move on to the next symptom. Yes, we are guided by best practices, but many of these practices have been confirmed through experimentation.

So, after learning the foundations of SEO, start applying them to your website. Of course, you’re going to need the help of SEO tools, which are a staple of any SEO practice. Track the results, rinse, and repeat. You will eventually see the fruits of your labor and learn more about how to get results.

SEO Articles

Staying up to date on the latest and greatest strategies is a really important part of learning SEO. Every seasoned SEO practitioner worth their weight takes the time to read about current SEO issues, strategies, and trends each week.

Many SEO agencies and software vendors host fantastic blogs that offer a wealth of information on SEO, including how-to articles, research, and more. The major news outlets for the industry keep readers informed on changes to search engines as they happen.

So to stay sharp, stay connected:

SEO Events

Industry conferences (mostly virtual now) are a must-attend for anyone who is either learning or practicing SEO.

Industry events are both an excellent introduction to current topics and strategies for beginners. They also serve as continuing education for practitioners. You’ll get the most out of these events if you already come with a solid foundation of SEO knowledge.

The fact that most SEO industry events have become virtual doesn’t mean they are any less informative. The move to virtual, in fact, has made these events more accessible to more people. And that’s a good thing.

  • Check out SMX’s events lineup here.
  • PubCon events are listed here.
  • UnGagged information here.
  • Digital Summit events here.

SEO Books

Books on SEO are a great way to learn, depending on what type of learner you are. Many people who are learning and doing SEO keep popular SEO books on hand and use them as reference manuals when they are working on specific problems.

I am biased here as well when it comes to SEO books since I authored four editions of the Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies book, filled with 700-plus pages of SEO education. Of course, my book isn’t the only book on SEO, but it is the one I recommend. :)

I hope this article gives clarity on how to learn search engine optimization. Remember that SEO education never stops. I have been doing this for over 26 years, and I still spend several hours per week researching, learning, and experimenting — and my staff does, too. But that’s what makes SEO so much fun, right?

We provide much more than SEO training, articles, and books — our expert SEO services can help you learn SEO AND get better results for your business. Reach out to us for a free consultation.

FAQ: How can I start learning the basics of search engine optimization to enhance my online presence?

Search Engine Optimization is at the core of any successful online presence. Acquiring knowledge in basic SEO techniques will enable you to expand the visibility and reach of your website – whether that is through blogging, entrepreneurship or marketing — while this whitepaper provides all the steps necessary for expanding your reach online.

Establishing a Strong Foundation

To embark on your SEO journey, start by comprehending the core concepts. SEO is about tailoring your website’s content and structure to align with search engine algorithms. Begin with researching keywords relevant to your niche and target audience. These keywords will serve as the foundation for your content optimization efforts.

Content is King

Crafting high-quality, relevant content is paramount. Search engines reward websites that provide valuable information to users. Develop engaging and informative articles, blog posts, or product descriptions that resonate with your audience. Incorporate your target keywords naturally to enhance your content’s visibility in search results.

Technical Optimization

Technical aspects play a crucial role in SEO success. Ensure your website is user-friendly and easily navigable. Optimize page loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and URL structure. Implementing meta tags, header tags, and a sitemap further enhances your website’s search engine friendliness.

Building High-Quality Backlinks

Building a network of high-quality backlinks is essential for SEO. Seek opportunities to collaborate with reputable websites within your industry. Guest posting, influencer partnerships, and social media engagement can all contribute to acquiring valuable backlinks that establish your website’s authority.

Staying Informed and Adapting

SEO is a dynamic field that constantly evolves. Stay updated with industry trends, algorithm changes, and emerging best practices. Engage with SEO communities, attend webinars, and read authoritative blogs to stay informed. Regularly analyze your website’s performance using tools like Google Analytics to track progress and make necessary adjustments.

Step-by-Step Procedure: Learning SEO Basics for Enhanced Online Presence

  1. Understand the core concepts of SEO, including keywords and search engine algorithms.
  2. Research and identify relevant keywords that align with your website’s niche and target audience.
  3. Develop high-quality, valuable content that incorporates target keywords naturally.
  4. Make sure that your website is user-friendly, mobile-compatible, and quick loading.
  5. Enhance the technical elements of your website, such as header tags, meta tags, and sitemap.
  6. Build a network of high-quality backlinks by collaborating with reputable websites and influencers.
  7. Create engaging guest posts and explore opportunities for influencer partnerships.
  8. Engage with your audience on social media platforms to increase brand visibility and attract backlinks.
  9. Stay informed about industry trends, algorithm changes, and best practices through SEO communities, webinars, and blogs.
  10. Continuously analyze your website’s performance using tools like Google Analytics.
  11. Monitor keyword rankings, organic traffic, and user engagement metrics.
  12. Adapt your SEO strategies based on the insights gained from performance analysis.
  13. Regularly update and refresh your content to keep it relevant and valuable to your audience.
  14. Conduct thorough competitor analysis to identify areas for improvement and innovation.
  15. Utilize on-page optimization techniques, including proper header tags and image alt attributes.
  16. Leverage local SEO strategies if you have a physical business presence.
  17. Implement schema markup to enhance your website’s visibility in search results.
  18. Engage with online communities and forums to share insights and learn from other SEO enthusiasts.
  19. Experiment with different strategies and measure their impact on your website’s SEO performance.
  20. Embrace a mindset of continuous learning and adaptation to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of SEO.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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11 Replies to “How to Learn Search Engine Optimization”

Great article,
Thank you for the information provided

I have read your blog cautiously and i really liked this article. You have given great information on SEO which has truly helped me a lot and had more clarity on SEO.

Hi Brian,
Thanks for the post, you must have put some crazy amount of time into this. I have been going through your blogs 27 tips to increase traffic post last month and have already noticed a difference. And even though I just run a small blog (and have no experience) I am hoping to build my blog up to be a big competitor in my niche.

I have been having trouble getting back links so far. There are not a lot of bloggers in my niche. There are only hobby bloggers and huge websites. The huge websites are ignoring me and the hobby bloggers are not too interested in back links or guest posts. There are however a lot of Youtuber’s in my niche and I hoping that I can make a stronger connection with them. Would a link from a YouTube video description count as a good backlink?

Thank for all of your research,

Robert Stefanski


Thanks for your question! You’d think that because Google owns YouTube, they would view links from a YT video description as good backlinks. However, because there are millions of videos on the platform, Google most likely considers links from descriptions as mentions rather than backlinks. If the video is really popular, you may get increased views/traffic, but the best it’s going to be considered by Google is a mention.

Nice information Bruce,

No matter what you have learned through videos or events, if you are not putting that plan into practice, you will not be successful in SEO. As we all know, it is all about practice.

very informative blog about search engine optimization, we learn lot of SEO techniques on this blog. thanks for author that Provide the important information about seo.

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i would like to learn Search Engine Optimisation because its a great skill to have nowadays its going vast in modern world because all the work is done by the guide of google i know a little bit about this. because i have interest in I.T courses.

That’s great information! You have put lots of efforts into preparing this wonderful material!
It helps lots of people!

Thanks again!


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