I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, and an SEO writer since 2007. I often receive requests from others who want to do this type of writing asking me how I learned it. So, how did I learn SEO? I taught myself and went on to create an SEO copywriting class.
If you don’t want (or can’t afford) to invest in a class, learning the fundamentals are easy; all it takes is time. Following is how I went about it.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
If you want to know something, start from the beginning. When I first started out, I didn’t know anything about concepts like keyword density, blackhat tactics, how to write meta tags, backlinks, etc. So I started from scratch by Google the acronym “SEO” and doing some in-depth reading. Once I’d read five or six articles, I had a good grasp of what this field was all about.
Learn SEO Terminology
When I was researching what search engine optimization was all about, I ran across industry-specific terms like anchor text, long-tail keywords, and latent semantic indexing (LSI). As I didn’t know what these were, I wrote them down and looked them up individually.
After gaining an understanding, I tried to figure out how each concept fit into the overall strategy of SEO. As an aside, when you start reading about SEO, you’ll start to get a “big picture” idea of what it’s all about.
I liken it to doing a jigsaw puzzle. You already know what the final picture is going to look like from the photo on the box, but you have to figure out where each puzzle piece (each SEO concept) fits in the overall scheme.
When You Learn SEO, It’s Important to Learn What Not to Do
There’s a lot of info to ingest when you take it upon yourself to learn SEO. Some of it can seem contradictory, which can make it confusing. That’s why it’s just as important to learn what not to, as it is to learn what to do.
To cut down on the confusion, what I did was go directly to the guidelines of Google. Why Google? Quite simply because it is the most popular search engine by far, delivering well over 50% of search results in the world. So for me, it made sense to figure out how not to run afoul of their policies. You should also learn about the tens of SEO tools including writing and paraphrasing tools available free online that could help you devise your strategy.
I started with their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (pdf file). Google’s Adwords Learning Center is also another good place to learn more about SEO. Even though the AdWords Learning Center is for advertisers, it’s good knowledge for SEO writers because a lot of the practices you put to use in advertising on Google are precisely the types of things you should be aware of as an SEO copywriter.
Learn SEO: Conclusion
The above is how I got started. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that if you want to learn SEO – and make money as an SEO writer — you have to be prepared for it to be an ongoing education. This is because search engine guidelines change all the time. Google itself has said that it makes over 500 changes a year to its search algorithm. Hence, to stay informed, I read articles on this subject on sites WebProNews, SearchEngineWatch, and DailySEOBlog all the time.