You Are an Expert SEO, but How Do You Prove It?

I’m not doubting that you are a qualified Expert SEO, but my question for you is, "How do you prove just how qualified you are, especially when attempting to solicit new clients?"

Now before you take the question personally (please don’t!), let’s step back and ask this in a more general, industry-centric way. How does anyone prove that they are an expert SEO? What are the qualifications or milestones and how does one prove that they have earned the title?

Years ago (many years ago!), it used to be that all one had to do is show the results in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and demonstrate to their future clients how quickly they could give them top rankings. (It was also a lot easier back then to get a top ranking!).

However, now there are all of these rules. (Are they really rules, or just a particular entity’s “opinion” and then again, that opinion does, uh, matter quite a bit if one is ranking on that “entity,” if you know what I mean.)

Before I talk in circles more than what I am already doing, let’s just say that results do not always prove capability and capability is not always demonstrated in results.

So, let’s go back to our original question. How can you prove you competence, and more importantly, your expertise in the area of search engine optimization?

Let me offer one way of proving yourself, or at least providing something tangible that your clients may be able to see with their own eyes. That is, certification.

Certification Demonstrates Acquisition (Mastery) of Knowledge

Certification is not a new concept. In fact, there are many different companies who offer certification and offer it for different knowledge areas.

There are many different skill sets for which you can get certified out there in the real, as well as the virtual world. But, there are also other free certification programs (including HubSpot) available to whet your appetite and get you ready for bigger and better opportunities. That is just a mention of two ends of the spectrum of training and certification available on the internet.

Read further down to hear about some of those favorable things that are said about Simplilearn, not just my words, but other learners who have taken the Simplilearn course(s)!

Whichever path you choose, there are quite a few options available when it comes to “getting certified” in your skill set (and new skill sets).

In this case, since we are talking about proving that you are an expert in the knowledge and application of search engine optimization skills and the skill set as a whole, we would be referencing a type of SEO certification. And, I know just the place that offers the training that you need for SEO certification. That place is Simplilearn.

Simplilearn’s Track Record of Excellent Ratings

Simplilearn, with their “Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certification Training” has done very well for themselves, with 1,318 learners and a near perfect star rating. Almost fifteen hundred students can’t be wrong, can they?

Tip: When you are looking for a training company and/or a certification company, be sure to see what others say about them. You want to check out the testimonials, the reviews, the ratings. In this case, Simplilearn has them.

Online Learning at its Best

Online learning has been around for a while. Several universities offer it and have developed ways for learners to incorporate traditional methods of learning in virtual (privacy of their own homes) environments.

Simplilearn has done the same thing and offers it in a self-paced environment. Years ago, before the internet, self-paced courses were offered through the mail and sometimes called “correspondence courses.” Now, with the advent of the internet, it is much easier to go through a fulfilling training process, with access to instructors (who are experts themselves) and to pace through the program at a rate that is comfortable for you, and conducive to your busy schedule (as we all have these days!).

Simplilearn also offers training for certification in other programs, such as their Digital Marketing Certified Associate course.

What Are People Saying About the Simplilearn Training Experience?

Gail Gardner, proprietress of the popular GrowMap.com web site has only good things to say about her experience as a Simplilearn learner.

In fact, she has written quite an extensive recommendation of the Simplilearn programs on her own site, at “Simplilearn Digital Marketing Training: Get Qualified Now for High Paying In-Demand Jobs.”

Need Some More Convincing?


If the provision of a way of proving that you are truly the expert SEO that you know that you are (and have been saying that you are) is not reason enough, there are plenty more reasons why this SEO training is something that is highly appealing to those interested in SEO. (And, don’t forget about the other training opportunities that Simplilearn offers, even though we are talking about SEO here!).

Here is a broad list and I know that you can add to it!

  • Proof that you know your stuff;
  • No matter how much we know, we can always learn more, and here is your opportunity to learn more about SEO;
  • The opportunity to practice your skills while under the tutelage of the masters;
  • Becoming a “Master” yourself (maybe teaching someday?);
  • Getting up to speed on all of the new information; techniques; analytics; tips; strategies (need I list more?);
  • Interactive methods of learning, including workbooks, exercise, and quizzes that help to test your knowledge and give you a feel for where you are in the learning process;
  • The knowledge breadth of SEO topics >> start to finish;
  • A simulation exam for that practice run at it before the real thing;
  • And, bringing it full circle, that certificate of completion of your training.

In Conclusion…

It is very likely that when you have completed this SEO coursework and training (Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certification Training) that you may not even feel the need to actually “prove” yourself. You will have gained so much confidence in what you have already been practicing (and have now enhanced beyond that beginning point) that you naturally exude the confidence and strength in what you are doing.

Your peers and your future clients will be able to sense this and naturally follow your lead. They will likely be moved by your confidence and be drawn to you. It wouldn’t surprise me (assuming you target the completion of your training) if those clients are flocking to YOU as that expert SEO! Once that happens, consider yourself having proven that you know your stuff, and all thanks to taking that step toward SEO Certification and the Search Engine Optimization Training like that which is offered by Simplilearn.

Your Blog with an Eye on the Needed SEO (Right from the Start)

We all know that we need to pay attention to SEO (search engine optimization) whether we are experts or not (or whether we want to be experts or not!). So, how do we start a new blog, equipped with the needed SEO foundations, without losing our head or losing our enjoyment of creating the blog?

Let’s discuss that!

A blog is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools you have at your disposal, but only if you know how to reach your target audience. Blogging is one of the quickest ways to increase your following and build your brand.

Even though there are millions of blogs online, it’s easy to make yours stand out even in the midst of the competition. In fact, even if you are like me and already have quite a few blogs online, that doesn’t mean that you cannot venture out and create yet another unique and brilliant blog!

We could probably sit down and list all of the fun aspects of the creation of that new blog, especially if it is one for which we feel passion. However, if no one is listening, it can get a bit lonely, eh? That is why it is so important to ensure that we are getting the word out, or more accurately, that we are drawing traffic to our blog, so that we have that audience.

By having that audience, it can help us to grow our passion even more and that will come out in the quality of the content that we produce on our blog. What is one of the most foundational aspects to growing that audience? It is ensuring that our blog is SEO optimized, right out of the starting gate.

Ok, have I really told you something that you don’t already know? After all, that is likely one of the reasons that you visit seochat.com, eh?

Ok, back to our topic… we can always “get the word out” at intermittent, strategic, and/or consistent intervals (preferably), but if we don’t start with a blog that has the basics, when it comes to SEO, we have a lot more work ahead of us. And, who wants to work when we can be producing content with all that brilliant passion, instead?

So, let’s get it started correctly, eh? In other words, it is easier to work “smart” than to work “hard,” right?

Getting Started… First Steps

Getting your blog up and running is much easier than one may think. In less than 30 minutes, you can have your blog up and running. So, without further adieu, let’s have a look and see how we can set up a blog in a few quick steps. Then, we will come back and talk a bit more about that SEO.

Choosing a Platform or Approach

Deciding where you want to create your blog is step one. If you are looking to save money, WordPress.com is an option. By far, it’s the largest blogging platform in the world, with an endless array of plugins and add-ons. You pretty much have an infinite amount of choices when it comes to designing your blog. There is also an option to host a WordPress installation in a self-hosted environment.

To Host or Not to Host (Also, To Register or Not to Register… a Domain)

Before we go any further, you need to decide whether you want to self-host or go with a free alternative. While there are pros and cons of both options, take note that with a free service, you won’t be able to have your own domain name.

If you are just blogging for fun, that’s okay, but for businesses trying to make a name for themselves, it is much better to go with a paid service where you can “own” your domain. (Technically, you are registering a domain name and leasing it, but many times people confuse that with ownership and it is called “owning” a domain, in slang terms.)

Along with SEO, this (“owning of the domain”) can increase website traffic by leaps and bounds. You see, having your own domain establishes your brand and your credibility. It helps to build trust in your business.

Design Your Blog

Designing the blog is where you get to choose your theme. Before jumping in with both feet, think about your business and what type of vibe you want people to get when visiting your blog. While creativity is key, you want to make sure whichever theme you choose goes hand in hand with your product and/or the service you will provide.

Even if the service is “only” the delivery of content (no shame in that!), it is still a service and the delivery of the product of your digital content. So, keep that in mind when deciding what you want your site to look like.

For an excellent in-depth discussion of these topics, visit this article on setting up your blog: “How to Start a Blog.” Then, come back here and we will continue our discussion on getting those SEO foundational blocks in place.

SEO is King

After you have set up your blog and brainstormed some ideas of what you want to blog about, it’s time to hone in on SEO. Remember, we are still putting together the framework for our search engine optimization foundation even as we build our blog (site), so this is just the right time to do it, remember?

Like we said earlier, SEO is what brings visitors to your blog. It is what keeps the conversation going. It is essential to your success as a blogger, as a publisher of digital content.

Due to the fact that every blog post you write actually becomes a web page, you need to make the most of the SEO opportunity. Write about keyword-rich topics that you would search for online if you were a consumer. SEO is far more than a few strategically placed words throughout your blog.

It is a matter of knowing which words to use, and when. It is also a case of knowing why these keywords and keyword phrases work so well (in drawing traffic). Now, use that knowledge!

The Successful Strategy and Use of Keywords

When used properly, keywords (and keyword phrases) should have the following characteristics:

  • They are only used a handful of times in your post. Overkill of keywords will only have your post flagged as spam by Google.
  • They flow naturally throughout the conversation of the blog post.
  • They are a combination of several words or a single word that directly relates to what you are blogging about in that post (or series of posts).

Continuing Your Success

In the world of online marketing, your focus needs to be on developing a relationship with your visitors. Proper and strategic use of SEO can get the traffic to the site, but you also need to ensure that you keep your audience combing back to the blog/site for more brilliant and entertaining digital content.

This is done through your effective relationship-building process and keeping the conversation going. That is why a well-written blog combined with strategically placed keywords, combined with that personality of YOU, will help build your online reputation and over time, increase traffic to your website. It is like a well-oiled circle. Then again, who oils circles?

How Infographics Can Improve Your SEO!

In the highly visual business world of today, the infographic (or infographics) that you use can make the difference between your online visibility and the stagnation of your marketing efforts.

Here are just a few of the ways in which using the right infographic(s) improves your search engine optimization (SEO) endeavors.

Cleveland SEO Guy Danny Todd (a.k.a. “Cleveland SEO Guy”) defines infographics this way, “Infographics are cleverly illustrated, colorful, easy-to-read, and often vertically-oriented images, showing charts, graphs, figures, and other useful information.

Chances are that you’ve seen a few in the last week. Though written content should be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, don’t underutilize infographics. They have their advantages.”


Quick Observations of an Effective Infographic

Let’s take a look at the infographic to the left, to get us going on the topic of infographics. It is called the “Top 5 Male Athlete Hairstyles (Infographic)” and it is an infographic by the team at Men’s Hairstyles Club.

Infographic

What can we learn by looking at this infographic?

  • Infographics can be made to share any message or topic. I mean, would you have thought of hairstyles for men?
  • Infographics can be long and vertical. (They can also be wide and horizontal!) In other words, infographics can come in many sizes and shapes.
  • Infographics tend to include text and additional images (and sometimes statistics or how-to steps, like this one does).


Benefits of Infographics (to SEO Endeavors)

So, what is the big deal with the SEO benefit(s)? Glad you asked! That is what we are presenting in the rest of this article!

And, it includes some expert tips from those “in the know.”

Benefit 1: Make the ranking process easier.

Get your page listed in the “image search” of search engines. You don’t have to be limited to only the default text search.

The Google image search is just as powerful as the text search, and people will be able to find you on two lists instead of just one.

The image database is generally smaller (as compared to text search), meaning that you automatically put yourself in a better position by even using images in the first place. If the images are relevant, you have an even better chance at doing well in the search engine(s).

Let’s not forget about Bing image search. After all, there is not only “one” game in town when it comes to searching the web. 🙂

Janette Speyer According to Janette Speyer (Partner at Web Success Team and Hot Ice Media), “If you use Google, you have the option to search for images. Once you put alt tags, keywords, and titles on your infographics, your blog will be more easily found [in the image search].

If your blog gets very little traffic, you have the advantage of [using] the images (infographics) to make up for it.” Hopefully, this moves you up to where you need to be in the ranking!

Benefit 2: Benefit by social interaction (and the resulting SEO ranking).

Gain visual recognition with your potential viewer. This leads to interaction which leads to better rankings.

As a part of that interaction, give the audience (people) something to talk about, which is the name of the game for a really well-constructed infographic.

David Leonhardt According to David Leonhardt (President, THGM Writers), “SEO is highly dependent on the perceptions of online ‘publishers.’

By publishers, I mean anybody from the New York Times to my uncle, when he posts to Facebook. Every time a company is mentioned in an article or in a tweet, it helps the SEO effort. Infographics give people something to talk about, or from an SEO perspective, a reason to talk about you.”

The major search engines are constantly determining the relevance of your content by the human reaction to it. Pictures ensure that more people interact with the content.

This is simply a fact because people react and interact with media. (Remember the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?”)

Cleveland SEO Guy On the topic of social sharing and delivering the message, Danny Todd says, “For one, they stand out amidst a sea of text. Website visitors can quickly differentiate between an ordinary picture and an infographic.

Using them just often enough keeps things interesting. They also make it easy to compress and simplify what might otherwise be exceedingly complex information, reducing extraneous details and distilling the crucial facts into an easy-to-understand format.

If your infographics are relevant and informative (as all your content should be), they’re likely to be shared on social media.”

The human interaction (and reaction) pushes your content up in the search engine listings. It also gives you more organic click-throughs, a statistic that will help your ranking improve even more, in the long run.

Benefit 3: Gain the ability to use more tags.

Pictures can have tags just as easily as any other content. This option helps those of you who want to raise the count of a certain keyword on your webpage without turning what could have been an excellent article into a keyword-soaked piece of worthless dribble. How? Include infographics!

By doing this (including an infographic), you may then use the tags that are inherent in the picture as another excuse to put the keyword on your page. Google and the other major search engines will recognize this as a valid use of your keyword and associate your page more readily with it. The more easily that your page connects with a keyword, the higher your search ranking goes.

Helpful Tips from the Experts

When asking our Expert Panel what else they would recommend, regarding infographics (beyond just SEO), they gave us the following tips.

Keep It Simple (Content)

David LeonhardtAccording to David Leonhardt, “Keep it simple. If you want people to talk about you, give them something simple that they will understand.

Don’t try to create the longest Infographic of the ‘Everything about…[such and such]’ variety. Assemble a few pieces of interesting data that are tightly related, to form a single idea.”

Keep It Easy (Production)

David LeonhardtDavid Leonhardt continues, “The design does not have to be fancy, either. My most successful Infographic ever was made in a simple table format that I had whipped up on Fiverr. It will never win a beauty contest, and just might be in line to enter an ugly contest (but it looks better on Slideshare).

The key to its success is that the idea is simple and captivating, and people have been sharing it ever since.”

Gain Exposure for Your Brand

Cleveland SEO GuyAccording to Danny Todd, “Content marketing with infographics has grown rapidly in recent times, with little sign that readers are growing tired of them. The ability to condense a lot of information into a simple graphic makes them easy to follow, but the infographics can still impart well-researched knowledge.

For the content creator, an infographic can spread across the web, providing branding and SEO benefits that can last long into the future. Businesses that ignored the trend will be wondering whether they should get started with infographics now. Read more…”

Janette Speyer Janette Speyer offers this tip: “I also share my images on authority websites like Instagram, Pinterest, and more. This gives me more opportunities to be found. The ultimate goal is for people to see my blog, right? Any way you can post or syndicate those images will increase your chances of being seen.”


Expert Panel

Wondering who these experts are? Wanting to find them so that you can follow them on social media and learn more amazing tips?

Well, you’ve arrived at the right place. Here is a short listing of their biographies and social media links, for your convenience. This was made easier through the use of the wonderful online tool, MyBlogU. Thanks, MyBlogU!


David Leonhardt (President, THGM Writers)

David LeonhardtInfographics have never been central to my SEO efforts. But I have created (well, supervised the creation of) at least a dozen Infographics in my day.

These have covered fields as diverse as tech, housing, and fertility. Done properly, Infographics can be an effective form of content marketing.

Twitter: twitter.com/amabaie
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/davidleonhardt
Website: thgmwriters.com


Danny Todd (a.k.a. the Cleveland SEO Guy)

Cleveland SEO Guy

I am known as the Cleveland SEO Guy. I started in the SEO business in the 1990s when it was a far less complicated industry. Over the years, I’ve formed relationships with some of the leading SEO experts in the business.

In doing so, I’ve learned SEO secrets that very few in the SEO services business actually know. This is why I consistently rank sites in the top 10 results on Google for competitive terms, while some of my competitors struggle to achieve top 100 listings.

Twitter: twitter.com/clevelandseoguy
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/the-cleveland-seo-guy
Website: clevelandseoguy.com


Janette Speyer (Graphic Artist)

Janette Speyer

I started my career as a graphic artist. In early 2000, I merged my business into the digital space. At that time graphics were not searchable, so we avoided them like the plague. As more social media platforms made their way into the world, images became not only a must but a necessity.

I took to adding infographics to my blogs for those that wanted just a quick visual of what I was writing about at the time. I developed many graphics and used social media to bring more traffic to my website. The images boosted my traffic by a good thirty percent (30%).

Twitter: twitter.com/websuccess
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/web-success-team
Website: hoticemedia.com

Conclusion

In short, use infographics whenever you can in your presentations online. You gain credibility with your audience and with the major search engines! Your content is more easily found, and you will improve your overall online marketing ROI (return-on-investment) simply by formatting your research in this way.
Deborah Anderson
Deborah was an SEO back when that phrase was simply an action and not a person: Search Engine Optimization. Of course, that was also back in the days when Google was barely a blip on the screen. She was a sought after writer on SEO and marketing back before blogging was invented, during the e-zine heyday. She took a break from SEO to go into corporate America as a Chief Technology Officer in the financial industry and then planted herself into business strategy coaching (with a hint of that doctoral level of business psychology). See Deb at Social Web Cafe
Deborah Anderson