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.
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.
Every SEO has had the dream of putting up a website and it ranks with little effort, we know that we certainly have.
Well Chedders and I are trying to achieve just that. Our goal is to build a platform that provides a quality experience to the user yet we never touch a single specific page. We’ve had some great progress so far, but we’ve certainly got an interesting challenge ahead of us.
Before we get into the details, here’s a bit about us:
Chedders (Chris Chedgzoy):
Currently has 2154 posts on the SEO Chat forums.
Has been a developer since the 80s, ran a large directory site and a few other projects of scale.
He’s made tools such as Page Explorer and generally is up for giving anything a go.
Myself (Thomas Harvey):
Currently has 1186 posts on the SEO Chat forums.
I’ve been working with most aspects of websites/digital marketing for about 6 years.
Currently working with a tv shopping channel advising on their SEO campaigns and helping their international presence.
- Conversion Optimisation
- Affiliate Marketing
- Social Media
Now that the introduction is out the way, lets get on with the interesting stuff.
Chris loves working with data, he’s the kind of guy that the bigger the problem the happier he is. So, after talking a lot we wondered if we could rank for as much as possible with as little work. I’ve personally always meddled with affiliate marketing. So we thought, well how could we combine the two. After a while of brainstorming we settled on a product searching site.
It was the perfect thing for us. We would be able to utilise our skills and also be able to do tests on a massive scale. Such as changing thousands of pages to see if there’s a change in rankings, for example, removing the h1 tags on every single page, and seeing the impact. It’s a great way we can test any theory we will have, it will also mean that any of you interested we’ll be able to test your theories and report back on them too.
With the idea being decided upon, Chris got to work coding, we decided to go with the domain zebo.co.uk because it’s short and memorable.
After tying it up to a few product feeds (and a small site called eBay) we then had to tackle the problem of how we were going to actually get the pages indexed when we had no form of navigation through the site and we could search for any product in existence and we would have results.
So we used a feature that isn’t utilised a lot and really is an afterthought for a lot of people. We used a sitemap, after playing with a couple of tools to generate a small sample (2000 keywords) from a few sources (serpstat and semrush). We uploaded the sitemap.
We saw results within 24 hours. We had gone from no pages indexed to 371 pages. It hasn’t stopped there, this is what we see now for a site:zebo.co.uk query in Google.
It’s started to drive small amounts of traffic (~50 users in a few days) which we were expecting the numbers to be small for this sample. As after all, the query page currently looks like this:
We know, it looks horrible. We’re actually working on improving the quality of the data and making the search results more relevant (due to multiple sources etc). It will be improving quickly, here’s a link for this page if anybody is interested: https://zebo.co.uk/q/mountain_bike
We’ve launched, we’ve got some data and we’ve got some rankings. Here’s a few hurdles we’ve got to overcome:
- Is it possible to scale this while still getting a good indexation rate.
- What’s the best way to find new things to add to the sitemap
The Interesting Bits:
These are the parts that I think a lot of SEOs will be interested to know. These are things we don’t know ourselves but we’re looking to answer.
- Can automated pages rank in search engines?
So far, we’ve been indexed and had some rankings. So yes, they can. Scaling and improving rankings however, that’ll be a whole different story.
- Can we add value to these pages on a large scale?
We’re looking into adding things for specific brands. So if a search result has a specific brand it pulls up specific content to display underneath the filters.
- Does site speed really have an impact on ranking?
We’ve had a lot of debates on this over the past couple of years. We’re looking for an answer to this.
- How much impact does the h1/h2 tags actually have (and other things like that)
We want to know how much the "standard" SEO techniques have an impact
- Is there really a difference between underscores and hyphens in urls
Again, it’s discussed but never really seen any tests.
We’ll be trying to do as many of these tests as possible and updating them here. Got anything you want us to try just let us know in the comments.
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?