So still I'm asking myself, how is it possible to excel in a field which has no standards or guidelines or rules? It's something that continues to baffle me. How are the experts, experts? How did they learn SEO when no one knew what SEO was?
In the beginning of SEO
In the beginning, there were no online courses or certificates for search marketing, not that there are so much now, but there was nothing. So how did people learn about search marketing? So, people just began to test the waters.
After awhile they started discovering what search marketing tactics worked better than others. These people told friends who then told other friends, but still there were no real firm ideas. Little information was found in books, and the rest was spread through forums and word of mouth. People learned through experience, because there was no other way.
The only way you can really learn search marketing is by understanding how search engines and algorithms work. Each website is different and the methods you use for one might not work for another, so it's best to experiment and see what works for what. Until you know the ins and outs of each website, you can't really consider yourself an expert.
These days there is a plethora of books out there on the subject. Read about search engines, gain some initial knowledge and then gain some experience by testing out the knowledge that you learned. And if one thing doesn't work, don't forget about all the forums out there answering every possible question on the subject.
Adapting to the times
Say you have an excellent resource about Websites written in the 90s. This book answers every question you could possibly have about any website. But when you try to use the tools that you learned, they aren't very effective. Now what's the problem?
The problem is that you are dealing with a system that is continually changing. What worked in the 90s isn't going to work in 2000 and what worked in 2000 isn't going to work in 2009. Search engines are ever-changing, updating and changing their algorithms to make their search engines more user-friendly and accurate. If you want to be part of this field, you have to stay up-to-date that means always learning new tricks and tips and working with the changes in the search engines. You can't just fill in metadata into the HTML format and expect that users are going to automatically be directed to a website.
How can you learn about SEO today? We are lucky that today SEO is popular and it only seems to be growing. More marketing is focused on the web these days and businesses need practitioners to assist them in search engine marketing. There are conferences, workshops, online classes, in-person classes, websites dedicated to SEM, forums, books, and formal courses from various institutes, such as the SEMPO Institute, offering certification in fundamentals and advanced SEM. Your learning doesn't have to begin and end with blind experimentation anymore. But that doesn't mean you don't need to experiment. You can't be an expert in SEO until you have experience working with SEO. Create a website and practice optimizing the site, continue to learn more from the communities around you and your numerous resources and see how far you can get.
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