Can You Learn SEO on Your Own?

Can you learn SEO on your own?  The short answer is yes.There are a ton of great resources available online, including free articles, webinars, and on-line groups in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.  At the end of this post I’ll provide links to some of my favorite resources that help me keep up to date when it comes to what’s happening in the world of search engine optimization.

Should you learn SEO on your own? For me that’s a different question and I think it depends on the person, the situation, and the goals. Before the internet, if you wanted to learn a new skill or update your knowledge in a specialized area, there really was no choice other than to take a class, go to a workshop, or attend a conference.

Now, closely guarded budgets and the availability of free information and training material have shifted the mentality to one of self-teaching and people are then expected to apply that knowledge.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, I’m all for continuous learning and I think in many cases it’s the right way to go.  However in some cases I think businesses actually end up spending more money and gaining less benefit with this approach.

Students in an SEO WorkshopOne of my favorite stories is from a 5 day SEO on-site workshop for a mid-size company located here in Pennsylvania. I’ve taught people at various levels of expertise, everything from people who walked into class and weren’t even sure what the acronym SEO stood for to people who have a solid working knowledge of the subject matter.

This group was far and beyond the most knowledgeable group I’d ever had the in the classroom.

You may be wondering why they shelled out the money and dedicated the time to have 4 people attend a five day workshop to learn SEO when one could say they already knew how to do SEO.

In a nutshell, they were seeing results from their efforts, but knew there had to be even more opportunity to capture organic traffic and market share.  The goal to reduce the PPC budget by 25% was plenty of incentive for his boss to take the risk and make the investment. We split the class up into two different sessions to make it easier for them to fit it into their schedule.

During the first two days we covered SEO basics and it didn’t take long and the group was in full-on brainstorming mode.  In fact when I returned two weeks later to teach the advanced workshop, we kicked the training off with a review of the action items to improve their SEO.  Between the workshops, they held another brainstorming session and generated  a list of twenty ideas. They blew me away because they had already implemented a couple of the changes that would have a bigger impact.

I could go on and on, but I think there is one comment that sums it up.  I received a thank you email after the training and this says it all, “I truly enjoyed the class and we immediately came out of the training with a plan of action, which would have taken months of research to accomplish.”

Yes, it’s entirely possible to learn SEO on your own, but there may be some advantages to taking a workshop that haven’t been taken into consideration.

3 Benefits of an SEO Workshop

  1. Validate knowledge  and understanding of SEO –  gain the confidence needed to do your own SEO or hire an agency
  2. Accelerate the learning curve– get results faster by gaining the knowledge in a shorter period of time
  3. Identify opportunities for SEO Improvement– generate an action plan during class

I honestly think of the investment in SEO training as a way to save time and money in the long run.

As promised here’s a list of some of my favorite resources – enjoy!