How Long Does it Take to Learn SEO?

Interested in becoming a Website Optimization Specialist? It typically takes individuals one to three months to learn SEO tools and techniques and up to a year to master them, depending on various factors such as time availability and learning methods like self-study or taking a class.

Key Insights

  • SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an efficient way to increase website traffic and gain more customers. It involves content creation, technical website optimization, link building, and keyword research.
  • There are three crucial ways SEO determines search engine success: technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. Each aspect focuses on different areas to optimize a website's ranking in search engine results.
  • Learning SEO typically takes one to three months for the basics and up to a year to fully master. Factors affecting this include time available for study, the rate of information absorption, and whether you're learning independently or in a class.
  • There are numerous free tutorials and online courses available for learning SEO. These resources can provide enough information to help you decide if you want to dive deeper into SEO.
  • Noble Desktop offers an SEO Bootcamp and a Google Analytics Bootcamp. These courses provide valuable knowledge and hands-on experience with expert instructors for those serious about becoming a Web Optimization/SEO Specialist.
  • While the cost of learning SEO can be minimal beyond the cost of a class, the potential earnings for professionals in this field can be significant. Depending on the exact role and level of expertise, salaries can range considerably, highlighting the financial benefits of mastering SEO.

Like many aspiring Website Optimization Specialists, you might want to learn SEO but worry that it will take too much time. It takes most people one to three months to learn SEO tools and techniques and six months to a year to perfect them through practice. Of course, this depends on several factors like how much time you can devote to studying, how quickly you pick up new information, and whether or not you can take a class. Keep reading to find out how you can learn SEO and some resources to help speed the process along.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a way to drive more traffic to your website and gain more customers. It depends upon content, technical website optimization, link building, and keyword research to ensure that your website appears near the top of a Google results page. A BrightEdge survey conducted in 2019 found that SEO is 1000% more effective at driving website traffic than organic methods like social media posts. Professionals who work with SEO are often called Website Optimization Specialists.

The primary goal of SEO is to build trust between your business and your users. You can do this through high-quality content, ensuring your website loads quickly in desktop and mobile versions, and optimizing your site for voice search. Another way to improve your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) is to create a “Google My Business” listing.

Read more about what SEO is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with SEO?

SEO is used to determine search engine success in three crucial ways: technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO.

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Technical SEO looks at a website's technical features and how they affect search engine rankings. These include the site structure, schema, and URL. The site needs to be easy to navigate with a clearly understood organization. Other aspects of technical SEO are website loading speed, mobile friendliness, voice optimization, and the XML sitemap.

The primary goal of on-page optimization is meeting the intent of the searcher/user with high-quality content. On-page content is essential and refers to everything that appears on a website, including text, keywords, images, tags, and internal links. Researching and choosing the best SEO keywords shows that the website has authority and is trustworthy.

Off-page SEO involves building links and strengthening social media engagement. Backlinks and social media help build authority and trust with search engines. Link building refers to finding reputable and relevant websites to link to your website or content. The more references to your content on other reliable sites, the better. Additionally, building out social media presence across various channels will further establish your internet presence and boost your SEO. You can use different analytical tools to track SEO and conversion rates.

Average Time it Takes to Learn SEO

Experts say it usually takes one to three months to learn the foundations of SEO and a year or more to master the practice fully. The length of time it takes to learn the basics of SEO depends upon several factors. How much time do you have to study? How quickly do you pick up new information? Are you trying to learn independently, or are you taking a class? How much time can you spend practicing?

Time to Devote to Study

The more time you can spend studying SEO, the less time it will take to learn it. If you only have a few hours a week to spend, it will go more slowly, and if you can spend a couple of hours a day, you will learn SEO much faster. The more time you can devote to reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos, the less time the process will take.

Independent Study vs. Live Classes

It is possible to learn SEO on your own. There are plenty of free tutorials and podcasts, plus the blogs mentioned above, and some people have learned the basics of SEO by teaching themselves. But most people find it easier to learn new material by taking a class. You have an instructor who can steer you toward the most critical information, and you can ask questions when you need to.

We each have our own learning curve; some pick things up quickly, and others need to work harder. This will affect how long it takes you to learn SEO. Signing up for a class can make the process easier and quicker.

Practice Makes Perfect

Besides instruction, practice is another valuable part of learning SEO. It’s one thing to read how to do it, but setting up a website and practicing SEO principles will teach you much more. You can see what works and what doesn’t and why. Practice can shave months off of learning SEO.

Other Factors

There are other factors that can help you learn SEO more quickly. Learn to use analytics and keyword tools and the basics of SEO to start with. Distinguish which actions give you the best results and focus on those at first. Learn how to build quality links. And probably the best way to learn SEO is to create your own website and dive in.

Build a Knowledge Foundation

Tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Moz Keyword Explorer are the backbone of SEO. They collect the data you need to see if your digital marketing campaign is working, and they can help you fix things if it’s not. Again, you can follow tutorials to learn how to use tools or sign up for a class to concentrate your efforts.

Focus on the Big Results

When you first learn SEO, it is a good idea to focus on the actions that will give you the biggest results. The easiest way to get significant results is by creating quality SEO content. Learn how to choose the best keywords and build pages that attract and engage your target audience.

Get Quicker Results with Links

Links are connections from one website to another. They are also referred to as backlinks, external links, or inbound links, and they are a signal to search engines that you have quality, trustworthy content. The more links you have, the more organic traffic you will have, and the higher your page will rank.

Start Your Own Project

Even if you take a certification course in SEO, creating a website and trying these techniques is the best way to learn SEO. You can start a side hustle and earn a little extra cash, or choose a passion project to educate the public. Whatever the focus of your website is, it will give you valuable hands-on experience with SEO.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost

SEO is not necessarily hard to learn, but it does take time, effort, and persistence. If you are just starting out and know nothing about how search engines work, you can expect to feel a bit overwhelmed at the beginning. However, it is important to keep trying. This is where classes can be a real sanity saver.

Some skills pave the way for a successful SEO career. Logical reasoning, curiosity, a love of learning, and perseverance are personality traits that can make learning SEO easier. Some technical skills that will help you get a job in SEO are knowing how to do website audits, keyword research, and data analytics.

Beyond the cost of a class, learning digital marketing is not very expensive. Some of the most widely used tools, like Google Analytics, are free, and others like Moz have a free version to get you started. SEMRush is another useful digital marketing tool, and while it can be expensive, you get a seven-day free trial to try it out first.

Read about how difficult it is to learn SEO.

Watch a Free SEO Online Course

If you are not quite ready to commit the time and funds to a bootcamp or certificate course, there are numerous free tutorials and online courses available. These tend to be overviews and introductions to SEO, but there is enough information to help you decide if you want to go further.

You can learn SEO online for free. Here is a list of possibilities:

  • SEO for Beginners from Yoast
  • SEO Training Course by Moz through Udemy
  • Free SEO Course from ClickMinded
  • Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth at Hubspot
  • On-Page and Technical SEO Course from SEMRush
  • Search Engine Optimization Specialization by Coursera
  • Free SEO 6-part video series from Moz

The Pillars of Digital Marketing on the Noble Desktop YouTube channel is about different types of digital marketing and strategies. Dominate Local Search with Google My Business covers what GMB is, how to set up a profile, and where to get help if you need it.

Some other free tutorials include Coursera’s Strategy of Content Marketing program, which covers how to plan, organize, and implement a successful content marketing campaign. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by Google is a free class, including practical exercises in SEO and digital marketing. Finally, HubSpot Academy has an SEO Training Course that covers how to improve website performance, along with link building and keyword research.

Read about more free SEO videos and online tutorials.

Learn SEO with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

If you want to change careers and become a Web Optimization/SEO Specialist, you can sign up for Noble Desktop’s SEO Bootcamp. This two-part class will teach you beginning and advanced SEO strategies to get your website to the top of the page. In the first class, SEO Level 1, you’ll learn how search engines work, how to do keyword research and competitor analysis, and how to use SEO-driven content to increase web traffic. SEO Level 2 covers how to do SEO audits and gives you hands-on experience with an expert instructor.

You can also sign up for a Google Analytics Bootcamp to learn how to set up an account, know which metrics to track, and understand the Google Analytics reports. You can also learn about paid advertising with Google Ads Bootcamp.

Another way to prepare for a career as a Web Optimizations/SEO Specialist is a digital marketing certificate course. Noble’s Digital Marketing Certificate includes the digital marketing, SEO, and Google Analytics bootcamps, plus Google Ads and classes on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter marketing, as well as content marketing with blogs.

How to Learn SEO

Master SEO with hands-on training. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving organic search results for a website. It is a critical digital marketing skill in today's business landscape.

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