What is SEO?

Hone your skills in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and kick-start your career as a Website Optimization Specialist. Get to know the tools, techniques, and benefits of SEO, discover the vast job opportunities it offers, and understand how learning SEO could be a game-changer for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Key Insights

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves content creation, technical website optimization, link building, and keyword research to enhance website visibility and drive traffic.
  • SEO is crucial in building trust with users and improving a website's ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
  • Website Optimization Specialists use tools like Google Analytics and SEMRush to track, analyze, and improve SEO strategies.
  • Learning SEO can significantly benefit entrepreneurs and small businesses by boosting their online presence and credibility.
  • Website Optimization Specialists in the U.S. earn an average yearly salary of about $64,000, with a field growth expectation of 22% over the next ten years.
  • SEO can be learned through in-person classes, live online instruction, or asynchronous courses, with several companies offering these options.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

How Do You Get SEO Tools? How Much Do They Cost?

Website Optimization Specialists use various tools to collect, track, and analyze data on social media accounts and websites. Tools for analytics, content management, keyword research, and listening and engagement collect important information about a campaign’s reach and can improve SEO strategies. Some of the most important details include the kinds of positive (and negative) mentions it’s getting online, how many people are seeing and sharing posts, and how a brand’s hashtag is performing.

Analytics tools provide the data needed to understand how a brand, product, or business performs on the internet. Web Optimization Specialists use them to determine when content should be posted so it will reach the most people, which social media platforms are the best match for a brand, see what isn’t working and decide how to change strategy. They also use the tools to generate reports to share with the team, investors, and others involved in a brand’s success.

Content management tools help you schedule when to publish content for the most significant impact. You can create a content marketing calendar to keep you consistent to drive more traffic to your website. Scheduling lets you plan your posts and avoid a stressful crunch time.

Keyword tools let you find out what your target audience and your competitors are doing so that you can separate your company from the pack. You can use keyword research tools to discover the most successful keywords to rank your content higher.

Listening and engagement tools help you maintain a connection with your audience through social media comments and messages. They tell you what is shared and when, which can help you make changes to increase success.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics (or GA) is one of the most common analytics tools for Web Optimization Specialists. It’s a free tool within the Google Marketing studio platform that collects and tracks user data, compiles it into useful reports, and provides valuable insights to improve a website or app’s performance. The Web Optimization Specialist installs a tracking code onto each page of a website that allows Google to collect information about how visitors interact with it.

Web Optimization Specialists can decide what strategies are working and what aren’t. The information Google Analytics provides can also identify specific problems or shortcomings on your website.


SemRush is one of the most powerful tools available for SEO. It includes numerous toolkits that generate reports on SEO, Pay Per Click advertising, social media performance, keyword research, content marketing, and insights into competitors. The Keyword Magic Tool generates keywords and phrases to help find the most effective keywords for your site, and the Domain Overview Tool gives a picture of a domain and how it is performing.

The Organic Research Tool gives insight into competitors’ most successful keywords, and the Keyword Gap Tool compares your keywords to competitors’ and identifies gaps in strategies. SEMRush is extremely powerful, and it comes with a hefty price tag. After a seven-day free trial, there are three plans: Pro for $119.95 per month, Guru for $229.95 per month, and a monthly business plan for $449.95.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Another popular SEO and data management program is Moz Keyword Explorer from Mozilla. You can perform site audits, track ranking, analyze backlinks, and search for the most effective keywords. Moz also helps determine the best content and marketing strategies and comes in a free and pro version.


Hootesuite is a content management system that lets you publish, schedule, and advertise content, engage customers, analyze results across social media channels, and stay up-to-date with market trends.

What Are the Benefits of Learning SEO?

If you are an entrepreneur or own a small business, learning SEO can be the difference between success and failure. Optimizing your website will rank it higher on Google and other search engines, which will help your target audience find your content and lead to sales. Another reason to learn SEO is to control how your brand is viewed online. When your business appears higher in search results, that adds to your brand’s reputation and credibility. If your content appears near the top of the page, other businesses will link to your blog posts and increase the number of visitors to your site.

Becoming a Website Optimization/SEO Specialist is also a great career move. All businesses with an online presence need SEO to enhance their virtual reach, even in industries you might not expect, like healthcare, construction, or education. There are plenty of careers across the country for those with a background in SEO. In the United States, Web Optimization Specialists earn an average yearly salary of about $64,000—though that number will differ depending on location. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics doesn’t list Web Optimization Specialists separate from Marketing Analysts. Still, that field is expected to grow by 22% in the next ten years, which is a much higher level of growth than other fields.

Read more about why you should learn SEO.

SEO Careers

Search engine optimization is an integral part of digital marketing and online advertising, and knowledge of how it works and how to improve it can work in your favor when looking for a job.

SEO can help any business with an online presence enhance its virtual reach. No matter the industry, SEO drives traffic to websites and increases sales. There are plenty of careers across the country for those with a background in SEO.

As a Web Optimization/SEO Specialist, you can find several options depending on your unique interests. SEO Specialists in small firms often perform more tasks than those in larger companies. An entry-level Web Optimization/SEO Specialist might be responsible for following how content is performing on various channels or keeping an eye on web analytics. They interpret the data, report it to the marketing team, and have input into the decisions made about changing strategies and setting goals.

According to Indeed, SEO Specialists in the U.S. earn an average yearly salary of around $53,000, though that number may change depending on location. As you gain experience over the years, you can become a Senior Web Optimization Specialist, or you may choose to move into a managerial or leadership position. Some people with significant experience in SEO start their own consulting firms and contract their services out to companies that don’t have their own Web Optimization/SEO Specialists.

Digital Marketing is another industry that relies on search engine optimization. Digital Marketers typically make about $60,000 across the United States. They use SEO and data analytics to review their online marketing campaign results and guide future projects. Digital Strategists make around $61,000 annually. These professionals focus on digital strategy for websites, social media, and digital marketing. Digital Strategists find places where companies can improve and work to make that happen.

Those with more experience managing teams and working in the digital marketing sector can find work as Search Managers, bringing home around $87,000 annually. A search manager knows how search engines work and how to use them to get results. These digital professionals will generally manage both organic (SEO) and paid search projects.

How to Learn SEO

How you choose to learn SEO is up to you. You can watch free video tutorials like Noble Desktop’s Pillars of Digital Marketing to get an introduction to SEO and other topics. After that, the best plan is to sign up for a class. You can take live in-person SEO classes or choose online instruction. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Online SEO classes have a similar set-up to in-person classes with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to answer questions and demonstrate techniques. You can sign up for part or full-time classes on weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.

Some companies offer asynchronous SEO classes that you can take according to your own schedule. You can watch the videos from work or home and move at your own pace. Udemy offers self–paced classes on SEO, as does Skillshare. One advantage to asynchronous video classes is that you can go back and watch the material as often as you need to if you are having trouble with a concept.

If an entire class feels like too much right now, you can attend free online seminars like Noble Desktop’s Dominate Local Search with Google My Business or free SEO seminars on Hubspot Academy, SEMRush’s Learn SEO, and Udemy’s free SEO Training Course by Moz. These free seminars will give you an idea of what SEO is about and whether you want to explore it further.

Read the full guide on how to learn SEO.

A Brief History of SEO

In the late 1990s, there were many viable search engine choices–Google didn’t dominate the field yet–and people quickly realized that the websites they worked so hard to build were difficult for users to find. The first attempts at SEO were primarily based on keywords, and the usual practice was to use a keyword as many times as possible to rank higher than your competitors. Today, this practice is considered spamming and will negatively affect your SERP.

The early search engines, such as Yahoo and DMOZ, were directories, and when you created a website, you submitted them for inclusion in the directory. Ranking depended mainly upon website content and domain name. When Google came along with its web crawlers and algorithms, the number of mentions of your website on the internet became the most important thing, and acquiring links was the solution. With the development of digital marketing, SEO has become more sophisticated and now includes additional factors like local reach and website loading speed.

Comparable Fields

SEO is part of the broad field of digital marketing. Digital Marketers are responsible for designing and administering marketing campaigns on the internet. They research the markets, set strategies, and decide which platforms are the best fit for the company. They create and publish content and track its performance using analytics tools. The data generated by these tools are used to generate reports to present to other marketing team members for planning strategy. Digital Marketers also engage the target audience to build rapport and increase brand success. Finally, Digital Marketers keep an eye on the competition to see where they are succeeding and where they are failing. This helps a company adjust its strategy for success.

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.

Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other courses in digital marketing in your area.

Key Insights

  • SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps drive traffic to your website and increase sales.
  • The three parts of SEO are technical, on-page, and off-page.
  • Website Optimization/SEO Specialists use analytics, keyword research, and content management tools to stay on top of SEO.
  • You can learn SEO in several ways, but the most efficient is through classes. You can attend in-person sessions, live online, or asynchronous courses.
  • Website Optimization/SEO Specialist is a career that pays well and is expected to be in demand in the future.

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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