How to Learn SEO

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of structuring webpage content — such as keywords, title tags, or links — to maximize a site's visibility to search engine crawlers. SEO practices help users easily access the most relevant content. They are an essential component of UI/UX design, web design, and digital marketing fields.

Strong SEO proficiency allows professionals to compete for more elite positions. Fortunately, there are several ways to learn SEO through online courses or coding bootcamps.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are intensive, accelerated programs designed to train professionals in specialized tech skills. While most spaces in postsecondary education emphasize a more well-rounded and generalized curriculum, bootcamps offer a streamlined approach that trains learners in a single area.

Bootcamps have relatively short program lengths, typically between a few weeks and six months. For this period, programs can be a significant time commitment. Learners may need to devote several hours each day to lectures, projects, and assessments.

There are bootcamps available for numerous tech disciplines, like cybersecurity, data science, and UI design. With their condensed curricula and in-depth training, bootcamps may be a good choice for individuals interested in learning SEO.

Online Courses

Online courses may be a better option for some learners. Courses are offered with various prices, time commitments, and learning formats. These can be very flexible, and often cheaper, options for students who are not able to enroll in a bootcamp.Many online SEO courses are even available for free.

Online Courses vs. Bootcamps

Coding Bootcamps
Pros Cons
  • Intensive and highly focused formats can offer ideal job-oriented skills training for learners with specific career goals.
  • Condensed and fast-paced learning for professionals looking for a quick career change.
  • Many employers are open to hiring candidates trained through bootcamp programs, although this may depend on field and hiring personnel.
  • Some bootcamps offer tuition deferral plans or income share agreements, letting students wait until they have a stable income to pay tuition.
  • Although many learners consider bootcamps a good investment, they can be expensive. In 2020, according to data collected by BestColleges — from over 620 bootcamp programs — the average cost of bootcamp tuition was $13,579.
  • Bootcamps may help professionals enter the tech field, but many leadership or managerial positions require a college degree.
  • Bootcamp curricula can be narrow, and learners may not be adequately equipped for roles that require a more well-rounded background.
  • They may demand several hours of work each day.
Online Courses
Pros Cons
  • Learners can access free or more affordable courses at community or state colleges
  • Courses may be more generalized, covering multiple skills or coding languages.
  • Learners have more choices regarding the breadth, depth, and subject matter of their curricula. They can choose courses that adhere to their career goals.
  • Courses may be a less time-consuming commitment.
  • Individuals who complete courses without earning an official degree may not earn credentials that employers recognize.
  • Often, students have to complete prerequisites or take multiple course levels to achieve in-depth background knowledge or relevant skills.
  • Courses are more academic and do not explicitly provide learners with job training.

Coding Bootcamps to Learn SEO

BrainStation

  • Locations: Remote, New York City
  • Program Cost: $16,500
  • Learning Formats: Online, in-person
  • Time Commitment: Full-time, part-time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

BrainStation offers 400-hour, project-based bootcamps in data science, digital marketing, and web development. Online courses consist of live, interactive lectures and collaborative breakout room sessions. Learners also have access to career coaching and can meet with mentors one-on-one to discuss their career trajectories. BrainStation reports that over 90% of graduates find relevant work within 180 days of program completion.

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General Assembly

  • Locations: Remote, Boston, Chicago
  • Program Cost: $3,950
  • Learning Formats: Online, in-person
  • Time Commitment: Full-time, part-time, self-paced

Career-Coaching Services

General Assembly offers a wide variety of bootcamp programs. Learners can pursue 12-week programs in UX/UI design, data science, data analytics, digital marketing, and web development. Students can also access career-coaching services. In 2020, over 74% of students who utilized its career services secured relevant jobs within six months, General Assembly reports.

General Assembly also allows students to pay through an income share agreement, so learners do not have to pay tuition until they have secured a job that pays over $40,000 per year.

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Noble Desktop

  • Locations: Remote, New York City
  • Program Cost: $6,995
  • Learning Formats: Online, in-person
  • Time Commitment: Full-time, part-time

Career Services
Job Guarantee

To earn a web development certificate, learners at Noble Desktop devote either 12 weeks of full-time study or nine months of part-time study. The program also includes six one-on-one meetings for students to review their portfolios and career plans with faculty mentors.

A one-year free retake policy enables learners to revisit course materials for a year after graduation. Certain programs offer a full tuition refund if graduates do not earn a job within six months.

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University of California, Davis

  • Locations: Remote, Davis
  • Program Cost: $8,495
  • Learning Formats: Online
  • Time Commitment: Part-time

Career-Coaching Services

University of California, Davis offers a part-time digital marketing bootcamp. In this project-oriented program, learners attend live classes and take part in self-paced learning activities.

Classes are offered quarterly, and most part-time students finish the program in five months or 18 weeks. Learners can also utilize career-coaching services to navigate their postgraduate plans.

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SEO Jobs

Digital Marketing Specialist

These professionals strategize marketing plans for companies' digital platforms, such as social media, to develop a strong online presence. Digital marketing specialists research market trends, consumer demand, and competitors' pricing and advertising strategies. They may plan and publish content and monitor web traffic data to assess the content most likely to reach consumers.

Average Annual Salary (as of May 2022): $49,850

SEO Analyst

These analysts use a highly developed understanding of SEO principles, user experiences, and search engine algorithms to evaluate the visibility of SEO content. They collaborate with advertising teams and present data to help teams assess blog visibility, e-commerce platforms, or social media accounts.

Average Annual Salary (as of May 2022): $50,430

Web Content Specialist

Web content specialists write, edit, and prepare digital content for publishing. Some of these content creators research the types of media, images, and headlines to draw the most clicks. Although this role is creative in nature, content specialists adhere to SEO strategies and edit works to maximize visibility.

Average Annual Salary (as of April 2022): $46,850

What Are the Benefits of SEO Certification?

Many individuals in digital marketing and content creation fields have a business, marketing, or communications background. Since SEO is an essential component of digital marketing, specialized, technical training in SEO may help individuals stand out for more lucrative roles.

Bootcamps can help professionals enter tech fields or bolster their resumes. However, those who complete bootcamp programs rather than earn a college degree may have a harder time securing managerial roles.

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning SEO

Is SEO easy to learn?

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Basic principles of SEO -- such as incorporating tags, links, and keywords -- are fairly straightforward. Learners interested in gaining a preliminary understanding of SEO may start this process by simply watching free video tutorials or reading articles online.

SEO can incorporate complex elements of user experience design, market research, data analytics, and search engine algorithms. Learners who are looking to develop a more sophisticated skillset, or who would like to pursue a career in SEO, may benefit from more interactive or in-depth learning materials.

Where can I learn SEO for free?

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There are numerous SEO video tutorials, e-books, and articles that learners can access for free. Students can even take free SEO courses through platforms like Linkedin Learning and Hubspot. Many of these courses are self-paced and use recorded lectures and slides to deliver key concepts.

However, students looking to interact directly with instructors may prefer a paid learning experience.

What is the best SEO course?

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Several colleges offer open courses in SEO basics. For example, University of California, San Diego offers open courses like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Marketingand SEO Tools and Analytics, while Yale School of Management offers Digital Marketing: A Strategic Perspective.

However, there is no single "best" SEO course. Individuals researching how to learn SEO may have different learning or career objectives, or they may wish to focus on different elements of SEO.

Is SEO a good career?

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SEO is a crucial skill in a variety of lucrative and in-demand roles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $63,920, as of May 2021. Web developers earned a median annual wage of $77,200, as of May 2020.

Between 2020 and 2030, the number of roles for market research analysts is projected to increase by 22%, while the number of roles for web developers is projected to grow by 13%.

A background in SEO can help professionals compete for higher-level roles within these fields.