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How to Learn SEO in 2020 (According to 130 Experts)

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What’s the fastest way to learn SEO?

I asked 130 real SEO experts to find out.

Here is the question we asked 130 different experts:

“If you had to start over, what steps would you take to learn SEO?”

Out of the 130 answers, there were many common recommendations for learning SEO.

Top 8 Ways to Learn SEO

  1. Take Action
  2. Learn the Fundamentals
  3. Get a Mentor
  4. Focus on Your Strengths
  5. Invest in an SEO Course
  6. Work at an SEO Agency
  7. Don’t Chase Algorithms
  8. Go to Conferences

1. Take Action

Getting your “hands dirty” and getting more real life experience is the best way to learn SEO (and any skill).

2. Learn the Fundamentals

Follow top SEO blogs, SEO news websites, join SEO communities, and go to SEO conferences to get exposure to all facets of the industry.

3. Get a Mentor

Having an experienced mentor/SEO expert guide you through the process can save you years of trial and error.

4. Focus on Your Strengths

For example, if you are a good writer, then focus on the content-side of SEO. Or, if you are a social butterfly, then focus on the relationship building and PR-side of SEO/link acquisition.

5. Invest in an SEO Course

Quality courses are structured and easy to follow. This is important when you’re starting out because there is an unlimited amount of SEO information online. That makes it challenging to put all the moving parts together.

A proven course trusted by over 1,000 students can help (hint, hint… Gotch SEO Academy)

6. Work at an SEO Agency

Working at an agency will help you grow as a professional at an accelerated rate. Not only will you be forced to learn SEO quickly, but you will also get exposure to how agencies operate.

7. Don’t Chase Algorithms

Focus on developing timeless skills such as relationship building, persuasion, sales, SEO content creation, copywriting, and marketing in general.

8. Go to Conferences

SEO and marketing conferences are the single best way to network with other likeminded individuals. Also, you get to be around people who are more accomplished than you are. This forces you to elevate your gain and to learn.

Start Learning Now With These SEO Resources

You can start learning SEO right now by diving into these resources.

General SEO

Best SEO Companies – We’ve analyzed hundreds of SEO companies throughout the United States to find out which ones are the best. Our rankings are 100% unbiased. Meaning, companies can’t pay to be included on the list.

SEO Strategy – Every successful SEO campaign starts with a well-designed strategy. This guide will show you a simple 4-step strategy that has worked across nearly every vertical.

SEO Audit – The best way to start an SEO campaign is with a detailed audit. Properly performing an SEO audit will help you identify what to focus on. This is critical because not all SEO actions are created equally.

Best CMS for SEO – Believe it or not, WordPress isn’t the #1 CMS for SEO. Read our data-driven case study to find out which one is.

Google Bias – Is Google biased? We studied 50 politically-driven topics to find out.

On-Site SEO

On-Page SEO – Most people think on-page SEO is just placing keywords on a page. Wrong! There’s so much more you need to do to achieve perfect on-page SEO. This guide will show you our 80-point checklist.

Title Tags – Understanding how to optimize title tags is a fundamental SEO skill. Real SEO pros know that it’s much more than just jamming keywords into the title. Use this guide to learn the nuances of optimizing title tags.

301 Redirects – 301 redirects can be used to exponentially grow your site’s authority. They can also destroy your website at the same time. Read this guide to learn how to use them to your advantage.

404 Errors – Not all 404 errors are “bad”. You just need to know how to handle them. This guide will show you the right way to design 404 pages. Then, I’ll show you how to find and fix them.

HTTP vs. HTTPS – Your website should be using an SSL certificate. This guide explains why.

Redirect Chains – Redirect chains can rob your page’s of precious link equity. The good news is that you can avoid it by reading this guide.

Link Building

Backlinks – It’s nearly impossible to rank and achieve long-term SEO performance without quality links. This epic guide will give you the baseline knowledge you need to succeed with link building.

Free Backlinks – It’s possible to get free backlinks as long as you’re willing to use sweat equity and creativity. This guide will show you 15 different techniques for getting backlinks when you have no budget.

Expired Domains for SEO – Most people use expired domains to do shady, grey hat SEO. This guide teaches you how to leverage them in a safer way.

Anchor Text – Understanding how to optimize anchor text is a fundamental link building skill. This guide will show you how to do it the right way, so you get killer results and avoid getting penalized.

Link Building Services – Finding quality link vendors is tough. That’s why I teamed up with Chris Dreyer and analyzed over $1,000,000 worth of link orders from the most popular vendors. Our goal was simple: to find out what vendors produce the highest quality work. The #1 vendor might surprise you.

PBNs – Every experienced SEO has used or been tempted to use PBNs in their career. The question is: are they worth it? Find out when you read this article.

SEO Tools

SEMRush – SEMRush is easily the best SEO tool for keyword research and market analysis. I can’t recommend it enough.

Surfer SEO – Surfer is hands-down the best on-page SEO tool on the market right now.

Ahrefs – Ahrefs is one of the best SEO tools on the market. This guide will show you how to use it the right way to drive more organic search traffic to your website.

Google Search Console – There aren’t many free SEO tools that can compete with Google Search Console. It’s extremely powerful and can be used to explode your organic search traffic.

Duplichecker – Duplichecker can help you find instances of plagiarism and duplicate content. It’s not perfect, but it’s worth trying.

Siteliner – Siteliner is my go-to tool for finding duplicate content.

SpamZilla – SpamZilla is easily the best tool for finding expired domains.

PaperRater – PaperRater is designed to help you improve your copy and is an alternative to Grammarly or Hemingway.

Paperform – If you’re looking for an alternative to Typeform, Paperform is pretty awesome.

Soovle – Soovle is an awesome tool for conducting semantic keyword research across multiple search engines.

Make Money

Fastest Way to Make Money Online – The single fastest way to make money online and to build a real business is through client SEO. This guide will give you the introduction you need to get started.

How to Build a Niche Website – Building a niche website is the single best way to learn SEO and to build a new income stream. This is literally the only guide you’ll ever need.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Squeeze Pages – Getting more organic search traffic is great, but converting that traffic is even more important. Did you know that ~98% of your website visitors are not ready to buy? That’s why it’s critical that you get them on your email list so you can nurture them. The first step is to build high-converting lead capture pages (also known as squeeze pages).

If you’de like to learn how to drive consistent SEO results, then check out Gotch SEO Academy.

Over 1,000 other entrepreneurs have already joined and I hope you do the same.

Latest posts by Nathan Gotch (see all)



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How Gael Breton Escaped Client SEO & Built a Full-Time Income Through Affiliate Marketing

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Who Gael Breton and why should you listen to him? Well, first Gael is a tremendously talented affiliate marketer who specializes in building “authority” websites. Gael got his start in the SEO agency world and transitioned into owning his own properties. In this discussion, you’ll learn: How Gael started and grew his first SEO agency …

Read moreHow Gael Breton Escaped Client SEO & Built a Full-Time Income Through Affiliate Marketing



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Defining value stream management for SEO agencies business owners

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30-second summary:

  • Value stream management is the practice that helps businesses to determine the value of the software development process. 
  • By managing value streams, you can improve the flow of value to your SEO agency and monitor the software delivery lifecycle.
  • Mapping value streams will help you improve visibility throughout the whole software development cycle.
  • You can enable value stream management by defining real-time metrics, creating a value stream map, enabling cross-team collaboration, connecting different processes, and automating the workflows.

With the scope of the competition on the market, the delivery of SEO options is becoming harder than ever. To stay competitive, all processes within the software development cycle must be optimized to their best.

If you’re looking to improve the workflows in your SEO agency, consider implementing value stream management. To help you get started, we’ve created this ultimate guide to value stream management. After reading, you’ll get a better idea of what is a value stream and how you can start managing your value streams by creating maps. 

What is value stream management (VSM)?

To define the concept of value stream management, it’s important to understand the fundamentals. Let’s cover the basics and define key terms before moving further to discuss value stream management for SEO businesses. 

A value stream refers to every step of the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC), from the product idea to the production and tools required to deliver your software to the customers. To help you visualize the concept, here’s an example of a value stream for product (not software) development.

value stream management process

Source: Dragon1

In other words, a value stream is a series of activities that build up the value of your SEO software. Value is defined by something a customer gets, like high-quality software, in a fair period of time for a fair price. 

Value stream management flow

Source: Maaw info

Value stream management (VSM) refers to the process of optimizing processes from the very point when you conceptualize an idea to the time when this idea is in production and generating revenue. To put it simply, VSM allows you to manage your SEO software development process from idea to cash. 

The benefits of value stream management for your SEO agency

Value stream management enables SEO software companies to deliver higher quality products faster and more efficiently than their competitors while significantly reducing risks. Besides, proper implementation of VSM enables the following benefits. 

  • VSM helps you find and address the limitations of your workflows. By mapping out all stages of the software development process, you can identify potential limitations and blunders. 
  • VSM enables you to deliver higher quality SEO solutions. By optimizing development processes, you can deliver better quality products. 
  • VSM allows the continuous development of your agency. By investing in optimization and VSM, you can guarantee the success of your business in the long run. 
  • VSM helps you to make the overall flow of information across the entire process visible to people who normally manage separate functions, processes, and departments. 

How does value stream mapping work?

By now you should understand that value stream management allows optimization of all development processes, from the first time an idea of a product is conceptualized to the moment when the product is produced and launched in the marketplace. 

Within value stream management, many capabilities feed that process. Value stream mapping one of these capabilities. 

A value stream map refers to the visualization of all critical steps in the SEO software development process. Value stream maps include a description of each stage and information, like the time, the volume of work, and spendings dedicated to each of the stages. 

By creating value stream maps, you can analyze the current state of your processes and improve your product based on the series of events that take your SEO solution from the initial concept to the finished product your customers receive. To put it simply, value stream mapping allows you to identify where you’re adding value and where you’re wasting it. 

Besides, creating value streams allows you to categorize activities into high priority vs. low priority items. This way, you can prioritize and triage some processes in favor of others. 

How can you enable VSM?

In order to optimize your SEO software development practices and tools, you need total visibility throughout the whole development cycle. Likely, you can achieve this by mapping value streams. 

Not particularly sure where to start? Follow these five steps to enable value stream management for your SEO agency. 

1. Defining real-time metrics and objectives

Defining real-time metrics is the first step toward enabling value stream management. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to define metrics which leads to misleading results and inability to assess the effectiveness of their VSM efforts. 

Choosing the right objectives allows you to understand what’s happening in the development and identify where value is “leaking” in the process. 

Here’s a list of metrics to help you get started: 

  • The development cycle time 
  • The overall volume of change (before and after VSM)
  • Lead time (LT)
  • Process time (PT)
  • Percent complete & accurate (percept of time when the software is received by users in the correct and ready-to-use form)

Collecting these metrics is paramount for the successful evaluation of your VSM efforts. 

2. Creating a value stream map

After you’ve defined the key metrics and objectives, you can start studying your workflows. Create a map (either physical or digital) that explains each step of the software development process, from conceptualizing an idea to delivering the final product to customers. This way, you can see the distribution of resources within your software development cycle. 

Here’s a great example of a value stream map. 

Value stream management map example

Source: ipinimg 

3. Enabling cross-team collaboration

Value stream management requires you to enable cross-team collaboration. Rather than testing business analysts separately from developers and other teams, you want to optimize the workflow across all of these teams. 

4. Connecting multiple processes, teams, and tools 

Now, as you’ve created opportunities for all teams to work together, you should find a way to answer the following question. How do you make sure that all of the work that your employees are doing, the value streams of their development, map to your priorities? 

To answer this question, you have to evaluate the workflows and roles of each team regarding your objectives and priorities. 

5. Coordinating and automating workflows 

VSM tools allow you to embed governance into existing system development cycles. In other words, some platforms allow you to automate the value stream management processes. 

Tom Hayes, a VSM advisor at the Guerrilla Agency shares his expertise,

“By coordinating and automating workflows, you can continually improve your SEO solution and ultimately achieve better results.”

The bottom line

Value stream management is different from other approaches because it’s focused on the idea that everything that happens to your customers, from the idea to the delivery, is important and needs to be managed in a holistic manner. 

By implementing VSM in your SEO agency, you can better understand your system development cycles and workflows. 

Implementing value stream management is easier than it may seem. You can start by mapping value streams and defining your main objectives. Moreover, there are many platforms that will make the VSM process easy and personalized for your SEO agency.

Connie Benton is a chief content writer, guest contributor, and enthusiastic blogger who helps B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively. You can find her on Twitter at @ConnieB34412379.





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How to Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube (FAST!)

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Gotch SEO Academy is now open! Learn how to get more consistent first page rankings and free traffic from Google (step-by-step).

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to get 4,000 watch hours on YouTube.

Since I began my journey on YouTube in 2017, I’ve accumulated 59,000 watch hours:

And if I was able to do it with my cringe-worthy videos, then you can too.

So the first question is:

What Happens When You Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube?

There is one simple reason why every YouTuber wants to reach 4,000 watch hours: to make money online.

According to YouTube, you need 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months and 1,000 subscribers to access the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

Once you reach that threshold, you can apply for the YPP. Then you can start showing ads on your videos if you’re approved.

Now you’ll need lots of subscribers and views to make a full-time income from YouTube ad revenue. However, it’s an excellent supplementary source of revenue.

For example, I’ve made $5,596 from ads since getting monetized.

That equates to about $303 per month or $10 per day. The best part is that it’s a 100% passive form of revenue. You get paid every time someone watches one of your videos.

It’s not a massive amount of money.

In fact:

It’s dead last as far as revenue sources in my company.

But it’s “passive,” which it’s pretty awesome.

Now the truth is: There is no such thing as passive income. You still need to produce quality videos consistently.

Otherwise, your audience will lose interest, your engagement will drop, your views will drop, and ultimately, your ad revenue will fall.

There’s nothing passive about the work you have to do to maintain and continue to grow on YouTube.

Now I want to let you in on a little secret:

The real reason why you should aim for 4,000 watch hours isn’t just for ad revenue. You should do it because you’re building an engaged audience.

As Grant Cardone often says, “money follows attention.”

So remember when I said YouTube ad revenue is a small part of my company’s revenue? That’s true.

However, YouTube traffic is now my third biggest source of revenue for my training course, Gotch SEO Academy.

So with that out of the way, here is a 7 step process to reach 4,000 watch hours on YouTube:

1. Find PROVEN topics

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead: you can find proven content ideas and then put your twist on it. Here’s how:

Go to YouTube and enter a keyword related to your industry. In this example, I’ll use “fashion.”

Take note of the topics that have produced lots of views. Now open a few of the channels.

If the channel has a lot of subscribers (> 30,000), then click on the “Videos” tab.

Then sort the videos by “Most Popular” to find topics that are proven to work:

Repeat this process for every channel in your industry until you’ve built a nice database of topics.


2. Qualify (and Prioritize) Your Topics

You need to be strategic with what types of videos you create if you have a new channel. If your channel is established, then you can target more competitive topics. There a few ways to qualify topics, but VidIQ will do most of the work:

Step #1: Download VidIQ

Step #2: Go to YouTube and search the topic you’re interested in.

VidIQ will show you a “Score” for the topic.

Ideally, you should only target topics with a high score. A high score is when the topic has substantial search volume but low competition.

I recommend adding the score next to each keyword in your database. Then you prioritize your topics by score.


3. Develop Your Strategy

At this point, you should have selected a keyword target. Now you need to develop a video strategy.

Here are a few questions to ask when developing your strategy:

How long should your video be?

Examine the top 10 videos for your topic and create an average. You should then aim to exceed the average length.

What are some commonalities and differences among the top videos?

I recommend watching the top 5-10 videos and taking notes.

  • What do you like?
  • What do you dislike?
  • What are some unique things they’re doing in their videos that you can incorporate into your videos?

This is the most critical part. Dedicate time to studying their videos because that’s the first step to beating them.

What’s your title?

Did you know that 80% of Internet users don’t read past the headline? That principle applies to YouTube as well.

If your headline (title) doesn’t drive any curiosity, it won’t do well on YouTube.

You need users to click through on your video. And your title is a big piece to that puzzle (along with your thumbnail).

I recommend writing out at least ten different headlines. Then, run each headline through the AMInstitute headline tool.

There are many frameworks for producing curiosity-driven headlines. However, the ones that tend to do the best include numbers.

What will you need to produce the video?

Not all videos are created equal. Some require big budgets, while others will only need your phone.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you use to produce your videos. What matters is the quality of the content you’re providing in your video.

Ensure the audio and video are at least at the level of your competitors, and you’ll do just fine.

What’s your deadline?

Deadlines make projects real. Set a deadline and stick to it.


4. Create the Video

I have a simple process for creating videos that you can steal:

Script out the entire video

I know. Some people hate this idea because they’re afraid of being robotic.

However, most people go off the rails if they don’t follow a script.

Scripts keep your videos efficient and easy to consume. The goal isn’t to waste the viewer’s time.

You want to give them the information they need in the fastest time possible. A script is that solution.

I recommend including some of these key elements into your script:

  • Mention your target keyword in the first line and last line of the video.
  • Use open loops at the beginning of the video. An example of an “open-loop” is when I say, “Make sure you read this entire guide because tip #6 is fundamental to your success on YouTube.”
  • Insert pattern interrupts (like I did above).

Did you know that video editing experts recommend changing shots every 3-10 seconds?

Watch any TV commercial. Notice how frequently the shots change. You should do the same.

Why?

It’s super hard to keep people’s attention, so you need to use every tool at your disposal.

Watch this video under tip #6 to see pattern interrupts in action.

Record your video

If you’re doing a talking-head video, you’ll need a teleprompter. Now just turn the camera on and record.

If it’s your first time, it’s going to feel like hell. That’s okay. It gets easier.

Just remember that no one is watching you.

That camera is no different than speaking to a wall. It has no emotions and no judgment.

So that means you have permission to be yourself without any consequences. The cool part is that YouTube users like people who are themselves.

So, hit record, be yourself, and add value.

Edit your video

You can do it for free with iMovie or a paid editing software like Premiere Pro. You can also hire a video editor on UpWork.


5. Optimize Your Video

Before you upload your video, you need to optimize it. I recommend including your target keyword in the filename. Now upload your video, and it’s time to optimize it for YouTube’s organic search.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Include the keyword in the title and first sentence of your description.

  • Write an in-depth description. Aim for > 100 words for your description. Make sure to include variations of your primary keyword as well.
  • Include your keyword in your tags. VidIQ will give you tag recommendations based on the topic.

I also recommend looking through the top videos for your keywords. Copy the tags they’re using.

Add an end screen. You should always try to get users to watch more of your videos.

This will quickly grow your watch time.


6. Promote Your Video

What I just showed you is about 50% of the process. The other 50% of the process is to promote your video.

Here are a few quick tips:

Leverage your email list.

Your email list is the most valuable asset for growing ANY channel—especially YouTube. If you don’t have an email list, I HIGHLY recommend you start building one. It is the most crucial marketing channel online (in my opinion).

Leave thoughtful comments on other channels in your industry.

Take note of when popular channels publish in your industry. Then, be there to drop an intelligent comment on every new video.

This will help you build a relationship with the creator. And it will also help drive users to your channel.

7. Repeat

I showed you a simple process for creating an awesome YouTube video.

But here’s the deal: creating one video isn’t enough.

In fact:

There’s a high probability that your first video won’t do well. That’s why you need to stay the course and keep publishing.

You will get to 4,000 watch hours as long as you keep producing.

That’s It!

The key to reaching 4,000 watch hours on YouTube is to GET STARTED. Then, it’s to keep producing valuable content.

There are no secrets.

Well, maybe some.

That’s why I created a brand new training program called YouTube SEO Academy. I’ll be opening enrollment soon.

In the meantime, download our free YouTube video promotion checklist.

Latest posts by Nathan Gotch (see all)



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