Are you interested in mastering the art of search engine optimization (SEO)? If so, you may be wondering how long does it take to learn SEO and become an SEO expert in this constantly evolving field.
In this article, we’ll delve into the time it takes to acquire SEO skills – from the basics to becoming proficient, and ultimately, an SEO expert and what you can do to accelerate your progress.
Whether you’re a business owner looking to improve your website’s visibility or an aspiring SEO professional, this article will provide valuable insights into the world of SEO learning.
How Long Does It Take to Learn SEO?
The short answer is:
To learn SEO basics you can expect it can take you around 2 years, to become good at SEO it can take you around 5 years and to become an SEO expert it can take you around 10 years of consistent learning.
The longer answer is:
To learn SEO basics, it takes around 2 years of learning SEO. Within this timeframe, you will learn how SEO works, learn the basics of individual SEO components and you will be able to create a basic SEO strategy to rank in non-competitive niches. However, you will struggle with advanced SEO techniques and SEO skills and how to connect the individual SEO parts together to create a B2C or B2B SEO strategy.
To become good at SEO it takes around 5 years of learning SEO. Within this timeframe, you will learn how each SEO component works together, when and why you should use different types of SEO components, and how to combine them to create an effective SEO plan. However, you will still struggle with advanced SEO concepts, how to solve large-scale problems, and how to apply each SEO technique in the most efficient way to maximize your SEO results with the least amount of effort. Also, you will struggle with creating SEO strategy plan across different industries.
And lastly, to become an SEO expert it takes around 10 years of learning SEO. Within this timeframe, you will learn advanced SEO concepts and you will be able to formulate comprehensive SEO strategy plan even for the largest websites regardless of the industry. You will learn how to use the best-advanced SEO methods and SEO secrets to hijack SEO growth to maximize SEO results within a very short period of time. Additionally, you will have an excellent understanding of how SEO fits within the overall marketing plan and how to combine different marketing strategies with SEO to see the best marketing results. At this point, your only struggle might be coding or dealing with SEO clients or company bureaucracy.
Why Does It Take 2,5,10 Years to Learn SEO?
Learning SEO can take anywhere from 2 to 10 years depending on a variety of factors. One of the primary reasons for this range is the diverse range of SEO components that you will need to learn in order to become proficient.
Furthermore, the difficulty level of each SEO component can vary, making some aspects of SEO easier to learn than others. For example, on-page optimization may be more straightforward compared to technical SEO, which requires a deeper understanding of website architecture, tools, and coding.
With that here are the different types of SEO components and approximate timeframes for how long it can take you to learn them:
- Keyword Research: This involves researching and selecting relevant keywords that your target audience uses to search for your products or services. It involves understanding search volume, competition, and intent. It can take around 1 year to be good at keyword research and up to 2 years to become an expert.
- On-page SEO: This refers to optimizing various elements on your website to improve its ranking on search engines. This includes optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, SEO headlines, SEO URLs, and content. It can take around 1 year to be good at on-page SEO and up to 3 years to become an expert.
- SEO Content: This involves creating high-quality content that is optimized for search engines and provides value to your audience. It includes optimizing for SEO keywords, creating engaging content, and building a content strategy. It can take around 1 year to be good at SEO content and up to 3 years to become an expert.
- Technical SEO: This refers to optimizing your website’s technical aspects, such as site architecture, URL structure, page speed, and mobile-friendliness, to improve its visibility and ranking on search engines. It involves a deeper understanding of website development and coding. It can take around 3 years to be good at technical SEO and up to 7 years to become an expert.
- Local SEO: This involves optimizing your website and online presence for local search results. It includes building local citations, creating location-specific content, and optimizing Google Business Profile. It can take around 1 year to be good at local SEO and up to 3 years to become an expert.
- Off-Page SEO: This involves optimizing your website’s external factors, such as link building and social media presence, to improve its ranking on search engines. It includes creating backlinks, social media engagement, and building relationships with influencers. It can take around 2 years to be good at off-page SEO and up to 4 years to become an expert.
- Link Building: This involves acquiring high-quality links from other websites to improve your website’s ranking on search engines. It includes blogger outreach, guest posting, and content promotion. It can take around 2 years to be good at link building and up to 5 years to become an expert.
Additionally, there are other skills that you might need to learn as well to further improve your SEO skills such as:
- SEO Competitor Analysis: This involves analyzing your competitors’ websites to identify their strengths and weaknesses and gain insights into their SEO strategy. It includes analyzing their keywords, backlinks, content, and on-page optimization. This skill can help you identify opportunities to improve your own website’s SEO strategy.
- SEO Tracking: This involves monitoring and analyzing your website’s performance and ranking on search engines. It includes tracking keywords, traffic, and conversion rates, and using analytics tools to gain insights into your website’s performance. This skill can help you measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and make data-driven decisions.
- SEO Testing: This involves testing different SEO strategies and tactics to identify what works best for your website. It includes A/B testing, split testing, and multivariate testing to optimize various aspects of your website’s SEO, such as title tags, meta descriptions, and content. This skill can help you identify the most effective strategies to improve your website’s ranking on search engines.
- Programmatic SEO: This involves using automation tools and software to optimize your website’s SEO strategy. It includes using tools for keyword research, content optimization, and link building to streamline your SEO efforts and save time. This skill can help you scale your SEO strategy and improve your website’s ranking on search engines more efficiently.
Learning SEO is a combined effort and involves developing proficiency in various components.
Therefore, it can take up to 5 years to become good at SEO and 10 years to become a seasoned SEO expert.
However, it’s important to note that even after 10 years, there is still more to learn. SEO, like most professional crafts, is constantly evolving, and with the emergence of AI search, the industry has undergone significant disruptions.
Even SEO experts with 15+ years of experience need to relearn concepts and adapt to changes. This means that learning SEO is a continuous process that never stops.
Is It Hard to Learn SEO?
There are certain parts of SEO that can be difficulted to learn such as technical SEO. This can involve optimizing your website for page speed, customizing your website template, or fixing technical errors on your website.
However, the difficulty of learning SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can vary depending on several factors, such as your level of experience with digital marketing, your technical skills, and your willingness to learn and stay up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and SEO best practices.
Additionally, SEO is fast changing industry as search engines perform thousands of updates to their algorithm every year, of which very little is known.
With that being said, SEO is not as hard to learn compared to others such as computer science, aviation, laws, quantum mechanics, or doctor professions, but it can be definitely confusing and overwhelming at the beginning.
With that, here is an infographic that ranks the various components of SEO from the most challenging to the least challenging:
(Access full size Infographic)
How to Learn SEO on Your Own Fast and For Free (Like Most SEOs Did)
One of the biggest advantages of learning SEO is that you can learn SEO on your own almost for free. Additionally, you are not required to have a degree or any formal education to find a job as an SEO.
In fact, I have listened to the stories of hundreds of SEOs and discovered that most of them, myself included, have learned SEO independently without any formal training or assistance.
So, with that, here are 5 ways how to learn SEO on your own:
Way #1: Learn SEO by Watching
Learning by watching videos is arguably one of the best passive learning ways that you can implement to learn SEO and luckily, SEOs (like me) are very keen to provide highly educational, slightly entertaining SEO videos that you can watch.
And studies have shown that video-based learning offers a range of benefits for learners of all ages and abilities:
- Improved retention and engagement: A study by the University of Queensland found that students who learned from video lectures retained more information and were more engaged in the learning process than those who learned from traditional lectures. (Source)
- Increased motivation and self-efficacy: Research from the University of Amsterdam suggests that video-based learning can increase students’ motivation and self-efficacy, or their belief in their ability to succeed in a particular task. (Source)
- Enhanced problem-solving skills: A study from the University of California, San Diego found that video-based instruction can improve problem-solving skills, particularly in complex tasks that require visual and spatial reasoning. (Source)
- Flexibility and convenience: Video-based learning allows for greater flexibility and convenience, as students can access the material from anywhere and at any time. This can be particularly beneficial for students who have busy schedules or who live in remote areas.
With that, here are some of my favorite SEO YouTube channels from which you can learn SEO:
- Eduard Dziak is a digital marketer and SEO consultant who shares his knowledge and experience on his YouTube channel. His videos cover a range of SEO topics, including keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
- Ahrefs is a popular SEO tool provider that also has a YouTube channel with a wealth of SEO knowledge. Their videos cover topics such as keyword research, link building, and content marketing, and often include case studies and practical tips.
- Neil Patel is a well-known digital marketer and entrepreneur who shares his insights on his YouTube channel. His videos cover a range of topics, including SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing, and often include practical tips and strategies.
- Matt Diggity is an SEO expert and founder of the popular SEO blog Diggity Marketing. His YouTube channel covers a range of topics related to SEO and affiliate marketing and often includes case studies and practical tips.
- Income School is a YouTube channel run by Ricky and Nathan, two online entrepreneurs who share their knowledge and experience on a range of topics, including SEO, affiliate marketing, and niche site building. Their videos are often geared toward beginners and include practical tips and strategies.
These YouTube channels offer a wealth of SEO knowledge and can be a great resource for anyone looking to improve their SEO skills and knowledge.
Way #2: Learn SEO by Reading Blog Posts
While videos may be a popular choice for learning due to their ease and visual appeal, reading SEO blogs can be a highly effective way to passively gain knowledge about SEO.
In fact, there are significantly more blog posts available on the topic of SEO compared to videos. These blog posts cover a wide range of SEO topics, from basic to advanced, and provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject.
While there are many SEO-related videos on platforms such as YouTube, they often lack the depth and detail found in blog posts.
Additionally, many videos tend to repeat similar information without providing much new insight. Therefore, if you want to become an SEO expert, you should be also reading relevant SEO blogs.
With that, I recommend following SEO blogs to stay up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and get the most actionable SEO knowledge. Here are some of my favorite SEO blogs:
- Search Engine Journal is a popular blog that covers all aspects of SEO, including technical SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. It also provides news and updates on Google’s algorithm changes and other industry trends.
- SE Ranking is a blog that covers a range of topics related to SEO and digital marketing. It provides insights and tips on keyword research, competitor analysis, and link building strategies, among other things.
- Holistic SEO is a blog that focuses on a more holistic approach to SEO, taking into account factors such as user experience, semantic SEO, coding, website structure, and content quality. It provides practical tips and strategies for optimizing websites for search engines while also creating a positive user experience.
- B2BDigitalMarketers focuses on SEO strategies and tactics that are relevant for B2B digital marketing. It covers topics such as SEO, content marketing, lead generation, social media marketing, and more.
Way #3: Learn SEO by Doing
One of the biggest benefits of learning SEO is that you can actually start doing it on your own with very little capital investment as you can just set up your own website.
With that here is a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to learn SEO by doing it:
- Select Your Niche: I recommend you select a niche that you are passionate about and you have at least decent knowledge about. Definitely, do not go into the SEO niche as it is highly competitive and it can take years to succeed. Instead, select an easy niche.
- Set Up Your Website: Purchase your hosting and domain (Try Hostinger – Get a 20% Discount), and install WordPress with some easy-to-use WordPress themes such as Elementor, GeneratePress, or Divi.
- Conduct Keyword Research: Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SE Ranking to identify relevant keywords for your website. This will help you understand how people search for content related to your niche or industry.
- Start Creating SEO Content: Create relevant content to your niche on your website and Implement on-page SEO techniques such as meta tags, header tags, and internal linking. This will make your website more search engine friendly and improve your chances of ranking higher in search results.
- Build Quality Backlinks: Work on building high-quality, niche-relevant backlinks and contextual backlinks from relevant websites in your niche. This will improve your website’s authority and increase its visibility in search results.
- Analyze Your Results: Use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Microsoft Clarity to track your website’s performance and identify areas that need improvement. This will help you refine your SEO strategy and achieve better results over time.
Your goal should be to achieve 10,000 organic traffic. By doing that, you will learn SEO using the ways I have and will mention and apply them to your website.
This hands-on approach will allow you to remember what you have learned much better, as you will be able to apply your knowledge right away and see the impact of your SEO efforts in real-time.
Way #4: Learn SEO by Being Part of a Community
Being part of a community is a great way to learn SEO and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and strategies and there are many different ways how you can become part of an SEO community such as:
- Join Online SEO Communities: Joining SEO communities and groups on LinkedIn and Facebook can help you to connect with more skillful professionals that can help you with your challenges and navigate you the right way as well as you can brainstorm together.
- Attend SEO Conferences: The best place where you can meet a lot of people from the SEO industry, network, and get a ton of value as well as have fun is by attending SEO conferences. There are plenty of local SEO conferences in your area, but the more global, the bigger the chance you build an excellent SEO network of high-tier SEO professionals.
- Join Local SEO Groups: As the saying goes, two heads know more than one. Joining local SEO groups will help you to expand your knowledge with like-minded people in your area, brainstorm ideas, and solve problems together. Definitely a great way to learn and grow your SEO knowledge.
- Participate in Online Forums: Participating in online forums such as Reddit, Quora, Moz Q&A, Google Webmaster Help Forum, and Warrior Forum can help you ask questions, get answers, and learn from other professionals in the industry as well as share your own knowledge.
Many SEO professionals think that joining an SEO community and networking is the best way to learn SEO fast while having fun and minimizing the number of SEO mistakes you would do if you would have to learn SEO alone.
It’s definitely a great way to learn SEO and very effective, especially for more social people!
Way #5: Learn SEO from Books
The good old way of learning anything including SEO is by actually reading SEO books.
As I showed you, nowadays, anybody can publish information on the internet, making it a cluttered space full of junk without any real value or experience within.
And while Google and other search engines do a great job at picking golden nuggets from piles of shit, one of the biggest problems with learning SEO from blog posts and videos is that they are missing the structure that will help you navigate from A-Z to learn SEO effectively.
This will help you avoid jumping from topic to topic and having pieces of knowledge scattered across many different topics, but nothing solid to create a proper SEO strategy.
Whereas SEO books are written by SEO experts with many years of experience and are well structured to take you from SEO basics to advanced SEO topics and give you a clear pathway to navigate through them.
After that, it’s much easier to then learn from online sources as you will have good general knowledge of SEO and you can now pick the topics that interest you the most or where you want to improve.
With that, here is a list of my SEO books that I would like to recommend to you:
- Product-Led SEO: The Complete Guide to Building Your Business with Search Optimization by Eli Schwartz. This book teaches how to use SEO to build a product-led business, making it a must-read for entrepreneurs and marketers who want to use SEO as a growth strategy.
- The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, and Jessie Stricchiola. This comprehensive guide covers everything from basic concepts to advanced strategies and is considered the ultimate guide to SEO.
- SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers & Entrepreneurs by John Jantsch and Phil Singleton. This book focuses on integrating SEO with other marketing strategies to create a holistic approach to marketing.
- Ultimate Guide to Link Building: How to Build Backlinks, Authority, and Credibility for Your Website, and Increase Click Traffic and Search Ranking by Eric Ward and Garrett French. This book is a comprehensive guide to link building, covering everything from basic concepts to advanced strategies for building high-quality links.
Types of Ways to Learn SEO [Infographic]
(Access Full Size Infographic)
What is the Best Way to Learn SEO?
As you could see, there are various ways how you can learn SEO and it’s totally on your preference which of these ways of learning is more suitable to you.
The best way to learn SEO is a combination of multiple learning methods that you prefer, be it reading articles, watching videos, doing SEO, or being part of a community. Each way has its pros and cons and it’s really up to you which one of these ways you prefer.
Best SEO Courses
If you are interested in learning SEO, then one of the best ways is to take an SEO course. There are numerous online SEO courses available for you, here are some of my recommendations of free and paid SEO courses:
- The Authority Site System: This is a comprehensive course that teaches you how to build and monetize authority websites using SEO and content marketing strategies.
- The Affiliate Lab: This course focuses on teaching you how to create and grow affiliate websites using SEO and other digital marketing techniques.
- Gotch SEO Academy: This course provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to improve your website’s rankings using white-hat SEO techniques.
- HubSpot SEO Course (Free): This free course by HubSpot covers the fundamentals of SEO, including keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
- SEMRush Academy (Free): SEMRush Academy offers free courses on various aspects of SEO, PPC advertising, and content marketing, taught by industry experts.
Final Advice to How Long Does It Take to Learn SEO
SEO is a dynamic field that is constantly evolving. To become an SEO expert, you must have a consistent interest in this topic and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments. Falling behind is not an option.
Although it can take many years to master SEO, starting early gives you a significant advantage over others. As people’s interests change over time, there are far fewer SEOs with 10+ years of experience than those with 2 or 5 years of experience.
Moreover, with the increasing use of search engines from a young age, SEO is becoming even more important in the coming years. Unlike the petroleum industry, SEO has a bright future ahead.
Learning SEO FAQs
No, it’s not possible to learn SEO in just one day. SEO is a complex subject that requires time and practice to fully understand and apply. While you may gain some basic knowledge about SEO in one day, you won’t have a deep understanding of the subject or be able to apply it effectively. It’s important to have realistic expectations and a long-term approach when it comes to learning SEO.
No, it’s not possible to fully learn SEO in just one month. While you can gain a basic understanding of SEO concepts, such as keywords and on-page SEO, in the first month of learning, you won’t have a deep understanding of how they work or how to effectively implement them. SEO is a complex field that requires time, practice, and continuous learning to become proficient. It’s important to have realistic expectations and a long-term approach when it comes to learning SEO.
No, it’s not possible to learn SEO in just 2 months. SEO is a complex and ever-changing field that requires continuous learning and practice. It takes time to understand the fundamentals of SEO, such as keyword research, on-page SEO, and link building, and to develop the skills necessary to implement effective strategies. Additionally, SEO best practices are constantly evolving, so ongoing education is essential to stay current with the latest trends and updates.
SEO doesn’t necessarily require coding, but having coding skills can be advantageous. With coding knowledge, you can implement more advanced SEO techniques, such as programmatic SEO and improving technical SEO aspects. However, basic SEO tasks, such as keyword research, on-page SEO, and content creation, don’t necessarily require coding skills. It’s important to have a well-rounded understanding of SEO principles, which includes technical, content, and off-page SEO factors.
One of the best ways for beginners to learn SEO is by creating their own website and applying their newly gained SEO knowledge to it. This allows for hands-on practice and experimentation with different SEO techniques. In addition, beginners can also read SEO guides, take online courses, and participate in online forums to learn more about SEO best practices and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and updates.
Yes, learning SEO is worth it. SEO is a high-demand skill in today’s digital age, with businesses relying on SEO to increase their online visibility and attract more customers. Additionally, with a relatively low number of SEO professionals available, it can be an ideal profession for those looking for a high-demand career with good earning potential. Investing time and effort in learning SEO can lead to a valuable skill set and career opportunities.
Anyone who has an interest in digital marketing and is willing to put in the time and effort can learn SEO. It’s helpful to have basic computer skills and an understanding of how search engines work. Those who enjoy exploring search results, analyzing data, and experimenting with different SEO techniques will likely find learning SEO to be an engaging and rewarding experience. With the right mindset and a willingness to learn, anyone can become proficient in SEO.
Also, check out our SEO hub page to find all our SEO resources.
This article was created by Eduard Dziak and may contain affiliate links. The following were used to optimize the article for the best user and search engine experience include:
- SE Ranking for keyword research and on-page SEO optimization
- Surfer SEO for SEO-friendly content creation for users and search engines.
- Jasper AI for grammar correction and information enhancement.
The article is based on the author’s own experience and knowledge, drawn from both their own work and that of their clients, to provide the latest, proven methods.