Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this blog and researching about SEO, then becoming a “guru” of it is something you definitely want. Just so you know, you won’t become a guru after reading this post, but you’ll have the ingredients you need to becoming one as soon as possible.
Keep reading if you want become an SEO “guru” (yes, that’s a picture of Yoda.. don’t judge me)…
1. Live and Breath It
Especially when you’re just getting started, you should be deeply immersed in SEO. There is so much information and knowledge that you can take in when you’re a beginner. Keep in mind, a lot of it is garbage, but after awhile you start to see what’s legit and what’s just generalizations and guru advice. One of the best ways to advance your SEO knowledge is to immerse yourself inside Black Hat World. There is a ton of awesome information that you should know.
Don’t worry… they have a white hat section for those who can’t sleep at night knowing they virtually stepped foot into a black hat forum.
It doesn’t matter what you classify yourself as, all of the blogs above will inch one step closer to mastery.
Since my SEO workload is full, I don’t get a ton of time to read these blogs and forums, but I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve fallen asleep with my phone in my hand consuming information from BHW 😛
The point is, I do and think about SEO from the moment I wake up to the last second I’m awake. I’m like crackhead for SEO. That’s how you should be for whatever industry you’re working in. It doesn’t have to be SEO.
If you’re a plumber, you better be living and breathing plumbing and trying to figure out ways to become a better one, become more efficient, and how to increase your bottom line.
2. Test or Die
You’re probably getting annoying with me saying this all the time, but TESTING is easily the best way to improve your SEO skills. Why do I emphasize it so much? Because testing is what keeps you one step ahead of everyone else. You start to see trends and flaws before it becomes public knowledge. And once everyone already knows about it, you’ve already moved on to the next technique.
Most importantly, testing can show you things that AREN’T working. This will ensure that you don’t do something on all of your websites that destroys them.
Here’s how to become a pro tester:
Always have a testing dummy website – this website literally doesn’t need to have any content at all. It’s for pure testing. The key is to focus on one technique for the test. So if you want to know if 301 redirects still work, only build 301s and see what happens. Typically, I give my tests about a month. If there’s no movement, then the technique is not worth it.
Don’t make a conclusion based on one site’s results – this is an easy mistake to make. Just because you ranked one website doesn’t mean the next website will rank as easily or at all. Use your combined knowledge to make educated conclusions.
3. Block Your Forums NOW
In the beginning it’s okay to be in the forums, but you need to know that forums are a huge time killer and filled with terrible advice and people who claim to be SEO all-stars. The only forum that I actually read is Black Hat World because there are people actually testing techniques.
You visit Warrior Forum and there’s a party of people spewing white hat nonsense out of theirs mouths, but of course, none of these people have actually ranked a website. I’m sure there are some pretty solid SEOs who hang out on that forum, but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been there in over two years.
The moral of the story is that ANY forum can take away from what you need to be doing. Every second you waste reading threads like “Question for the Dating Guys…” (That’s a real thread), you’re killing critical time you could have been using to improve your websites, test techniques, and ultimately get better at SEO.
4. Study the Most Competitive Niches
This is the “secret ingredient” I was talking about. But let’s be honest, it’s not really secret, it’s actually really obvious. Since you probably don’t have unlimited resources for tons of SEO tests, all you have to do is check out the most competitive niches in SEO. In seconds, you’ll see real life tests being conducted by the sneakiest / best SEOs on the planet.
I use this technique ALL the time and it’s like GOLD.
So, what you’ll want to do is examine the websites in the niches I’m about to list, and see exactly what they are doing to rank. Obviously, you’ll be spending your time on examining their link profile because that’s primarily the reason for their rankings.
Sometimes discovering exactly what a website is doing to rank takes some serious investigation, but when you find out, you can reverse engineer their tactics.
Some niches you’ll want to examine include:
- Payday Loans
- Auto Insurance
- Pretty much any weight loss supplement
5. Matt Cutt’s…Who?
I don’t understand how any person doing SEO would actually go to Matt Cutt’s website and listen to what he’s telling you. HE WORKS FOR GOOGLE. HE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO GAME THE SEARCH ENGINE.
Everything he says is a form of Google propaganda and designed to stop people from getting into SEO. They want it to look chaotic and scary because this scares off newbies.
Don’t you realize that Google hates people who rely on and use SEO because they take away from their PPC revenue? Every new SEO that spawns is one less person who is going to use their advertising vehicle.
Aww… I feel so bad for poor multi-billion dollar Google =(
Well guess what… Google doesn’t give a damn about you or your website. In seconds, they can release a new update that could obliterate your website regardless of whether it’s blackhat OR whitehat. Unless you think your “quality” content is going to save you….
Don’t listen to him, do your thing, rank your websites, and make bank.
6. Become a Slimy Salesman and Learn CRO After
Yes, that’s right. You need to learn sales and conversion rate optimization (CRO) if you want to be an SEO guru. It doesn’t matter how many websites you can rank. If you can’t actually get these websites to produce any substantially income, then you’re going to a) kill your resources and b) waste your time.
Notice how I said learn how to SELL before CRO. Learning the psychology of sales is probably the best skill a person can have. That is, a person who likes making money and having security. As long as you can sell, you’re always going to have money or find ways to make money.
Personally, I study this stuff deeply and so do many other popular SEOs you probably read or know. The fact is, as soon as you enter a blog like Quick Sprout, Backlinko, or Source Wave, you’re being thrown into a psychological whirlwind.
Everything these websites do is ethical and very ingenious. You see, when you’re on the offensive side of SEO, you can analyze websites that are doing things right and learn.
Many SEO blogs are always talking about CRO and optimizing web pages, but you don’t often hear about the psychological steps of creating desire and trust.
Every single thing from the language on an optin form to the free gift a site gives you is:
a) breaking down your anti-trust barriers
b) creating an environment of reciprocation
c) creating a desire or “want” for more awesome information (from YOU).
The key is to focus less on the color off your theme or call-to-action button, and more on the value you’re providing and the persuasive (or lack thereof) language you’re using.
At this point, you’re probably a little gassed out from reading, so I want to share a video from Frank Kern that is absolutely awesome. It has to do with what I just explained above. This technique is call “results in advance” and it’s incredibly simple, but insanely powerful.
Check it out:
7. Have Real Life Experience for Producing Genuine Value
If you’re going to create an audience who craves your new content, you have to actually give them super valuable and engaging content. Every single piece of content you produce should have the intention of helping your readers.
But providing genuine value is only possible through your experience. People can tell if you’re faking it, so don’t even try. Become a master of your craft and then use your blog to educate your prospects since you are now the authority on the topic.
The hardest part is writing engaging content, but there’s a super easy way to conquer boring or dull content…
Just be yourself.
Write like you’re speaking to one person and you’re just having a casual conversation about a really cool topic. Most importantly, write for the “Homer Simpsons” of the world. Like Derek from Social Triggers says, “People Who Use Big Words Are Stupid”. I can’t agree with this more.
Be yourself, write freely and honestly, and provide insane amounts of value.
8. Listen to the Right People
Critical point here… there are ton of “gurus” out there when it comes to Internet marketing, so you must be able to differentiate the good from the bad. When I first started out, I was trusting and reading everything ANYONE was saying. But now, I only read about three or four blogs whenever I get some free time or remember to.
You see, if you spend all your time reading other people’s blog, you’re not spending time developing YOUR blog or hustling to get traffic.
Pick a core group of blogs you love, stick with them, and venture out if one of your core blogs starts to slack off.
Either way, your first thought in the morning shouldn’t be “what blog should I read today?” It should be “how am I going to make money today?”
9. Keep the Fire Lit
I can’t emphasize this point enough. For some reason, once you have the ability to rank websites, it’s very easy to slack off. Like right now, I could have more websites ranking and banking for me. But I get complacent from time-to-time. We are human, but as long as you realize that you’re not taking advantage of your skills, you’ll be able to correct it.
KEEP THE FIRE LIT! This applies to every business.
Remember what all your hard work was for. You wanted to become an SEO guru, so freaking use your skills to make some dough. Trust me, there are people who are more hungry than you. Bringing me to my next point….
10. Be on the Offensive At ALL Times
By nature, I’m extremely competitive because of my college baseball and athletic background. This easily translates over to SEO. I literally get fired up when a website takes my #1 spot or when I’m trying to take theirs. You have to constantly be on your toes and ready to go up against other SEOs.
Obviously, if you’re starting out, you should stay away from niches that are populated with people like me. But once you got some skills, you should definitely try to tango with the real competitors.
You have to get to the point where you honestly believe you can rank for anything as long as the budget is there.
If you think you’ll be able to rank in PayDay loans for free, then come back to me in five years from now and I guarantee you probably will not have even seen the third page of Google. Ranking in super competitive niches is a budget battle. The same goes for local searches like “city + dentist” because you’re competing with companies who are contracting SEO companies like mine.
In sports, they always talk about the “intangibles”.
Take basketball player #1 vs basketball player #2.
- Player #1 has the highest shooting percentage and leads the league in scoring.
- Player #2 has an average shooting percentage and is nowhere near the top for scoring, but leads the league is getting to loose balls, minutes played, producing turnovers, and is known for being the hardest worker in the league.
What player do you think wins more games for their team? Player #2 wins more games because he has the intangibles. Sure, player #1 may get more recognition as an individual, but he won’t win as many games as player #2.
Translating this silly story over to SEO: your SEO skills alone will not make you money! You need the intangibles to succeed and to continue succeeding for years to come. If you’re in defensive mode all the time, you’re afraid to fail, and you’re afraid of competition, then I don’t care how good you are at SEO. You will not make money.
If you want to achieve guru status in SEO, you need these intangibles:
- ZERO fear of failure
- the drive to keep learning and progressing
- the ability to make adjustments ALL the time
SEO isn’t a static profession. It’s changing all the time and if you’re not changing with it, you’ll fall behind.
I hope you enjoyed these 10 steps and I know they will bring you at least one step closer to becoming really good at SEO.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about this post below or if you have any questions.