Can Anyone Become an SEO Expert?

Written: 29-Dec-2008 | | Filed under: Search Optimization

On one of the forums I frequent, I came across an interesting thread recently. In a discussion of what SEO experts do, one member was of the opinion that all you need for SEO is a blog. Optimization would then apparently happen pretty much automatically with the use of “SEO-friendly” plugins.

Another member weighed in with the opinion that “anyone can be an SEO expert.”

As I responded on the forum, pretty much anybody can become a world-class athlete, too, but only a very very few are willing to put in the amount of time, energy and dedication it takes to develop their skills to the point where that actually happens.

Certainly, if you build a website (or a blog) with user-friendliness in mind, some site optimization will happen “automagically.” Search engines want sites that are good for human visitors, so if you make your site better for humans, in many cases you are also making your site better for the search engines.

But making a site visitor-friendly is not the same as true Search Engine Optimization. Actual SEO also includes such things as keyword analysis, code optimization, copywriting, internal navigational design and more. There’s a lot more to it than just decently-written content and inbound links.

While things like “SEO-friendly” blog plugins can help make the job easier, they are simply tools. Using software or plugins doesn’t make a person into an SEO any more than using a hammer, saw and chisel makes a person into a master woodworker.

I look at it this way. It’s relatively easy for a person to learn how to swap out the air filter or maybe even change the oil on their own car. But, while they’re good and helpful things to do, being able to do these things doesn’t make a person into a qualified mechanic.

Since the whole purpose of this site is to help do-it-yourself webmasters to learn more about optimizing their sites, I don’t want to come across as discouraging you. But I believe I also have a responsibility to make sure your expectations are reasonable.

In the words of one of my favorite sayings:

There’s fast, there’s cheap and there’s good. You get to choose two.

Since I’m going to assume you want one of your choices to be “good” that leaves a decision between “fast” and “cheap.” If you want fast results, you should expect to spend a good bit of money to hire someone else who has invested the necessary time and effort to become an SEO expert.

If you want results without spending a lot of money out of pocket, then realistically you need to be prepared to invest a good bit of time learning what real optimization is about yourself. (A good first step, of course, would be to keep reading here! ;) )

Can anyone become an SEO expert? Well, I don’t know about anyone, but I suspect most people could if they only put their minds to it. Including you.

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