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Google Doesn’t Care About AI Content. Here’s Why.



Google Doesn't Care About AI Content. Here’s Why.

This seemed to come as a bit of a shock to some, but I think there are three reasons why it makes total sense.

Reason 1. Google can deal with an influx of bad content—if it has to

If you’ve ever been asked what you think of someone’s website, you’ll know just how low most people’s bar is when it comes to content quality. They order a few dozen articles from Fiverr and expect you (and Google) to be impressed. 

The impact of AI will lower the cost of this type of content. Folks no longer need to pay $5 a pop for cheap, low-quality content because they can write it for free with AI content tools.

Here’s an example of the type of content I’m talking about:

Example of low-quality content

It’s readable and well constructed, but the content itself is just fluff. You can tell immediately that it’s words for the sake of words and that the author has never touched this product. They certainly don’t have any unique insights or genuine opinions about it.

Given that you can create “similar quality” content with AI tools, you may assume there’ll be a sudden and massive influx of low-quality content for Google to deal with.

Here are my two cents on this:

  1. I don’t think it’ll be as bad as many people think – Your mom isn’t going to suddenly start a content site just because AI tools can now do the heavy lifting. It’ll mostly be folks already in the industry using AI tools. So while there will definitely be more content being created, I don’t think it’ll be a crazy amount more.
  2. Even if I’m wrong, Google’s systems will deal with it If your site is full of low-quality content, AI or not, Google will just lower your crawl budget to save resources. Remember, ChatGPT isn’t the first AI tool. People have been creating content with other tools like GPT2 for years, and Google has coped just fine so far. 

Long story short, the search engine’s flood defense systems are robust enough to deal with the increased junk that AI throws their way.

Reason 2. Google already knows how to surface good content and bury the bad—however it was created

Google has many search algorithms working behind the scenes to rank the best results for its users. Are they perfect? No. But I think we can all agree they do a good job on the whole. 

For example, there are 717 million results for “lump on neck”—yet none of the top ones are from your average Joe. They’re all written by doctors and published on the sites of respected health brands. In other words, they have E-E-A-T.

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Top-ranking result for "lump on neck"

Of course, E-E-A-T isn’t a direct ranking factor, so let’s look at a couple of known direct ranking factors and discuss a couple of reasons why, on the whole, AI content won’t flummox them.


People link to content for all kinds of reasons, but I think these are the two most common:

  1. They already know and trust the author or brand.
  2. The content is the source of a unique idea or statistic.

Given that it takes years to earn trust in an industry (even if you only publish high-quality content), it’s not going to happen if you only publish low-end AI content.

As for content that says something unique, take a look at these “unique” link building tactics ChatGPT came up with:

ChatGPT's "unique" link building tactics

If you thought you heard about these 20 years ago, you’d be right. They’re not unique ideas at all. You’re going to have to come up with these on your own.

Helpful content system

Google’s helpful content system aims to boost the performance of content that gives visitors a satisfying experience while demoting content that doesn’t.

Here’s how Google says it works in a nutshell:

The system generates a site-wide signal that we consider among many other signals for ranking web pages. Our systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches.

Given that AI tools are trained on existing content, it’s basically impossible for them to “add value.” They can only summarize and rework ideas that are already out there (or that you give them).

Google also states that this is a sitewide signal. This means it should still negatively impact those who think, “Meh. I’ll just publish a load of AI content, see what sticks, then improve it.” 

Reason 3. Google knows that AI can help people create better content

Google couldn’t be any clearer about this. Its documentation includes an entire section about how automation can help create helpful content. 

Here’s an excerpt: 

Not all use of automation, including AI generation, is spam. […] AI has the ability to power new levels of expression and creativity, and to serve as a critical tool to help people create great content for the web.

If you’re wondering how, let me share three examples.

AI can make your content interactive

Let’s say you wanted to rank in the U.K. for “UK tax brackets.” If we look at the top results, they’re all about the same. They list tax brackets and explain how to determine which one you’re in.

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Example of a top result for "UK tax brackets"

This is useful information, but you’ll struggle to calculate your personal tax liability in your head. You need a calculator, and it would probably be helpful if it was embedded right there in the post.

Before AI, unless you knew how to code, you’d have to hire a developer to do this for you. But now, with ChatGPT (and presumably other upcoming AI tools, like Google’s Bard), all you have to do is ask:

Asking ChatGPT to code an income tax calculator

Here’s the output: 

The results of the ChatGPT prompt

Using the free Code Snippets plugin for WordPress, I managed to embed this interactive calculator in a post without any coding knowledge whatsoever. You can view a live working demo here.


The calculator doesn’t account for the tapered annual allowance that (currently) applies to income over £240K in the U.K. But you could probably get ChatGPT to add this with a few extra prompts.

AI can proofread stuff

Last year, we tested the quality of freelance writers based on their rates. The cheapest charged just $0.02 per word.

If we take a part of their content and ask ChatGPT to proofread it, it makes minor improvements for clarity:

ChatGPT proofreading content

I’ve found this super helpful for improving spelling and grammatical issues in my drafts. Here it is correcting all of my typos and even capitalizing acronyms without me having to lift a finger:

ChatGPT proofreading content

AI can explain things better (and faster) than you

Here’s what happened when I asked ChatGPT to explain and name a budgeting hack:

ChatGPT explaining concepts succinctly

I don’t know about you, but I think it explained my admittedly lame (and somewhat unrealistic in this economic climate) “hack” pretty well. Sure, the name isn’t that great, but we can always ask ChatGPT for some other ideas: 

ChatGPT's alternative names for my budgeting hack

Round Up Retreat” seems pretty catchy to me.


Does this mean you won’t see bad AI content ranking?

No. Bad AI content will rank for some keywords, just as low-quality content written by humans does. Here are two reasons why.

Google isn’t perfect

I’m sure some of you rolled your eyes when I mentioned backlinks and “helpful content.” After all, you can always buy backlinks (although we don’t recommend it), and there are plenty of sites with unhelpful content still thriving.

This is, in part, because Google’s algorithms aren’t perfect.

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You can think of Google Search as one of those toys with holes that only let through specific shapes. They work, but if you spend some time twisting and turning the shapes (or grab a hammer), you can often force the wrong ones through.

Unhelpful content still ranks if you try hard enough

Just like these toys, Google’s algorithms aren’t going to catch all low-quality content—AI or not.

Google can only rank good content if it exists

Google’s algorithms are designed to surface the best results, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise based on some SERPs. 

For example, here’s the top result for “best headphones for big heads”:

Example of a low-quality search result

You can see that it’s bog-standard affiliate content. Lots of words, no unique insights, and stock images. In other words, the level of quality that AI tools could easily write. 

So how can this possibly be the best result for the topic?

I think the answer is simple. The topic just isn’t lucrative enough to incentivize meaningful competition. 

For example, the top-ranking page only gets an estimated 430 monthly search visits:

Estimated monthly traffic to the top-ranking page for "best headphones for big heads"

Let’s be (very) generous and assume that:

  • Each recommended pair of headphones costs $200 on average.
  • 10% of visits lead to purchases.
  • The site gets 3% commissions from Amazon.

Do the math: $200 * 43 (10% of 430 visits) * 3% = $258/month.

This isn’t bad, but I still doubt anyone would be willing to buy and test dozens of $200 headphones to create exceptional content for this keyword. This creates a void of truly useful results for Google to choose from and a low bar for the “best” result.

In fact, ChatGPT could probably create content as good as the current top result. 

Final thoughts

Marie Haynes summarizes Google’s stance on AI content well in this tweet:

Google’s taking this stance because it knows AI tools are like power tools. If you’re a carpenter, they’ll help you get the shelves up faster and with a better finish. If not, they’ll just help you botch the job faster—and take one of your fingers in the process. 

But while some SEOs will lose a metaphorical finger (or two) by jumping knee-deep into AI content, others will make it work. Google’s algorithms are good, not perfect. So expect to see a few articles on shoddy AI content sites ranking like crazy and making bank. 

Inevitably, though, these sites will tank. Not because they published AI content, but because they published low-quality content that never deserved to rank anyway.

Got questions? Disagree with me? Ping me on Twitter.

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Google’s Search Relations Team Explores Web3’s SEO Impact



Google's Search Relations Team Explores Web3's SEO Impact

In the latest episode of the “Search Off the Record” podcast, the Google Search Relations team, comprised of John Mueller, Gary Illyes, and Martin Splitt, delved into a thought-provoking conversation around the impact of Web3 on SEO.

The team provides insights and addresses the ramifications of this technology on SEO practices while acknowledging that Web3 is in its developing stages.

Web3: Revolutionizing the Internet Landscape

Web3 represents an evolution of the internet, characterized by its embrace of decentralization and utilization of blockchain technology.

Unlike the traditional web, Web3 aims to give people more control over online experiences, enhance data privacy, and facilitate peer-to-peer interactions.

The Puzzle of Web3’s Impact on SEO

During the podcast, the team discussed the implications of Web3 on SEO practices, search engine rankings, and website visibility.

Although they didn’t discuss specific details and examples, the conversation highlighted some significant considerations.

Mueller offered insights into the challenges posed by Web3 domains, explaining that these addresses resemble top-level domains but lack the recognized structure of traditional domains.

As a result, Google’s search crawlers face limitations when attempting to crawl and index content from these unconventional domains.

Mueller elaborates:

“Even if you have a browser plugin installed that does something with that made-up top-level domain, Google doesn’t know what it’s trying to do. So, from that point of view, it’s almost like a– I don’t know, vanity name that people are just using and treating it as a domain name. But it’s actually not a real domain name.”

Unveiling The Potential Use Cases

While the team acknowledges they haven’t witnessed substantial development on Web3 systems thus far, it’s worth exploring the potential use cases of this emerging technology.

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Potential applications of Web3 include the following:

Decentralized Applications (dApps)

Web3 enables the creation of decentralized applications or dApps, which operate on peer-to-peer networks, often utilizing blockchain technology. Notable examples include decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, and decentralized social media networks. These applications offer increased transparency, security, and user control by operating without intermediaries.

Blockchain-Based Domains:

Web3 introduces the concept of blockchain-based domains, which diverge from traditional domain names. These domains utilize decentralized naming systems, granting users ownership and control over their domain names without reliance on centralized domain registrars. Prominent examples include Ethereum’s Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and Unstoppable Domains.

Digital Identity & Privacy:

Web3 can enhance digital identity and privacy. Leveraging decentralized identity solutions and cryptographic principles, Web3 enables users to have ownership and control over their personal data. Its user-centric focus on privacy and data control aligns with the growing demand for enhanced online privacy and data protection.

Looking Ahead

While the impact of Web3 on SEO practices, search engine rankings, and website visibility remains a topic of exploration, this episode of Search Off The Record offers insights into the challenges and considerations.

Splitt acknowledged the limited progress observed thus far, stating:

“I haven’t seen as much built on Web3 systems so far. I guess if it becomes a big thing, then we’ll figure it out and investigate further.”

As Web3 technology evolves, SEO professionals and website owners may have to adapt their strategies to ensure optimal discoverability.

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Source: Google Search Off The Record

Featured image generated by the author using Midjourney. 

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Should You Still Use It?



Should You Still Use It?

Dynamic rendering can effectively solve your JavaScript SEO problems, but Google advises it should be a workaround rather than a long-term solution.

As it adds an extra layer of complexity when building your website, it’s recommended to implement hydration, static rendering, or server-side rendering instead.

Both Bing and Google deem dynamic rendering important enough to announce as a quick fix to Google Search crawling and indexing problems with JavaScript.

This means web development teams and the technical SEO community must understand the dynamic rendering process and why it should only be considered a temporary setup.

What Is Dynamic Rendering?

Dynamic rendering combines the best of both worlds by presenting your JavaScript content differently.

Fully-rendered content (a static HTML version of the pages) is sent to search engines, while regular site visitors are served with normal (client-side rendered) content.

This rendering technique lets your website dynamically detect crawlers like Googlebot and enables Google to crawl and index your content without executing JavaScript.

As it provides relevant websites to users and search engine bots, dynamic rendering helps minimize the crawl time needed for each of your pages.

Not all sites need dynamic rendering, but how exactly does it work?

How Dynamic Rendering Works

Implementing dynamic rendering can be challenging, resource-intensive, and time-consuming.

The dynamic rendering process typically works by serving the whole JavaScript experience to users, and the HTML files to search bots.

  • An external dynamic renderer, such as, is installed on the server to identify search crawlers.
  • Requests from crawlers are routed to the renderer, which serves as a translation of the content suitable for the crawler (such as a static HTML version). This page is then cached for later.
  • A human user request is handled normally, sending them to the website. You can also use this part of the dynamic rendering process to determine if they require desktop or mobile content.
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What Problems Can Dynamic Rendering Solve?

Dynamic rendering helps Google crawl and index your website more quickly by picking out the relevant content generated by JavaScript.

This means search engines receive pages faster, allowing them to get through more pages on your site – making more of your pages visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

By eliminating the need for search engines to process JavaScript, you can optimize speed-related crawl budget issues and prevent search engines from missing your JavaScript-loaded content.

This makes the technique ideal for large websites that generate lots of content that is updated frequently (for example, an ecommerce store with a revolving inventory).

More content indexed in Google will help your content marketing efforts and organic search channel investment.

Should You Still Use Dynamic Rendering?

Dynamic rendering is still an excellent match for large, JavaScript-heavy sites that constantly evolve – but only as a short-term fix.

It’s also beneficial for companies who need to get the most out of their crawl budget and are low on engineering resources.

Because it’s faster and less resource-intensive than server-side rendering, it’s also easier to deploy.

There are three instances where web developers should consider temporarily using dynamic rendering:

  • If you have a large site with rapidly changing content that requires quick indexing – this helps with rankings and driving traffic and revenue.
  • If your website relies on modern JavaScript functionality, dynamic rendering can overcome the limitations of processing JavaScript at scale while minimizing the number of HTTP requests.
  • If your website relies on social media sharing and chat applications that require access to page content – embeddable social media walls, widgets, etc.
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Is Dynamic Rendering Cloaking?

Google describes cloaking as “sending different content or URLs to human users and search engines with the intent to manipulate search rankings and mislead users.”

It is considered a black hat SEO tactic – for example, showing a page about dogs to users and a page about cats to crawlers.

Even though dynamic rendering sends different content to both parties, it is solely to pre-render your content for bots.

If you implement dynamic rendering, minimize the differences between the version of the page you’re sending to search bots and the version going to users.

Serving the same end content to crawlers and human users enables Google to index easily, quickly, and economically.

How To Use Dynamic Rendering As A Workaround

According to Google, if your website is home to JavaScript-generated content unavailable to search engines, dynamic rendering can be used as a workaround to the problem.

If your bots have difficulties with JavaScript-generated content, use dynamic rendering to detect them and deliver a server-rendered version without JavaScript. A client-side rendered version of the content is then shown to users.

On the other hand, dynamic rendering creates additional, superfluous complexities and resources for Google. As it generates many prerendering requests, it can significantly slow down your server.

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Dynamic rendering isn’t a viable long-term option, as it requires you to maintain two separate versions of your site.

You’ll need to verify separately that your website is well-optimized for users and search bots, taking up precious time for your SEO and development teams that could be better spent elsewhere.

Finally, dynamic rendering means your clients are served a client-side rendered version of your site. If users have older devices that aren’t built to handle large amounts of JavaScript, this can lead to poor page performance and a negative user experience.


Dynamic rendering is an ideal temporary way to mend your JavaScript SEO problems. Before you decide to go ahead with it, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your website indexable?
  • Does your website use JavaScript for some or all of its content?
  • Does your content change regularly?
  • Are you facing budget constraints?
  • Does your engineering team have too much on their plate to implement server-side rendering?

Dynamic rendering exists to correct web pages that don’t show up on search engine results pages, but we’d always recommend server-side rendering.

After all, it’s easier to maintain with only one version of a website and more time-efficient, as you don’t have to verify if the versions for users and Googlebot are identical.

Once you’ve weighed up your development resources and technology capabilities, look for opportunities to switch to server-side rendering so all user agents receive the same content.

More resources:

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How to Gain SEO Experience & Improve Your Skills



How to Gain SEO Experience & Improve Your Skills

With organic and paid search making up over 75% of all traffic in the B2B sector alone, it’s clear SEO is far from dead. If you want to start a career in search, you need SEO experience.

Of course, the idea of learning any new craft is daunting. For many looking in from the outside, SEO can seem like some Hogwarts-level digital wizardry. However, in an ever-changing world of Google updates and advancing AI, even OG SEOs will tell you they are always learning. 

But with an abundance of blogs, Youtube channels, and courses out there dedicated to sharing SEO knowledge, it can be challenging to know what SEO experience you really need to get started with a career in search.

In this article, we’ll look at which essential SEO skills and knowledge you need to develop and how to build an SEO portfolio and gain SEO experience. 

Essential SEO skills and knowledge to develop

It’s important to start with a couple of cautionary statements. 

First, know that even the best guidance and advice aren’t right for everyone. Every website is different. Therefore, each has its own needs and things that work. The type of website and industry also play a massive role in what a site needs. 

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Secondly, the skills and knowledge you need to develop will depend on your specialty. For example, a content specialist will ultimately need an in-depth knowledge of on-page optimization above all else. 

But having a rounded understanding of all elements of SEO is always important, regardless of whether you intend to be a generalist or a specialist. 

Learn your SEO fundamentals

Understanding the fundamental elements of SEO is one of the most important aspects when looking to gain SEO experience. Let’s look at the fundamentals, why they are important, and what they include.

Keyword research

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. If you want to gain SEO experience, this is the first aspect you need to understand. 

Keyword research is finding which search queries your target audience is typing into search engines like Google when looking for products, services, or information. 

Remember that the main goal of any search engine is to offer the most relevant and helpful answer to a search query. Keywords allow you to optimize your pages efficiently so that search engines understand your content and how it meets the search intent.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on the website for a local business, an affiliate site, or a hobby blog. If you produce content on a topic that no one is searching for, you won’t get any traffic from search engines to those pages. 

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This is one of the biggest mistakes new businesses make. Many do not understand the need or importance of keyword research, and this is part of the reason why studies show that 90.63% of pages on the internet get no traffic from Google.

90.63% of pages gets zero traffic from Google, according to an Ahrefs study

Some different aspects of keyword research include:

Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer is a great place to start gaining experience performing keyword research. It can help you with finding long-tail keywords, keyword mapping, clustering, and more.

Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer allows you to fine-tune your keyword search with advanced filtering.

On-page optimization

I can’t stress enough how important gaining experience in on-page SEO is. For things like technical or off-page SEO, it’s common to have a specialist handle them. But if you want to work in the SEO field, you must have a clear understanding of what on-page is and how it works.

On-page SEO is optimizing your website’s pages to achieve higher rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

On-page optimization allows you to work on aspects of a website you can control. Sometimes, even small, basic changes can make a huge difference in a website’s rankings. 

When done well, on-page optimization can assist Google in understanding your content, how pages relate to one another, and how your pages connect to individual search queries. 

Common on-page optimizations include:

Off-page optimization

Unlike on-page, off-page optimization focuses on aspects that you cannot control on your own site but can still influence your rankings on the SERPs. This mainly consists of link building and brand marketing. 

Differences between on-page and off-page SEO

When determining which queries you should rank for and where on the SERPs, Google considers external factors, such as backlinks.

Popular off-page techniques include:

These techniques can help influence your rankings on the SERPs by promoting topical relevance and perceived authority with search engines. 

If you’re interested in learning more about off-page SEO and, in particular, link building, check out our free advanced link building course.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of making technical improvements to your website to ensure search engines can find, crawl, and index it. 

Technical SEO is incredibly important. Ensuring your website is technically sound is a core foundation of SEO.

When it comes to gaining SEO experience, you wouldn’t expect to perform advanced technical tasks as a newbie. But ensuring your website can be indexed, for example, means your website can even appear on the SERPs in the first place.

So even though you may not want to be a technical specialist, it’s important to at least understand what the different aspects of technical SEO are and how they affect your website.

Some common technical SEO elements include:

Learn how to use essential SEO tools

There are several essential tools that every SEO needs to get to grips with, including Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Understanding how these tools work and how to use them means you can properly evaluate your website’s SEO performance. 

However, some additional tools can be added to your stack to assist you with your day-to-day SEO duties, helping you work smarter, not harder. 

Many tools can significantly cut down the time needed to do specific tasks, leaving you more time to focus on the areas that need your skills and expertise. Tools can also help to set up automated tasks. 

Using a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Audit means you can set up automated weekly or monthly website audits. This can be incredibly helpful in alerting you if something has gone wrong somewhere on your site and then prompt you to take an in-depth look at the issue when alerted.

Site Audit frequency settings

Here are some examples of tools you may want to include in your stack:

  • Website auditing tool
  • Keyword research tool
  • Content optimization tools
  • Rank tracking tool

Trying to land yourself an SEO job can be a chicken-and-egg situation. For example, when looking to work as a freelancer, no one is willing to give you work without proven experience. But how do you get experience without doing the work?

Well, there are some ways you can enhance your skills and work on sites that can become part of your portfolio without landing freelance clients.

Personal projects

The easiest way to get started is to build your own digital assets. With as little as a domain and hosting, you can get started building a site and optimize it for search engines. 

This can be a way to try every aspect of SEO. You can even make mistakes and learn without sending someone’s online business crashing. It also lets you see which areas you prefer to work in and which aspects you may have a natural talent for. 

Even after years of working in the industry, I still use several sites solely for testing purposes. This allows me to try new things, see what works and doesn’t, and hone my craft. 

Skill exchanges

Skill exchanges are not something new. Often, it’s a win-win situation for both parties because both get what they want simply by offering their time or services as repayment. 

In fact, a good example is Skill Harbour, a skill exchange platform. It allows you to post your needs with the offer of exchanging them for your skills. 

Skill exchanges on Skill Harbour

Is there a personal trainer at your gym who needs a website and can give you some PT sessions in exchange? Or maybe a local dance studio’s website needs on-page optimization and, in return, the studio is willing to give your kids some ballet lessons?

Skill exchanges are a great way to build experience and add to your portfolio. Plus, as the other party is not investing their hard-earned cash, they are more likely to give you a chance even if you have little to no proven experience. 

Charity work

Similar to skill exchanges, offering your skills and services as a volunteer to different organizations allows you to build your experience and portfolio. 

Websites like Devon Voluntary Action allow you to search for volunteer opportunities based on your skills. 

You can also contact charity organizations that could use some SEO assistance. You can simply perform a Google search for charities in your area (or further). With Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar, it’s easy to see the metrics for each site directly on the SERPs.

Charity search example

This can help you identify which websites could use some additional SEO help to narrow down a list to reach out to. 


There is no better way to gain experience in SEO than actually doing the work. Internships allow you to work on real-world projects while gaining training from a team of experts in some of the biggest, industry-leading companies. 

Internships are rarely paid positions. Much like a skill exchange or charity work, they let you build your skills, experience, and knowledge in return for your time.

On-the-job experience

Although working freelance or in-house is probably not an option for SEO newbies, there are some SEO agencies that take junior-level SEOs and offer on-the-job training. Unlike internships, these are paid positions, but you can expect to be at the bottom of the ladder.

This gives you first-hand experience working on multiple websites and the opportunity to learn from seasoned professionals. Many agencies also have career progression opportunities, allowing you to work your way up the ranks as your skills progress. 

Continuing education and staying up to date with SEO changes

One thing about SEO is that it is constantly evolving. This is one of the best parts of SEO for someone like me who loves to learn. However, it does mean that if you want to be (or remain) an expert, you must continuously stay up to date with what is happening. 

There are always new algorithm updates to navigate, tools to try out, and what works today won’t necessarily work next year. 

Following industry leaders and blogs, as well as the illusive “SEO Twitter,” all help you to keep your finger on the pulse with the hottest conversations. Also, following SEO podcasts and newsletters helps you to gain insights from top experts every week. 

Final thoughts  

Gaining experience is the first crucial step to pursuing a career in SEO. Getting to grips with the fundamentals and gaining real-world experience are key aspects of improving your skills and knowledge. 

If you’re looking to get started with SEO, a great place to start is with our free SEO training course.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter

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