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How Do I Start To Gain Experience In Search? Ask An SEO

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How Do I Start To Gain Experience In Search? Ask An SEO

This Ask An SEO question comes from Jessica from Louth, who wrote in:

“I’m currently a full-stack marketer but find myself drawn to SEO.

I’m not sure where to start gaining experience, though.

What direction would you suggest to start in and do you have any book/course recommendations?”

Learning SEO can be daunting.

I’ve been working in search engine optimization professionally since 1998 (that’s 23 years for anyone counting), and I still learn new things every day.

But that doesn’t mean that aspiring SEO pros are out of luck.

Quite the contrary.

Many great resources are available for newbie search engine marketers to sink their teeth into.

And unlike when the other “Original Gangster” SEO experts and I learned the craft, there are some established resources that (almost) everyone agrees are great places to start.

A Word Of Caution

Even the best advice is rarely universal.

What works on one site very well may fall flat on another.

The only way to know if an SEO tactic works for you is to test it.

You can read theories about algorithms and code tweaks constantly, but until you put those theories into practice on your site, you don’t know if they will work.

Even if you physically see evidence of how well a technique worked on another site, there is no guarantee the same technique will result in similar results when implemented.

Simply put, you don’t know anything until you test it.

But reading other SEO pros talk about their work is part of the job.

You will be amazed at the ideas our industry generates daily.

If you aren’t interested in reading what other SEO experts are doing, you are probably in the wrong field.

Lots Of Places To Learn The Basics

SEO isn’t rocket science.

I compare it more to plumbing.

I can probably figure out how to fix a sink by watching YouTube videos, but I’ll probably flood my house.

After all, the only thing in my toolbox is a checkbook.

If you are interested in getting into SEO, you might flood a few sinks at first.

But if you have a basic understanding of how websites work and are willing to put the time and effort into learning the craft, you’ll soon be the one everyone calls to fix their proverbial sink.

You can learn the basics in different ways.

Some people prefer to build their own site and experiment until they know what works for them.

Others prefer to learn from online courses like the stellar beginner course from Search Engine Journal.

Moz also has a great beginning SEO primer.

When looking at these online courses, pay attention to the last time the course was updated.

The basics of SEO don’t change all that often.

But the details change all the time.

It’s important to be sure you are getting the latest information.

You can also seek out an SEO mentor.

Take inspiration from others who have shared their SEO career stories.

Learn about the different areas of SEO knowledge you could sink your teeth into and start prioritizing what you want to learn first.

Study the questions you’re going to be asked in SEO job interviews. How prepared are you to provide the best answer?

In Conclusion

If you want to learn SEO for a specific vertical, find out who is doing great SEO in that vertical and follow their work.

Buy them a beer – you’ll be surprised how much most people will share once they become your friend.

Make sure you are always reading and always learning.

It’s easy to become a good SEO.

If you want to become a great SEO, it will take significant time and effort.

More resources:


Featured Image: Anton Vierietin/Shutterstock

Editor’s note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, who have been hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Got a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!

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SEO

Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget: Are They Ranking Factors?

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Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget: Are They Ranking Factors?

Crawling is the first step on any page’s journey to a results page.

Search engines must discover your page before evaluating it and deciding where to place it in the results.

Crawling the web is a resource-intensive process. Search engines like Google draw from hundreds of billions of webpages, videos, images, products, documents, books, etc., to deliver query results.

So, they prioritize crawling efforts to conserve resources and the load on the websites they’re visiting.

There’s a limit on how much time crawlers can spend on you.

The amount of time that Google devotes to crawling a site is called the site’s crawl budget.

Any technical hiccups that interrupt Google’s ability to crawl your site are called crawl errors.

Smaller sites are not likely to be affected. When you hit over a few thousand URLs, it becomes essential to help Googlebot discover and prioritize the content to crawl and when and how much of the server resources to allocate.

Given it’s the starting point, you may wonder: Is how well Google can crawl my website a ranking factor?

[Deep Dive:] The Complete Guide To Google Ranking Factors

The Claim: Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget As Ranking Factors

Reducing crawl errors and improving the crawl budget are both major focuses of technical SEO, and for a good reason!

You invest tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year creating high-quality content, then hit publish, and all you can do is wait for your hard work to appear in search results.

The trouble is, if Google doesn’t crawl a page due to an error or limited crawl budget, the page can’t rank for anything at all.

For a page to appear in Google search results, it must first be crawled by Googlebot.

That is why some marketers consider crawl budget a ranking factor.

Let’s see if there is any evidence to support that claim.

The Evidence: Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget As Ranking Factors

Understanding how a page gets from a website to the search engine result page (SERP) is essential to determine if crawl budget could be a ranking factor.

The process involves three steps: crawling, indexing, and ranking.

Read about the intricacies of the process in SEJ’s ebook, “How Search Engines Work.

Crawl budget and crawl errors fall under “crawling”; bots follow links to discover pages.

Indexing is analyzing a page and storing it in a catalog for easy retrieval.

After a page has been crawled and indexed, it is eligible to display in search results.

Ranking essentially lists the most relevant webpage at the top of search results, followed by the other pages, based on how well Google thinks the page answers the query.

The ranking stage includes most of the analysis performed by Google’s algorithms. To be considered a ranking factor, something needs to be given weight during the ranking stage.

While crawling is required for ranking once met, this prerequisite is not weighted during ranking.

Just in case that doesn’t fully settle the issue for you:

Google addresses whether or not crawling is a ranking factor directly in their “Top questions” section of the Google Search Central blog.

Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget: Are They Ranking Factors?

Google’s documentation reassures readers that while crawling is necessary for being in search results, it is not a ranking factor.

[Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights

Our Verdict: Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget Are Not Ranking Factors

Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget: Are They Ranking Factors?

Crawl Errors And Crawl Budget: Are They Ranking Factors?

Google determines rankings by many factors. However, crawl errors and crawl budgets are not one of them.

Think of crawling as the entry point into Google’s search results.

Search engines need to be able to crawl your website to index your pages. Indexing is required for ranking. But, an increased crawl budget is not responsible for better positions in search results.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]

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