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Just Getting Started In SEO? Experts Share 5 Helpful Tips



Just Getting Started In SEO? Experts Share 5 Helpful Tips

Considering a career in SEO?

The sheer volume of information out there can be intimidating when you’re just getting started in SEO.

We asked industry experts to share their advice for those trying to find their way in a fledgling SEO career, and here are their top tips.

1. Build On Your Existing Skills & Knowledge

“Most SEOs start out with one of these skills: writing, marketing, or web design/development,” says Benj Arriola, Senior SEO Director at Assembly Global.

Once you’ve decided to do SEO full time, “start to learn the other two skills you’re weaker at but don’t need to be a master. It’s not your core strength, but this is where you learn to build teams, or even outsource tasks if needed,” he recommends.

Specializing is great, but having a working understanding of what your colleagues are doing, too, makes you far more effective at your own tasks.

Sam Hollingsworth, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Eleven Ten Thousand, suggests that you start with books and blogs.

“There are several legit web publications that can teach a great deal about SEO. Most are free like Google’s SEO Starter Guide and SEJ’s SEO for Beginners to name a few,” he says.

Webinars, social groups and forums, podcasts, and even YouTube videos are other great places to get a free education in SEO.

However, there’s a lot of misinformation and outdated content out there about what’s actually a ranking factor, which SEO tools and tactics work best in different scenarios, and more.

It’s important that you evaluate your educational sources carefully. Look for consensus among experts as to what is actually best practice today, and be aware that Google algorithm changes can come along and switch things up quickly.

You’ll also want to develop your understanding of the most important skills it takes to succeed in SEO – critical thinking, analytics knowledge, and your ability to adapt to quickly changing situations among them.

2. Learn The Basics of Website Building

“Over the past few years, I’ve helped several prospective SEO professionals kickstart their career,” shares Ludwig Makhyan, co-founder at Mazeless – Enterprise SEO. He usually suggests that everyone “start with exploring HTML and CSS and know the basics of a website in any case,” and advises that w3 resources are a good source for this.

“Starting a test mini-site is the best approach, where you can code and optimize a page on your own,” Makhyan adds.

Senior SEO Specialist Jean-Christophe Chouinard of SEEK agrees. He advises that SEO newbies also learn the basics of JavaScript, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console.

Whether you’re in-house or freelancing/agency-side, it’s important that you have a solid understanding of how the websites you’re working in function, whether they’re custom builds, WordPress-based, on an ecommerce platform, etc.

While SEO best practices are largely the same across websites – links, content quality, and user experience are essential, for example – you might find SEO for Shopify a completely different beast than optimizing a Wix or Weebly site.

Dig into our Web Development archives to explore expert articles on the platforms and relevant to your work in SEO.

3. Brush Up On Your Communication Skills

“The biggest shock many new SEO professionals get is the lack of predictability and the uncertainty,” says Kevin Rowe, Vice President of Strategy & Product at Purelinq.

He advises, “You have to be an expert in operating in this type of environment by communicating up, setting goals, being flexible, building proofs of concept, and testing and scaling.”

Hollingsworth advises a similar approach.

“The basics of every job still apply: Use communication to your advantage. Be personable. Be motivated with a good attitude, and never stop learning,” he says. Hollingsworth explains and notes that a large part of effective communication comes from clear, well-written emails and deliverables.

“Another big part is breaking down complex concepts into simplified ideas to better understand them,” he adds.

So-called “soft skills” like communication are often overlooked in an SEO’s professional development as there are so many technical and analytical things to learn.

However, your communication style can have major impact. It could be the difference between your landing that client, or not; or getting that promotion… or not.

When it comes to the specific communication skills you’ll need in SEO, Adam Proehl cites the ability to listen, thinking on your feet, and knowing how to distill complex information down into a format that meets the needs of your audience as among the most important.

4. Learn How To Tell Stories With Data

“Get good with data,” advises Lee Foot, Director at Search Solved.

“Learning how to use LOOKUP and COUNTIFS in Excel is a must. Learn how to find the story within the data and present it in an easy-to-understand way to stakeholders,” he says.

Failing to use visual cues to accommodate text, trying to tell your story without necessary context, and lacking confidence and authoritativeness are among the biggest mistakes SEO pros tend to make in their approach to data storytelling, says Justin Lugbill.

You can dig into more of the top mistakes he’s identified and how to solve or avoid them here.

Amy Hebdon recently shared these compelling examples of data storytelling designed for paid search that you can adapt to meet your SEO reporting needs, as well.

Claudia Higgins, SEO Insights Strategist at Conductor, recently shared some of the toughest lessons she’s learned about SEO reporting. Prior to joining Conductor, she managed SEO data and insights in-house with a large ecommerce website.

There, she learned the value of constantly working to improve SEO reporting.

“Establishing consistent, accurate data earned trust within the business,” Higgins said. She added, “The less labor-intensive I could make the process, the more time we could spend diving deeper into the data and uncovering root causes and emerging opportunities.”

5. Expand Your Network

Foot also suggests that interning in an SEO agency will help you develop your skills fast. “It’s great for networking too if you decide to freelance in the future.”

Chouinard shares the same perspective. He believes, “Most SEOs are analytical and learners. SEO is great because you get to drive business decisions, build your specialization, and discover new things firsthand.”

“The hardest part is to learn to fail. Not everything works. Be humble enough to accept defeat (or change imposed by Google) and possibly restart from scratch occasionally,” he advises.

It’s been a difficult time for many new to the SEO industry to make connections, as the pandemic has seriously impacted our ability to get together in person.

However, virtual and hybrid events have become much more common.

It’s also a good idea to follow SEO pros on social channels. Many share their articles, blog posts, and case studies for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

This monster list of 202 SEO experts to follow is a good place to start.

Don’t be afraid to engage and be part of the conversations happening online.


As you learn and grow in SEO, trying new tools and having all different kinds of experiences, you’ll find an area of focus that suits you best.

But when you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to try as many things out as you can.

See if you can build some links to your own website.

Set up a site you can mess around in, trying different optimizations on for size to see what works.

Read SEO books, make time to visit reputable blogs, and invest in training programs when you find an area you’d really like to dig into.

SEO is very much an ongoing learning industry, where even those who’ve been in it for 10 or 15 years or more can’t afford to sit still lest competitors pass them by in the rankings.

If you feel like there’s a ton to learn, you’re not alone – it’s part of what so many love about being in SEO.

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?



AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Image from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.


For the first prompt’s answer, fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated. resultsScreenshot from, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content. test resultScreenshot from, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from, January 2023

4. did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from, January 2023

You will notice that doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.


Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

More resources: 

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Five things you need to know about content optimization in 2023



5 Things You Need To Know About Optimizing Content in 2023

30-second summary:

  • As the content battleground goes through tremendous upheaval, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance
  • ChatGPT can help content marketers get an edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content
  • Making sure your content rank high enough to engage the target audience requires strategic planning and implementation

Google is constantly testing and updating its algorithms in pursuit of the best possible searcher experience. As the search giant explains in its ‘How Search Works’ documentation, that means understanding the intent behind the query and bringing back results that are relevant, high-quality, and accessible for consumers.

As if the constantly shifting search landscape weren’t difficult enough to navigate, content marketers are also contending with an increasingly technology-charged environment. Competitors are upping the stakes with tools and platforms that generate smarter, real-time insights and even make content optimization and personalization on the fly based on audience behavior, location, and data points.

Set-it-and-forget-it content optimization is a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to know to help your content get found, engage your target audience, and convert searchers to customers in 2023.

AI automation going to be integral for content optimization


As the content battleground heats up, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance as a key source of intelligence. We’re optimizing content for humans, not search engines, after all – we had better have a solid understanding of what those people need and want.

While I do not advocate automation for full content creation, I believe next year – as resources become stretched automation will have a bigger impact on helping with content optimization of existing content.


ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language generation model that leverages the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) architecture to produce realistic human-like text. With Chat GPT’s wide range of capabilities – from completing sentences and answering questions to generating content ideas or powering research initiatives – it can be an invaluable asset for any Natural Language Processing project.


The introduction on ChatGPT has caused considerable debate and explosive amounts of content on the web. With ChatGPT, content marketers can achieve an extra edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content. It offers assistance with generating titles for blog posts, summaries of topics or articles, as well as comprehensive campaigns when targeting a specific audience.

However, it is important to remember that this technology should be used to enhance human creativity rather than completely replacing it.

For many years now AI-powered technology has been helping content marketers and SEOs automate repetitive tasks such as data analysis, scanning for technical issues, and reporting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AI also enables real-time analysis of a greater volume of consumer touchpoints and behavioral data points for smarter, more precise predictive analysis, opportunity forecasting, real-time content recommendations, and more.

With so much data in play and recession concerns already impacting 2023 budgets in many organizations, content marketers will have to do more with less this coming year. You’ll need to carefully balance human creative resources with AI assists where they make sense to stay flexible, agile, and ready to respond to the market.

It’s time to look at your body of content as a whole

Google’s Helpful Content update, which rolled out in August, is a sitewide signal targeting a high proportion of thin, unhelpful, low-quality content. That means the exceptional content on your site won’t rank to their greatest potential if they’re lost in a sea of mediocre, outdated assets.

It might be time for a content reboot – but don’t get carried away. Before you start unpublishing and redirecting blog posts, lean on technology for automated site auditing and see what you can fix up first. AI-assisted technology can help sniff out on-page elements, including page titles and H1 tags, and off-page factors like page speed, redirects, and 404 errors that can support your content refreshing strategy.

Focus on your highest trafficked and most visible pages first, i.e.: those linked from the homepage or main menu. Google’s John Mueller confirmed recently that if the important pages on your website are low quality, it’s bad news for the entire site. There’s no percentage by which this is measured, he said, urging content marketers and SEOs to instead think of what the average user would think when they visit your website.

Take advantage of location-based content optimization opportunities

Consumers crave personalized experiences, and location is your low-hanging fruit. Seasonal weather trends, local events, and holidays all impact your search traffic in various ways and present opportunities for location-based optimization.

AI-assisted technology can help you discover these opportunities and evaluate topical keywords at scale so you can plan content campaigns and promotions that tap into this increased demand when it’s happening.

Make the best possible use of content created for locally relevant campaigns by repurposing and promoting it across your website, local landing pages, social media profiles, and Google Business Profiles for each location. Google Posts, for example, are a fantastic and underutilized tool for enhancing your content’s visibility and interactivity right on the search results page.

Optimize content with conversational & high-volume keywords

Look for conversational and trending terms in your keyword research, too. Top-of-funnel keywords that help generate awareness of the topic and spur conversations in social channels offer great opportunities for promotion. Use hashtags organically and target them in paid content promotion campaigns to dramatically expand your audience.

Conversational keywords are a good opportunity for enhancing that content’s visibility in search, too. Check out the ‘People Also Ask’ results and other featured snippets available on the search results page (SERP) for your keyword terms. Incorporate questions and answers in your content to naturally optimize for these and voice search queries.


It’s important that you utilize SEO insights and real-time data correctly; you don’t want to be targeting what was trending last month and is already over. AI is a great assist here, as well, as an intelligent tool can be scanning and analyzing constantly, sending recommendations for new content opportunities as they arise.

Consider how you optimize content based on intent and experience

The best content comes from a deep, meaningful understanding of the searcher’s intent. What problem were they experiencing or what need did they have that caused them to seek out your content in the first place? And how does your blog post, ebook, or landing page copy enhance their experience?

Look at the search results page as a doorway to your “home”. How’s your curb appeal? What do potential customers see when they encounter one of your pages in search results? What kind of experience do you offer when they step over the threshold and click through to your website?

The best content meets visitors where they are at with relevant, high-quality information presented in a way that is accessible, fast loading, and easy to digest. This is the case for both short and long form SEO content. Ensure your content contains calls to action designed to give people options and help them discover the next step in their journey versus attempting to sell them on something they may not be ready for yet.

2023, the year of SEO: why brands are leaning in and how to prepare


The audience is king, queen, and the entire court as we head into 2023. SEO and content marketing give you countless opportunities to connect with these people but remember they are a means to an end. Keep searcher intent and audience needs at the heart of every piece of content you create and campaign you plan for the coming year.

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Headings With Hierarchical Structure An “Awesome Idea”



Headings With Hierarchical Structure An "Awesome Idea"

Google’s John Mueller discussed heading elements with a member of the SEO community where he affirmed the usefulness of using hierarchical structure when using heading elements.

Background Context to What Mueller Said

Heading elements <H1> – <H6> are supposed to be used to indicate what a section of a webpage is about.

Furthermore the heading elements have a ranking order, with the <H1> being the highest rank of importance and the <H6> being the lowest level of importance.

The heading element purpose is to label what a section of content is about.

HTML specifications allow the use of multiple <H1> elements. So, technically, using more than one <H1> is perfectly valid.

Section 4.3.11 of the official HTML specifications states:

“h1–h6 elements have a heading level, which is given by the number in the element’s name.

If a document has one or more headings, at least a single heading within the outline should have a heading level of 1.”

Nevertheless, using more than on <H1> is not considered a best practice.

The Mozilla developer reference page about the use of headings recommends:

“The <h1> to <h6> HTML elements represent six levels of section headings. <h1> is the highest section level and <h6> is the lowest.

…Avoid using multiple <h1> elements on one page

While using multiple <h1> elements on one page is allowed by the HTML standard (as long as they are not nested), this is not considered a best practice. A page should generally have a single <h1> element that describes the content of the page (similar to the document’s <title> element).”

John Mueller has previously said that it doesn’t matter if a webpage uses one <H1> or five <H1> headings.

The point of his statement is that the level of the heading isn’t as important as how they are used, with the best practice being the use of  headings for indicating what a section of content is about.

What Mueller Said on Twitter

A member of the SEO community was joking around and gently ribbed Mueller about using more than one H1.

He tweeted:

The SEO followed up by sharing how he preferred using the best practices for heading elements by using only one <H1>, to denote what the page is about and then using the rest of the headings in order of rank, give a webpage a hierarchical structure.

A Hierarchical structure communicates sections of a webpage and any subsections within each section.

He tweeted:

“I’m too traditional with header elements. (HTML 4 for Life! lol)

I’d still recommend using just one H1 element on a page.

I patiently go back to pages to implement header hierarchy for fun.”

John Mueller tweeted his approval in response:

“I think that’s an awesome idea & a great practice.

Header hierarchy is not just useful to Google, it’s also important for accessibility.

(Google still has to deal with whatever weird things people throw up on the web, but being thoughtful in your work always makes sense.)”

Hierarchical Page Structure

In the early days of SEO, <H1> used to be counted as an important ranking factor, one that was more important than an <H2>.

So, back then, one always put their most important keywords in the <H1> in order to signal to Google that the page was relevant for that keyword.

H1 used to have more ranking power so it was essential to use the <H1> to help rankings.

Google’s algorithm was using keywords as a way to “guess” what a webpage was about.

Keywords in the anchor text, keywords in the title tag and keywords in the <H1> helped Google guess what a page was relevant for.

But nowadays, Google doesn’t have to guess.

It is able to understand what sections of a webpage are about, and consequently, what the entire webpage is about.

Despite those advances, many SEOs still believe that using an <H1> is some kind of magic ranking factor.

Headings are no longer about shouting what keyword you want to rank for.

The role of heading elements are now about telling search engines what a section of content is about.

Each section of a content is generally about something specific.

Heading tags make it easier for search engines to know what a page is about.

And that helps them rank the page for the topic.

And according to the official HTML specifications, that’s technically the proper way to use heading elements.

Lastly, Mueller mentioned a quality of the heading element as a way to better communicate for accessibility reasons, like for people who use screen readers.

The official HTML specifications say:

“Descriptive headings are especially helpful for users who have disabilities that make reading slow and for people with limited short-term memory.

These people benefit when section titles make it possible to predict what each section contains.”

So thank you John Mueller for calling attention to the benefits of using headings with a hierarchical structure, for calling attention to how hierarchical structure is useful for Google and for accessibility.

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