Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Raymond Duke on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Saturday, July 27, 2013).

Can everything you need to know about SEO be learned in a day?

Can everything you need to know about SEO be learned in a day?

I`m convinced the answer is yes.

Aside from knowing the basics, I`m not sure what else there is to know about SEO before you get into gaming the system.

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Answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Panelists.

  • Edwin Jonk: I don`t think that SEO can be learned in a day because SEO isn`t a check-list. That is, you cannot make a list and curve things off because SEO is changing every (let say) a year. Besides that, usual an SEO expert (or whatever you want to call it) is specialized in a certain section of SEO. For example some SEO`s come with an outreach angle, others come a data angle (like conversions) still others come with an on-page angle. Which one works best, DEPENDS. In general, we don`t know the code behind Google Search (or other search engines) because they are proprietary and thereby the "know-how" in SEO is by far exact.

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Masatake Wasa: This could ruffle a few feathers. , what is SEO in your view that could be learnt in a day? What are the basics? What do they involve?
  • Rand Wilson: I am going to agree, with an absolute YES..<br />However, sifting thru all the krap so that you know what needs to be learned vs ignored, is the hard part that takes more time.
  • Raymond Duke: I&#39;m not saying that SEO isn&#39;t important. You can learn a lot of important things in a day. Like how to drive. Or how to make a sandwich. But to me SEO gets overly complicated for no apparent reason other than to keep the people involved into SEO busy. At least that&#39;s how I see it. I&#39;m probably wrong. But I don&#39;t think I&#39;m completely wrong. <br /><br />SEO to me is simple things like using keywords (in your Htags) that match what you are communicating. There&#39;s also some other stuff like configuring meta data for sharing. Hmm.. not sure what else there is. There&#39;s probably more basics but they&#39;ve all become second nature to me they don&#39;t come to mind. 
  • Jim Munro: Silly questions get stupid answers. :)<br /><br />That&#39;s like asking &quot;Can everything you need to know about flying an Airbus be learned in a day?&quot;
  • Raymond Duke: It was a legitmate question. If you were offended it was probably because there is truth in what I am saying. 
  • Raymond Duke: That&#39;s another thing about the SEO community that bothers me: they think that they hold this key to a magical kingdom that makes them important. If you asked someone in another field you didn&#39;t have knowledge about if it could be learned in a day, and they called your question silly, wouldn&#39;t that raise an alarm? 
  • Jim Munro: Yes, well,  ;Raymond, except that I am not part of the SEO community, I am an SEO groupie. I do not have anything that needs defending.<br /><br />RE: &quot;If you asked someone in another field you didn&#39;t have knowledge about if it could be learned in a day, and they called your question silly, wouldn&#39;t that raise an alarm?&quot;<br /><br />Do you mean like, &quot;Can everything you need to know about brain surgery be learned in a day?&quot; or &quot;Can everything you need to know about building skyscrapers be learned in a day?&quot;<br /><br />Silly questions. Do you agree? :)
  • Raymond Duke: I don&#39;t think those are silly - as in whimsical - questions. I&#39;m highly doubtful either of those activities are comparable to SEO. <br /><br />I think you can learn a lot about either activity in a day. If a brain surgeon called that a silly question, then I would be doubtful of that brain surgeon&#39;s ability to explain things. <br /><br />It&#39;s not so far fetched to learn a lot in a day. 
  • Rand Wilson: I think most of us would agree that flying an Airbus or doing brain surgery (successfully) are a tad bit more involved and complex than SEO. Although I&#39;m sure there many SEO &quot;experts&quot; that would love us to think otherwise.
  • Raymond Duke: Maybe I have a bad perception of people in SEO because I&#39;ve met some really rude people in that demographic. I had a grown man (50-60) in SEO call me a chump because I made changes to his site that he hadn&#39;t touched in over a year. 
  • Rand Wilson:  ;you should read /watch some of my recent blog posts.. i think we have a few ideological things in common.
  • Daylan Pearce: Its a perception of what SEO is. If you consider SEO to be checking off a few boxes from a technical perspective, then yes, you can learn a lot of the basics really quickly. But SEO is more than ensuring you have a few tags on your site and words are placed here and there. ;<br />You can learn that from reading the MOZ beginners guide to SEO. But reading that and making sure you recommend these elements doesn&#39;t make you good at it. It&#39;s marketing - in search engines. It&#39;s combining the technical with the research, the relationships, the trends, the industry specific factors and more.<br />It&#39;s like saying that you can be the next David Ogilvey because you watch TV commercials and can operate a camera. Or I can be Usain Bolt because I know how to put on sneakers and move my legs fast.<br />It&#39;s impossible to summarise what SEO is in a summary paragraph on G+, but if you think it&#39;s little more than knowing what tags to add, how to get links, and adding &#39;keywords&#39; here and there, then you don&#39;t understand what SEO is - you understand what should be standard for having a website.<br />That what makes a difference between search professionals that business pays big money for and your nephew in high school who has read a few blogs.<br />I don&#39;t think it&#39;s a stupid question, i just think it&#39;s a big of an ignorant one.
  • Rand Wilson: if I was a betting man, I would bet that ; ;is an SEO ...
  • Raymond Duke: One distinction about what you said that I want to pick apart: ;<br /><br />That what makes a difference between search professionals that business pays big money for and your nephew in high school who has read a few blogs.<br /><br />Businesses pay big money for a lot of crap. Most Fortune 500 co&#39;s have horrible websites with bad copywriting and some template from 2003. I wouldn&#39;t use that as a factor of what something is worth.<br /><br />But as for the rest of what you said, I agree. I&#39;m not quick to call something that I don&#39;t understand as something not worth understanding (well... I try not to). SEO just does <b>not</b> appeal to me. I do have to recognize its importance to some extent because I am a copywriter. I&#39;m not yet committed to SEO as being something highly valuable to me. I need to get over feeling this way if I want to become a better copywriter. ;
  • Daylan Pearce: Right on. Mixing up the commercial elements and the tactical elements of SEO probably wasn&#39;t the best choice in that paragraph - I agree. But what I was trying to get at, was there&#39;s a big difference between those that think they get it, and those that actually do it very well.<br />As a copywriter, I can see that you&#39;d want an understanding of how it works though. The more you know, the more you can incorporate into your copy process to get better results for your client.<br />Good copy is one of the key elements to good SEO. But where myself and (I&#39;m guessing)  ;are coming from, that&#39;d be like me saying I can learn everything about copywriting because I visit ProBlogger frequently and know the difference between &quot;your&quot; and &quot;you&#39;re&quot;.<br />Search may not be something you dig, and as a copywriter, having a little bit of knowledge about it you are positioned a lot better than others who don&#39;t. But being a copywriter AND knowing even more about the intricacies of industries, algorithms, updates, best practice, and technical elements will make your copy work a lot harder in one of the worlds largest platforms for conveying information - search engines.<br /> ;- yeah I do SEO. My job is to help the stuff that people like ; ; create be found in search engines. And because I learnt about it for more than a day (or a month or a year), I can do it better than someone who only did learn &#39;everything&#39; in one day. The more you learn about something, the better you typically get at it.
  • Raymond Duke:  ;You are the first SEO person I&#39;ve ran into that might possibly be a nice guy. ;
  • Daylan Pearce: Na, I&#39;m actually a real jerk - I&#39;m just hoping you&#39;ll link to my website - apparently it&#39;s good for SEO.
  • Jim Munro: There are people who promise to cure cancer with bicarbonate of soda and there are others who quietly and successfully re-attach severed limbs every day, using advanced micro-surgical techniques to rejoin vital nerves.<br /><br />Why do you think the practice of SEO should be quantified and valued any differently to other segments of society?<br /><br />You wouldn&#39;t ask, &quot;Can I walk up Mt Everest in one day?&quot;<br /><br />Consider that SEO might be a noble art form practised by savvy and experienced people while the most-vocal and most-visible may not necessarily be the most highly-skilled. :)<br /><br /> ;and  ;  ;excepted, of course. :)
  • Jim Munro: If you constantly encounter hostility and irritation when discussing SEO with SEOs, consider that this might be due to your own predisposition, Raymond. :)
  • Dan Vuksanovich: I love SEO because it&#39;s conceptually simple (as mentioned in your original post), but the ways that it can be applied to help various kinds of businesses are almost infinite.<br /><br />I think SEO is kind of like chess. You can learn how all the pieces move in one day, but you certainly won&#39;t be a very good chess player until you&#39;ve played a bunch of games and studied the intricacies of it over time.
  • Andrea Pernici: There&#39;s no easy or difficult things, but only things that you know or you don&#39;t know.<br /><br />Learning a programming language don&#39;t make you a good developer ;)
  • Alex Cordes: Depending on what you&#39;re trying to accomplish, Seo and sem are certainly crucial roles in the strategy, however without considering other elements needed to reach your goals I.e. social marketing, local seo, site architecture optimization etc..., seo by itself will mostly likely lead you to nowhere
  • Tony McCreath: Can I learn copy-writing in one day? I&#39;ve got Word and a C in English?<br /><br />As  ;said, you can learn (be taught) many things in one day, but it does not mean you will be good at it.<br /><br />You can also become a &quot;professional&quot; in many fields after one days training. Look at pension salesmen who get away with advising people about finances when they can hardly add up themselves (personal gripe).
  • Adam Cirlincione: Andrea said it best. Allow me to expand- Sure you could sit through a 24 hour class that taught every nuance and tactic of great SEO. Will you retain it? Will you be able to effectively implement it? Will you be able to troubleshoot rankings or traffic issues correctly? Umm... I don&#39;t know, I suppose it is possible. One thing you will not be able to do is call upon years of experience to guide you in your decisions regarding SEO because you would not have any yet :P
  • Dave Elliott: I reckon you can learn most non academic subjects in a day, theoretically.(as in be book smart)  ;doesn&#39;t mean you will have an aptitude for it.<br /><br />Find out what theoretical users will be searching for.<br />Add keywords to site content and titles and blah<br />Write more content<br />Do social media and engage with people.<br />Restart cycle.<br /><br />There you go that&#39;s SEO in less than a minute. This is easy and I am great at SEO. Or y&#39;know not.
  • Matt Raynes: SEO guidelines are simple and easy to understand though the implementation is where time consumption takes place and this is dictated by the size of the website.<br />Another huge factor that differentiates between a poor or a successful SEO campaign is research. ; Knowing the audience and what they&#39;re searching for that meets the website you&#39;re optimising is crucial and can take a long time to map out. ; The thought process of keyword to website and the relevance of the certain areas of the website to keyword is where skills become involved. ; This and ongoing analysis and changing market trends is now part of a SEO professionals tool kit and this can&#39;t be taught in a day.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Saturday, July 27, 2013).