SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of creating online content with the goal of increasing the ranking of your website in the results from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Since these searches are one of the most popular ways for consumers to find information and buy products and services online, successful SEO is a very important part of many companies’ marketing strategies.
While SEO is not new, the methods used must constantly evolve to keep up with changes in the search algorithms themselves. In the early days of SEO, it was often sufficient to identify a few search terms with keyword research techniques and then repeat them as often as possible in a blog or website copy. However, increasingly sophisticated search algorithms have become adept at “reading” sites and evaluating the usefulness of their content for specific search strings.
Thus, SEO best practices today use semantic SEO techniques that focus less on specific keywords and more on identifying key topics and questions that searchers are frequently trying to answer. In addition to providing truly useful content that matches the needs of searchers, search rankings can benefit from links from social media influencers and popular websites, which help to establish the “authority” and relevance of a page.
The practice of SEO thus requires keeping a close eye on the latest changes to search algorithms, the tactics of your competitors, and, above all, the questions your customers are searching for answers to. Success in this fast-moving and ever-changing field is never guaranteed, but effective content marketing campaigns that leverage these techniques can deliver massive amounts of traffic to your website at a much lower cost than paid advertising.
Because successful semantic SEO requires genuinely useful, engaging content, skilled copywriters and marketing writers that also have a background in the principles of SEO are in demand in the world of digital marketing. Whether writing blogs, social media, website copy, or other online content, an understanding of how copy fits into SEO needs is an increasingly essential asset for professional writers today.
A background in SEO is also critical for a career as a digital marketing manager, as web searches can be a huge source of traffic and conversions online. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing manager jobs pay a median wage of $136,850 per year - and “advertising managers who can navigate the digital world should have the best prospects.”
Absolutely! Business and marketing courses are very popular on Coursera, and there are a wide range of opportunities to learn about SEO as a specific topic or within the broader context of digital marketing strategy. You can take courses or Specializations spanning multiple courses from top-ranked schools including the University of California Davis, University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. You can also learn SEO techniques by completing step-by-step tutorials alongside experienced instructors as part of Coursera’s Guided Projects.
Some of the skills or experience you may need to have before starting to learn SEO include the ability to use Google and other popular search engines. You may also want to have a basic understanding of what search algorithms and metrics are and why they are important to the success of a website or a piece of content. It could also help if you are familiar with WordPress or other website content management systems that rely on SEO before learning the topic.
If you are in charge of designing, running, developing, or auditing websites or web pages, learning SEO may be right for you to help you rank the site higher in searches. If you create digital content for clients or companies, learning SEO can help you get better traffic results. If you are challenged to find strategies and tactics to drive more organic search results for increased website traffic, learning SEO may be best for you. Learning SEO may be right for you if you have worked with Google Analytics but are often penalized by Google. The topic may be what you need to learn if you are responsible for identifying key SEO metrics and then collecting, interpreting, validating, and reporting the successes to your clients or your company’s management team.
The most common career paths for someone in SEO include content marketing and working on social media platforms as a blogger or content developer. Another common career path for someone studying SEO is web page development, which may involve working in WordPress or other platforms and optimizing the site using SEO to influence search algorithms. Someone who is on career paths in brand or product management and marketing will also need to know SEO.
Topics related to SEO that you may want to study include data analysis so you can conduct and read SEO data as well as be able to decipher Google Analytics to understand how a website is performing. You can also study online brand and social media marketing so you can learn the SEO and keyword research strategies that are behind some of the most successful campaigns.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.