How to Start in SEO | Ep. #629

In episode #629, Eric and Neil Discuss how to get started in SEO. Tune in to hear what’s changed and how you can get a successful start doing SEO.


  • [00:27] Today’s Topic: How to Start in SEO
  • [00:45] The biggest thing that Eric and Neil are seeing right now is that the path to success has changed.
  • [01:18] If you spend a year practicing SEO on your own website, that’s no longer the way to go.
  • [01:35] You should practice on someone else’s older website.
  • [01:52] Hit up a ton of people offering your services for free.
  • [02:00] It’s easier to grow a business than it is to start one.
  • [02:25] During a TED Talk Eric saw, a Harvard Professor outlined the three elements of trust: authenticity, empathy, and logic.
  • [02:45] When you develop your skills for free, you will eventually earn clients.
  • [03:14] You will probably have to email 15-17 people before you get a solid “yes” when it comes to offering your services for free.
  • [03:40] Make sure that the person to whom you offer your services is as committed as you are.
  • [03:59] Even if you are working for free, make sure you get a contract to get the time that you need.
  • [04:38] A semantic search tool was just released from a developer at Google.
  • [04:57] Be aware that this is the future of searching and it will affect your SEO.
  • [05:42] SEO and Sales are similar.
  • [05:58] SEO is trying to sell yourself and get a link.
  • [06:04] Victor Antonio has a great YouTube page about sales.
  • [06:24] Most new SEO workers focus on traffic from relevant keywords, which Neil thinks is a terrible idea.
  • [06:37] Just because you get more relevant traffic, doesn’t mean you get more sales.
  • [06:50] Instead, look at Google Analytics, see where your ROI is coming from, focus on increasing traffic to the landing pages with the most revenue.
  • [07:21] That’s it for today!
  • [07:25] Go to for a special marketing tool giveaway!

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The post How to Start in SEO | Ep. #629 appeared first on Marketing School Podcast.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Voice: Get ready for your daily dose of Marketing Strategies and Tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: And I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: And today, we are going to talk about how to start in SEO. So hold on. Before you complain, we've talked about this in the past, but times change. The last time we talked about literally this topic was, I think, two years ago, close to two years ago.

Neil Patel: It was two years ago, yeah.

Eric Siu: It was something like that, yes.

Neil Patel: It skips-

Eric Siu: So last time, to refresh-

Neil Patel: Exactly in last [inaudible 00:00:43], it's changed quite a bit.

Eric Siu: What do you got?

Neil Patel: The biggest thing that we're seeing right now is before, when we said, "Hey, if you want to get started in SEO," we recommended that you just created your own website, probably a WordPress blog. I'm guessing it was something like that, and you just go, and you practice, and you experiment.
That's somewhat true still, but the problem these days is if you get your start in SEO, and you just start with a brand new blog, and you're off to the races, it's going to take you a very long time before you start seeing any results. So if you're trying to learn SEO, you spend a year practicing on your own website, that's a bit too long to wait to see results before you're like, "Oh, I now know SEO, so I'm off to the race, and now I can help other people, and I can make a career in this."
So my recommendation nowadays is if you want to start learning SEO, yes, you should have your own website, but you should first off, start practicing on someone else's website that's a bit older in age because it's easier and quicker to see results with aged websites. And that will help you determine if what you're doing is working out, or it's not. Just make sure you pick a site from someone who doesn't really care for it. They're not monetizing it, and you just hit up a ton of people and just offer the services for free.

Eric Siu: Yeah, we talked about this in the last episode. Neil alluded to this, but it's easier to grow a business than it is to start a business. So when you work on a aged domain, who's going to reject your help at the end of the day? Let's say you've done SEO for a couple months.
Look, if you've done it for three to six months or so, you probably know more than most people already. If you offer help to somebody, you're out there. You're networking perhaps. You're reaching out to people that are your friends. You're offering free SEO audits or whatever. Somebody's eventually going to take you up on it because if you're kind of building on ...
A TED talk I saw last week, a Harvard professor talked about the three elements of trust, right? It's authenticity. It's empathy, and it's logic, right? If you can connect with someone, and you get them to trust you, which I'm assuming you probably can because you're smart and because you're listening to this podcast, you are going to be able to do stuff for people for free.
That's how any kind of consulting stuff works. You start doing stuff for people for free. Then you eventually start to make some money. Then you're able to scale, and then, it goes on as long as you want to keep it going.

Neil Patel: I had three people recently test this out, who wanted to learn SEO, so I gave them this advice. What they ended up doing was just emailing a ton of blogs, people on WordPress because it's easier that way. If you go look for WordPress blogs, there's plugins. You don't have to be as technical or a developer.
The other person, then, doesn't have to hire a developer, which is much easier to convince them to do it. But you have to email roughly 15 to 17 people before you get a solid yes. What I mean by a solid yes is someone who just doesn't say, "Yeah, sure" but someone who's truly committed and be like, "Oh, my God. This is amazing. Yes, I really want this."
If you get someone who's just like, "Yeah, whatever. You can try it out here and there," and they cut you off within a week or two or a month or two, that's not enough time for you. So you want to make sure the other person is super vetted on ... not necessarily just vetted but more so really engage and involve because if they want to quit after a while, you've wasted your time, and you're going go have to start all over again.
So make sure you let them know what it's going to look like, that it's going to take at least six months. They have to let you do it for six months. Heck, I even recommended to those people that, "Hey, if you're going to do work for free," get a contract with them making them sign that. "Hey, you have to let me do this for six months minimum for free."
And people are like, "You're crazy," but you're just like, "Well, I don't want to do it halfway and then stop." And that's really important because if you do SEO halfway and stop, you're not going to learn everything that you need to. You need six months minimum.

Eric Siu: Yeah, and make sure that you're staying up to date on trends because the last time we did this episode, we didn't talk about the voice as much. We didn't talk about semantic search as much, but that stuff is actually, even though it's not kind of fully rolled out yet.
Ray Kurzweil, who is one of the AI guys, or heads up AI at Google, he just released a semantic search tool on searching a bunch of books at one time. So looking into that, just being aware of what's coming is important, and even for our blog, we started avving Amazon Polly to it, where people ... It could just read our blog posts as well.
So you probably don't ... It's not something that's very actionable right now, but just being aware by looking at sites like Search Engine Roundtable or reading Neil's blog, for example,, and just staying up to date is really important.
And what I like doing is when I look at ... I like looking at Twitter. I have my little Twitter list. I think if you follow me on Twitter, and you can see the lists that I follow. It's a bunch of SEOs in there, and they're sharing the latest stuff in SEO and one that keeps you up to date.

Neil Patel: Yeah, you just have to keep testing. You have to be innovative, and yes, if a lot of people aren't doing it, that's okay. That's the stuff you really want to test out and try. But the reason you want to try that stuff is because that's the future. Just because it's not popular now doesn't mean that won't change two to three years from now.

Eric Siu: Yeah, I think one final thing I'll add from a tactical perspective is SEO and sales are very much similar, right, and in many ways because with SEO, what you're doing is you're finding a list of prospects. You're reaching out to them. You have a process for that, and at the end of the day, you get a link. Sales is the same thing, but at the end of the day, you get a sales or a sale.
And when you're trying to do SEO, you're basically selling yourself and then also, at the same time, you're trying to get the link. So I think looking at Victor Antonio, he has a really good YouTube channel on sales. Learning that stuff, reading The Ultimate Sales Machine by late Chet Holmes, looking at Backlinko, who is well known for SEO, reading Matthew Barby's stuff. He's the VP over at growth over at HubSpot or VP of SEO, I believe, will get you the stuff from some of the best people in the industry. So, Neil, anything else?

Neil Patel: Yeah, the last thing from me is when you're learning SEO, and you're trying it, most new SEOs, heck, even intermediate and advanced ones focus on traffic from relevant keywords. That's a really terrible idea. Just because you get more relevant traffic doesn't mean you get more sales. Even if it's indirect or that causes them to come to your site, and they come back two or three times later and then convert.
Well, I've found that people make the big mistake when it comes to learning SEO is don't focus on traffic. Instead, you need to look at Google Analytics, where is the ROI coming, and focus on increasing the traffic to the pages that are causing the most revenue, whether it's from leads, direct sales like ecommerce.
But it's not just the trafficking. It's about getting the right audience who's willing to convert. Just because someone's from your niche doesn't mean they're going convert. The keywords that have buyer intent, even though they have a lot less volume, are the ones you should be going after first, that are less competitive, and they'll generate you more cash.

Eric Siu: All right. So that's it for today. Go to to check out our marketing tools, and we'll see you tomorrow.

Voice: This session of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics to help you find the success you've always dreamed of. And don't forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow right here on Marketing School.

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