SEO Courses and How-tos All Over the Web Seem Very Dubious and Unfounded. Are There Any Good Evidence-Backed SEO Courses?



u/Brachamul

SEO courses and how-tos all over the web seem very dubious and unfounded. Are there any good evidence-backed SEO courses out there? I'm really tired of the self-proclaimed SEO gurus and need some fact-based advice.

I even got a Skillshare subscription to see if there's any content there, but they all look very dubious.
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thesupermikey
The Moz beginners guide will teach you 75% what you need to know.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tactic in a much broader field. If you want to be a good at SEO, learn how to be a good writer and researcher. Learn how to be how to be effective at public relations.
There are no secrets. There are no tips or tricks.

Brachamul ✍️
It seems that in most courses, people start by saying "this is that, and that does this".
As opposed to "we recently ran tests that showed that by doing this, this other thing would increase by x%".
When I am "taught" things, I want to know where the teachins are coming from. This is what bothers me, I'm supposed to trust people with no sources to the studies / trials and errors that brought them to accept things as fact.

Rein3
The data you are asking for is only of SEMrush, Moz and ahref's hands. 85% of SEO will be reading these people reports try it in their clients/sites and see if it works.
There's small nitch of SEO that have enough sites to generate this kind of data, but they won't share and most people won't trust them.
NakedAndBehindYou
That's because running tests is difficult and expensive, whereas forming an opinion based off common anecdotes is easy.

steffanlv
Easy. You need to find SEO users and resources that test what they claim. Very few sits/services do that, including Moz. I've recommended in the past Seointelligenceagency.com and using CORA software. They are great learning tools. SEOIntelligenceagency.com (there' s a monthly fee to access) uses only case studies and actual relevant testing for known ranking factors. In fact, much of what they do is to take apart many of Moz's Whiteboard Fridays. I wouldn't trust much of what comes out of Moz, either from their "experts", responses from their forum or from their "beginners guides"
I use CORA for analyzing websites that rank for targeted keyword phrases and measure performance of known ranking factors against what the average results are from sites in the top 10 and top 100. That way you get verifiable ranking factors and know exactly what to focus on in any niche in order to rank. There is no guess work and you aren't relying on a 'guide' of any sorts, which you shouldn't really do in the first place.

frshtrx
Saying MOZ doesn't test is just flat out ignorant. MOZ's whiteboard Friday reference quite a bit of empiric research with cause and effect impact from SEO efforts. Maybe you've been sleeping during these frequent references? You, on the other hand, are offering nothing to refute what MOZ provides in reference to the actual science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), just pointing your finger and making a hollow claim. I've earned fantastic results (and millions in revenue) by following guides. Admittedly, I've never used or seen CORA, because I've never been disappointed in the results I've earned with the tools already in use. I can't even begin to understand why the heck anyone would reference stale case studies about someone else's site instead of near real-time data analytics from the site and competitors they are trying to beat. I also see no value in looking below to 10 results for ideas. If you can't figure out how to get past 90 of the top 100, you might need to reconsider your career efforts.
suswghwuw2u
don't use cora… it's all fluff and no substance. Maybe it's useful for other things but where I work, I'm required to pull Cora reports for all clients. I don't use it, it's only there for a selling point. So in my experience, it's over expensive and slow and not worth the money. Sure, it has numbers and stats, but that's Cora's selling point – it's not useful. And don't even get me started with the roadmap they provide, some of the dumbest recommendations I've ever seen.

maaseyracer
Most of it is dubious, most of us spent a lot of time deciphering what is real and what is not at the beginnings of our careers. You have to take everything with a grain of salt. What I read on sites like MOZ, Hub Pages and even here is mostly counter to what our real world testing and data have shown.
That said the best way to get better at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to build a site. See how it is used, then make improvements for your users to use the site better. Make sure you use the words you want your site to rank for in titles, headings and the body of the page. Spend some money on a Public Relations (PR) firm for relevant press and links and continue to focus on making your site a better experience. From there measure what you see against all the grains of salt of information that you see around the web. You will start to decipher what is real and what is BS.

Brachamul ✍️
Are test results published anywhere? Are there tutorials based on published research?

maaseyracer
We are a private agency and we generally do not publish results or tests as our clients require NDAs and we have quite a lot of our own custom software.
That said if you PM me I will walk you through a lot of what we do and why we do it.

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JeffreyBowdoin
I am actually thinking of creating a course for this reason. There's a bunch of crap out there. I can see how it would be hard to decipher a good course from a bad one from someone who is relatively new, or because you can't view the courses beforehand, etc.
I've been learning SEO for over ten years (still learning!) so its pretty obvious when I see crap or old school black hat. But again, you usually can't view the courses beforehand. If you are looking for a good course, I'd say you can't go wrong with stuff from ryan stewart, Gotch, or brian dean (in that order).
At the end of the day – all that the SEO courses will teach are techniques for certain aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (link building, on page, basics of SEO, etc). These are all great, but if you could just focus on learning how to find gaps in the marketplace, learn how to create much better content (answers user intent, comprehensive, etc), topic modeling, etc – basically if you can just start pumping out badass content, the SEO takes care of itself.
SEO, unless you are dealing with a specific type of SEO (like local), is transitioning more towards just plain content marketing – yet implements better techniques than a "content marketer" would implement.
I don't agree that Moz's guide will give you most of what you need to know. Yes it will give you the basics, but there is so much more. I think you could learn more from the modeling the sites that are successful in your industry. Success leaves clues.

hcxcy
Teach me, master!

JeffreyBowdoin
lol

podkayne3000
I really don't think so. I think the SEO advice I see is either blackhat, and works till someone catches on, or is time-consuming and ineffective. I think the only effective ways to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) without buying followers is to post good content; interact through a forum on your site; promote through email, social media and web ads; and go out and interact in a nice way on other people's forums.
One way to detect SEO bogusness to ask people, "Can you show my the range of performance people in my situation have gotten when they've used your strategy?" The last time I was involved in a scenario like this, no one could give me any data at all.
Another test is to look at the SEO people's own blogs and feeds. If they last tweeted two months ago, and they post two blog entries a year, you can see that they're frauds.
ackmgh
Find people who create good content that they can back with their own experience, simple as that. Having done a 6 hour keyword research course myself (after making $100k from doing keyword research for clients and selling Amazon affiliate websites, mind you) – this is something I do as a side gig, which gets me MORE people who want to work with me, MORE gigs, MORE references, and connections with people who share very very valuable industry info with me.
Who made the course and why should you trust them? If you fall for the average guru claims that's on you and not them.
calmsimplicity
I've been doing this since 2002. What I've learned is this: Black hat techniques don't work. Certainly not in the long run and absolutely not in my niche, financial services. They have done in the past but Google soon catches you out and I've tried them all over the years…Scrapebox, blog comments, link wheels, private networks, etc. I run a number of sites now that have top 5 placings on page 1 for the keywords I'm targeting. Keywords that get over 30k searches a month and some that get over 100k. The secret? There isn't one. Just give the person searching what they want. All my posts are 1000 words minimum. All have a mixture of internal and external links, 3 or 4 images, H1, H2 headings, etc. All sites are https and all are mega fast to load. I make sure I'm in Google My Biz (GMB) and have profiles in the usual social media sites. I'm no expert but I do test my sites all the time so my results are real, not just theory or off a whiteboard. I just think people make out that there is more of a secret sauce than there is.
TheDodgeLodge
I just signed up for traffic think tank a month ago and i've found it pretty interesting. Most of the users there run/work for marketing agencies. While there is a lot of anecdotal information presented as fact, it's more of a collaborative environment where people can share and compare their results.
I also follow Matt Diggity pretty closely, his whole schtick is that his theories are all test-based. Honestly, pretty much all of my wins in this industry were influenced by him in one way or another.

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