It’s impossible to learn absolutely everything about every facet of SEO. The topic is just too broad. So now that you’ve spent some time in the trenches and learned which aspects of SEO you enjoy, it’s time to niche down and deepen your knowledge in one area.
This is known as becoming a t-shaped SEO.
Being a t-shaped SEO means that you have a broad knowledge of all things SEO but excel in one particular area. The area you choose to specialize in should be one that you’re best at and most enjoy.
For me, this is link building—which is why I’ve written much of our content about this topic.
Here are a few more examples of t-shaped SEOs:
Notice how Marie Haynes’ specialty is hyperspecific? Instead of choosing one broad facet of SEO (e.g., keyword research or link building), she decided to specialize in the niche area of Google penalty recovery. As a result, there’s probably no SEO on the planet that knows more about this topic than Marie.
Going hyperspecific like this is a good idea if you’re learning SEO to become an in-demand SEO expert. But if you’re looking to rank websites, it’s probably better to keep things slightly broader and stick with one of the four main facets of SEO.
Either way, you should always test what you learn on your website. This is where true learning happens.
4. Keep your finger on the pulse
Despite what many people say, the fundamentals of SEO barely change. But small things are constantly changing. There are Google updates multiple times a year, changes to how search engines handle aspects of technical SEO, smart folks coming up with new tactics, etc.
With this in mind, while you shouldn’t spend all day every day reading SEO news, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse.
Here are a few ways to do that:
Attend SEO conferences and meetups
SEO is a big industry with big conferences. For example, BrightonSEO attracts more than 4,000 attendees. There are numerous smaller meetups too, which you can find on meetup.com, such as this one in my hometown. These are all places where like-minded people doing SEO share insights and tactics, so there’s a lot to learn from getting involved.