Weekly rank tracking. Optimization meetings with the media, copy, UX and dev teams. Monthly analytics reporting with the client. And decks. So many decks. With so much on one’s plate, it can feel like there is not much room for actual strategy, optimization and implementation – let alone continuing education.
By profession, SEOs should be data-driven digital experts. But with so much data – and so little time – it can be challenging to keep yourself relevant in an industry that changes, sometimes hourly.
GSC will be shutting down the old API. Google added new Activity Cards for mobile in the SERPS. Are you considering AMP now that they’re testing highlighting answers on AMP results? Were you aware of the newest addition to Google’s Link Scheme Guidelines?
Those are just some of the updates that came out in the month. It takes an SEO village these days.
The following is my agency’s foolproof plan to ensure that our team stays up-to-date. It ensures optimal career growth for SEOs and the best results for our clients.
Education as an onboarding requirement
Continued learning is so integral in this industry that we make it part of our onboarding process. While we require training for our proprietary SEO tool, we also require our SEOs are Google Analytics certified, trained in Google (and Bing) Search Console and experts in various SEO tools.
Additionally, we strongly recommend (but certainly do not require) that they participate in certain Facebook groups, Reddit communities and follow certain key figures on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Possibly the most valuable continuing education group for our team is Ahrefs Insiders. Finding a group of ~8,000 industry experts that continue to add strategic value – as well as continuing to highlight how team members can utilize tools – is essential for team growth and client success.
Shared learnings across clients
Education does not end with onboarding. Every week our team meeting covers many topics from internal announcements and delegating tasks to shared learnings.
Sharing case studies, the newest tactics or optimization that has seen success or the latest SEO Chrome extension is helpful. Having everyone in the room to discuss the latest and greatest in the SERPs is a great way to take collective learnings and ensure that all clients see the same success. When one client wins, they all win.
Lunch and learns
There are a lot of opportunities to learn as a team – and there is no shortage of webinars (and everyone loves a free lunch!). There are a lot of tools and agencies that put together educational webinars. Even if the team does not learn a lot, if you provide lunch and a forum for discussion, there are generally good outcomes:
- Does the team agree with the strategies and tactics discussed in the webinar?
- From the webinar, what have people tested, what are they seeing working or not working? What tests can we run for our clients to validate results?
- Was there anything discussed that was successful or not for their client? Anything that should be implemented across all accounts?
- More than likely the team will hear about new tool capabilities. Does the team’s current toolset allow the client to see the best organic performance?
Get fully immersive with conferences
Whether it is for several days or even for one, conferences are a great way to hear from experts in the industry to network and to take a day to soak in all the latest and greatest in SEO.
Here are some of the top conferences in the industry that our team members have attended recently and found value in:
With a larger team, it might not be possible to take the everyone to a conference; however, there are digital solutions. For example, every year our office books the largest conference room and live streams the TechSEO Boost Conference – it’s even better because we get our development team to join – and we know how important those people are to SEO success!
Weekly educational round-ups
With so much SEO news and so many influencers, it is almost impossible to follow them all. With weekly educational round-ups, the team can split up the best resources, then gather back in a room and discuss them as a team. There are many benefits to allowing a team to stay informed this way:
- If every team member participates and owns 3-5 resources, a team of 5-7 can own the market on SEO news. This allows the team to get very niche specific and learn collectively.
- Getting a group of SEOs in a room, talking through breaking news will spark magic. A useful strategy will be born and likely relevant to multiple clients.
- This approach allows people to learn from their favorite medium. Prefer to listen to podcasts? Watch YouTube? Allow everyone to suggest their favorite ways to learn and find resources that add to the teams’ growth.
Here is an example of the resource sheet our team uses every week. Every person has resources they’ve claimed, then every week they fill in the specifics (if they have new content relevant to our clients), so we can get in the room and review.
As a team, we’ve found some of the best resources (outside of Search Engine Land) are:
- Glenn Gabe
- Stone Temple
- Search Engine Roundtable
The key, of course, is to prioritize. You can spend all day, every day, just going through them all. But, you still must find time to drive results for clients.
A team that learns together performs together
While I have Google alerts for specific industry keywords, receive more newsletters than I can properly maintain and I am active in more SEO Facebook groups than any sane person should be, I’ve found that learning as a group is far more helpful for my personal career growth and the success of my clients.
Learning as a team helps keep everyone accountable and ensures that everyone succeeds. Whether there are algorithmic changes, changes in GSC or new SERP features – 14 or 20 eyes are better than two.