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Learning SEO w/Aleyda Solis

Host:

Areej AbuAli & Sarah McDowell

Guest:

Aleyda Solis

In this week's episode, Aleyda Solis, international SEO consultant, speaker and author, discusses all things learning SEO. We also find out what inspires Aleyda and what empowers her to be the brilliant women she is today.

You can connect with Aleyda through her website and Twitter. Learn more about Learning SEO here.

Episode Transcript

Sarah:
Hello and a very warm welcome to the women in tech SEO podcast, where your hosts myself, Sarah McDowell podcaster and SEO content executive at Holland and Barrett and the wonderful SEO consultant and founder of Women in Tech SEO, Areej AbuAli.

This week, we have an awesome speaker lined up and that is Aleyda Solis, who is an international SEO consultant, speaker and author. So it's a good afternoon for both of you. How are we doing?

Areej:
Yeah, good thanks! Great to be here with both you Sarah and Aleyda

Aleyda:
Hello. Hello. So nice to be able to be with you today, too.

Areej:
Aleyda, we are so excited to have you. I think you get invited to every single Women in Tech SEO project and initiative. 

Aleyda:
No, thank you for having me as well. I'm more than happy. I'm so excited that you have started the podcast. And I think it will be refreshing and necessary also to follow up and see how many women are today in the industry. How much all of us are contributing in different ways. And I think it should be refreshing because still today I see from time to time those questions over Twitter: “Oh, who are the women to follow?” So it will be so much easier to just point out to the group that since it is closed, sometimes it's a little bit harder. But with the podcast, like, yeah, take a look at all of the conversations. So many different women, so yes, so exciting. 

Areej:
100%, I completely agree. And yeah, can't wait to have a lot of awesome guests with us every week. So Aleyda,  I'm pretty sure, most of the industry knows you and knows how awesome you are, but I'd love to share your story a little bit about how you got into SEO.

Aleyda:
Yes. So I got into SEO in 2007 after I was given the chance to start working at an aligned marketing agency that was already doing SEO among yeah. PPC, social media, et cetera. And I was lucky that I didn't know about SEO at that point, but I started little by little, by handling our website, like I was pretty much managing the websites, of the agency monetizing and doing affiliates.

Do you want a little bit of content marketing, social media, SEO? And, and then I focus. After a while, more and more and more into SEO, only up to a point that when the SEO specialist of the company left, they offered me the opportunity to focus completely on SEO. So that is why, how pretty much it was like, very like serendipity, like, right.

And I'm still very, very thankful for that opportunity, because I, I think that that has been like my best decision. Ever to, to focus on becoming an SEO. Right. So, yes, it was like, it was a very very good, good luck from, from my side too. And, and I enjoy SEO because it allowed me to do, let's say, like t blend the activities that I was doing, I, before becoming an SEI was What designer slash front, front end web developer.

So I continue going through the HTML of the websites, how-to, well, well structure make websites, crawlable, good navigation, et cetera. Right. And then although they had it allow me to also do this extra of, of a little bit of more marketing side of, of activities, right? Like, yeah. The optimization. Of the content to connect with the audience search behaviour, how to improve conversion.

So, I think it was the blend that attracted me to SEO and well, I've never looked back realistically. I love it. Wonderful.

Sarah:
I love hearing everyone's story about how they got into SEO because yeah, it's never really a plan and it's just wonderful hearing. Everyone's sort of different paths into it.

[Quick Fire Round Questions]

Areej:
So I think just before we kind of kick off the main topic that we're here to talk about, which is your learningseo.io platform. I'd love to, just for all of our audience, if there are women who are starting off in the industry, what advice would you give them?

Aleyda:
I will say that the best advice will be to always test for yourself and keep courteous to identify yourself what works in your particular context because there's so much advice out there. And at some point, it can be calm, a little bit of noise, right? You can even read and see like literally completely like. Like advice that is like the other way around exactly than all the boats are necessarily not right.

Like, so for example, you can see, Oh, write long-form corn content. And in the other guidelines, you see, oh the length of the content doesn't matter or, well, it, it depends, as usual, right? So there is a lot of it depends on, and, and in SEO and that is the beauty of it also its complexity because also that means that it cannot be completely automated, which is very lucky for us.

I have to say because. It depends on the context. Right. And so what my advice will be, you learn the building blocks, right. A vet. But it's so, so, so very important that in order to better understand how everything fits and what is the weight and the focus that you should give to certain things, depending on your context, what it is fundamental is that you test for yourself.

And at the beginning, I will highly, highly recommend that you build your website even with a WordPress, right? Do you need to, you don't need to start it from scratch, but you're building a website. Would WordPress and start. Going through the configurations from a technical perspective, the process to do accurate research, to identify the search behaviour of the audience to develop content, to connect with that, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Right. So doing that for yourself will allow your data in the future, when you. Develop these recommendations for customers or clients that you understand how much effort it takes, how it is not necessarily that straightforward, how, how we some are an area. Certain things will matter most and all those, but not always right.

It depends a lot on the context. So I think it is, it allows us to become, on one hand, much more empathetic when, especially when we are on the client-side. And then on the other hand, also, to better connect because at the beginning, as I remember myself when I was learning how to do cure research, how to do yeah.

How to analyze crawlability, how to do a content audit. But then the issue was like, how does it all fit together? Right. And so there's no way, no better way to understand how everything fits together by. By testing it for yourself. And then of course, by having your website, you will be able to double-check whatever you read out there, right?

Like if you say, Oh, this is far more important than nowadays, or I've seen that doing this generates what you can do on a test for yourself and see for yourself and implement things for yourself will allow you to always double-check or will test and, and to also do, do, to do your experiments too.

So I think. That will be my, my, my best advice, right. That you learn to. Build your website to test for yourself, whatever you're learning.

Sarah:
Great advice. I love that. Very actionable and practical. So we got you on today to talk about learning SEO. So everything that's sort of comes underneath that. So I want to start with sort of talking about, so you're the brains behind learning sca.io. So what is learningseo.io?

Aleyda:
It is a roadmap that I created for anybody who will learn SEO and not, not necessarily only learning from scratch, but learning about any particular area or let's say developing or expanding their knowledge into a specific area in particular in SEO.

And sometimes there's so much again, so, so many resources, so many guides out there that sometimes it's so very difficult to know. Which, which are those with legit information on one hand. And then in the oldest one, when, when it is the scenario of starting to learn, as you always. In which order do you do it?

Right? Like what you should learn first. Because again, if you go into Twitter, it will seem that even for some times, like to become an SEO, the first thing that you need to learn sometimes is even, to coding Python, right? Before learning as you were. And actually, that was one of the questions that I got last year when I was doing mentorship.

Right. Like the SEO was, Oh, but I'm still learning SEO, but I see so much about learning how to code. Should I do that at the same time? It was like, I'm like, well, if you have this superhuman and. 48 hours per day. You probably want to do that in parallel, but if you're actually wanting to become an SEO first learn the building blocks of SEO and what matters to execute that SEO process.

And then when you actually have the knowledge about. What matters, what doesn't and, and what takes every task. You may want to learn how to automate it, which is what a coding language will allow you to do. So, right. So this, this, this was a little bit of my point also wet learning SEO, that it will allow you to put things into perspective because also and I completely understand, right.

That there are some trends going on sometimes. So for example if you. When again, to either a year or a year, a half ago, you will see a lot of the content. Sure, every time was about EAT. If you go now there's a lot of content regarding digital PR and sometimes it really likes tweaks. Your view of SEO.

So by creating a resource like learning as you're what I wanted, this was to give a little bit of more overview of. All the pieces of the puzzle in, of what it takes to, to learn SEO, the different topics, the building blocks and, and how also the different areas that you can focus on.

And if you don't master one particular area, it doesn't matter because there's so much more for you to focus on. On, depending on also you're on your own preferences and, and, and what you are good at, right? Like, I do believe that there's room to work and Excel as a CEO. If you're not technical or if you don't enjoy the technical side of things.

Being a really good content focus, SEO, or a really, really, really good link builder and vice versa. Right? If you don't enjoy link building and you love the tech side of things, you can be a really, really, really, really good technical SEO and, and, and Excel as such in your professional life without necessarily having to too.

Do that or Excel at this other type of activity, or you can be a world around that strategy. I know a little bit about everything, right? So there are so many ways to tackle that. A lot of people used to and still do, I get messages all the time asking me how can I learn SEO? What is the best way, or, or do you have any resources to point me out, point me out about international SEO for eCommerce SEO or internal linking or whatever. Now I have an easy way just to send to learningseo.io and say, look into this area and you will find those resources there.

Areej:
Absolutely love that. And I think even within the one in the tech SEO community, that's always a very normal question for people who are starting out in the industry and they can feel very, very overwhelmed. They don't know where to start. And so I love that it is built like a roadmap and, you know, you kind of start at the beginning of it and then it's up to you what you want to deepen your knowledge in and the different tasks.

And I think something you don't give enough credit to yourself about, Aleyda, is the fact that this resource amplifies. A lot of the pieces of writing and articles and talks that people in the industry have done because you, you know, people feel really proud to be learning SEO, the IO by featuring their article or so forth.

So how have you felt the industry's response been to it?

Aleyda:
Yes. Well, I’m delighted. I am so very happy to see those people who are proud to be featured there because, well, I try to be those let's say resources that my first criteria are that they should be free. So it is easy for anybody who has access to them.

And, and, and I know very well that sometimes there are resources that have been published, let's say not so popular blogs or publications, or they are in the, in the presentation format as in SlideShare, for example, publish. But these are wonderful resources that are very insightful, that are comprehensive.

That can be completely like anybody can go through another, not because they are in this format and miss that they are less worthy or anything else. So what I try to do is to go through those resources that I think should be those top five, four or five. Six resources maximum that you really should read about any given topic to be able to have a good well-rounded view about it.

And then you can start like doing stuff for yourself in it. So yes, I'm, I'm so very happy to see one, whenever someone says, Hey, I have been featured here. Thank you Aleyda. I am proud to be featured here and they should, right, because this is the thing, right? I do feel that as in SEO, there's so much willingness to share and the information that we share for free.

And I think that at this point, we take that as a given, we don't, they will think. We don't stop to think about this stuff because it's like we have it by default, like, like right now, like this, right. But back in the day when I was starting in SEO in 2007 there wasn't a wealth of information like this.

I remember going to the SEO most block and there was much less information. So there's a wealth of information. People, people like willing to share and so much great stuff that literally like, if you want to start learning SEO, you don't need to be spending thousands in courses.

If you have self-discipline, you can definitely do it. So for free and start learning for free. And so I also wanted give this visibility and allow people to eliminate the barriers, right. To enter the field, to enter the, the, the SEO as an industry as a professional one hand.

And then, on the other hand, to give a little bit of more visibility to those amazing resources that are written sometimes, but they are not in big publications, too.

Sarah:
Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. I mean, what you've already achieved so much with learning  is that future plans for it or where do you visit G like growing or doing?

Is there any, is there anything that you can sort of say about it that you're hoping to achieve in the future? Yes.

Aleyda:
what I, what I like my first goal. So today is to like, let's say, like try to have a good coverage of the most, the most popular areas or common areas of knowledge. And now I am going into more more specific scenarios, like how to, well, like do ranking drops analysis.

Or a content cannibalization or keyword cannibalization analysis or crawl budget analysis. So it's more, a little bit more specific now because I have already covered the main ones. And I, I also still need to identify the best way to reflect some of them so as to not overwhelm the, the, the, those users.

Are still trying tosort out how to prioritize our learnings into them. But yes, I still need to cover, I think that I still hae rom to cover more information that is still not yet there, once that I cover all of the most common scenarios and information. Let's see. Where, where, where I can take it.

I want it to be a little bit more practical and to facilitate things even more. So I have thought a few thoughts that I have had is to, for example, to, treate small. Let's say videos about each area and potentially, you know, that I have also Crawling Mondays that are very topic focused and potentially also have like a couple of 'em have a guest with me discussing each one.

These topics are covered in learning SEO for ensuring videos of 10 minutes, something like that. That is highly digestible for someone who is going through those. Those documents to help them to go through them and to give them a little bit of more context about this particular topic, something like that.

So I am planning to do this. Hopefully once that I am, that I am able to finish a little bit of like the most common is in areas as an extra layer to, to help people. So my, my, my goal will learn. And as he always like someone who, again, has no knowledge. Goes, there wants to start an SEO. They can do it very, very easily without having to pay for anything.

So as much as possible. I, and now, now if you see, I'll also have the tips at the bottom. So ideally also in the future, I would like to have like those tips, but focus for each area. So for example, whenever you learn how to do keyword research, so you will have like 10 tips from, from different SEO specialists about.

How to do accurate research in particular for, and like this for every topic. So let's see, I have, as you can see, I have a few ideas about it, but it's how it is, is how to prioritize each one of them. So, I, I can, I can build it load by little and also like with the contributions of others that I see.

And I am also very thankful because I'm getting ideas all the time about new topics to add. When I asked for overall tips the other day, I got. Tons of them. And actually it was, it was very hard for me to pick the top one. So yes, it was, it was nice. And I, hopefully, I think it will have a very long life and, and my goal is to keep it always refreshed and updated.

Areej:
I absolutely love that. And I agree. And I think as an industry, what we can do to help is definitely keep, you know, feeding in suggestions and ideas and sharing with you also resources. For those who don't know, Aleyda also runs a weekly SEO formal newsletter, which is absolutely brilliant and is definitely worth subscribing to where she also shares a lot of resources in it.

So lets as an industry, always make sure that we're always sharing some pieces and we're. Together working on making that learning a CO2 IO and also a resource that includes tons of stuff. And I think just to wrap up on the topic Aleyda, what advice would you give someone who wants to share their knowledge but feels nervous doing so?

Aleyda:
I think it is normal, right? Even myself and I already have a little bit of experience speaking, but sometimes. That is, that is real, right? Like we are all humans, it's normal to feel nervous and you feel nervous because actually you do care and, and and it's, you will continue to feel a little bit nervous, always all the time.

If you do care about something, right. It's a normal reaction that we have. But, I have to say that we need to control that and we need to acknowledge that. Well, We were. We have the opportunity to share because we know about our stuff. Right. We always have something to share about. What we're doing.

Even if we might think that, Oh, the people who already might know about it. And I think that this is what makes us more nervous sometimes. Right. Especially when we're, when we're starting. Oh, but I have only been doing SEO for three years. Four years for two years, like I had, there's so much more people who already know how to do, let's say your research is so basic.

No, no, no, no, no. It might be basic for all those who have been doing this for, I don't know, 10 years, 15 years, whatever. But it is not for anybody who's just starting. Right. And there are still so many people who are just starting. So I do believe that whatever stage we are in our profession. Journey.

We can be both mentors, I mean, teas, right? We can, we should in fact continue learning all the time. We are never done with learning and we have so much also experience to always share with. So with someone who is not as experienced as us, Yet. Right. So I think that knowledge in this and understanding this will allow you, it's like, Oh, you will stop being nervous in 10 years.

When you have already mastered, let's say this, but you, you will never master it. Like you will always be learning something new and you should, you should. This is how we. They are always evolving. Right. And how we refine ourselves as professionals and humans in general. But, but I say like, it's normal, like just a knowledge.

Yeah. I am nervous and I'm nervous because I care and, and, and it's, it's okay. It's more than, okay. Just done. Allow that nervousness to have control. Of you, but you are acknowledged by your neighbours, because it is, it is something exciting for you because it's because you care. It is exciting.

And just go ahead. Don't let that stop you. It is normal ladies. It is natural.

Sarah:
You're kidding. You can use devs as well. Can't you too. And like you said, like if you're nervous, Or you're a bit worried about some, it just means that you care and that's it a great place to be, because if you can, then you're gonna do your best at like teaching people or being the best that you can be and stuff, but yeah, like never stopped learning as well.

There's always something that you can learn about. There are always development areas and this conversation has just been so inspiring and it's. So lovely to hear you talk about because you're so passionate about this and it comes across in how you talk. So I just want to say a big thank you. Because yeah, this episode is so valuable for our listeners and I can't wait to get it live.

[Quiz Feature]

Sarah:
Okay. Well, unfortunately, I mean, I could just carry on talking for hours. With you with you both. But yes, that's the end of this week's podcast. So thank you very much for joining us, Aleyda. If people want to get in touch with you see the awesome stuff that you're doing, the awesome stuff that you're sharing talks about, anything that you're doing, where, where can they find you? Where are you at?

Aleyda
: Well, you can find me very easily on Twitter @aleyda I'm very active there. Then of course, as your formal is my weekly newsletter in which I see the w which I send the latest in SEO news. And then of course learning SEO and then I have crawling Mondays too.

That is my podcast slash video series in which I talk with all these SEOs about certain topics. And then finally I have a website: remoters.net that is a hub, a remote work hub because I am a firm believer of how healthy imbalance and, and all the opportunities that remote work can give to anybody who wants to excel and develop their professional career without having to be stuck at a certain location. Right. Also, pollen is everywhere. Opportunity is not, and this needs to change with remote work. So remote there's not negative. In case you're looking for any job, we have a free job board completely free for anybody to upload any, any SEO, digital marketing job at any type of job there for people to see.

And you can also subscribe to the alerts in case you're looking for one.

Sarah:
Wonderful, wonderful, lots of ways to get in touch with you. And yeah, you're a fabulous human being because you do so much for the community. So thank you. Areej, do you want to do our honours? How can people get in touch with us?

Areej:
Yeah, happy to. So we’re on womenintechseo.com. You'll find our podcasts there, forward slash podcast, and anyone interested in speaking or coming on as a guest, all you have to do is fill out a form. And anyone who would like to sponsor any of our episodes, same thing. You just fill out a form and you can visit womenintechseo.com and you can see how you can join our Facebook group or Slack group.

You can follow us on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and this was an awesome episode. Because we're all about learning and how we can learn together and how we can make things really accessible and inclusive. So I love that we've had you on and thanks so much for creating this wonderful platform and resource for us and, and for all the awesome knowledge that you're always sharing with the industry as a whole.

Aleyda:
No. Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity. It was amazing.

Sarah:
Well let's all say goodbye and until next time.

Aleyda:
Thanks all! Goodbye.