More threads by Laustin1878

Sep 27, 2012
Reaction score
Well, it has come time to train an employee. It's both good and bad but at the end of the day, I have never trained a single person on SEO.

My question is, where do you start with someone who knows very, very, very little about SEO but wants to learn it?

My initial thoughts were to start with finding resources covering, the basics such as "What is SEO?" (on-site, inbound) I was thinking MOZ ( then starting out with a couple of other resources such as Search Engine Land and Google Webmaster Guidelines (

Followed by:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Local SEO
- Social
- Paid

I want to be upfront with this employee letting them know there will be a TON of reading in the 1st week or two being as though they are starting out so green. I don't expect them to know all of the above in 2 weeks but trying to think aloud here.

Anyone have advice on starting points and setting obtainable goals and benchmarks for training purposes?
Start with the beginners guide to SEO (like you mentioned), the Google Optimization Starter Guide, and then get them set up with a Feedly account to follow new blog posts from Moz, QuickSprout, SEW, SEJ, SEL. Basically start it off real real slow, otherwise you risk overloading and overwhelming.

I used to run teams for SEO, PPC, and Social so I had to train a handful of people in the past. As far as benchmarks, what I found useful is to test them (literally). Create quizzes to test their subject knowledge and make sure they're grasping the information. PPC is simple - get them Adwords certified by taking the fundamentals and an advanced test from Google. SEO/Local/Social don't have that same kind of testing material, so you'll need to create it yourself. I found that was a good way to go.
Having them watch you work on new clients or clients who need a iterative task done (cleaning 404s) always helps. This way they get familiar navigating websites and get down their own work flow. One thing I think pros take for granted after watching a few people start here is how integral your workflow is. They will also get more comfortable in doing this work and will tend to be a little more confident when you hand them bigger tasks.
Hi Luke, in addition to the great answers from Eric and Michael...

These are seriously good for learning Local!

<a href="">▶ Awesome Google My Business 101 Videos from Google</a>

<a href="">An Ultimate Guide to Local SEO? Great for New Staff Training / Orientation</a>

<a href="">Learn Google Local & Local SEO From the Best @ Moz</a>

<a href="">VIDEO - How Google Local Works - Mike Blumenthal at Moz</a>

And tons more just like that in our <a href="">Google Local 101</a> forum, if you do just a little bit of digging.
When I first started learning SEO 9 years ago I started with books. I went and bought SEO for Dummies and a couple others and started with that first. I found I absorbed more reading a physical book than reading online. I have read before that people still learn from paper better than a screen (can't remember where I read it....probably b/c it was online somewhere lol).

Once I got the basics down, I subscribed to a bunch of blogs like the ones recommended here and that you mentioned to keep up with the trends.

Unfortunately there is no book for Local SEO. I would have them take Linda's training :)
Unfortunately there is no book for Local SEO. I would have them take Linda's training :)

Thanks Joy! Unfortunately my training is advanced and not as well suited to those that are brand new and don't know a thing. In fact I think could be more confusing than helpful if they don't have any practical knowledge or hands on experience.

I think before you teach Local you should probably have them learn basic SEO so they have a foundation. Per what Joy said, Bruce Clay just updated their book which knowing them is really good.

<a href="">3rd Edition of SEO for Dummies is the Perfect SEO Companion</a>
I like to push them in the deep end. ; )

I'm with @mborgelt. Show them how to do audits. How to add GA snippet, GSC, and Bing snippets to wordpress. How to fix crawl errors in GSC by using 410 for wordpress and simple 301 redirects. How to add content to wordpress and mark up with h1, h2, bold, images etc. How to use yoast and create titles and metas. How to run link analysis. How to do the work. Take all the repetitive tasks that you hate and let them do it over and over. Then move to the next task.

Give them your top 1 to 3 articles on the subject in tandem with each task. Little reading lots of work/repetition.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
We've onboarded a few over the years and the first 3 weeks all they do is read and take notes - we review their notes during off hours.

We first turn them loose on the MOZ Basics, and SEJ and let them spend 3 hours doing any research they want, followed by a 1 hour discussion of what they believe SEO is. It's almost like an interview to keep their job at that point :)

Next we set them on our blog - we have hundreds of postings over the years - from the very basic all the way through. So they get to go poke around there and based on our discussion, they get to find the solutions within our blog content. If we don't have a blog on it, they're now responsible for writing a blog and explaining it. (this is a great way of building new content for those that no nothing about SEO).

From there, we move into having them sit in on a Monthly SEO review meeting with a client. After the meeting, they comes back to the table with notes and question on what they didn't know, or why something was done some particular way.

From there - we turn over a client audit to them, have them review it, and make sure it makes sense - anything that doesn't - they get to write a blog :)

Some of us learn better from DOING rather than SEEING, so we take that into account, and since our office is an open space environment, we're always available to answer any question, thought or proposed idea that they have.

Lots of reading - even more videos, and THEN they're ready to do some work ;)

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

LocalU Event

LocalU Webinar

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Top Bottom