How to Be a Better SEO in 30 Minutes a Day

December 1, 2009  |  by Ari  |  SEO

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My previous post on Scarcity, SEO, Integrity and Lemons elicited both publicly and privately a number of responses. One of the major themes that seemed to pop up was that if most of the information that is publicly available is crap, how does one become  better at Search Engine Optimization?

Beyond that – I was recently rereading No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy. He talks about using dead time (on planes, waiting for a doctor’s appointment etc) to go through various trade journals and magazines to keep up to date on your industry. As I read that I reflected that there are a lot of blogs and forums within the Search Marketing industry, and if you didn’t know any better you could spend most of your day reading what’s written, treating it as gospel and continuously not ranking.

With that out of  the way, here are a number of things you can do each week to improve your SEO skills and rank higher, faster.

30 Minutes: Research in other verticals

Want to find new ideas, devious ways of link building, bizarre rankings, and new link sources? The best way is to move out of your incestuous little niche and see how people and companies are building links across different segments of the web. If you’re involved in retail, spend some time researching B2B rankings. If you’re an affiliate, go see how the corporate companies do it. There’s a never ending fountain of ideas for the taking, you just need to go and find them. See my SEO Toolbox post for excellent link research tools.

30 Minutes: Conduct R&D

My buddy Branko spends most of his SEO time conducting all kinds of tests and experiments to figure out what works. Not only that, he actually gets paid to do it, too! While I doubt you can fully apply the scientific method to an algorithm you don’t own, it’s still an excellent way to gauge how different types of links and content affect various search results. For added benefit, try risky tactics on competitors first.

30 Minutes: Get Better SEO Training

There are a number of SEO Training programs out there. The only one I vouch for, as a very satisfied customer, is the SEO Training by Aaron Wall at SEOBook.  I know there are other ones and you can try them, the only one I’ve used is Aaron’s. Let’s just say that the forum and the people you’ll meet there will pay for itself in gold.

30 Minutes: Step Outside the SEO Circle Jerk

We’ve already established that most SEO blogs are crap. But there are a TON of well written, informative blogs on subjects like lead generation, sales, conversion optimization, web design, offline marketing, online marketing, business processes, and everything else related to running a business besides SEO. One day I’ll get around to making a list of some of them, but a few google searches will point you in the right direction.

30 Minutes: Read a book

I read. A lot. The amount of inspiration, solid ideas, tactics and strategies that I have derived from books is incredible. The value you get from good writing by competent authors is tremendous. Obviously business books are important – I’ve read most of the books on the Personal MBA list.  At the same time, books on your favorite subject, on a new field, or pretty much anything that isn’t a trash thriller will stimulate your mind and help you to see things from a new perspective.

30 Minutes: Competitive Research, Baby

This isn’t strictly about finding better links. What sites are your competitors running? How are they positioning themselves? Go through their sales process – see how your competitors upsell, cross sell, and build their customer list. How do they treat existing customers? Call customer support and be incorrigible. What kind of deals do they send you after you’ve been a first time customer? The possibilities are endless.

The only thing holding you back from being better is yourself. There’s plenty of ways to build your own knowledge base and your own experiments that with time, will help you wipe the floor with your competition.


9 Comments


  1. Great Post. I am always amazed how many more “low hanging” links are still out there. Just by examining other industries links. This is especially helpful for local search.

  2. 30 minutes a day aat *anything* is a great idea for self improvement. 30 minutes of exercise, 30 minutes of self assessment/meditation, 30 minutes of breathing exercises, or 30 minutes of really listening to your daughter explain how and why the doll house was decorated just-so.

    As long as your committing a half hour to SEO, I’d add that your would do well choosing “other verticals” based on your own expectations for that new vertical to intersect (as some future point) with your own. The insight you use to predict that, whether the prediction is right or wrong, will lead you to see parallels and thus opportunities for SEO. If you discover such an opportunity, you can blog your findings on a new blog somewhere, linking out to your existing sites as well as the sites in that (new) vertical… discussing those aspects that may or may not someday intersect.

    You get your 30 minutes in, but you also may get noticed for your insights, will build co-citation links for your sites, and just may differentiate yourself from your competitors in a very positive way.

  3. Dude your posts are fucking brutal, I love it.

  4. Great Post. I am always amazed how many more “low hanging” links are still out there. Just by examining other industries links. This is especially helpful for local search.

  5. Wonderful post, This has helped me very much with my seo learning! I continue to learn a lot from your blogs.

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