Learning to Rank

My last Post was Five Years of Google Ranking Signals, and I start that post by saying that there are other posts about ranking signals that have some issues. But, there are other pages that you may want to look at while you are learning to rank webpages, and I didn’t want to turn people away from looking at one recent post that did contain a lot of useful information.

Cyrus Shepard recently published a post about Google Sucess Factors on Zyppy.com which I would recommend that you also check out.

Cyrus did a video with Ross Hudgins on Seige Media where he talked about those Ranking signals with Cyrus, called Google Ranking Factors with Cyrus Shepard. I’m keeping this post short on purpose, to make the discussion about ranking the focus of this post, and the star. There is some really good information in the Video and in the post from Cyrus. Cyrus takes a different approach on writing about ranking signals from what I wrote, but it’s worth the time visiting and listening and watching.

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Learning Through SEO Forums

Solana Beach Farmer's Market

I had someone who was reading my previous entries in my Learning SEO series ask about using SEO forums to learn SEO. I promised that I would write a post about the value of SEO forums for learning.

Back in 1998 I became a moderator of a couple of forums on small business and website promotion on Yahoo Groups. Those lead to me becoming a moderator at Cre8asiteforums, joining forum owner Kim Krause Berg along with a number of other moderators such as Ammon Johns and Jill Whalen.

Cre8asiteforums was (and still is) a tremendous place to talk about and learn SEO and web design and usability and accessibility. One of my favorite individual forums on the site was one called “The Website Hospital,” where people would bring their site’s URL and concerns about it, and ask questions. That was where I learned a lot about auditing sites and seeing what worked well on them, and what might need some help. This thread is a good introduction to it: Getting Started in the Website Hospital.

There have been other SEO forums that I’ve gotten a lot of value from over the years; one of those is Webmasterworld. Most of the members of that forum are practicing SEOs or siteowners, who enjoy sharing their experiences. It reminds me of a weather vane, in that people are often open with information about changes that they experience to rankings and traffic to their sites. You can see changes taking place on the Web from what they write. It is a pretty good place to use to learn SEO.

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Learning Through SEO Books

A Path through the Batiquitos Lagoon

There are a few SEO books and courses online that are free and really helpful when it comes to learn SEO. Some of those are more about things like Information retrieval and how search engines work, than about doing SEO. But, knowledge can make a difference, and having an idea of how search engines work can possibly give you a competitive advantage over others who haven’t had a chance to read these SEO books and learn from such resources. I’ve come across a few books that are online and free, and worth spending time with, and thought it might not be a bad idea to share them.

The first two volumes I found are ones that focus on one of the important ways that search engines understand the content of web pages, rating them based on information retrieval scores. Having an idea of how a search engine might rank a page, based on more than just something of an understanding of how PageRank works can be really helpful.

Introduction to Information Retrieval by Christopher D. Manning, Prabhakar Raghavan and Hinrich Schütze

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Learning SEO, Summer 2017


In January, I wrote a post titled, Advice Given to an Aspiring 14 Year-Old Entrepreneur Wanting to Learn SEO. I included in that post links to a number of pages that I thought might be helpful to someone learning SEO. On my walk this morning past the Omni La Costa Resort, I was thinking about it, and decided that it might not be a bad idea to create a Learning SEO category here, and provide more resources to help people who are learning SEO access some of the resources I come across that might help them understand more.

One that I was thinking might be really helpful is this video (SMX West 2016 – How Google Works: A Google Ranking Engineer’s Story) with Google Engineer Paul Haahr:

I’ve written about more than one patent that Paul Haahr co-invented, and he has had been involved in many important aspects of how Google operates. His insights into ranking at Google are eye opening.

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Advice Given to an Aspiring 14 Year-Old Entrepreneur Wanting to Learn SEO


I received an email this afternoon from a young man who is interested in a career in SEO, and he asked me how to get started, and I thought it was such a good question that I would include my response here on the blog to any others who might want to learn SEO and work with site owners to help them succeed in business online.

There are some respected sources about SEO online that are worth reading as a starting point. Here are some:

Google’s Starters guide to SEO

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