How to Train an SEO in 5 Days

One thing that is frequently brought up by SEO directors or people in similar roles both in-house and agency side, is that it’s really hard to find good people. Even though SEO isn’t an entirely new subject, the speed at which it evolves means that you can’t be sure that someone with experience definitely has the skillset you require.

On the other side, if you’re looking for a good junior you can bet that you’re going to end up paying a lot of money for someone with limited experience. Your alternative is to train them yourself, and few people have the time to really do this; even on-the-job training takes hours out of your days.

If you were to train an SEO from scratch, these are the subjects I would split the training into, and the tools I would focus on teaching people to use, in order to ensure that they will be an effective member of your team in as short a time as possible. With a tailored training plan like the one below, you can squeeze it all into a week of morning and afternoon sessions.

Day 1


Intro to SEO

  • What is it
  • How does it work

Keyword research

  • How to do keyword research
  • Tools that help
  • What you are looking for
  • How to continually refine your keyword strategy
  • Worked up example


Intro to link building

How to do:

  • Directories
  • PR suppliers
  • Advertorials
  • One to one links
  • Secondary links
  • Tools we use to be more efficient


Day 2


Reporting (STAT, Google Analytics, etc.)

How to use:

  • STAT
  • Google Analytics
  • Buzzstream
  • Advanced Excel


Tools (IIS, Firebug, Linkdex, WMT etc.)

How to use:

  • IIS crawler
  • Firebug
  • Linkdex
  • Webmaster tools (Bing and Google)

Day 3


Redirects and server responses

  • What are all the different things that happen when a web page is actually delivered to a screen?
  • How do they affect SEO?
  • Test


Perfectly optimized page

  • Titles, meta-data, etc.
  • Content and semantics
  • Video content
  • User reviews
  • Social media commenting and sharing
  • Internal linking

Bearnaise Sauce Optimized Page

Day 4


Advanced Excel

  • Pivot tables
  • Advanced formulae
  • Using Excel to be more efficient


Advanced link building

  • Advanced techniques
  • Targeting "trusted" domains
  • Bringing the client on board
  • Leveraging other marketing activities

Day 5


Social media advancements

  • How does social affect SEO
  • How could it affect SEO moving forward


Microformatting, local, and other tips and tricks

  • Types of mark up
  • On-page optimization for Local business listings
  • Off-page optimization for Local business listings
  • Optimizing Google+

About the author

Gareth Owen, Head of Natural Search, Steak, began his career in SEO at ChoiceQuote Insurance based in Liverpool in 2004. Responsible for the full marketing function for insurance products in motorcycle, taxi, van and haulage, he oversaw sizeable increases in ROI from online marketing spend.

He then moved to The Search Works where, as European Account Director, he worked on a range of large client brands, pioneered studies into the measurable effects of TV advertising on search volumes, and generated over £1 million in revenue through integrated search offerings in 2009. While in this role he also successfully created an integrated PPC/SEO/Affiliate offering for the parent company.

As well as being responsible for the SEO offering at Steak, Gareth also sits on IAB and IPA Search Councils and has spoken at IAB, IMRG and Econsultancy conferences.