An Essential Training Task List for Junior SEOs - Rainmaker Media Solutions
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An Essential Training Task List for Junior SEOs

An Essential Training Task List for Junior SEOs

 David Sottimano 

Let’s face it: SEO isn’t as black & white as most marketing channels. In my opinion, to become a true professional requires a broad skill set. It’s not that a professional SEO needs to know the answer for everything; rather, it’s more important to have the skills to be able to find the answer.

I’m really pleased with the results of various bits of training I’ve put together for successful juniors over the years, so I think it’s time to share.

This is a Junior SEO task list designed to help new starters in the field get the right skills by doing hands-on jobs, and possibly to help find a specialism in SEO or digital marketing.

How long should this take? Let’s ballpark at 60–90 days.

Before anything, here’s some prerequisite reading:

Project 1 – Technical Fundamentals:

Master the lingo and have a decent idea of how the Internet works before they start having conversations with developers or contributing online. Have the trainee answer the following questions. To demonstrate that they understand, have them answer the questions using analogies. Take inspiration from this post.

Must be able to answer the following in detail:

  • What is HTTP / HTTPS / HTTP2? Explain connections and how they flow.
  • Do root domains have trailing slashes?
  • What are the fundamental parts of a URL?
  • What is “www,” anyway?
  • What are generic ccTLDs?
  • Describe the transaction between client and server?
  • What do we mean when we say “client side” and “server side?”
  • Name 3 common servers. Explain each one.
  • How does DNS work?
  • What are ports?
  • How do I see/find my public IP address?
  • What is a proxy server?
  • What is a reverse proxy server?
  • How do CDNs work?
  • What is a VPN?
  • What are server response codes and how do they relate to SEO?
  • What is the difference between URL rewriting and redirecting?
  • What is MVC?
  • What is a development sprint / scrum?
  • Describe a development deployment workflow.
  • What are the core functions that power Google search?
  • What is PageRank?
  • What is toolbar PageRank?
  • What is the reasonable surfer model?
  • What is the random surfer model?
  • What is Mozrank, Domain Authority, and Page Authority — and how are they calculated?
  • Name 3 Google search parameters and explain what they do (hint: gl= country).
  • What advanced operator search query will return: all URLs with https, with “cat” in the title, not including www subdomains, and only PDFs?
  • Describe filtering in search results, and which parameter can be appended to the search URL to omit filtering.
  • How can I Google search by a specific date?
  • If we say something is “indexed,” what does that mean?
  • If we say something is “canonicalized,” what does that mean?
  • If we say something is “indexable,” what does that mean?
  • If we say something is “non indexable,” what does that mean?
  • If we say something is “crawlable,” what does that mean?
  • If we say something is “not crawlable,” what does that mean?
  • If we say something is “blocked,” what does that mean?
  • Give examples of “parameters” in the wild, and manipulate any parameter on any website to show different content.
  • How should you check rankings for a particular keyword in a particular country?
  • Where are some places online you can speak to Googlers for advice?
  • What are the following: rel canonical, noindex, nofollow, hreflang, mobile alternate?(Explain each directive and its behavior in detail and state any variations in implementation)

Explaining metrics from popular search tools

  • Explain SearchMetrics search visibility — how is this calculated? Why would you see declines in SM graphs but not in actual organic traffic?
  • Explain Google Trends Index — how is this calculated?
  • Explain Google Keyword Planner search volume estimates & competition metric — is search volume accurate? Is the competition metric useful for organic?
  • Explain’s organic traffic graphs — Why might you see declines in SEMrush graphs, but not in actual organic traffic?

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