The Best Google SEO Course for Beginners, Introverts + Non-Techy Bloggers
If you're an introvert like me, “no backlink outreach required” already has your attention!
Or maybe it's the fact that this simplified, step by step approach to keyword research, choosing the best topics, and writing the best kind of content to rank on the first page of Google requires NO paid or complicated keyword research tools?
If either of these strikes a chord with you, go ahead and check out my fave SEO course already! 🙂
More Than Just a Google SEO Course
While the part that's had the most impact on me is the fact that I'm no longer intimidated by Google SEO, I should point out that Project 24 by Income School is SO much more than a simple SEO course!
For me, it's the most comprehensive, beginner-to-advanced blogging course out there.
It's actually MANY courses in one, including entirely different 60-step “paths” for bloggers OR Youtubers, plus a bunch of complementary advanced courses!
Here's what my course dashboard currently looks like, as of April 2020 (and this doesn't even count tons of behind-the-scenes videos, podcast episodes, and template files):
I've personally found the No Nonsense SEO, Search Analysis, Improve Your Writing, Myth Busting, Battleship Method, and Reviewing Your Sites (hot seat reviews of students' sites) particularly helpful as a blogger!
Plus, the behind-the-scenes vlogs and podcast episodes give invaluable insight about Income School's own various blogs and things they're testing.
And Project 24 is ALWAYS being updated with new info and sometimes entirely new courses, so it's one of the few resources I actually go check out regularly because there always seems to be something new and relevant to learn about.
Why I [Initially] Thought Google SEO Was Too Hard + Not For Me
My own biggest reason for initially thinking Google SEO just wasn't worth the effort was that everywhere I turned, EVERYONE was talking about building backlinks. In other words, actively reaching out to other bloggers and influencers in the industry cold-email-style, and pitching them on why they should link to your blog. That, and/or pitching guest post ideas to post on THEIR blogs, that would include a link back to your blog.
The basic idea of building backlinks is that the more other people link to your blog, the more Google will think you are an authority and will be more likely to rank you.
But more importantly, most SEO gurus make it seem like you HAVE to have a decent amount of backlinks before you can rank AT ALL on Google… which is why the idea of even giving it a try seemed daunting and pointless.
I even bought a rather expensive SEO course before realizing that 90 percent of their entire traffic-generating advice was about “putting yourself out there” and getting backlinks. 🙁
As an extreme introvert with limited time and energy to create quality content for my own blog, the last thing I wanted to spend that precious time on was writing and keeping track of cold email conversations, creating quality content for someone else's blog to create competing traffic for the same topics I wanted to talk about on my own blog… that is if and when I even landed any decent guest post opportunities.
All of this to say, there is nothing wrong with guest posting and trying to manually create backlinks in legitimate ways, and many people obviously have success in doing so and thrive in this kind of direct sales approach. But for me, I often dread checking my own email inbox, and pitching myself is literally one of my least favorite things in life!
That's not to say that I've never put myself out there or that I'm unwilling to do it occasionally, if and when an opportunity arises that I genuinely think is worth pitching. I just didn't want this to be my WHOLE strategy, because I knew it would be super draining and simply unsustainable for me.
Thankfully, as I write this I've never requested a single backlink, my domain authority is still nonexistent, but Google is still ranking my posts and sending me traffic! And that's largely due to this course, of course:)
The Unique Approach That Caught My Attention + Eased My Mind About Google SEO
If what you've read so far has you convinced that Google might actually be a great marketing strategy for your personality, niche, and content type . . .
Or, if you'd like to hear more about what I have to say about it, keep reading! Let's start with some of the REALLY unique claims that got my attention:
Um, say what? But EVERYONE else says you have to do this!
Considering my extreme hesitation about backlink-building, I was of course intrigued… but skeptical. They must be doing some alternative traffic-building strategy that would be just as horrifically introvert-unfriendly, or be as simple as paying for traffic.
But hold on now…
They Don't Pay for Traffic Either
Seriously? Um OK… social media then? That must be their not-so-secret strategy.
Their Methods Don't Require Social Media… or an Email List
Sooo OK dudes… seriously what's left?! How is this NOT too good to be true?
Well, while they do talk about email marketing and SOME social channels (namely YouTube and a little bit of Pinterest) and why they may or may not be helpful to you depending on your goals, their ultimate strategy is actually pretty simple (which is perhaps why it seems so unbelievable):
Make quality, relevant content that GOOGLE ITSELF is telling you it wants to show to people!
Of course, they go into a lot of detail about how exactly to do that in the course, including how to actually analyze the competition, choose one topic over another, and even how to judge how long a post needs to be to help you beat the competition and be confident that you can and will eventually rank on page one of Google (if not in the number one spot) for that topic.
But as I said above, the entire Income School “strategy” is simply to give Google what it wants — no gimmicks or begging or shady black hat shortcuts or expensive tools required (oh yeah, I'm getting to that…) and they truly spell EVERYTHING out for you with real, introvert-friendly and actually attainable steps to do exactly that. 🙂
They Don't Rely on Keyword Research Tools
I was pretty shocked to learn that in Income School's own extensive testing, the numbers that keyword research tools give (even the really expensive tools) are often WAY off in one direction or the other. For instance, often a keyword tool has said that a keyword gets 0 (zero) monthly searches, but they've gone ahead and written a post on that topic that has brought them THOUSANDS of page views per month…
And I have tested this myself for with free tools, for keywords where I knew I was ranking. For a post that was getting me 400 views a month almost exclusively from Google, the tool would say that the main keyword/topic I was targeting gets 0-10 views per month total… as in that many views across ALL sites that are ranking for that keyword, not just mine!
Of course, my total traffic for that post and any of my posts are more likely than not coming from multiple keywords in each post, and it's impossible to say how much traffic each individual one is actually sending.
This is why Project 24 teaches to not rely on supposed search volume numbers alone (or at all) and instead focus on finding topics that LOGIC (and of course Google itself) says a lot of people are likely searching for but not already finding the best answers.
They Don't Rely on SEO Plugins
This is one of those “optional” tools that they really don't focus on much at all. I personally do really like using an SEO plugin, if only for organizational purposes (it really helps me keep track of what I'm aiming for, right from within my posts), and to encourage Google to display a specific title and meta description.
However, Project 24 really showed me that you don't actually need an SEO plugin at all to succeed with Google SEO.
They Focus on TOPICS Rather than Exact Keywords
This is another one that I do still try to do when possible — i.e. I like to try and get the exact wording of keywords into my post title, H2 tags, etc. wherever it makes sense. I figure it can't hurt, as long as I'm not unnaturally keyword stuffing.
But yet again, Project 24 showed me that it's totally possible to rank for a keyword — even LOTS of keywords in a single post — even if that exact keyword isn't ANYWHERE to be found within said post… getting the actual topic and searcher's intent right is much more important than perfectly placing and exact (and perhaps even unnatural or grammatically-incorrect) string of words in the exact right places in a post.
And speaking of ranking for lots of keywords, because they focus on topics more so than keywords…
They Don't Focus on a Single “Target Keyword” for Each Post
As I hinted above… they welcome as many keywords as they can rank for in a single post!
More often than not they don't even know exactly which keywords or variations of saying the same thing are actually bringing the traffic, and they don't care. They are just so confident that when they pick the right TOPICS, they can and will rank for one or many similar search queries and it will bring at least some traffic.
Basically, they don't even bother to write posts where they aren't certain they could at least rank on the first page for any if not ALL of the various ways to search for the same topic.
Sound Too Good to Be True?
If this all sounds too good to be true, I totally understand!
Here's the long version of my own journey with blogging and SEO so far, and why I'm so pumped about this course for beginner and advanced bloggers alike (and NOT so pumped about some others I've taken…)
I'll also talk about why I think Google is a much more natural marketing fit for this blog than Pinterest, which is what I initially thought would be my magic traffic lever based on so many other bloggers' success stories.
A Bit About My SEO Journey
I used to think Google SEO was too complicated to understand, required me to spend a lot of time and energy on things I really didn't want to do (like cold-emailing strangers begging for backlinks), and couldn't work for a new or small blog anyway.
But Project 24 showed me how even beginners and bloggers with brand new sites and no domain authority could create content to rank on page one within a year, even before big brand names — and now Google sends about 90% of my traffic on autopilot!
Out of the multiple SEO courses I've purchased and many I've researched, it is the only one I've found that doesn't promote or require at least 1 of these things, AND the only one that has actually helped me significantly improve my organic traffic from Google!
It's relieved a ton of stress about blogging, the pressure to do things I wasn't comfortable pursuing, and wasted time in the process!
I actually purchased a bunch of Pinterest courses as well, and initially put all of my efforts into Pinterest Marketing… until I realized that for my niche and style of content, Google SEO and the simplified, step-by-step methods used in this course are actually much more effective and easy for getting long-term traffic.
In fact, Google is currently the source of about 90% of my traffic as opposed to Pinterest, which makes up most of the other 10%. And my blog is not very big, has no domain authority, and I've never once requested a backlink or paid for Google ads!
I know, I'm as shocked as you are!
I'm shocked because I've heard SO many bloggers claim the reverse is true — that 90% of their traffic comes from Pinterest, and the other 10% comes from Google, if that.
So why is it different for me?
Well, after putting tons of initial Pinterest effort into this blog vs. another lifestyle-type blog I mostly use for testing, I've come to conclude that the type of content you create, as well as the topics of that content REALLY matters for both Pinterest and Google!
Is it possible for the same blog to be successful on both Pinterest and Google? Of course. And that's why I still aim to keep my Pinterest efforts going and ramp them up more in the future. But I'm seeing how much more naturally Google eats up my content on this blog, as opposed to the lifestyle blog which naturally does much better on Pinterest with much less effort.
What Kind of Content Does Better on Google vs. Pinterest?
I learned the hard way that certain kind of topics and styles of content naturally do well on either Pinterest or Google, or NOT naturally do well on one or other other, or both…
That's not to say that any niche can't do well on either platform if you put in enough effort, and hey — if your blog fits into both categories, I think you can definitely do really well on both! I also think with both Google and Pinterest, it works best if your overall “niche” is more broad, even if you write about more narrow topics within that niche.
If the niche of your entire blog isn't broad enough, you will likely run out of topics to talk about that can actually get you traffic from either source. For instance, I consider Biztechprenista to be pretty niched down (DIY blogging tech + design), and yet within this niche there is a TON of stuff I could talk about! (I have about 100 partially written blog posts in my drafts because I can't keep up with the ideas fast enough…)
All of that said, I spent a lot of time being discouraged that my traction on Pinterest wasn't in the range of millions of viewers within 2 months like I see SO many bloggers claim.
And compared to my Google traffic, this blog requires more effort to get MUCH less traffic from Pinterest. And while I do still think it's important and valuable to continue promote on Pinterest, I think it's important that other new bloggers have a more realistic picture of what to expect from Pinterest and Google.
So here's my personal theory about which kind of content is EASIER to optimize and do well with either Google or Pinterest.
If you tend to (or are willing to) do some research to find low competition topics that are begging better results and create long-form, truly helpful posts (approximately 1500-3000 words each!), you can rank and get passive long-term traffic from Google in just about any niche — assuming that niche makes sense for this kind of topic. Do people ask open-ended questions about this niche that you could answer with meaty posts?
One thing to be aware of with Google, in particular, is that if you're trying to write in a niche that really requires an expert in the field to give proper advice such as medical health, you're not likely to rank unless you are actually an expert with credentials.
This makes sense, and is Google's way of trying to present the most qualified and accurate answers to potentially life-altering questions, like “how do I know if I'm having a heart attack?” If you needed to know this question urgently, you'd want to know the top answers are from actual medical professionals, right?
With Pinterest, it doesn't seem to matter if there's already a ton of competition around a topic, as long as that topic is popular on Pinterest! In fact, the more popular a topic is on Pinterest, the more likely you are to succeed, even if there's a lot of competition.
If a ton of people are searching for a topic you blog about, you'll probably get some decent traffic, assuming you are optimizing for Pinterest SEO (after all, it's a search engine too!). This is especially true if it's something that can be “collected,” like recipes, DIY projects, home decor inspiration, etc. And frankly, the content doesn't even have to be that good (shh…) as long as you can create attractive and attention-grabbing pin images.
On the other hand, if you're trying to push really niche, “boring” one-and-done topics like I often do on this blog (lol), you might have trouble gaining a lot of traction on Pinterest, no matter how amazing your content or images are.
IMPORTANT: How Fast Can You Get Traffic from Google vs. Pinterest?
Before you dive deep into optimizing for either traffic source, it's critical to understand how long it actually takes to get that traffic!
Other than thinking I had to do backlink outreach to succeed with Google, the next biggest reason I overlooked Google SEO for so long was that I didn't understand this how long it actually takes to rank, or that a newer blog could even rank at all!
I think it's a common (and unfortunate) misunderstanding that a new and un-established blog CAN'T rank on Google.
In reality, it's not that a new blog can't rank on Google, it's that Google takes a long time to rank everyone — generally 6-10 months to give a final ranking!
Google is a Long Game!
Google is a long-game, which is why it's so important to optimize content for Google as soon as possible! A new blog that has optimized its content from the beginning may see little to no traffic for months, and then start seeing an exponential uptake starting around 6-10 months in! But a new blog that hasn't optimized for Google won't ever see significant Google traffic.
And a blogger that doesn't understand that Google is a long-game can easily become discouraged.
On the other hand, Pinterest is great for a quicker burst of traffic, especially if you utilize Tailwind Tribes to collaborate and get more initial shares on your pins. But ultimately, traffic from those pins tends to fall quickly, and you'll need to keep creating new pins to maintain traffic to various posts.
With this blog, I was initially most excited about Pinterest because I could get those quick wins. But over time, after applying some (not even all!) of the advice given in Project 24, my Pinterest traffic has risen VERY slowly, while my Google traffic has quietly passed it by a mile!
That said, I do believe that even small bursts of Pinterest shares and traffic have been helpful in getting my posts ranked in Google — both text titles and images!
Google likes to see social activity around your content, and I imagine the reverse might be true for Pinterest. After all, they are both search engines, even though they seem to prioritize different types of content and topics. They seem to compliment each other, which is largely why I still aim to optimize for Pinterest too, and use Tribes to help promote new posts.
Is it Easier to Optimize for Google or Pinterest SEO?
Honestly, this one depends.
Based on your niche and type of content you create (as mentioned above), as well as your affinity towards writing vs. creating pretty graphics, you might find on or the other a lot more stressful and time-consuming.
Also, with Google, the bulk of your SEO optimization happens within your post content. With Pinterest, it happens within your pins.
So with Google, you'll want to make sure you're choosing the right topics first, but then you'll want to also create long, largely text-based content with search terms sprinkled in.
With Pinterest, it's also helpful to have the post itself optimized in the way, but it's much more important that you have a great graphic, and that you include search terms within the pin title and description, and also on the graphic itself, if possible.
My Experience So Far With the Course
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Project 24 by the guys at Income School is so much more than just a simple Google SEO course.
It is a complete blogging course and then some.
Yes, it costs several hundred dollars. But I can honestly say that compared to other courses I paid MORE for (and am not writing review posts about), Project 24 offers so much more than a few hundred dollars worth of content.
It might just be the ONLY course I can think of that doesn't feel like any important steps are left out, and if anything they go above and beyond to offer truly helpful, step-by-step tutorials and strategies that actually feel attainable.
A Quick Note about the Course Community
Honestly, I've never participated in the course community forum, so I can't personally say much about it other than it is VERY active and seems super supportive, and the course creators Jim and Ricky actively answer questions. So if you get stuck or just feel the need for some human interaction on your content creation journey, this would be a great place to ask questions and get feedback or encouragement!
Project 24 Conclusion + My Results
It's actually pretty amazing how many popular SEO myths and roadblocks Project 24 busted through for me, which not only gave me confidence that I could actually give this Google SEO thing a try and maybe even succeed — but it's actually working!
The course has really helped me FOCUS my limited time and energy on things that are actually worth it, and now that I've seen that elusive exponential upward curve in traffic actually happening with this blog, it's motivated me to push forward and start creating more content faster, because I know I've hit on something good!
I could literally just drop all of the stuff that was scaring me off from what I THOUGHT was required to succeed with Google SEO and focus on just creating good content for things I'm confident Google actually wants and needs.
If I'm honest, I haven't implemented even half of what they teach yet, and some things I might skip altogether anyway. I definitely haven't created content on their recommended super-speed schedule (but I'm hoping to pick up the pace now that I see how it works!), and I still create half of my posts simply because I want to share something in the moment and have no idea how I should optimize it for SEO.
But for the posts that I HAVE intentionally optimized using Project 24 methods to the best of my ability? I can tell you that on average they've done SIGNIFICANTLY better and rank faster and higher than those that I haven't optimized and/or didn't research and analyze first.
Those are the posts that have me motivated and excited to focus on Google more than ever because I'm seeing that it really can and IS working for me, even without backlink outreach and paid keyword tools, and with MINIMAL ongoing maintenance.
In a nutshell, I've taken more courses than I care to admit, and there's a reason I haven't reviewed most of them and never will.
Most of them either just didn't work for me, or didn't give me confidence that I could realistically put their methods into practice. And so to me, it's not worth the time to write a “bad” or “ok” review for something that may costs hundreds of dollars. I'd rather focus on telling you about the rare resource that has truly been worth the money for me.
Project 24 is one of the few courses that has given me tangible results that I know I can keep repeating, and that I still regularly check because they are always adding updates and entire new mini-courses inside the member's area!
There's honestly a lot more I could cover about Project 24, but I think I've gushed enough 😉 And I think I've covered all of the most important things that helped me make the decision to check it out. So I hope you've found this review helpful!
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