If I may give a second piece of advice to SEO beginners, that would be to read as much as you can. Google Webmaster Central Blog and Search Engine Land are among my personal favorite sources to keep up to date.
#2 Site performance is almost everything
It’s neither recent nor surprising, yet true to be confirmed and reaffirmed on a regular basis: site performance is almost everything and even the best-optimized website will fail in a search unless the crawl budget is managed well.
On the first part, all that needs to be said is that all other factors are roughly equal Google always favours the faster website. Site performance is to be considered a business-critical top priority.
It also has a huge impact on crawl budget allocation and thereby on how much of the website can be crawled and how frequently. Which in turn is essential for success in Google Search and for conversion.
That ties in nicely into your first question, too. SEO beginners are well-advised to learn from site performance and technical SEO sessions delivered by expert speakers at international events.
#1 Don’t believe all the SEO tips you read
My main piece of advice would be to critique everything. If you read an article of a blog post explaining the advantages of X over Y, actively seek out the counter-argument for Y over X – regardless of who authored the piece and where it was published.
Whilst there is best practice, SEO is about the application of knowledge and expertise, and this is where most black hat/quick win techniques fall down as they can’t often be scaled to larger clients/larger clients won’t benefit from those techniques.
Just because something works for client A, it won’t necessarily work with client B or C, and this is where the application of knowledge, and knowing as many sides to an argument gives you the ability to be flexible and control discussions with various stakeholders. This makes you scalable and adaptable to multiple scenarios and challenges.
By being critical of everything, you can benefit your client(s) by learning how to apply SEO techniques to their business needs and tech stack and bring benefit in the long run and build a long-term relationship with the client.
#2 The importance of SEO business case
Explaining the business case of SEO, in my opinion, has become more prominent once again in recent months, especially when speaking to large and enterprise-level businesses.
There’s been a shift in the market over the past 12 months with more organizations taking SEO roles in-house, and the relationship with traditional full-service agencies changing.
The importance of being able to communicate the importance of SEO to a lot of non-technical stakeholders and being effectively able to show the added value of having an expert in the room is going to continue to be a trend in 2019 as the world faces a number of external uncertainties (US administration, Brexit, unrest in the EU), decision making processes on where to spend budget will be affected.
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