Whether you’re a blogger or a small business owner, SEO can make a huge difference in your ability to attract new readers, visitors, and customers. Fortunately, there are thousands of resources out there to learn SEO. Sorting through which ones are good and which ones to avoid can be problematic, however, for new comers to SEO. Knowing where to start can also be mind boggling.
Normally, getting some bad advice might not be the end of the world. In SEO, however, it can mean the end of your website traffic from search and a really expensive fix. Bad advice in SEO can get your website on search engine’s bad list, remove your website from their databases, and result in significant traffic drops.
I’ve assembled a list of the best resources out there to learn SEO to help you sort through it all and get you started towards learning SEO. They’re ordered to help you ease into SEO by level of difficulty as much as possible.
5 Best Resources to Learn SEO
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Read SEO Books for Foundation
Some of these full titles are a mile long so I’ve abbreviated them for ease. While most SEO books are outdated as soon as they are published, all of these are a strong foundation to learn SEO theory and practice.
The Free Beginner’s Guide from Moz – The best place to start, this digital “book” is from the best known name in SEO education resources and tools. Moz is the place to start learning SEO and continue your SEO education. I started learning SEO by reading this guide and it’s a great place to start! (Plus, it’s free!)
Inbound Marketing and SEO by Rand Fishkin et al- Another book from Moz, this one assembles together some of the most pivotal blog posts shared on their website from a few years ago. The blog posts were updated for publication to change any specific bits of information that changed so it’s not the same as just reading the posts on the Mozblog. It covers a wide variety of information about key areas for SEO.
The Link Building Book by Paddy Moogan- One of the most important things for off-page SEO (SEO not on your website) is the number of high-quality links that send traffic and search engines back to your website. Paddy Moogan is one of the best known link builders out there and wrote this book about this one highly-valuable SEO-specific skill.
The Art of SEO by Stephen Spencer et al- While a few years old, this is considered the definitive book on SEO. Written by four of the top SEOs, this book covers the theory and theoretical foundations of SEO. Although SEO changes constantly, fully understanding the theory behind SEO is important to being able to weather changes in search engine updates and how the internet evolves as user interaction changes. I’d save this one for after you’ve dug into blogs and webinars.
Dig into SEO Blogs
MozBlog & YouMoz – Both from Moz, these two blogs are my go-to source for SEO content. The MozBlog is the best of the best and YouMoz is contributions from Moz members. They have a forum and large community of active SEOs so it’s a great place to learn but if digging in scares you (which it does many!), start off by reading the blogs. Moz is much more cautious than other blogs when it comes to announcing SEO news because they’re extremely researched back compared to many other blogs. On YouMoz, be careful to look at the up and down votes, because sometimes what’s shared isn’t great information.
SearchEngineLand – The best source of updated news about what’s going on in the SEO world, SearchEngineLand is a great place to start to learn about changes in SEO and advice on how to take advantage of these changes.
SearchEngineJournal – Another one of the big SEO blogs, this one covers a lot of the same stuff as SearchEngineLand but also shares content in unique ways, like webinars of website audits.
SearchEngineWatch – This blog tends to be less about news and more about advice for SEO and content. They have a great summation of what’s happened in Google’s part of the SEO world since 2011, if you’re looking for a good roundup of information.
The Google Blog – Most of the time, the Google blog has to do with fun stuff Google is doing or how people are searching for puppies during the Super Bowl. Trends are powerful things though!
SEO Webinars & Presentations
SEO 101 – This is my SEO course perfect for beginners that focuses on how to create SEO focused content and select keywords for your content.
Whiteboard Friday at Moz – Notice a trend here? Moz produces great content and every Friday, they give a little whiteboard lecture on SEO. Most of the time, it’s pretty foundational stuff when it comes to SEO theory and answers common questions. Take some time to go back through and watch old videos!
Moz Webinars – A great free resource that happens twice a month, webinars cover specific topics in SEO from experts in the field. If you sign up to participate in the Moz community (which you should) you also get access to all the old webinars!
Previous MozCons – MozCons are SEO conferences put on by, you guessed it, Moz. While it’s $1,500 for a ticket, you can grab all the videos to past MozCons online for under $500. Yes, it’s a lot of money. No, I haven’t had the cash to do this yet myself but know it’s worth it. If anyone wants to buy me 2014’s video bundle, I’d be your best friend forever!
Patents & Papers
If you’re really looking to learn SEO, reading Google’s patents and the papers by the founders of Google and Googlers can give you the ultimate SEO education.
Not for the faint of heart or for those prone to eye-glazing when it comes to statistics.
Run SEO Experiments
Expert SEOs all run at least a few websites of their own to test out SEO strategies. I’ve a couple of my own focusing on different areas of SEO like any good student! If you’re serious about learning SEO, start up a few throw away websites you don’t care about and start trying out techniques you think will work to help your websites rank well.
Analysis is key here so crunching data is part of the job. But if you really want to get to truly know SEO, this is the only way.
Woah, that’s a lot of SEO Resources
Unfortunately, getting into SEO can feel like a total catch-22 because most resources expect you to know some about SEO before digging in. You can feel totally lost even with the most of entry-level things.
Which is why I’m here to help! I’ve been studying SEO for a few years now, working my way through most of the resources listed here. I’m taking all I’ve learned and simplifying it down to the must-know bits and explaining it in normal human speak.