These days, it seems like most marketing jobs require at least a basic knowledge of search engine optimization. Even writers need to know about it -- gone are the days, it seems, of simply composing with words. We have to know how to rank, build links, and yield traffic.
But many of us aren't sure where to begin. And that, says HubSpot Senior Acquisition Manager Matt Barby, is due to the deluge of information available on SEO.
"The problem is that most of it is either ill-informed or just factually incorrect," he explains. Luckily, because Barby's job has involved working with SEO and its experts over the past few years, he's built a go-to arsenal of resources on the topic -- which we're eager to share.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the amount of sites for learning SEO, fear not --- we've put together a list of some of the most comprehensive resources out there. Check them out below.SEO can be confusing. Listen as HubSpot's own Matt Barby and Victor Pan clear things up:
How to Learn SEO: 10 of the Best Resources to Bookmark
Since 2004, Moz has served as what it calls "a vibrant online marketing community." In addition to making marketing analytics software, Moz offers several resources to marketers within the realm of SEO, including its “Beginner’s Guide to SEO.”
Broken down into 10 chapters, the guide really gets to the basics -- what is search engine optimization, and why marketers need to use it. From there, the chapters gradually become more advanced, covering topics like what can impact a search ranking, and how SEO efforts can be tracked.
We particularly like this guide's layout -- with helpful graphics strategically placed throughout the text, it's makes a detail-rich topic more readable. And, throughout each chapter, Moz sprinkles in different experiments that readers can try along the way to put each lesson into practice.
Since Google is currently holds the #1 Alexa rank, it's no surprise that the reigning search engine of choice has its own guide to SEO.
Google generally has several resources on optimizing web content for search -- usually catered to its own platform. But in addition to helpful articles like "Steps to a Google-friendly site" and "Do you need an SEO?", the search engine also has its own downloadable Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.
It's worth setting aside some time to read through this guide. Though comprehensive, it's also exhaustive -- and that's a good thing, if you're really serious about mastering SEO. It also goes into best practices for optimizing your web presence for different formats, like mobile, and how to promote your site in a way that search engines recognize as rankable.
And if you want even more resources, check out the "Learn" section of Google Webmasters -- it links to a ton of helpful information about creating search-friendly experiences online.
Source: Search Engine Land
You might remember the periodic table of elements from high school science classes -- it's a chart that organizes every chemical element according to its atomic number. Since its inception, similar periodic tables have been modeled to break down a number of complex topics, including SEO.
That's the work of online search marketing publication Search Engine Land. And with such a name, it makes sense that it would have its very own “Guide to SEO.”
Similar to the Moz guide, Seach Engine Land breaks down its strategic guidance in chapters, making sure to cover the different rules and spam-like behavior that should be avoided to prevent ranking penalties.
Then, there's the aforementioned "Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors," which takes the most fundamental concepts from the guide and organizes them into a descriptive infographic. And we love infographics -- they communicate complex information in a way that's concise and digestible, which is helpful when tackling a new topic.
Distilled, an online marketing agency, launched its DistilledU training platform in 2012 to help people "master the art of search marketing."
Unlike some of the other resources listed here, DistilledU's full SEO training program does come at a price -- $40 per month, or $396 for a year. However, if you create a free demo account, you can receive three complementary "demo modules."
But budgets permitting, it might be worth looking into a paid membership. We like that the lessons are tiered -- there's SEO 101, which Distilled says has received positive feedback from both beginners and intermediate users, as well as Further SEO, which provides valuable content for those at advanced or expert levels. So whether you're just starting out or trying to enhance an existing skillset, DistilledU has something to offer.
Here at HubSpot, we make stuff for marketers. And since SEO is a pretty in-demand skills for marketers these days, it makes sense for us to provide the resources that will help you succeed at that skill.
Plus, you may have noticed that we've covered SEO a few times in our Marketing Blog. Here are a few of our favorite posts on the topic:
- On-Page SEO 101: Tips for Keyword Optimizing the Most Critical Parts of Your Website
- Why You Won't Recognize SEO in Five Years
- How Mobile, Voice & Social Are Changing SEO [Infographic]
When you first visit the ViperChill blog, you might notice an area of small, pale text at the top: "New? Start Here." There, you'll read the story of how entrepreneur and SEO expert Glen Allsopp created ViperChill, "the place I share everything I've learned in order to help other people make a living online."
While ViperChill doesn't have a point-by-point guide like some of the others on this list, the blog has a strikingly interesting and informative collection of resources on all things SEO. "It's a no-frills site, but has tons of value," says Barby. "If you’re looking to skill up in actually getting sites to rank, then Allsopp’s content is a must read."
That content is diverse, too -- from case studies to unique how-to articles, Viper likely has tips and hacks for any stage of learning SEO, from beginners to people who are getting to the more difficult stages of their strategy.
7) SEO auv
One of the most important aspects of SEO are the keywords you select. In fact, keywords make up such a crucial part of the overall strategy, we would suggest nailing down the basics before trying to master this step.
Once you do, SEO auv has a great guide that you can consult for your keyword strategy -- "How To Do Keyword Research For SEO." One thing we love about it? Right off the bat, the author addresses the frequently changing landscape of SEO, and the tools that marketers use for it.
The article addresses some of the most recent developments within SEO technology, and how a keyword strategy should reflect that. It guides the reader with steps on how to perform the right kind of research that should result in the most optimal keywords -- though those steps are lengthy, but valuable, as the guide goes into quite a bit of detail.
8) Ahrefs Blog
Ahrefs, a big data marketing platform, has a big focus on backlinks -- the links from one page to another one, which is also a way of describing inbound links.
The Ahrefs blog is rich in SEO resources, but there's one in particular that catches our eyes, which is “A Data Driven Guide To Anchor Text (And Its Impact On SEO)." As the title suggests, this entry does a deep dive into anchor text -- the "visible, clickable words used to link one web page to another," like the ones we used to link to the Ahref blog just now.
Essentially, the more external sites use specific anchor text to link to your site, the more search engines think your site should rank for the words within that text.
Getting into the importance of anchor text in SEO is a bit more advanced, but still important. And once you have the basics down, this Ahref blog post will serve as a valuable resource in using anchor text to improve your rank.
We would be remiss not to mention that Barby, one of HubSpot's resident SEO experts, also compiled his own search engine optimization guide.
In “19 Actionable SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic," Barby creates an interactive quick jump menu that allows users to navigate any area of SEO they wish to explore, from product snippets to influencer platforms.
Again, it might be best to brush up on basic search marketing knowledge before tackling this resource. But one thing we like about Barby's guide is that it works to dispel some of the inaccurate -- and sometimes, harmful -- information out there about SEO. What's more, there's an option to simply view the article's summary when you're short on time, and revisit the entire text when you're really ready to dive into these highly relevant tips.
Sometimes, you just need to get down to the very basics. That's why we love Cranberry Radio's SEO 101 -- a series of podcasts that dive into search engine optimization from the bottom-up.
There's an interesting collection of topics here, from keyword planning to the range of Google's algorithmic updates that we've seen over the years. SEO 101 walks step-by-step through what each of these developments and sub-categories of SEO mean for marketers, along with some valuable do's and don'ts.
Time to Optimize
The thing is, the way SEO works changes. A lot. And when you don't have a team or colleague completely dedicated to search marketing, the changing technology and platforms can be so overwhelming that it's tempting to not even bother getting started.
But don't fall victim to that. As we've covered, SEO is an imperative part of any marketing strategy, and it's possible to tackle it without a ton of help.
"I have a very small hit list of blogs that I regularly trust for information around SEO," says Barby. And we, too, suggest bookmarking these sites for future reference. Not only will they assist with your current SEO efforts, but they're also the most likely resources to keep you posted on the latest developments.
Where did you turn to learn about SEO? Let us know in the comments.