Whether you are a fresh-faced SEO newbie just starting to learn the ropes, or an SEO veteran who can recite the ins and outs of every Google update ever, it is safe to say that we can all agree on one thing: SEO is a complex subject.
Sure, the basics of SEO aren’t difficult to grasp. The issue lies in the fact that there is no exact formula for achieving that coveted number one spot.
Everything we know is based on the small amount of guidance provided by Google, a good dose of speculation, a healthy amount of testing and the general consensus from the SEO community.
With so much information about SEO available online, compounded by a fair amount of conflicting opinions, it can be difficult to know where to turn for the most accurate guidance.
In this post, we share our pick of the best free SEO resources. These resources have been chosen for their accuracy, reliability and ease of understanding.
The Big G
What better place to find out what Google wants than from… well, Google? It therefore makes sense to kick off our list with the Big G themselves, as they have a number of resources available for keen SEOs.
For anyone new to SEO, you may be wondering why on earth you would need to look elsewhere for learning resources, when Google is surely the most reliable source. The trouble is that Google doesn’t give that much away. Google’s SEO Starter Guide is a great place to begin, as is their help center on How Search Works.
More of a video person? You’re in luck, because there’s even a Google Webmaster YouTube channel.
Google may be head honcho in the search engine world, but it’s certainly not a lone wolf. It would be remiss of us not to also give a shout out to Bing’s webmaster guidelines for SEO and Yahoo’s website ranking help page. They are not quite as detailed as Google’s offering, but it is still worth familiarizing yourself with the approaches of each search engine, albeit very similar ones.
Although Google provides a lot of helpful information, it is not always particularly easy to digest. Written by the uber nerds at Google, the information does not often translate smoothly to the layman. This is where Moz excels.
Having been around for 13 years, Moz is the go-to resource for many SEO practitioners. It is run by SEO super guru Rand Fishkin, who has a knack for explaining things so as to not make you feel like an idiot. He also has a completely wacky but utterly endearing range of shirts.
As well as providing wonderfully useful and actionable information, it is presented in a way that is genuinely easy to understand. Start with the Beginner’s Guide to SEO for a solid grounding and then explore the plethora of other handy info.
A particular favourite of mine is the Whiteboard Fridays. In our Yellowball office, we take ten minutes every Friday afternoon to gather around and watch the latest Whiteboard Friday. Popcorn optional but encouraged.
If link-building is the absolute bane of your life, then Backlinko is for you. Run by link-building mastermind Brian Dean, he provides clear link-building strategies, advice and case studies to help you break through the inertia of building backlinks.
Utilizing a healthy combination of text and videos, the content is engaging and extremely useful. His suggestions are clever and make absolute sense but are not difficult to understand. You’ll come away wondering why on earth you didn’t think of it.
Okay so it’s not completely “free” in that you do have to provide an email address to unlock the content. But trust me, it’s so worth it.
A great all-round resource for SEOs and marketers alike, Quicksprout is run by Neil Patel – certified online marketing wizard. His most handy learning resource to date is The Advanced Guide to SEO. Formatted as an infographic, it looks good, it’s detailed and it’s highly useful. What’s not to love!
Neil Patel is also a big advocate of longer form content, often posting articles in the 5000+ word range, diving into a subject head first and emerging with actionable points. These in-depth pieces can be particularly useful if you are looking for more information on a specific aspect of SEO.
Search Engine Watch
Okay, so we may be a little biased here, but we couldn’t not mention our own free SEO resource. With a range of highly talented and in-the-know contributors (ahem), the articles cover a range of topics within the expansive SEO universe.
From addressing simple how-tos for beginners through to tackling the more complex issues that nobody wants to talk about but everyone wants to learn about, Search Engine Watch is a treasure trove of handy resources. You’re welcome!
Best SEO blogs
SEO is constantly changing and if you want to stay ahead of the game then you have to keep learning. This is why it is crucial to stay up to date on the latest updates and trends. Below we share our favorite blogs for staying tuned in to the strange inner workings of the SEO industry:
Google Webmaster Central Blog
Yellowball SEO Glossary
Search Engine Roundtable
There are loads more authoritative blogs on the topic of SEO and if we were to provide an exhaustive list then we’d be here all day. And so would you. Knowing you’re a busy person, the above blogs are a useful place to start and you’ll soon work out your own favorites for staying up to date.
Twitter accounts to follow
Sometimes it can be difficult to stay afloat of all the latest news and insights across all the various SEO blogs. So why not follow the best SEO practitioners on Twitter and absorb your daily SEO insight whilst mindlessly scrolling through your Twitter feed? Here are the ones to follow:
Rand Fishkin – Founder of Moz
Barry Schwatrz – Founder of Search Engine Roundtable
Aleyda Solis – International SEO Consultant
Danny Sullivan – Founding Editor of Search Engine Land & Marketing Land
Neil Patel – Co-Founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar & KISSmetrics
Jon Cooper – Expert Link Builder
Julie Joyce – Owner of Link Fish Media and Co-Founder of SEO Chicks
Matt Cutts – Former head of the Webspam team at Google
Practice makes perfect
You can read all the free SEO resources in the world but if you’re not putting what you’ve learnt into action then you’re not going anywhere. SEO is a fine art. Trying, testing and reiterating are all necessary in order to improve on your strategy and success rates.
You can’t master SEO overnight, but with a little resourcefulness and dedication, you’ll soon be taking your place among the SEO professionals. Practice makes perfect; there’s nothing better than learning from experience.