As an SEO professional by day job, I can absolutely appreciate how complex it can seen for beginners. But SEO is an effective way of driving leads or sales through your business or freelance consultancy website. And it really isn’t a big mystery or some secret dark art. It’s a combination of being able to to put yourself in the position of your prospective customers, a touch of creativity and the understanding of some theory. I really believe it can be learned by almost anyone.
Outsourcing to an expert isn’t an option for everyone so if you’re thinking about embarking on the DIY approach, there are lots of resources both on and offline that can help. Here are some of our favourites.
Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO
The obvious starting point is the incredibly comprehensive Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO. You can easily navigate through clearly labelled chapters, so if you’re not a total beginner, you can skip the bits you know.
The chapters available at the time of writing of writing are:
- SEO 101
- How Search Engines Work
- Keyword Research
- On Page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Link Building and Establishing Authority
- Measuring and Tracking SEO Success
- SEO Glossary
I’ve very comprehensive, but . easy reading at the same time. It’s always a port of call I recommend to those new to SEO or considering doing it themselves.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
The Google Webmaster Guidelines have been evolving for years and have been a go to resource for as long as I’ve been doing SEO.
You should expect a very “best practice” run through of the dos and don’ts from this guide. But do beware that there’s still plenty of evidence in search engine results of sites not engaging in best practice but still performing well.
Those two documents will give you a great beginner level insight into how SEO works, what best practice Google promotes and some of the key elements you’ll need to consider if you want to compete in search engines organically.
So read it – because it’s a great way to understand what Google wants from your website. But just bear in mind you will encounter sites engaging in practices “outlawed” here that are working fine for them.
Backlinko’s Definitive Guide to Keyword Research
I’ve got a LOT of time for Backlinko’s amazing SEO content. Brian Dean invests a ton of time and resource into creating incredibly thorough, up to date SEO guides based on experience, rather than simply on a best practice handbook. So whenever he releases something new, it’s always on my reading list and much of his content has been suggested reading for my team.
His Definitive Guide to Keyword Research for SEO is one of the best resources on his site.
Once you’ve got your head around the theory of SEO, it’s time to start practicing. And that typically starts with keyword research. This is definitely one to study before you embark upon your own keyword research project. Very practical, very real world based and absolutely one worth putting some time into reading.
Backlinko’s On Page SEO Guide
When you know what your keywords are, it’s time to map them to pages on your website and crack on with on site optimisation.
At the risk of sounding like a Backlinko groupie with the second inclusion in this list, Brian Dean’s guide is the winner again for me. In typical Backlinko fashion it is practical, easy to apply to your own website and very easy to digest.
The Ahrefs Beginner Link Building Guide
I don’t believe there’s any such think as a complete guide on link building (more on that below) because there are so many ever evolving ways to go about it. But this is a good introduction.
Get a base level understanding of the theory and then work on some existing tactics shared below and start coming up with your own creative ways to acquire links back to your website.
*A Note on Link Building TacticsResources*
A number of the following resources are geared around link building. I’m not convinced there’s really one single complete link building resource. There are so many different ways to build links that I find it better and more practical for me to share some methods I think can be effective and point you in the direction of resources covering those in more detail.
Guide to Image Link Building
This is an image link building guide of my own based on a tactic I use for clients ad my own personal websites in all sectors. It’s affordable (as long as you’ve got a smartphone with a halfway decent camera) and can work in any sector.
Matt Diggity’s White Hat Link Building Guide
Matt Diggity is a seriously smart link builder who has a realm of experience in different types of link building from the mega shady to the mega clean! This guide to blogger outreach led link building more on the clean side of things is really helpful.
Newsjacking for Link
This post about newsjacking for links on the Buzzstream blog is one you should read. It will help you understand how a basic understanding of news and a little creativity can yield link building results.
SEO Meetups, Conferences and Events
I’m a big believer in events and meetups as a solid way to learn. It’s not just about what you learn from speakers. In fact, as a conference speaker myself I’m only happy to concede that there’s as much value to be gained in learning terms from just talking to people in the same space as you. Sharing ideas, challenges and brainstorming with new faces has been one of the best ways for me to develop as a marketing professional. And from day one, meeting other SEOs was one of my favourite ways of learning in this industry.
Here are some events and meetups you could try.
Suggest additional resources
There are new SEO resources going live constantly. Got one you think we should include? Get in touch!