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12 Must-Have Resources for Getting Started With SEO

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A guest post by Charles Sipe of Criminal Justice Degree Schools.

The topic of search engine optimization (SEO) can be intimidating for the non-initiated---and for good reason.

Google considers over 200 signals in its algorithm to determine rankings. And with technical-sounding phrases like canonicalization and robots.txt, beginners may think that SEO is rocket science.

However, adhering to some basic concepts can help your site gain significant traffic from search engines while leapfrogging your competitors in the rankings. The 80/20 rule definitely applies to SEO knowledge. A small amount of key information, if applied to a website, can lead to huge gains in organic traffic.

Whether you are a beginner looking for a place to start learning about SEO, an SEO manager who needs to train a new employee on SEO, or an SEO consultant who wants to point clients to places to learn more about SEO, you should check out this list of some of the best SEO educational resources.

1. The Beginner's Guide to SEO by SEOMoz

When professional SEOs are asked where to go to learn more about SEO, one of the most common recommendations is the SEO Beginner's Guide by SEOMoz. Written in straightforward language, the guide focuses concisely on what you need to know to be dangerous. And it provides a strong foundation from which you can expand your understanding of this subject. It also has some cool infographics and diagrams. The guide can be downloaded as a PDF and shared.

2. Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by Google

Many people don't realize that Google encourages good SEO practice because it makes online content easier for Google to scan and sort into the best possible search results for users.

The Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn the basics of SEO, straight from the company who controls the top-secret search algorithms.

3. 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic by Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin put together this list of his greatest tips for building traffic. Many tips are based on proven SEO tactics, such as writing guest posts and conducting keyword research.

4. The Professional Guide to Link Building by Eric Enge

This excellent guide provides a good overview of the essential fundamentals of link-building, including how to estimate the value of a given link and ways to attract links to your site.

5. Fat-Free Guide by Ian Lurie

This is a really helpful and easy-to-understand guide to SEO without the fluff by Ian Lurie, who is an SEO legend and author of the popular Conversation Marketing blog. I used to pay about $8 dollars a month to have access to this content before Ian generously made it free for popular consumption.

6. Search Engine Optimization Getting Started by Jill Whalen [video course] offers hundreds of great technology courses in an all-you-can-eat format for just $25 per month, which is remarkable when you consider the same material is taught less effectively at many colleges for thousands of dollars. The course on SEO is titled "Search Engine Optimization Getting Started" and taught by Jill Whalen, the founder and CEO of High Rankings. The course is 2 hours and 20 minutes, and it is broken into short segments.

7. Search Marketing School at MarketingProfs University [training course]

A provider offering professional SEO training instruction is right here at MarketingProfs, with MarketingProfs University's Search Marketing School. For $595 (or $297 for MarketingProfs PRO members), you can access the 13 classes in the Search Marketing course On Demand---so you can watch them from anywhere at any time. The instructors are industry experts, such as Maile Ohye from Google and Lee Odden from Top Rank. Students also receive some free goodies, such as the book The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing by Heather Lutze (a $22.95 value). Editor's Note: See other marketing training courses at MarketingProfs University here.

8. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization [book]

This is probably the best book available on SEO and is a collaboration by Rand Fishkin, Eric Enge, Stephen Spencer, and Jessie Stricchiola. Written in a textbook format, The Art of SEO is about the size of a textbook. The content is very low on fluff and focuses on what you need to know about SEO to be successful. The one drawback is that it is over a year old, so some information is dated, due to the lightning-fast speed of change in the search field.

9. Whiteboard Friday [videos]

The Whiteboard Friday videos by SEOMoz are the best free SEO online videos. Hundreds of these short videos provide actionable tips and useful SEO knowledge to viewers in a lecture format. Rand Fishkin is typically the star of these videos, with guest hosts occasionally taking the reins to share SEO wisdom and helpful recommendations.

10. SEO Book

SEO Book has a paid membership of $300 per month, which grants members access to more than 100 SEO training modules, training videos, a premium monthly newsletter with updates of the latest changes in SEO, and a private SEO forum to get help from search experts. Founder Aaron Wall is one of the most well-known and respected people in the SEO field.

11. Market Motive Courses

Market Motive offers online courses on SEO taught by well-known search experts like Todd Malicoat and Avinash Kaushik. A self-paced plan costs $299 per month, while a coached course is $3,500.

12. SEO Blogs

Don't forget to regularly visit the top SEO blogs to keep up with the most recent changes in the SEO field, such as major changes to search algorithms, new penalties, or announcements from Google.

Many SEO blogs focus on advanced SEO but some great blogs for beginners include: The Daily SEO Blog, Conversation Marketing, The Marketing Spark, the Distilled SEO Blog, Small Business Search Marketing, Point Blank SEO, and the Seer Interactive Blog. Subscribe to these blogs and read them regularly to be more knowledgeable about SEO than most folks---just within a few months.

Have a recommendation to add? Please share it in the comments below.

Charles Sipe is the online marketing manager of Criminal Justice Degree Schools.

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Magnifier)

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  • by Henneke Tue May 29, 2012 via blog

    A comprehensive list. Thanks for putting it together, Charles.

    To successfully set up and implement an SEO strategy, it becomes increasingly important to understand how to develop content. I would, therefore, add the book "Content Rules" by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman.

    I can also highly recommend the book "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing" by Lee Odden.

  • by Alex Tue May 29, 2012 via blog

    It's a good list of resources for SEO beginners! Thanks. I'd just suggest that a beginner should first start with the guidelines from the search engines; and then move on to the stuff from SEO professionals.

  • by David Wed May 30, 2012 via blog

    A good list of resources, in fact I found something new, and I've been in the business for a couple of years now. So thanks for that.

    If we're talking about resources then surely a free SEOMoz account and the SEO Quake plugin should at least be thought about, if not added to the list?

  • by Danny Sullivan Wed May 30, 2012 via blog

    Search Engine Land has news about SEO each day, a dedicated overview "What Is SEO" page, a guide to SEO as well as the well-received "Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors" that breaks down some of those 200 signals you mention. Nice if we could get a mention or be a bonus resource here.

  • by Jason Diller Wed May 30, 2012 via blog

    Danny Dover's book is also a great read. He used to be Lead SEO at seomoz, now I think he works for At & T...i think. Anyway, his book is very well done!

  • by Bibiano Wenceslao Wed May 30, 2012 via blog

    Great post, sir! Unless everyone got here from, you should include it as well. :)

    I also made a list for myself on my blog, in case anyone else would like to check it out. They're basically bookmarked web finds I've had for a while.

  • by Ace SEO Consulting Sat Jun 2, 2012 via blog

    I agree Danny. I have been a subscriber of SEL for quite some time now and I do find it very valuable.

  • by Ace SEO Consulting Sat Jun 2, 2012 via blog

    Jason, the book by Danny Dover is "Search Engine Optimization Secrets". An excellent book for those who not only want to do SEO but, also want to provide that as a service.

  • by Shay Mon Jun 4, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for putting this list together. It is always helpful to find a concise list. Any input as to the best SEO plugins and extensions?

  • by Daniel Frank Wed Jun 6, 2012 via blog

    It's a great list of resources, I can particularly vouch for Point Blank SEO. It does seem a little odd though that you would use a marketing site to link to Criminal Justice Degree Schools? They don't seem particularly relevant to the topic at hand.

  • by Isaac Brake Thu Jun 28, 2012 via blog

    Great read. Great advice. SEO Moz is a GREAT resource for beginners to learn and continue to grow.

    Thanks for the Post.

  • by Andy Kuiper - Calgary SEO Analyst Tue Nov 13, 2012 via blog

    AWESOME list Charles! If one takes the time to scour the resources you have outlined, they will have earned an excellent grasp of white hat SEO. I might also add somewhere on a second, perhaps future list, Guy Kawasaki's excellent ebook about Google Plus which can be found on his site
    thanks Charles :-)
    Andy :-)

  • by Dan Carter Sat Dec 14, 2013 via blog

    Danny Dover’s book is also a great read. He used to be Lead SEO at seomoz, now I think he works for At & T…i think. Anyway, his book is very well done!

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