One thing about SEO that’s really exciting but also challenging is how quickly things change. When I took three months off for maternity leave in 2014, I returned to Seer to learn that Google launched the Pigeon update to improve local search results. Google had begun giving preference to https sites and Google Authorship was sunsetted. I felt like I’d been gone for a year!
Because we’re in such a mercurial industry, it’s important to stay on top of trends and keep your SEO skills and knowledge up to date. Keeping up with the SEO industry can also help to create new work opportunities in the future, make a return to work smoother, and increase your confidence and motivation.
So if you’re hoping to learn SEO or level up to keep your skills fresh, Seer has compiled this list of free or cheap SEO resources.
- For SEO newbies
- Technical SEO
- Data & Automation
- Get Your Google Certifications
- Stay Connected
- Leverage E-Learning Platforms
- Virtual Career Consulting
SEO Fundamentals for Newbies
If you’re a recent grad or just finished up an internship and want to continue building a strong foundation, here are some things you can do:
Read and learn from SEO 101 guides
Several SEO authorities have put out comprehensive SEO 101 guides that cover everything from how search engines work to keyword research to technical SEO to measurement and more.
Here are some of our favorites:
- The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz
- SEO for Beginners: An Introduction to SEO Basics from Search Engine Journal
- Guide to SEO from Search Engine Land
Help a friend, family member, or non-profit with their website
Do you know anyone who runs a small online business, or even a blog, that could use some SEO help? Is there a non-profit organization with a cause you support that could use your help with organic performance? Offer to help them optimize their site for free.
Do some keyword research and optimize their title tags, meta descriptions, and on-page content. Identify content gaps and suggest new pages, if necessary.
If they’re a local business, make sure that their Google My Business listings are accurate and optimized. There’s a lot that you can do without having advanced technical SEO skills.
Learn Technical SEO
Here’s what you can do to level up your technical SEO skills. Please note that you’ll need a website to “practice” on for most of these, so if you don’t have a friend or family member who’s willing to be your guinea pig, you can start your own!
Learn Google Search Console
Search Console is a service from Google that helps SEOs and site owners monitor and troubleshoot a website’s appearance in search results. It’s free to use, easy to set up, and one of the most important tools you can have in your technical SEO arsenal.
Want to learn more about how to use Search Console? Seer’s got a guide for that!
Learn Screaming Frog
Price: Free for limited version
Screaming Frog is a site crawler that allows you to analyze and audit the technical aspect of a website’s URLs. A full Screaming Frog license costs £149.00 per year, but with the free version, you can crawl up to 500 URLs at a time and use the tool’s basic features, which can help you build a strong technical SEO foundation.
Price: Free 2-week trial
DeepCrawl is another site crawler that will help you learn all about the ins and outs of a site. While the tool isn’t free, you can get a two-week free trial to check out all of the tool’s capabilities. They also have a killer Technical SEO Resource Library.
Learn HTML & CSS
Price: Free to $19/mo
While web dev may not always be part of an SEO’s daily duties, having a solid background in HTML and CSS can help you understand how websites work - a crucial part of technical SEO fundamentals.
If you’re still itching to learn more, check out Seer’s favorite list of technical SEO resources.
Data and Automation Resources
The future of search is in big data, so now’s the time to build a solid foundation so that you can stop guessing and start using data as a basis for everything you do.
Learn Power BI
Price: Free to $10/mo
If you’ve followed Seer over the past few years, you’ve probably heard of Power BI. It’s a powerful business analytics tool from Microsoft that allows marketers to merge and analyze large datasets and create interactive visualizations to inform strategy and reporting. Here at Seer, we don’t make a single decision, SEO or otherwise, without digging deep into the data. This tool helps us do just that.
Power BI is free to download and use but you can get advanced features for $9.99 a month.
While BI tools may seem daunting to a beginner, there are plenty of ways to learn. Microsoft has a robust resource center, but I recommend checking out Seer’s Guide to Power BI: Big Data for Digital Marketers and the following playlists on Seer’s YouTube channel:
- Power BI Basics for SEO & PPC Marketers
- Next Level Power BI Analysis for SEO & PPC Marketers
- Advanced Power BI for Digital Marketers
Are you a Mac user? Check out Tableau instead.
Get Started With Some Programming Languages
Price: Free to $19-25/mo
If you want to level up, you can learn some statistical analysis and data science programming languages. Python and R are a good start; knowledge of either language will help you manipulate data and automation as well as explore large datasets.
You can learn the basics of these languages, along with SQL and machine learning, with Codecademy’s data science track. Datacamp is another resource that the Seer team highly recommends. If their monthly fees are too much for you, there are plenty of free resources out there as well. Just give it a quick Google!
Get Your Google Certifications
Take this time to get your Google certifications - or re-take them if they’ve expired.
The GAIQ, or Google Analytics Individual Qualification, is Google’s official exam to test your knowledge and proficiency of Google Analytics. Before you take the test, go through their free Google Analytics for Beginners and Advanced Google Analytics units. Once you study up and go through the lessons, you can take the test here.
Once you pass, your certification is good for one year.
Google Ads Certifications
While an SEO may not be running search or display campaigns on a regular basis, understanding the fundamentals of Google Ads will help you be a more well-rounded marketer and identify cross-channel opportunities for growth and efficiency.
Google My Business Basics
If you’re looking to learn more about local SEO, take the Google My Business Basics courses and pass the assessment. This isn’t an official certification, but it will give you a strong GMB foundation, and Google will give you an Achievement badge to display on your profile.
Learn SEO by Staying Connected
Part of keeping up with an industry is following the people. Here are some ways to stay connected with your peers:
Join an online SEO community
Price: Free to Cheap
Join an online SEO or digital marketing community with an active Slack channel where you can learn from and network with industry professionals.
Some of our favorites include:
- Backlinks (free)
- BigSEO (free)
- CRO Growth Hacks (free)
- Measure (free)
- Online Geniuses (free)
- Women in TechSEO (free)
- Creative Tribes ($27)
Keep up with the industry
Since the industry moves so quickly, it’s important not just to educate yourself with the basics but to keep up with trends, algorithm updates, and more.
Attend a virtual conference or webinar
In-person events are on hold for the time being, but that doesn’t mean that we’re out of luck; conferences are starting to go virtual! Now you can learn and network from the comfort and safety of your home.
While details, schedules, and logistics change day to day, you can bookmark these lists of conferences and check them regularly to see which ones have gone online:
- SEMrush: The Ultimate List of Tech and Marketing Conferences & Events in 2020
- MarketingTerms: Virtual Digital Marketing Conferences
- Kristi Hines: Digital Marketing Conferences 2020
If you prefer webinars, here are some repositories of recorded and upcoming webinars to help you level up your SEO skills.
- SEMrush Webinars
- Brightedge Webinars
- Criteo Digital Marketing Webinars
- Content Marketing Institute Webinars
Leverage E-Learning Platforms
Sign up for online classes
Price: free to varies
Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to take online classes for free or cheap, and the number of options are astounding. You can take a class in anything from SEO basics to content strategy, data science to machine learning, digital advertising to business strategy and more.
Browse these popular e-learning platforms to see what they offer:
Seer’s 1:1 Virtual Career Consulting
Through June 30th of this year, Seer’s own People Team will be offering free Virtual Career Counseling. These sessions will provide actionable, personalized recommendations for anyone seeking a career in search or digital marketing.
Any Other Suggestions?
What are you doing to stay motivated, inspired, and up to date with the SEO industry? Share your suggestions in the comments section.
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