So you just landed your first SEO job? Congrats! (If you haven’t yet, maybe you can! Did you know we’re hiring?)
I’m sure you’re swimming in a sea of new faces, new processes, trainings, learning the jargon, tools, and more. It can be a lot to take in for anyone - especially if this is your first experience working as an SEO.
Truthfully, it doesn’t help that this is an industry built on acronyms, either - it can be a bit confusing. Even in the most structured training programs you’ll still find a fair amount of time on your hands to put to use, as it typically it takes at least two weeks (if not 4x longer) of training before you really get started in your new role. Even then, you may not have a true grasp on what it is that you’re doing. While you may have the extra time to dedicate to your new role, you may not know exactly where to start.
Fear not. We’ve got you covered. Every SEO may have a different story of how they found the industry, but we’ve all read the same things to hone our knowledge and build a foundation to get us going.
Read on to get started diving into our round-up of the best search engine optimization resources for a newbie!
While we recommend all of the resources in this post, if you're looking for something specific, check out the table of contents below:
- SEO 102: What is SEO? The History, the Basics, & the Lingo
- SEO 210: Technical SEO, Site Speed, How to Crawl
- SEO Blogs to Follow
- SEOs to Follow on Twitter
How to Learn SEO (a.k.a how to put your free time to use)
Having once been new to the industry myself, I still remember how hard it was to really dig in and learn about search engine optimization. There’s so many different starting points, and honestly, there’s a lot to unpack in SEO.
Fortunately, some very smart folks have put in the leg work to get you up to speed. In this post you’ll find some of the best starting resources to help you get your feet under you. It’s highly recommended that you start with the intro guides (yep, all of ‘em -- really make sure you’ve got a grasp on the basics) before you start moving on, but we’ve also included some additional resources and people for you to pay attention to help you keep track of the industry from day to day.
SEO 101: Key Guides to Get You Started
One of the most difficult aspects of getting started isn’t just about finding trusted resources to read while learning SEO. It’s knowing where to start, and how to learn linearly so that things make sense as they’re brought up. You’re not going to do yourself any favors by jumping around, so you’ll want to tackle the following resources one at a time and make sure you’ve read all the way through before moving on. It may get a bit repetitive to see the same thing talked about in a handful of ways, but each time you read it I promise it’ll sink in a bit more.
Without further ado, below you will find our favorite resources for getting started in Search Engine Optimization.
I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to any one in the industry that didn’t get their start by first reading through this. This mammoth of a guide explains all aspects of SEO in an easy to follow way, and was recently updated to reflect changes within the industry. There’s a reason we all start here.
Distilled is one of the most respected agencies in the industry, and this program has helped bring not just their team up to snuff, but many other practitioners. With this program you get 3 free modules to learn from before paying a monthly subscription. If you grind, we expect that you can finish this full course within a month.
Among all the programs out there, Distilled’s approach is unique by providing hands-on experience in guided trainings that should help to solidify the concepts.
SEJ is one of the more trusted industry news sites out there, and in this partnership with DeepCrawl, the Hoth, and SEO PowerSuite, they’ve released a well structured and easy to read guide to the core aspects of SEO.
SEL is another one of the more trusted new sources in SEO, and one to pay attention to throughout the week for the latest news. This in depth resource walks-through the key aspects of SEO, and how they relate to actually ranking by tying all concepts introduced back to the Periodic Table of SEO Factors - which is one of the more unique approaches to explaining search.
There hasn’t been a day since I first started in SEO that I didn’t spend at least an hour in Screaming Frog. This one tool is absolutely critical in every aspect of how I work. I can’t imagine working in SEO without it.
This guide is also one of the best resources on the internet in terms of explaining how to accomplish a task in Screaming Frog.
There is a long list of elements of SEO that are associated with Technical SEO. It’s a lot to take in, and therefore should be approached once you’ve got the basics of search nailed down. The SEMRush Guide is detailed and provides both a history and modern framework to think about Technical SEO.
This downloadable eBook, created by Ian Laurie of Portent, is a fantastic resource to get you up to speed. While the concepts may be a bit tough to follow initially, this guide helps fully flesh out and explain issues, their impact, and steps to resolve them.
Can you tell I’m a fan of Portent’s resources? This guide to page speed will help break things down simply enough for even the most novice of SEOs. Written for SEOs to be able to speak to developers about Page Speed, this resource takes some complicated topics and breaks them down into neat, digestible sections.
I actually suggest reading anything you can by Alexis Sanders, but this seems like a great starting point. This piece on the Moz Blog breaks down the crawl/render/index/rank model very simply and helps to highlight some of the key actions SEOs can take to actually impact a site. Moreover, it also explains the why.
Okay, technically Varvy is a tool that allows for a solid quick-check for basic SEO issues. It’s also an absolute goldmine of informational about technical SEO and page speed, all presented in an easy-to-understand format.
I’m also a big fan of the visuals, which I’ve found to be very effective in explaining technical aspects of SEO.
More SEO Resources
Now that you’ve got a framework of understanding for SEO, it means you’re ready keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. SEO and SEM move quickly so it’s helpful to know what happens each day.
It’s also very easy to get bogged down with the news in such a rapidly changing industry full of such smart humans, so it’s recommended to build some time into your routine to check through the news for the latest updates. So download a RSS Reader (I use Feedly) and subscribe to the following SEO blogs:
One unique aspect about working in SEO is that when success is replicable, a company will usually write about it. Sometimes it’s a nice high-level overview of what we did and what happened, but more frequently than not, companies are providing high-quality, in-depth, step-by-step resources.
Below you’ll find a list of companies, in no particular order, that this particular SEO analyst has followed for years.
- Authority Labs
- Blind Five Year Old
- Bright Local
- Conversion Rate Experts
- Conversion Sciences
- Cognitive SEO
- Go Fish Digital
- Higher Visibility
- Internet Marketing Ninjas
- Screaming Frog
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Journal
- Seer Interactive (duh)
- SEO by the Sea
- State of Digital
- Simo Ahava
- Sterling Sky
- The Moz Blog
*please keep in mind that this is just one SEO analysts opinion of businesses that put out high quality content. Please reach out if you know of any others to pay attention to!
Twitter has always been a hotbed for information and discussion. Between the weekly #SEOChats, easy access to some of the biggest thinkers in the field, and constant influx of news, it has become pretty vital to keep an eye on your feed just in case there’s some hot new John Mueller tip or huge in-depth resource from Bill Slawksi.
Below you’ll find a link to our ‘Seer Curated list of SEO Movers And Shakers to Follow’.
This list is pretty giant, but just some of the brains we’ve got here include:
- Wil Reynolds (DUH!): My grandboss - founder of Seer Interactive and renown conference speaker, advocate for doing the right work and focusing on real company shit.
- Rand Fishkin: Founder and former CEO of MOZ, current founder and CEO of SparkToro. When Rand publishes something you should pay attention. It’s typically data rich, and covers aspects of search that others aren’t even talking about.
- Alexis Sanders: Technical Lead for Merkle. Alexis is the brains behind technicalseo.expert and is an all-around killer SEO.
- Aleyda Solis: Aleyda is one of the most active international SEOs out there. Do you have a question about ranking in another country? Not only can she answer you, but she’s probably already written about it.
- Britney Mueller: Lead technical SEO for Moz, primarily responsible for re-tooling the Moz Guide to SEO, all-around SEO badass
- Christina Blake: As one of Seer’s PowerBi Wizard’s, Christina is helping lead the charge in combining PPC & SEO data to create robust, actionable, insights in easy to understand visuals. She’s no slouch of an author, either.
- Gary Ilyes: Google Webmaster Trends analyst and key source of information from Big G with a healthy dose of nihilistic sarcasm.
- John Mueller: Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google. Renown for hosting his Webmaster Hangouts where he literally helps hundreds (thousands? Millions?) of SEOs and webmasters with the problems they’ve seen online.
- Danny Sullivan (@SearchLiason): Danny is a former journalist and all-around reliable source of SEO news and updates. Currently, Danny works with Google to help to explore and explain issues that may arise in search.
- Dr. Pete Meyers: Moz’s very own Marketing Scientist. Dr. Pete is the brain behind the AlgoHistory & MozCast tools.
- Will Critchlow: Founder of Distilled, Will takes complicated topics and breaks them down simply. Will is a fountain of knowledge and actively shares his insights and those experienced by his team.
- Paul Shapiro: Paul Shapiro has his hands in a number of different technical SEO pies. He’s a mod for /r/TechSEO (The only remaining bastion of good SEO discussion on Reddit), he’s the head of SEO for Catalyst SEM, and a frequent speaker, championing new approaches to Technical SEO
- Joy Hawkins: Joy Hawkins is easily one of the most knowledgeable Local SEO’s on the face of the planet. Do you have a question about Google My Business? ‘Cause Joy has the answers.
- Bill Slawski: Bill Slawski’s speciality is in understanding exactly how search engines work by paying attention to the patents that Google obtains. Pay attention to Bill’s thoughts, and look out for his annual Hardest SEO Quiz You’ll Ever Take.
- Glenn Gabe: Founder of Gsquared Interactive, Glenn frequently hops into technical discussions on Twitter and shares his considerable insights without hesitation.
Go Forth and Prosper!
Now that you’ve been armed with resources, it’s time for you to check out some of our favorite SEO tools. You’ve probably already read about some of the most common ones, but our guide will help explain a handful of our favorite SEO tools from the SEO team at Seer.
Do you have any suggestions of resources or folks to follow? Let us know by leaving a comment below and be sure to sign up to our email list!