Way back in 2015, I compiled a list of useful resources for anyone starting out in SEO and digital marketing more generally. A lot has changed in the industry in three years – the ‘year of mobile’ has happened approximately three times, Google rolled out Penguin 4.0, Matt Cutts said cheerio to Google, Rand Fishkin said hello to SparkToro, and there have been more SERP shake-ups than you can shake a snake at (FOUR ads you say!?) – so here I am with an updated list, fresh for 2018.
1. The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, by Moz
It’s still here, and it’s as good as ever. Understanding how search engines work (understanding how Google works – who are we kidding?) is essential if you plan on conquering them/it. The problem with SEO is that everyone thinks they understand it, because the general concept is actually quite simple – getting web pages higher up search results pages – but in reality, there is a lot more to it than that, as this guide describes very well indeed. For those new to SEO, or just looking to refresh their knowledge, this guide is a must-read.
2. The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors: 2017 edition
Successful SEO doesn’t just happen, it relies on a complex combination of signals possessing varying levels of influence. Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors summarises these major factors and breaks them down into the following categories:
Understanding exactly what each of these factors means, how influential they are, and how Google uses these signals in its ranking algorithm can go a long way to ensuring long-term SEO success.
3. Google Analytics for Beginners
Knowing where to find useful data and how to interpret it is an essential skill for any aspiring digital marketer. Google Analytics, in particular, is a must-have tool for anyone with an interest in tracking the performance of web property, be it a webpage, fully blown website, or mobile app.
To the untrained eye, Google Analytics can be very intimidating, but by following Google’s own Google Analytics for Beginners course, it becomes significantly less scary. This free course is broken down into four units:
- Unit 1: Introducing Google Analytics
- Unit 2: The Google Analytics layout
- Unit 3: Basic Reporting
- Unit 4: Basic Campaign and Conversion Tracking
Follow these, and you’ll soon be on the road to analytics wizardry. To get started check out the video below, or visit https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6
4. Link building 101
Along with content, links are the single most important SEO ranking factor. However, obtaining and maintaining good links is easier said than done. Chapter 7 of Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO provides a good top-level overview of links and link building, but for a more in-depth analysis, I’d recommend checking out Link Building for SEO: The Definitive Guide by Backlinko.
5. W3Schools Tutorials
Understanding how websites are built goes a long way to understanding how SEO works, particularly when it comes to on-page factors such as headings, page titles, meta descriptions, keywords and so on. Plug and play content management systems like WordPress have made website creation and management easy, but at a basic level, they require next to no technical knowledge.
If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of how websites work – and what headings, page titles, meta descriptions etc. actually are and where they sit within a website’s code – learning the basics of HTML can be a huge help. Start with the HTML introduction page, then have a crack at some of the hands-on tutorials – they’re more fun than they sound, honest.