The beginners guide to the art of search optimization
It goes without saying that those that write/read books sing their praises and those that blog know that their way is best and forum hounds know that is the way. Each format has it’s evangelists.
You should consider exploring each of these avenues and more to truly get the most out of your path to understanding search engine optimization. Some methods are more appropriate for enthusiasts and others for those looking to become SEO professionals some day…. Obviously experience is the best teacher, but what other ways are there these days?
We all learn in our own way….
While there is no end to the SEO advice that permeates the web marketing world, it can often be very difficult to sort out exactly how one should research and where one should turn to learn about SEO. In a follow up to a post I made a year ago, I thought an updated look might be a good idea.
Now let us count the ways
One of the great things about books, real or eBook, is that you can not only take them with you and read on-the-go, but they are often easier to reference later should you be looking for a nugget to deal with a given situation.
The downside of SEO books, as with many technology books, is freshness.
The world of search engines is constantly changing and thus any related information must also be updated. Be sure to cross reference information found in books relating to search to ensure freshness and reliability of the information.
- Professional Link builder’s guide – SEOmoz ($29)
- SEO Fast Start – from Dan Theis (FREE)
- Small Business guide to Search Engine Marketing – by Jennifer Laycock ($79)
- the SEO Handbook – by yours truly ($10)
Considering the recent decline in SEO book publication one has to imagine the popularity of this form is on the decline. I myself prefer a good read in hard copy or portable digital form… but potentially in the minority on that one.
Once more, like books… the main consideration is how up to date the information is. Here are some guides that are great for those looking for great information online;
- Beginners guide to SEO – SEOmoz
- Local small business SEO basics – by Sugarrae
- Bloggers guide to SEO – by Aaron & Giovanna Wall
- 11 Experts on Link building – From Sugarrae
- SEO Theory guides – SEO Theory
- SEO guide to information architecture – Audette Media
- 5 Easy SEO tips for your website (video) – Search Marketing Gurus
- FireHorse guide to Google personalized search – Firehorse Trail
There are many more out there but these are some that are truly worthy for anyone getting around the waves of the search marketing ocean. If you know of others, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.
Unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of reviewing any of these services, but there are some fairly respected resources out there for those looking for a more structured system of learning. For me, this type of learning does well as there are generally instructors on hand to help guide the student.
- SEO Book Training – from Aaron Wall
- Link Ninjas – Jim Boykin (and others)
- Link Bait Coaching - Lyndon Antcliff
- SEOmoz Pro membership – SEOmoz
- Learn SEO Live – Garrett Pierson
- Search Engine College – SEC
- SEOmoz Video training series
- the Joomla SEO Book Club
Classes, Seminars and Conferences
Again, while I am a big believer in these types of mre hands-on interactive approaches to learning SEO – I have not had the chance to really participate in many of these. If you want to get out and play with some industry thought leaders, there is no better way than one of these offerings;
- SMX (conference)
- SES (conference)
- PubCon (conference)
- SEO ToolSet – from Bruce Clay
- Elite Retreat
- SEMPO Training
- SEO Class (We Build Pages)
- SEM Canada (conference)
In some cases, blogs are not the greatest place for learning; at least for the noobs. Many times there are advanced theories, rants and personal perspectives more than structured reading for a person looking to learn SEO. That being said, they are a great wealth of information for beginner, intermediate and advanced SEOs alike. Some of the best include;
..and there are plenty more in Lee’s Big List…
Much like the blogs, these sites are more for those looking for the latest industry happenings and musings. While they may not always offering teachings for the noob, in any industry, staying abreast of the times is an essential element in the process. Here are the more popular websites;
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Watch
- Search Engine Guide
- Marketing Pilgrim
- Search Marketing Gurus
I like these collective publications and advise having them in your reader. They may not be all about the teaching, but can give a strong ongoing grounding in the industry.
While many times forums can be filled with contradictions and more noise than signal, there is often a dialogue around real-world situations in forums. As with anything, take nothing as gospel and be sure to cross reference information with other sources. Here are some of the more popular forums out there;
- Site Reference
- Digital Point
- SEO Chat
- SEO Roundtable
- Web WorkShop
- WebmasterWorld Forum
- Internet Business.co.uk
- Google WebMaster Help
- WebPro World
- SEO Guy
- SEO Refugee
- Cre8aSite Forum
- HighRankings Forum
- IHelpYou Forum
- Search Engine Watch Forums
With a grain of salt
One thing is for certain; on hands experience is ultimately the best way to learn SEO. By taking a cross section of different methods and principles one has the power to go forth and create/test the theories.
This will be the most essential tool in the learning experience. To me there is no best way to go about it… what is important is to remain objective and open to new concepts.