Beginners Guide and Roadmap for SEO

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TL;DR: Helpful links and resources for those looking to get into SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization. SEO is the ongoing improving a website so that website appears in a top position in the organic search results of major search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

The organic search results are the clickable URLs listed in the search results that are not paid advertisements. Businesses covet the top positions of the search engine results pages because of the amount of traffic the organic search results receive; an estimated 80% of all website clicks from search engines go to the organic search results.

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Photo by Sarah Blocksidge on Pexels.com

Key SEO Statistics

The world of SEO is full of interesting statistics; here are a few impactful SEO stats to give you insights into why people invest so much money into SEO.

  • There are roughly 3.5 billion searches on Google each day. (Internet Live Stats)
  • 1/3 of consumers search for a product or service every day
  • Only 0.63% of Google searches click on the results from the second page. (Backlinko)

SEO is not only a serious driver of traffic to websites, but the traffic that asks for quotes, proposals, etc., results in sales being closed 14.6% of the time. In other words, SEO leads come in warm and qualified.

Best SEO Training Courses

If you are new to the SEO industry or just trying to stay current with the latest and greatest strategies and tactics there are some awesome resources out there.

  • MOZ SEO Learning Center – this is the best free SEO training resource on the market. There are nearly 1,000 different URLs in the learning center that are chock-full of helpful information ranging from content and technical SEO all the way to research and reporting.
  • Bruce Clay’s SEO Training – also known as seotraining.com, this SEO training course is behind a paywall, but it’s worth every dollar. There are over 10 unique modules available that provide valuable insights from the “Father of SEO” himself. As an added bonus, once a month Bruce Clay does a live SEO Q&A with the members.

Best websites resources for SEO Jobs

When it comes to finding a job in the SEO industry, there are multiple options, including SEO agencies, in-house SEO jobs, and freelance SEO jobs.

  • SEOjobs.com – this is a newer resource, but it specifically focuses on jobs in the SEO industry. A great resource that will get even better over time.
  • LinkedIn – the LinkedIn job sections is a great free resource for people looking for a new SEO job. They have a great “Easy Apply” option which is essentially a one click application process.
  • Indeed – one of the largest recruiting websites in the USA today, Indeed has a great selection of companies posting for SEO positions.

SEO News Resources

There are many great SEO news websites. Here are a few of my favorite.

  • Search Engine Land – a personal favorite of mine, they do a great job keeping the industry current with breaking news and providing a fresh point of view with multiple industry experts.
  • Search Engine Journal – one of the longest-standing SEO news websites, run by the legendary Barry Schwartz. SEJ does an amazing job tracking the different Google algorithm changes and features Google is testing.

Three Pillars of SEO: Content, Technical and Link Building

This is debated in the SEO industry, but I believe there are 3 major pillars: content, technical, and off-site (link building). Companies want to hire people who are great at all 3 pillars, but many SEO professionals excel at one and are decent to great at the others. Here are some free SEO resources to ensure you thrive in all 3 pillars of SEO.

Free technical SEO resources

When it comes to technical SEO, this category can be pretty broad and can range from basic things like image alt text and formatting to hreflang and website migrations.

  • ScreamingFrog – more than just a funny name, Screaming Frog has been an SEO staple for over a decade. They offer both free and paid versions. The free version is fine for smaller websites.
  • Schema App JSON-LD Generator – one of the most helpful tools for creating schema markup for your website.
  • Hreflang Tag Generator Tool – Created by an awesome SEO professional and influencer, this is a must-bookmark technical SEO tool for those of you working on international websites.

Free content SEO resources

“Content is King” is a common phrase you hear in the SEO world because search engines such as Google need content to understand what any given URL is about. One single URL about a topic doesn’t make a website an expert, but multiple pages of content around a topic help make the case of expertise.

  • Answer The Public – one of the truly great free content tools available to everyone. Although the free version limits the usage, you can get a lot of quality information about how people search around a given keyword or topic.
  • Google Trends – are you curious how the population of a country is searching a given topic or keyword? Look no further, Google Trends is a free tool that allows you to see exactly how interested the public is in a given topic.

Link building is the most polarizing of the three pillars of SEO because of its checkered past. Each year Google seemingly cracks down on nefarious linking-building practices and promises to do even more in the future, but even Google admits it’s never going to remove it completely from the algorithms because links are how Google discovers new website content.

Building links in today’s world is much more difficult in fact, it goes $361.44 on average for one quality link. One of those most common (but overly used) link-building tactics is called guest blogging (where you create a piece of content for another website that contains a link to your website when published); the average cost of publishing a paid guest post is $77.80.

  • Google Search Console – this is not for earning new inbound links, but it surely helps you keep track of who is building links to your website. This is where you would submit a link disavow file to make sure you let Google know you don’t want to be associated with toxic backlinks. Read more on why you should avoid toxic backlinks here.
  • HARO (Digital PR / Outreach) – Help A Reporter Out, also known as HARO is a great free link building resource. They will email you 3x per day with different articles that various journalists are looking to get quotes and opinions for. If you are working for a website that needs quality links, HARO is a great place to start.

If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with me. I also have a free SEO newsletter available.

Published by Shane Hampson

Shane Hampson has over 10 years of experience as an SEO consultant, thought leader and strategist.