Which metrics should you include in your SEO report? 70+ SEO professionals share the SEO metrics that they include (and you should, too.)
Marketing | Mar 25
Jessica Greene on September 23, 2019 (last modified on September 25, 2019) • 27 minute read
Of course, the bulk of marketers—nearly 75%—have a more measured approach to learning about SEO and keeping up to date with the industry, visiting only 1-5 SEO blogs weekly.
I’m currently in the 11-20 range, but I want to be in the 20+ range. Why? I often run out of blog posts to read before I’m ready to stop reading.
So here’s my confession: I pitched this survey a little selfishly so I could expand my own reading list (though I’m certain the results will be useful to others in the same situation).
The problem I was having was that all of the top-ranked articles about the best SEO blogs have the same big names: Backlinko, Ahrefs, Moz, Search Engine Roundtable/Land/Journal. And most are recommendations from one person—the author of the post.
Where better, I thought, to get a diverse array of ideas than through a Databox survey where it’s not just one person’s recommendations, but dozens (and in this case, 127 different people’s recommendations).
It worked! After reading through all of the responses, I will—going forward—fall into the group of marketers who read 20+ different SEO blogs each week.
If you’re interested in expanding your reading list like I was, here are the 35 SEO blogs our respondents recommended.
The recommended blogs are also listed in order of the number of recommendations that each received in case you want to be in the 1-5 per week range and just want to find a few of the best SEO blogs to follow.
Editor’s note: After you’ve learned how to implement the SEO tips and strategies you learned by reading these blogs, track the performance of your efforts using one of our 200+ templates that display data from more than 70 tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and more.
To kick off the survey, we asked our respondents to rank a few of the more popular SEO blogs in terms of how highly they would recommend each.
Backlinko, Ahrefs, Moz, and Search Engine Journal topped the list, and those same four blogs also received the most recommendations in the free-text section of the survey (with 19, 13, 10, and 10 recommendations, respectively).
Of course, our respondents also recommended a lot of other SEO blogs that weren’t included in the poll above.
Here are the 35 SEO blogs our respondents recommended, listed by the number of recommendations received and—when the number of recommendations was equal—sorted into alphabetical order:
I could have written an entire blog post using just the responses from the 19 people who recommended Backlinko’s blog. However, you’re probably better off reading Backlinko’s blog posts than 2,500 words about the Backlinko blog, so I’ll just share a few of the highlights:
“Backlinko should be the starting point for anyone looking to wrap their head around SEO,” says Alexander Porter of Search It Local.
“Ahrefs is the SEO blog I recommend to people,” says Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers. “They publish very detailed guides on how to improve your SEO, and they always illustrate the strategies they share with case studies and examples so it’s easy to replicate their techniques.”
Twelve other respondents agreed with Aufray, citing these things that they love about the Ahrefs blog:
“The Ahrefs blog may be well-known, but there’s a reason for that,” says Hot Juice’s Jon Deak . “It is excellent.”
“Moz does the best job of keeping me updated on the latest SEO trends, strategies, and tactics than any other blog,” says Kent Lewis of Anvil Media.
“As a business owner and lead sales guy, I find their content is highly digestible and not overly technical. They are excellent writers and make it fun and easy to learn, especially via Whiteboard Friday videos. Other blogs are far too technical for my executive role,” Lewis says.
Nine other respondents also recommended the Moz blog. Here’s what they love about it:
“This blog isn’t just for marketers,” says Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Nashville SEO Company. “Any business owner will benefit from the advanced insights shared on Moz’s blog.”
Ten different respondents recommended Search Engine Journal. Here’s what they had to say:
“Search Engine Journal has many highly qualified and trustworthy authors who can offer different perspectives on complicated subjects,” says Giselle Bardwell of Kiwi Creative. “We often send articles from Search Engine Journal around the office and to our clients who are looking to learn more!”
“Search Engine Land is probably the best overall blog for keeping up-to-date with the SEO landscape,” says Takeshi Young of Optimizely. “They cover pretty much every change to Google and other search engines that could affect SEOs, and they have some top-notch SEOs on their staff.”
“Search Engine Land is my go-to for SEO news, algorithm updates, other things digital marketing related,” says Wes Marsh of BCA Technologies. “They cover the news but also have lots of big-rock guides that can help readers fully comprehend the ever-changing world of SEO.”
“Search Engine Land always has the latest news when it happens,” says Shane Griffiths of Clarity Online. “Their sources are authenticated and trustworthy, and they often link to sources and SEO blog chatter about updates when they’re happening.”
“Search Engine Land is one of the most accurate and well-written news sources in the world of search,” says Omar Fonseca of Medicare Plan Finder. “It is the best site to keep up with the overall search industry!”
“I have been practicing SEO for over 10 years and have consistently followed many popular SEO and digital marketing blogs, but one stands out above the rest: Search Engine Roundtable,” says Tim Dugan of Web Services CT.
“Search Engine Roundtable covers the latest in SEO and Google updates, ranging from local SEO to more advanced SEO news and tips.”
“If you’re a startup or small business owner, Search Engine Roundtable is the perfect resource as it offers valuable and timely SEO updates backed by research, as well as contributions from the community.”
“Barry Schwartz, the writer for Search Engine Roundtable, is frequently in touch with Googlers like John Mueller, and he shares his Q&As back with his audience. Even spending as little as 5 or 10 minutes per day on their site, you’ll always walk away having learned something.”
“Barry is relentless when it comes to reporting on such news, so if you’re looking to keep up to date with the ever-changing SEO community, check out Barry’s site,” Dugan says.
As Garrett Sussman of Grade.us says, “Just knowing all of the various updates and tests that are happening on search engines is probably the most important way to improve your SEO.”
“And in addition to search engine updates (that are happening across global, local, and ecommerce), Barry Schwartz has been producing some excellent video interviews with the top SEO experts in the field,” Sussman says.
“I read Search Engine Roundtable not just to stay updated but also as a great starting point for researching/planning next steps on meeting the latest search engine standards or getting that newest feature on SERP,” says Rafayel Begoyan of Renderforest.
Irena Zobniów of Insightland also points out that “Schwartz writes about search engines other than Google.”
“I’m a huge fan of the SEMrush blog,” says Sam White of Truck Driver Academy. “The articles are well written and provide context for SEO that can be difficult to see when you’re living inside the fishbowl.”
Gabriel Bertolo of Radiant Elephant agrees: “I trust and follow them because as an SEO tool, their job is to stay on top of current and ever-changing best practices.”
“The SEMrush blog publishes a wide range of helpful digital marketing articles in addition to the ones that focus solely on SEO,” says Sameer Somal of Blue Ocean Global Technology. “And the SEMrush team has a rigorous publishing filter to ensure that all posts are original, offer new insights, and avoid repetition.”
Paul Lovell of Always Evolving SEO recommends a couple of different features of the SEMrush blog: “The Google News Digest keeps you up to date on any bits you may have missed in search, and the Weekly Wisdom gives you some real, actionable tips and tricks to help your SEO perform better.”
“While the inexperienced would surely get something out of the SEMrush blog, this is not the place I would send them to start,” says David Leonhardt of The Happy Guy Marketing. “This is a blog that helps experienced online marketers take an already successful SEO strategy even higher.”
“The SEMrush blog is our go-to resource for all things SEO because they have content from the top industry experts,” says Eric Melillo of COFORGE. “Additionally, they have access to online training and webinars to further our SEO knowledge.”
Five respondents recommended Neil Patel’s blog. Here are some of the reasons why they think it’s a great resource for people who want to learn more about SEO:
“Neil Patel’s blog is great because it gives you detailed information and how-tos in plain, simple language that is easy to follow and implement,” Caroline Sumners says.
“I would recommend Blind Five Year Old, a blog named after the philosophy that you need to treat search engines like a blind five-year-old if you want to lead them in the right direction,” says Ben Johnston of Sagefrog Marketing Group. “It’s written by A.J. Kohn, a marketing executive who has been in the game for 20+ years.”
“He writes engaging, in-depth articles on everything from search intent to link acquisition models. While the posts are infrequent, when one finally drops, it is worth the wait,” Johnston says.
Tom Donohoe of Tom Donohoe Consulting agrees: “Blind Five Year Old is an amazing SEO blog. AJ Kohn publishes in-depth guides on topics that most SEOs don’t know exist. If you’re looking to level up your SEO game, this blog is a must-bookmark.”
“AJ is data-driven and provides deep insights and thought-provoking posts on many aspects of the SEO industry, including updates, tools, and strategy,” says Brian Jensen of Congruent Digital.
“Blind Five Year Old isn’t monetized and doesn’t accept guest posts. It’s simply a seasoned expert sharing his experience and ideas as they relate to SEO, marketing, and advertising.
“While it’s certainly not the most popular SEO blog, AJ’s posts have considerably more substance than the competition,” Jensen says.
“Detailed is a one-stop destination for SEOs and online entrepreneurs who are looking for detailed and practical tips and tricks they can actually use to grow their own and their clients’ businesses,” says Sam Harris of Smart Home Vault.
Content Kapow’s Priscilla Tan agrees: “Glen Allsop is one of the few SEO talents who’s insanely generous with everything he’s learned. He shares the latest insights he’s uncovered by working with clients and breaks down complex SEO concepts into digestible, actionable steps.
“As a content marketer who’s recently gotten into the weeds of SEO, I’ve found his blog to be an amazing resource,” Tan says.
“Glen hardly ever posts on his blog, but when he does post something, it’s pure gold,” says Lily Ugbaja of FindingBalance.Mom. “He specializes in finding SEO gaps of competitors and rare tactics you won’t find anywhere else.”
“With Glen, it’s not the standard, boring ‘optimize your meta tags,’ ‘get high-quality backlinks,’ ‘become an authority….’ It’s different, it’s refreshing, and it works,” Ugbaja says.
“SEO by the Sea is the only SEO blog that analyzes and explains the importance of Google’s search-related patents,” says Stephen Jeske of MarketMuse. “You can learn a lot about search directly from the search engines.”
Borislav Ivanov of Best Response Media also recommends SEO by the Sea: “Bill Slawski’s articles are extremely useful, systematic, and based on white papers and patents. They help bring a little more clarity to how search engine algorithms work.”
“SEO by the Sea is for anyone who’s wanting to read thoroughly researched and tested information about technical SEO,” says Zeal Agency’s Ratko Ivanović. “It’s an amazing resource.”
“If I had to choose only one SEO blog, I would pick the Google Webmaster Central Blog,” says Mathias Neves of HiMama. “There are a lot of rumors when it comes to SEO, and there is no better option to get real information than going straight to the source: Google itself.”
“Since Danny Sullivan joined the team, they have been updating the blog more often, and I find it an irreplaceable source of information,” Neves says.
Found’s Imogen Davies agrees: “If you want to be sure that the information that informs your work is 100% accurate, then there is only one place to go: the Google Webmaster Central Blog.”
“This is information directly from the source. The blog gives you useful insights into what Google is working on, what they are releasing, and any news or updates to be aware of.”
“Sometimes, it can be a bit convoluted, but there are some real gems in there for people who want to stay up to date with and learn more about SEO. Especially useful are the links to the guidelines documentation and the related content that is offered up from most of the articles,” Davies says.
“Glenn Gabe offers great deep dives on the major Google updates and changes in web publishing,” says SEOBook’s Aaron Wall.
“Reading his blog for deep dives on the big updates and following him on Twitter will keep one up with just about everything important that’s happening in search without all the hype, noise, agenda and/or self-promotion that are common from many other sources.”
“If there are key concepts tied to an update, he’ll share them. If there is a cool new feature in a tool like SEMrush, he’ll mention it. If there are important changes to web browsers or the online ad ecosystem, he is also on top of that sort of stuff.”
“His work allows me to be lazier with following everything because I figure he will catch most everything worth catching,” Wall says.
“GSQi is a great addition to the Google Webmaster Central Blog,” says Tatiana Buyanova of Travelpayouts. “From the official source, you can learn what happens, and then from this blog, you can learn what to do.”
“If you want to stay up to date on the latest Google algorithm activity—including real-world examples of the impacts of algorithm changes—I would recommend Marie Haynes’ blog,” says Revenue River’s Juliette Tholey. “Even Google itself recommended her writings on E-A-T. She is a true expert.”
And Donna Duncan of B-SeenOnTop recommends listening to Haynes’ podcast: “For the price of a half-hour a week, you can keep up to date with what’s happening and learn a few evergreen tips, tricks, and suggestions that are always useful to know.”
“Ryan Stewart has an amazing depth of knowledge and experience that he demonstrates in the Webris blog,” says Joe Edgley of Amplified Marketing. “What I love about it is that he gives away actionable advice and strategies that really work.”
“Most of the content Ryan writes about is backed up by data and case studies, which is great because I know that what Ryan is talking about has been tried and tested. Often times I’ll find great little hacks that I haven’t seen/read/heard about anywhere else, making a lot of his content quite unique,” Edgley says.
PressPad’s Wojciech Szywalski agrees: “Webris provides a unique view to SEO as a foundation—not a separate thing—for successful content marketing. Unlike other SEO companies, they are very transparent with their processes and approach to SEO.”
“One SEO blog I find the most helpful is Yoast,” says Lisamarie Monaco of InsuranceForBurial.com. “I recommend Yoast because they go into detail on what your SEO strategy should be—from choosing your focus keywords to how to schema your article.
They provide the dos and don’ts of SEO.”
“If you follow their techniques, tricks, and tips, Yoast will help you improve your site immensely,” Monaco says.
Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles agrees: “From a technical SEO standpoint, there is none better. They provide comprehensive guides on everything from site speed optimization to security, meta tags to schema mark-up. They also update posts based on the latest WordPress updates and Google algorithm changes.”
“It’s a highly valuable asset if you are looking to build longevity into your site optimization implementation,” Dodds says.
“Alexa is a solid SEO blog,” says Jordan Peterson of Coalition Technologies. “They write blog posts across four categories: SEO, competitive intelligence, analytics, and content marketing (the latter three mostly as they relate to SEO).”
“The posts are mostly focused on actionable best practices with a lot of deep dives, and there are also some ebooks that go deeper still on some SEO topics.”
“If I had to pick just one SEO blog to recommend, I’d recommend Aleyda Solis’ blog,” says Haley Anhut of Clean Origin.
“She breaks things down into easily digestible pieces and provides a lot of free tips and tricks to use in your everyday SEO. Her agency is also one of Moz’s recommended SEO agencies, and her blogs often appear in their ‘Top 10’ email.”
“For technical SEO nerds who love to deep dive on data, I recommend the Botify blog,” says Kyle Douglas of Revium. “Specific, insightful takeaways and long-form (I’m talking three-to-four-part post series) investigations on SEO topics mean that this blog is a consistent part of my learning.”
“I regularly visit the Digital Marketing Institute blog to keep up to date with the latest industry news,” says Caroline Fahy of Wolfgang Digital. “They provide relevant, high-quality marketing tips that are useful in helping businesses improve their visibility online.”
“Although Evolving SEO is podcast-oriented, the information is specific enough to be useful,” says Mike Falahee of Marygrove Awnings. “The podcast is all about interviewing those who are knowledgeable enough about the topic to go in-depth about a specific area.”
“Flow SEO offers a myriad of firsthand SEO tips from Viola Eva, a regular speaker on the SEO circuit,” says Mailbird’s Andrea Loubier. “Additionally, there are also tips on exploring content creation and marketing.”
“I strongly recommend following Glen Allsopp; his blog is Gaps,” says Victor Antiu of Sleek Bill. “Many publish content about SEO, but posts his are actually detailed and researched.”
“It’s not fluff content; it’s a free education in advanced SEO techniques, market research, and case studies.”
“I love Grow and Convert’s blog because it has SEO tips alongside case studies showing the results of implementing those tips,” says Aazar Shad of Userpilot. “They also help me up my content marketing skills as well.”
“I really enjoy Nat Eliason from Growth Machine,” says Sam Bretzmann of Local SEO Machine. “They have done good work and are very transparent in their processes. They provide a really good example for aspiring agencies.”
“I would recommend Hike’s blog, which is a UK startup targeting startups,” says Tom Beavan of Tom Beavan Websites.
“I find they are particularly good at giving hints and tips along with producing multiple video Q&As on their Vimeo channel. They also have a Facebook group that allows people to ask questions and get genuine advice from industry experts.”
“One blog I’ve recently discovered is Hobo,” says Oksana Chyketa of Albacross. “The peculiar thing about this blog is that there are not many blog posts. But all of them are written by one person—Shaun Anderson—whose experience in marketing is over 20 years, and all of the articles are really extraordinary.”
“The posts usually pass the 5,000-word mark. They are well-structured, and they cover every aspect of the given topic. From now on, I would definitely recommend this blog to everyone who wants to dive deep into SEO.”
“Kaiserthesage is my main choice and probably not recommended enough,” says Daniel Daines-Hutt of Ampmycontent.
“Mangools’ writers write long, detailed guides, and the way they edit them is wonderful,” says Tihana Drumev of Best Response Media. “Even if you don’t use their tool, you can learn a lot about SEO, and their guides are often updated with new tips that are relevant to the changes in the SEO field.”
“There are only a few marketing blogs whose posts I absolutely cannot miss, and Orbit Media’s blog is one of them,” says Zack Reboletti of Web Focused.
“I regularly bookmark and reference their posts (oftentimes months or years after they’re written) in my business—both internally while executing SEO-related strategies and by referring them to friends, colleagues, and even my clients.”
“To put it simply, Robbie is awesome,” says Daniel Reeves of Dandy Marketing. “His blog contains absolutely tons of valuable, actionable advice, with free templates, step-by-step guides, and checklists.”
“He offers a paid course as well, and you’ll soon consider signing up once you see the value he provides for free. I did.”
“I like to stay up to date by reading SEO Theory,” says Clockify’s Marko Maric. “It’s mostly written by veteran SEO Michael Martinez. He covers every aspect of search engine optimization that matters, and he doesn’t cover other marketing practices like a lot of other blogs do.”
“If you want to learn pure search engine optimization and read about things that are based on facts that can be traced back to Google patents and statements from Google’s employees—not based on guesses or (unintentional or intentional) misinformation—SEO Theory is the right kind of blog for you.”
“It may look unimpressive at first glance, but that’s because it’s aimed at people who take SEO seriously and know that doing SEO is more than just trying out the latest tool and incorporating some fancy new buzzword into your vocabulary.”
“I enjoy reading SEOno by Steve Morgan,” says Will Hatton of Hotel Jules. “He is a solopreneur like myself, so I find all his tips very helpful—and also feasible.”
“I don’t have a large team, and I am very hands-on, so it’s important that I read SEO advice that doesn’t have to be scaled or that can be done in a reasonable amount of time by one person.”
“I recommend the Terakeet SEO blog,” says Jonas Sickler of ReputationManagement. “It offers a fresh perspective on SEO topics through the lens of enterprise companies. So while the subject matter is similar, the challenges, solutions, and considerations are unique to large brands.”
“The Search Herald ticks all the boxes,” says Geoff Meakin of Cost of SEO. “It’s updated daily with all the latest breaking news in the SEO industry, so instead of having to trawl all the different blogs, they’re all in one place.”
Now that you (hopefully) have a long list of new SEO blogs to follow, you might be wondering what’s the best way to stay up to date with those blogs. The most common way to get updates about new articles is by subscribing to each blog’s newsletter, though a lot of people just visit the blogs they enjoy regularly.
Personally, I’m a fan of RSS and use Feedly as my RSS reader.
And finally, if you’re looking for one more SEO blog to add to your list, consider subscribing to our newsletter here at Databox.
We regularly poll hundreds of marketers to create comprehensive blog posts with unique and proven SEO tips. Here are a few of our most popular SEO blog posts if you want to get a feel for whether or not subscribing is right for you:
Marketing | Mar 25
Marketing | Mar 23
Content Marketing | Mar 19