Nearly 30 SEO professionals share the top Google ranking factors they are paying attention to in 2021.
SEO | Jul 14
Masooma Memon on April 19, 2021 • 18 minute read
Scratching your head when it comes to the best way to learn SEO and whether you can learn SEO online?
Two things: you can learn SEO online – there’s no doubt in that. And, two: there’s no such thing as one best way to learn SEO. Instead, there are tons of resources to learn the basics of SEO and more.
But, if you’re stuck wasting your time finding the right place to start, let’s unstuck you today. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of SEO resources so you can start learning right away.
From blogs to free resources, we’ve got a lot to share. Here’s an overview of what’s to come:
Ready to learn? Let’s go.
When we asked our contributors which SEO resources have been most helpful for them, more than 60% answered blogs.
So let’s take off on the best way to learn SEO by giving you a list of the best SEO blogs to read. In this section, we’ve listed the most popular SEO blogs among our contributors (in ascending order).
This one’s the most popular SEO blog among the 109 contributors that shared their opinion with us.
It covers everything from the “basic to advanced keyword research, to on-page optimization and link-building,” points out Alan Furth of Really Simply Guitar.
In fact, Furth shares their experience: “Their free blog is so helpful that I ended up buying their Authority Site System. And it ended up being the best $700 I’ve spent on SEO education ever.
Plus, I got a ton of complementary knowledge on how to build a website that is invaluable for getting the most out of my SEO efforts. Their Facebook group is golden too. Their membership is top-notch, with lots of experienced SEOers always willing to help beginners in the community.”
Steve Steinman from Ballistiglass makes another observation about the blog: “their internal linking is great – so you can easily dig deeper into most things mentioned in the general guides (like this one).”
Referral Rock’s Katrina Dalao also goes on to note that Ahrefs’ blog posts are examples of SEO done well themselves. For instance, “the posts themselves are great examples of how you can structure your own content (e.g., break up blocks of text, lots of images, headers),” Dalao writes.
Besides the blog, our contributors also recommend Ahrefs YouTube channel to learn SEO. Sacha Darosa from The Shirtless Web Guy comments on it: “I recommend the Ahrefs Youtube channel for beginners. Their content is a good starting point in learning the basics of SEO as they don’t go too deep into detail with advanced SEO techniques, but enough for beginners to understand the needed concepts.”
Next up, Moz is the second-best blog to learn SEO online in our experts’ books. “Moz’s website has a great blog that dives into all aspects of SEO,” highlights electrIQ marketing’s Amy Hernandez.
“In fact, they even have a free beginners guide that explains what search engine optimization is and breaks down all its basics in different chapters.”
Wistia’s Meisha Bochicchio comments on this beginner’s SEO guide too. “It has been a solid resource for SEOs for years and is both comprehensive yet easy to digest. It tackles everything from the basics of how search engines work to on-page SEO, technical SEO, and measuring SEO success.
The guide has also evolved over the years to follow best practices and new approaches. And, Moz offers educational video resources through their Whiteboard Friday series that support these foundational SEO topics.”
The best part about the blog is that it gives beginner SEO learners the jumping pad to get started and then diving deep into expanding their SEO knowledge.
Jesse Heredia from Ravecode Solutions notes, “It has so many resources to learn the basics. With this information, you can further expand on it by reading blogs that go into different processes into detail like keyword research, competitor analysis, etc. All the information is available in Google, it is just a matter of knowing what to look for and MOZ can give you those fundamentals.”
As a bonus, contributors also suggest you learn SEO from Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series that are in-depth videos teaching SEO. “They are usually 15 minutes long or less. The videos focus on one specific topic,” explains Simple SEO Systems’ Ronit Levy.
“Explanations start out with some background or content, then provide a step-by-step explanation of a system or process, and end with some steps you can take to help your SEO. These bite-sized videos make otherwise really tough topics easy to wrap your head around. As a result, beginners can develop a basic understanding of a concept, process, or system and then look for more information from Moz or another YouTube channel.”
E Source’s Joy Herbers also appreciates Moz’s SEO Essentials Certification series. Although, Herbes points out it’s “pricey ($595) but well worth it.”
And here’s what makes it worth the investment: “Not only can you get Moz-certified (if that’s important to you), but you can also get access to the training modules for one year.
Schedule watch parties with stakeholders to expose the cloak-and-dagger world of SEO and demonstrate that you alone can navigate it. This will help you get buy-in up and down the org chart,” Herbes concludes.
Backlinko was mentioned alongside Moz and Ahrefs as a reliable resource from where to learn SEO.
Milkwhale’s Andre Oentoro calls Brian Dean’s blog “an awesome resource for beginners looking to learn SEO. He has a lot of extensive guides on various topics covering SEO and the way it’s written is easy to understand and digest.”
The best part? Dean writes easy to understand guides that share his experiments, backing each claim with data. You’ll also find each blog piece containing lots of visuals, which further helps you digest the content easily.
Another best way to learn SEO is Neil Patel’s blog. Not only is this blog a rich source for learning SEO, but the team behind it covers content marketing and other aspects of digital marketing as well.
“His blog content is long, detailed and makes it easy to follow along and accomplish marketing tactics that you may be unfamiliar with,” explains Madi Ballou from Green Apple Strategy.
On top of that, “there are great visuals and suggestions scattered throughout each blog. This resource is a great tool to reference as you grow as a marketing professional.”
Ballou continues, “He also offers up a tool called Ubersuggest. Although you are limited to a certain number of domains you can audit and evaluate, this free tool is incredible for multiple reasons:
Explaining its use case, Ballou adds, “Ubersuggest offers a great keyword research tool for keyword ideas along with content ideas based on keywords you would like to target. Lastly, I use this resource the most for backlinking efforts. This specific tool allows you to mine competitor backlinks and referring domains and identifies opportunities to pitch your own content. It also discloses the domain and specific page authority.”
Next on this list of best SEO resources is the Search Engine Journal – another resource that covers SEO alongside the rest of digital marketing extensively.
“Search Engine Journal consistently brings its members updates and ‘how-to’ articles from the most reputable experts in search engine optimization, paid search, and social analytics and tools,” Avinash Chandra notes.
“They constantly add articles to help you utilize sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to help increase traffic to your site. SEJ also keeps you up-to-date with the latest intelligence on PPC and CPC.”
In short, “SEJ (Search Engine Journal) [is] easily one of the greatest places to learn everything you need to know across both organic and paid,” BabelQuest’s Chris Carver writes.
Alongside the blog, SEJ’s newsletter also comes highly recommended. Michael Ferrari of Pen Cap Online Marketing comments, “the Search Engine Land daily newsletter is a treasure trove of new information for rookie and veteran SEOs alike, and it’s where I gained a lot of knowledge early in my career.
The daily news and updates are an essential tool to marketers of any level, and the recommended links they post offer a sampling of the most knowledgable SEO blogs from around the web. It’s an absolutely essential part of learning and mastering SEO – and it’s absolutely free.”
Yoast is yet another commendable SEO learning resource. Not only does it teach keyword research, but the blog also covers keyword usage so you can rank better.
Essentially, “Yoast makes a product specifically for WordPress,” ClydeBank Media’s Benjamin Sweeney explains.
“We use their plugin and we love it but even if you aren’t a customer their blog and Yoast Academy eLearning series is an absolute goldmine of a resource. They cover technical SEO, on-page, local, international, mobile-first, and SEO for voice search in a really easy to understand and approachable way.”
Kevin Kohlert from Borealis Digital Marketing, LLC. echoes the same. “This is a great resource that gets you started on understanding how often you should use a keyword, how long your snippet should be, etc. It gives you real time tips, it’s easy to use, and it’s motivating to see everything ‘turn green.’
Not everything it recommends is always ideal; however, it’s great for pointing a beginner in the right direction.”
Our contributors applaud both the SEMrush blog as well as their academy.
“The blog not only offers tips and tricks for beginners to optimize SEO throughout all the business’s digital touchpoints but also highlights the implications of those SEO practices to the overall growth of the company as well as how exactly it will improve all business functions,” elaborates Solomon Thimothy of Clickx.
Thimothy goes on to share how the SEMrush blog s suitable for people from various walks of marketing such as owners, marketers, and creators. The information, Thimothy observes is “almost accurately curated for every reader.” To add, the content is written is an easy to understand manner.
“The best part is their case studies which give readers a preview of other companies’ practices and results that could jumpstart one’s SEO optimization,” says Thimothy.
Meanwhile, Onefeed’s Omar Agor-Wood appreciates their academy. “As a beginner, one of the best resources for people looking to learn SEO is the SEMrush Academy. Although it uses its own platform as a bit of a crutch, the courses are digestible and by giving you the quiz and the certificate at the end, it’s a lot more encouraging for beginners learning some of the complexities of SEO.”
Noting that lots of guides and courses don’t tend to be updated, Agor-Wood writes, “the SEMrush Academy courses are all up to date, and the courses also provide links to content that goes more in-depth.”
In addition to these popular SEO blogs, we’ve got a few other expert-recommended names for you. These include:
“Authority Hacker are the best informational blog & Youtube channel that have helped my blog grow tremendously. They give great information based on their own successful journey doing SEO and they consistently post tips and tricks that help me become a way more effective SEO.” – Martina Cooper, BHMR.
“If you want to learn SEO and jumpstart your career, the best place to get the most up-to-date information for SEO is Google Webmaster Central Blog. Google shares updates about indexing, crawling and ranking on this blog; it will give you insights on things like:
👉 New features coming to search
👉 Tips and tricks on using Search Console
👉 Updates about algorithms” – Catriona Jasica, Top Vouchers Code.
Editor’s note: Stay updated on how well you’re ranking on Google with this free Improve Your Google Search Position dashboard template. It displays your keyword position, impressions, position, and more on one screen.
“If someone is more interested in on-site SEO and technical SEO then they should follow Ryan Stewart. Ryan Stewart’s on-site and technical SEO techniques are tremendous.
In his blog article they will learn a new techniques of keyword research, how they can use Data studio while auditing the site, how to create an effective content gap analysis, how to get rid of technical and on-site SEO issues, and many more.
Also, Ryan has launched in a new book which is called a BluePrint SEO. Either beginner should buy this book or an organization should buy this book for their newbie’s.” – Ashish Goswami, 21Twelve Interactive.
Another best way to learn SEO and keep updated on the industry trends and developments is to follow industry leaders. So here are some of the best influencers to follow including where you can follow them.
Tim Soulo is the CMO of Ahrefs. While you can certainly read his work on the Ahrefs blog, learn from his journey as a CMO over at Twitter where Soulo is fairly active. Here he also frequently engages with his followers by asking questions and hosting regular polls.
Slawski cover SEO in-depth in his content that you can read on leading industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and more.
“His in-depth articles on how search works, and detailed breakdowns of Google’s search patents has enabled me to look beyond just the basics of SEO and think more about how machines work, interpret content and the ins & outs of Google’s ranking engine,” comments Uscreen’s Amir Shahzeidi.
Brian Dean is the authority figure behind Backlinko. Naturally, that means that you can read his work on the Backlinko blog. For more, follow him on YouTube where he shares more of SEO in his videos. Dean is also active on Twitter where he frequently shares his work and if you don’t want to miss any of his blog posts, subscribe to his newsletter.
Rand Fishkin is the father of the Whiteboard Friday Series so the early videos in the series feature him. He’s moved on from Moz though and has co-founded SparkToro. Keep up with him on his blog to learn about SEO and other marketing takeaways. Plus, Fishkin is also pretty active on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Previously a teacher, Hufford channeled his passion for learning and teaching into mastering SEO and explaining it to others in simple language. Keep up with his work on his blog and podcast. And, to make sure you don’t miss any updates, subscribe to his well-known newsletter: SEO for the Rest of Us. Or, follow him on LinkedIn.
Now for forums where you can get answers to your SEO-related queries:
Moz’s Q&A forum is a great place to ask questions and hop on threads related to SEO topics such as technical, local, and on-page SEO. The forum also has other discussions spanning social media, web design, analytics, email marketing, and blogging.
Owned by Google, this community has hundreds of threads running per month. Here you can discuss anything about Google services and products including SEO. You can also use the search bar to see what’s already been asked in the forum.
This Slack group is another notable SEO community. It also has a channel on guest posting for building backlinks and boosting website traffic.
Editor’s note: Keep tabs on all the links that you’re building on one dashboard: the Link Analysis Dashboard. It shows you all incoming internal links, unique pageviews, and much more.
This subreddit is a massive SEO community that shares SEO news, tips, and case studies.
Lastly, this Q&A platform is another good place to ask your SEO questions. Simply search for what you’re looking for in the search bar and explore further into the topic or its related topics from the Related Questions section on the side.
Lastly, let’s walk you through extra SEO learning resources that can help you further improve your SEO know-how.
A couple of our contributors suggest Hubspot’s free SEO training courses.
Introducing their courses, Casey Crane from CodeSigningStore.com writes. “HubSpot offers a variety of useful (and free) training resources and certification courses, including those that focus specifically on SEO.”
AssistedLivingCenter.com’s Stephan Baldwin shares their experience too. “As an online business owner and a digital marketer with many years of experience, I find Hubspot’s free courses to be really concise and to the point. This course is for beginners and will give them all the basic knowledge they need to build an SEO strategy.”
And, to make it easy for you to learn, “they use a mix of written and video content, quizzes and exams to help you learn the concepts,” Crane adds. In short, “their courses serve are great resources for beginners who want to get their feet wet” in Crane’s words.
A handful of contributors also recommend this free SEO resource. In fact, Jack Shepler of Ayokay opines it’s the “best place to start for beginners is the new resource LearningSeo.io.”
Sharing its background, Shepler says, “It was started by a well-known Spanish SEO, Aleyda Solis, and it covers everything you’d ever want to know about SEO. It’s probably the most up-to-date and comprehensive resource out there on SEO.”
Daniel Reeves from Dandy Marketing adds, “It’s literally a roadmap of curated content that will teach you everything you need to know. From keyword research, to competitor analysis and even content on specific platforms such as WordPress & Shopify. Beginners should be able to find everything they need to know here.”
“Google has a free SEO starter guide, which runs down the ins and outs of SEO for beginners,” outlines Keyoka Kinzy from Online Optimism.
“It provides helpful strategies to analyze your search performance, as well as ways to make your content more searchable, offering tips to help Google find and understand your content. This is a great resource of valuable information from the head search engine in charge because it will teach you how to enhance the effectiveness of your content.”
Since the guide comes from the horse’s mouth, The Loop Marketing’s Kylie Moore rightly points out: “who better to learn the ins and outs of SEO, including you need it and how to use Search Console, than the search engine we’re all working to impress”
“This is why a newbie to SEO should first learn from the source of the search algorithm (Google) and then tailor their understanding by supplementing it with third-party information,” William Chin of YourDigitalaid.com backs this point.
“I would also advise subscribing to search console central as almost all of the members there are Google employees that actively work on Google search console and the search algorithm,” Chin adds.
Google has another freebie for all SEO-enthusiasts. “The guidelines have been put together to offer a clean and concise picture of what you have to do in order to rank your website higher on search results,” shares Greta Simeonova from PAN Digital Marketing.
“You can discover a range of general practices that it’s best to use, things you can do to make your web pages understandable and discoverable for Google, and more. There’s also a Google Webmasters YouTube channel that you can follow if you prefer a more visual presentation.”
Last on this list is the SEO Book which is “one of the best free resources I recommend to beginners looking to learn SEO,” Cirely’s Dan Sears notes. “It lends readers with a deep understanding of search engine optimization.
This book presents a comprehensive guide on how search engines work, and how you can optimize your website or blog’s visibility in search engines. If you’re just starting out with SEO, I highly recommend that you read John’s book so you can learn the foundation that will prepare you for the rest of your online marketing career.”
From industry-recognized SEO blogs to newsletters and free resources, you’ve now got a list of the best ways to learn SEO. So what are you waiting for? Start learning today.
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