Having been in the search-marketing field for quite some time, I typically write about topics that assume readers are familiar with SEO (define). Lately, I’ve had requests for some information on SEO basics to get Web sites to rank better in search engine results. That got me thinking that in any field, there are always newbies looking for access to good information and resources.
If you’re relatively new to SEO or just about to undertake SEO on your Web site for the first time, you’re likely looking for some key resources. For the benefit of SEO newbies, here’s a short list of some top online resources for SEO — in no particular order.
- Google Webmaster Guidelines. Right from the horse’s mouth, these are the guidelines Google suggests you follow to help your site rank in its listings.
- Yahoo Search Content Quality Guidelines. Same concept as with Google, but for Yahoo.
- MSN Guidelines for Successful Indexing. See above.
- Google Keyword Tool. This is the best and cheapest (free) tool around to help you identify potential keywords to optimize your site for. Supplement the information on volume with the advertiser competition estimates to get a sense for how much competition you might face for those terms in the organic listings. Although the competition estimates are for paid search advertisers, typically a term with a high amount of paid search competition will also have steep organic ranking competition.
- SEOmoz Tools. An ever-growing list of handy tools for search marketers, SEOmoz helps you to do just about anything when it comes to SEO, including measure the SEO strength of your site (Trifecta tool), find out how well your site is targeted to your keywords (Term Target tool), and evaluate the feasibility of achieving ranking those keywords (Keyword Difficulty tool), as well as check site inclusion, back links, PageRank, and much more with the SEO ToolBox. The only downer is that for access to the advanced features of the tools, you have to pay a subscription fee.
- SEO Book.com tools. Downloading these free tools to your computer can reduce the labor required to evaluate and track your SEO efforts. SEO for Firefox automatically displays the relevant SEO info for each site (e.g. PR, inbound links, etc.) alongside your search engine results, the Rank Checker automates the pesky tacking of positioning, and the Keyword Tool (while not the greatest) gives you a long list of links to keyword tools to get suggestions for your search term.
- Bruce Clay Search Engine Relationship Chart. Learn how the search engines are connected to each other. Knowing who the big engines are can help you focus your SEO efforts and avoid wasting time on improving your rankings in an engine that is really fed results from another.
- SEO Chat Forums. This is a key forum for exclusively SEO-related topics and discussions with information for rookies and veterans alike. SEO Chat also has an abundance of useful tools and articles. Newbies should check out a recent posting: An SEO’s Experience: 21 Rules for Performing SEO.
- SEMPO Learning Center. The Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization is dedicated to providing education in the area of search marketing. Although it’s supposed to be for pros, the information in its learning center is directed more at those starting out in the field. The SEMPO Institute offers online training in all aspects of search marketing, including both beginner and advanced courses in search engine optimizations.
- Intro to Search Engine Optimization. A great Search 101 primer on Search Engine Watch (ClickZ’s sister site) by one of the most recognizable names in search, Danny Sullivan, formerly of SEW. Read this to get a good overall sense for what SEO is, how it works, what are the key factors used to rank sites, and more.
SEO and search marketing are a vital part of any marketing strategy, linking together channels like social media, content marketing and offline advertising.
There is of course a lot of discussion about content and what does and doesn't work online. Is long-form the key? Does short-form content have a role to play? Are there other factors at play?