You can learn how to do Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, for completely free. All you need are strong resources written or created by SEO experts.
We’ve compiled an up-to-date list of 50 of the best SEO blogs, courses, videos, podcasts, conferences, and tools to get you started.
What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
How does SEO work?
Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages, and putting them in an index. Think of the index like a giant library where a librarian can pull up a book (or a web page) to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at the time.
Next, algorithms analyze pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query. In our library analogy, the librarian has read every single book in the library and can tell you exactly which one will have the answers to your questions.
Our SEO success factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. It’s how search bots estimate exactly how well a website or web page can give the searcher what they’re searching for.
Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings, which means SEO experts have to put in the work. That’s where we come in.
Our Periodic Table of SEO Factors organizes the factors into six main categories and weights each based on its overall importance to SEO. For example, content quality and keyword research are key factors of content optimization, and crawlability and speed are important sites architecture factors.
The newly updated SEO Periodic Table also includes a list of Toxins that detract from SEO best practices. These are shortcuts or tricks that may have been sufficient to guarantee a high ranking back in the day when the engines’ methods were much less sophisticated. And, they might even work for a short time now — at least until you’re caught.
We’ve also got a brand new Niches section that deep-dives into the SEO success factors behind three key niches: Local SEO, News/Publishing, and Ecommerce SEO. While our overall SEO Periodic Table will help you with the best practices, knowing the nuances of SEO for each of these Niches can help you succeed in search results for your small business, recipe blog, and/or online store.
The search algorithms are designed to surface relevant, authoritative pages and provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.
Why is SEO important for marketing?
SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because people conduct trillions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services. Search is often the primary source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels. Greater visibility and ranking higher in search results than your competition can have a material impact on your bottom line.
However, the search results have been evolving over the past few years to give users more direct answers and information that is more likely to keep users on the results page instead of driving them to other websites.
Also note, features like rich results and Knowledge Panels in the search results can increase visibility and provide users more information about your company directly in the results.
In sum, SEO is the foundation of a holistic marketing ecosystem. When you understand what your website users want, you can then implement that knowledge across your campaigns (paid and organic), across your website, across your social media properties, and more.
50 FREE Ways to Learn SEO (Updated for 2021)
- The Best SEO Guides and News Sites
- The Best SEO Blogs
- The Best Free Tools for Learning SEO
- The Best Videos for Learning about SEO
- The Best Places To Learn SEO in Person
- Social Media Accounts to Follow to Learn About SEO
- Free SEO Courses with Certification
*** The Best SEO Guides and News Sites
1. Google’s SEO Starter Guide
What better place to start than Google’s very own starter guide to SEO? While search engines and SEOs tend to have different goals in mind, there’s no doubt that it’s worth listening to what Google has to say about making websites rank.
2.Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Moz creates useful tools for both web marketers and SEOs. Its Beginner’s Guide to SEO is one of the most authoritative pieces on content on the subject and a must-read for newbies and recently refreshed in March 2021.
New resources are being created all the time and the best way to find them is via a search engine like Google. SEOs tend to focus almost exclusively on Google as the market leader, but don’t forget about Bing and other competitors.
Designed as a companion piece to the periodic table of search factors, Search Engine Land’s SEO Guide is a nine-step tutorial.
This SEO guide explains how you can use the SERPStat tool to improve your website’s SEO.
Had enough SEO guides? WordStream brings something slightly different to the table by approaching SEO from a PPC (Pay Per Click) perspective.
7. Search Engine Roundtable
At the Search Engine Roundtable, some of the biggest names in SEO report on the latest updates and trends in the world of search.
8. Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Journal is a community-based alternative to the Search Engine Roundtable, with comprehensive reports on the latest Google updates and marketing trends.
9.Search Engine Land
Search Engine Land is one final SEO news site to add to your bookmarks. It’s worth reading all three and sticking with your personal favorite!
Moz has recently updated their SEO Beginner’s Guide
*** The 10 Very Best SEO Blogs
10. Backlinko (Brian Dean)
Described (by his friends) as “a unicorn among a sea of donkeys”, Brian Dean is a superstar in the SEO world. Anyone wanting to learn more about SEO should read his blog on the Skyscraper technique — a method of building backlinks — at an absolute minimum. While you’re on Backlinko, check out its SEO Guide. This guide has two distinguishing features: 1) it’s super up to date with best practices from 2021 and 2) it’s focused on helping you learn as quickly as possible.
11. Watch Alexis Sander’s Class: “Developing Search Strategies”
This class, which is hosted on Skillshare, teaches students how to create and implement organic search strategies.
12. Quick Sprout (Neil Patel)
Another famous figure from the world of search, Neil Patel is someone you can’t go far in SEO without hearing of. His free keyword research tool, Ubersuggest, is a good quick and dirty alternative to some of the more complex (and paid) tools out there.
13. Neil Patel’s Advanced SEO Guide
This advanced guide SEO touches on some points not included in other guides, such as search verticals.
14. Yoast SEO Blog
This blog is brought to you by Yoast, the people behind the ubiquitous SEO plugin for WordPress sites. To this day, I recommend that new SEOs read the Yoast blogs on page titles and meta descriptions — which are key to ranking successfully on Google and securing organic traffic.
Among other innovations, Copyblogger founder Brian Clark coined the term “cornerstone content” in blogging and search marketing. This is the first resource on the list to consider SEO from a copywriting point of view and the site includes some excellent introductions to copywriting.
ProBlogger includes tips and tricks for blogging. There’s a good chance that the majority of your SEO campaigns will involve a blog or two at some stage, so there’s no excuse for neglecting this fundamental aspect of the craft.
17. Exposure Ninja Blog
We finally get to the good stuff! Exposure Ninja’s very own blog is where you’ll find gems like this very list!
18. Exposure Ninja Podcast
Exposure Ninja’s founder Tim Cameron-Kitchen interviews the good and the great in our very own podcast, including big names like Greg Gifford, Neil Patel, and Kelvin Newman. You can listen to the podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher, or YouTube.
19. Exposure Ninja Podcast
What’s the difference between a knowledge base and a blog? That’s the kind of question you wouldn’t have to ask if you’d already read our knowledge base, which is a veritable treasure trove of SEO riches.
20. SEO Blog by Ahrefs
It’s absolutely my favorite non-Exposure Ninja blog of the moment, with the blogging team at Ahrefs bringing A-grade content to life in this beautiful blog.
Lots of free SEO guides and articles to be found in our digital marketing blog
***The Best Free Tools for Learning SEO
There’s no substitute for getting out there and trying to do some SEO for yourself, and you can’t really do SEO without your own website. WordPress allows you to quickly build your own website and start messing around with some of the techniques you’ve learned so far. Many of our best Ninjas were hired on the strength of their WordPress websites, so don’t be afraid to dive in.
22. Google Analytics
Once you’ve got yourself a website, it’s time to dive into the data using Google Analytics. Google Analytics is arguably the best tool web marketers have for measuring the success of their campaigns. Use Google Analytics to review your traffic sources, dive into your user demographic information, and more. You can then use this valuable data to improve your website’s performance.
23. Google Search Console
As per the Google site, “Google Search Console helps you, monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.” Everybody who wants to learn SEO should take a look at a Google Search Console account and understand how to submit pages to Google and review any warnings at a minimum.
24. Google Analytics Academy
Feeling intimidated by Google Analytics? You’d have to be superhuman not be! But fear not — Analytics Academy is an extensive online course that explains how you can make the best use of this powerful tool. You’ll even earn a qualification once you complete all the modules!
25. Google Tag Manager Fundamentals
An important module within Analytics Academy, Google Tag Manager Fundamentals teaches you how to use Google Tag Manager, which is a tool that lets you track almost anything on your site without bloating it with additional code.
26. Google’s Online Marketing Challenge
Do you ever wish you could get access to a real-life marketing campaign and budget just to see how you would do? Well actually, you can! Google’s Online Marketing Challenge pairs students of online marketing with charities in need of online marketing help. The idea is that the students get a chance to learn their trade, while the charities benefit from some marketing. Even better, Google will gift you $10,000 in ad spend to get the campaign rolling.
27. Click Quick Audit (Chrome Extension)
I’m fairly relentless about removing extensions that I don’t use, but the Click Quick Audit is an extension that has been permanently glued to my toolbar ever since I first installed it. This handy tool collates 40 of the best SEO and technical tools on the internet and makes them accessible in one click. Anyone who wants to learn SEO should give it a download and start auditing websites!
Majestic is a powerful backlink profiler that gives free users a limited number of tries per day. our SEOs use Majestic on a daily basis to research our competitors’ backlink profiles and build our own outreach plans.
29. Yoast SEO
Yoast is a WordPress plugin designed to make SEO easy for WordPress websites. While dedicated SEO students will quickly outgrow Yoast’s recommendations, the tool does help people start to think about SEO.
Google’s Analytics Academy will teach you which parts of your website’s SEO improvements are working.
***The Best Videos for Learning about SEO
30. Subscribe to Google Webmasters on YouTube
It surprises me that more people don’t rave about the Google Webmaster YouTube channel. These completely free videos, which include some of the most technical SEO videos I’ve ever seen, are recorded by Google’s very own webmaster team.
Google’s John Mueller also runs Webmaster Hangouts in English and German, where Webmasters from around the world chat to Google about their site problems live on Google Hangouts. Impressively, there are Webmaster Hangouts in many different languages and timezones, so there’s a good chance you can find something relevant to you, wherever you are based in the world.
31. Subscribe to Crawling Mondays on YouTube
This new video series from technical SEO mastermind Aleyda Solis is well worth checking out! Aleyda’s channel combines instructional deep dives into technical SEO with interviews with SEO professionals.
32. Greg Gifford’s Wednesday Workshop
The fast-talking and foul-mouthed Greg Gifford is one of my favorite SEO speakers and I make sure never to miss his talks whenever he’s at BrightonSEO. His two-minute weekly videos blitz through a given SEO topic, with a particular focus on local SEO.
33. Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays
Whiteboard Friday is the 800-pound gorilla of SEO videos. While founder Rand Fishkin has since moved onto pastures new, the Moz team still creates or sources a fifteen-minute video every week. The videos range from beginner-friendly to deceptively advanced.
Aleyda’s Crawling Monday’s series has quickly become a must-watch weekly event.
***The Best Places To Learn SEO in Person
34. BrightonSEO (FREE tickets!)
“Free” and “conference” don’t normally go together, but BrightonSEO dishes out thousands of free tickets via ballot every six months. The conference, which is held twice a year in Brighton (England), is quite possibly one of the world’s largest SEO conferences, boasting 4,000+ attendees and some of the industry’s most innovative speakers.
There are 100s of groups dedicated to SEO on MeetUp, a social networking platform designed to facilitate face-to-face meetings. If you live in a major city, there’s a reasonable chance there’s already one near you. And if not? Why not be the person to start one!
I’ve recently started going to Content Club in Brighton, where we discuss content marketing from a coworking space or, better still, a pub!
Meetup.com has many great meetups for SEOs, Content Marketers, PPCs, and website owners.
***Social Media Accounts to Follow to Learn About SEO
36. Quora SEO
Over 100k SEO questions have been submitted to Quora — that’s a mind-janglingly large data dump. If you add the related topics, including SEO Tools, Search Engines, and Web Marketing, then chances are that any SEO question you have has probably already been asked somewhere on this enormous forum.
37. Reddit SEO
With 100k subscribers, the SEO community on Reddit actively discusses all things search, from algorithm updates to the fine line between white and black-hat practices.
38. Follow John Mueller on Twitter
John Mueller is Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst and a key spokesperson for Google on SEO matters. He’s worth following on Twitter and via Google Webmaster Hangouts.
39. Follow Rand Fishkin on Twitter
Rand may no longer work for Moz, but his insightful analysis of SEO trends is still worth paying attention to as part of a tightly curated SEO feed.
40. Subscribe to SEO Fight Club
SEO Fight Club is a YouTube channel dedicated to cutting-edge SEO. Be warned — some of the techniques discussed could well be considered black hats!
41. Follow Buzzsumo & Screaming Frog on Twitter
Buzzsumo is a piece of software that analyses content performance, especially across social media, while Screaming Frog enables you to see key SEO stats for each page on your website. It’s well worth creating a free account for both and giving them a follow on Twitter.
AskNinja is a question-and-answer session run on Facebook Live by Exposure Ninja’s founder Tim Cameron-Kitchen. Got a question and need an answer? This is the place to be!
43. Exposure Ninja FREE Marketing Review
Exposure Ninja’s free marketing reviews help website owners understand any underlying issues with their website. Each website review is unique and created by a living, breathing marketing professional, which is probably why we’re averaging five stars on Facebook reviews for this service!
Got your eyes on a big SEO conference but can’t convince your boss to buy you a ticket? Many SEO speakers upload their slides to Slideshare after a speaking event, making it yet another key resource for learning about SEO.
45. See what’s trending on SparkToro
SparkToro crawls the major social media platforms so that you don’t have to. For the hottest news, head straight to its trending page, which curates the top search marketing stories from across the web into one easy feed.
SparkToro uses Twitter engagement statistics to find the most valuable SEO updates.
***Free SEO Courses with Certification
46. SEMrush Academy
SEMrush Academy is one of the best courses available. At a minimum, I put all my new Content Marketing Ninjas through the SEO Fundamentals Course with Greg Gifford. Create a free SEMrush account to get started.
47. HubSpot Academy
HubSpot Academy contains a more content-oriented set of courses, including videos on inbound marketing, email marketing, and even Instagram marketing. While I love and appreciate the content that the HubSpot team has put together, I do recommend you watch this content at 1.5x speed — you’ll see what I mean after your first module!
48. Udemy SEO
One of the kings of online courses, Udemy has a substantial library of free SEO courses. To find them, head on over to the Udemy site and filter by price (selecting free)! And for any paid course if you need then request us.
Codecademy isn’t necessarily an SEO-focused website, but there’s not a week that goes by where I don’t use some (extremely basic) HTML or CSS that I picked up from one of its free courses. Highly recommended.
50. Coursera SEO
Amazingly, Coursera still offers courses from top universities for free, including “Introduction to Search Engine Optimization” from the University of California, Davis.
SEMrush is continually adding new and free courses to their academy.
There are so many great places where you can learn how to do SEO for yourself, including many which didn’t make this list.
Start teaching yourself SEO today and you too will know how to increase organic traffic for your website or online business.
Your Success depends on your hard work.