A few days ago, while I was browsing the Cre8asite Forums (something I try to do weekly), I came across an interesting thread where the topic of discussion was on how to begin one's SEO/SEM career. Souravi asks:
"Hi, I am Souravi and I am new to this Search Engine World. I want to become a SEO. I have already started some online classes but I'm getting puzzled as to what to learn and what not to. I would like some sort of guidance from you guys to be in the right track. Can anyone please suggest where I should start and how I should continue in order to become proficient in SEO and SEM?"
As did those that also responded, I felt comfortable in suggesting to Souravi that he shouldn't limit himself to learning from only a few choice search marketers, regardless of their popularity or positions within the industry. Rather I suggested that he learn as much as possible from a variety of different sources and develop a deep understanding of all the areas that the SEO industry has to offer.
With that said, I want to take my response to Souravi's question one step forward and highlight a couple of really great (and FREE) resources that he, as well as anyone else looking to make their start in SEO, can use. The following resources are perfect starting points, and should help beginners to understand the ways of our diverse industry, as well as to help them to develop personal SEO marketing theories, strategies, and techniques.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 FREE resources that I believe every beginner SEO should be checking into:
1) SEOMoz's Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
What more can be said about the beginning stages of SEO development than what Rand and his group at SEOMoz have said already. Their guide (which is available in 4 different formats) provides a broad overview of search engine optimization, and focuses in on the various processes, techniques, and strategies that many SEO professionals invest in today. I encourage all SEO marketers (n00bs and novices) to have a look.
2) Jill Whalen's High Rankings Advisor
Jill's email newsletter (also available via RSS) covers the latest information surrounding search engine optimization. She and her team of guest writers offer a great deal of SEO tips and tricks in the forms of Q&A sessions, guest articles, industry interviews, and unbiased editorials. I've personally benefited greatly from reading issue after issue of Jill's advice and commentary, and I'm confident that others will as well... especially new SEO marketers.
3) Joe Balestrino's SEO Podcast
Hands down... this is the best SEO podcast that I've come across yet. With each episode, Joe, Alan, and company tackle some of the biggest questions and concerns surrounding search marketing, and they do an excellent job of providing step-by-step instructions to many basic and moderate level SEO techniques. I'd certainly recommend digging through and listening to past episodes... in no time you'll have a better understanding of SEO, as well as their catchy little jingle stuck in your head.
4) Kim Krause Berg's Cre8asite and Barry Schwartz's SERoundtable Forums
Normally, I wouldn't suggest forums as a starting point for beginners, but in the case of these two, an exception has to be made. Whether you're looking for answers to commonly asked questions or insider tips, tricks, news, and strategies you'll be sure to find it in the friendly confines of these forums. In addition to cycling freely through the plethora of SEO information that is currently available, beginners can pose help-questions directly to forum members... which in the case of the Cre8asite and SERoundtable forums, consists of many qualified industry professionals.
5) Lee Odden's Monster List of Search Marketing Blogs
Simply put, Lee and his team have done an outstanding job with cataloging over 250 search marketing blogs (with more added weekly). Blogs are essentially important in this industry as they seem to be the preferred way of announcing and sharing industry information. Beginners can review this list, read the descriptions that Lee has provided, and then choose the blogs that he or she feels are most appropriate for them. I recommend picking a few and adding them to your RSS reader with the understanding that you can always remove and add more as needed.