An important caveat: I am not an SEO Expert. I’m not trying to be humble; it’s honestly not high in my skill set at this time. As a website designer/producer, there are certain SEO features that I build into websites. But I have been at this long enough to know that there is a place for dedicated SEO professionals and I know when to pass the baton to them.
It surprises me when I still hear clients ask for multiple keywords to be crammed into their web pages because they want to rank higher with Google. There are many articles available that have been telling us that keyword “spamming” or “stuffing” no longer works. You can no longer simply come up with as many related words as you possibly can think of, stuff them into a meta tag and expect to miraculously rise to #1 on Google.
However, keywords are still critical for SEO and must be used strategically. As you will see, Keyword research is the necessary beginning and must take into account your target audience. Aim for quality traffic over quantity.
Here are some expert resources (in no particular order) that have helped me understand SEO better:
1. The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
This is an incredible resource. If you decide to delegate SEO, spending time here will at least help you to understand how things work and to communicate better with your SEO provider.
Quick take-away: Finding the right keywords is not about just getting people to visit your website. It’s about getting the the right kind of visitors – those who are actually looking for the product or service you offer.
2. KISSmetrics Blog
http://blog.kissmetrics.com (old link)
From leading marketing analytics experts, this blog is a treasure trove of resources and guides. You’ll want to bookmark this page and work your way through the Marketing Guides as needed.
Quick take-away: There are many great posts here, but for social media marketing: The Guy Kawasaki Guide to Rocking Your Online Marketing. For beginner SEO: SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners (old link)
3. Copyblogger Research Guides
Copyblogger is a fantastic resource for serious marketers, produced by some leading experts like Brian Clark. Take their caveat seriously: “these free guides are pretty hefty, so make sure you have time for a bit of serious (but fun) reading.”
Quick take-away: Pay attention to Copyblogger’s emphasis on “content marketing” which moves beyond focusing only on keywords to creating quality content that targets your specific niche.
4. Backlinko Keyword Research Guide
Another great free resource to bring you up to speed on the basics. Follow Brian’s blog or newsletter for ongoing tips.
Quick take-away: While all of this might sound new and high-tech, remember that underneath all the technology lie fundamental marketing strategies. Even pre-Internet marketers will quickly see this.
There are of course, many great books and guides out there, but you will likely feel overwhelmed with just these four. Just jump in and see where all this takes you. And follow Neil Patel’s advice: if you implement the basics, your traffic will increase. But be patient.