SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is an important part of marketing for any website. Great content will go unread unless your website is found by the people that need the information. To get the attention of the bots that index information and get your website noticed, you’ll have to learn the basic applications of SEO in your writing. Other people who might want to learn SEO are those who work with writers.

Since you don’t write the content yourself and prefer to farm it out to a third party or
subcontractor, learning SEO will help you understand if the company you chose also understands its importance and optimizes writing for the best search engine placement. Taking the time to learn SEO is just good business sense. 

Online SEO Experts



There is no better place to learn than from the people that make their living doing SEO. Many companies that provide services have also created online documents to help others through the process.

  • Moz started out as a think tank for the best SEO minds in the industry and morphed into a consulting service. Even though they make money by helping people with their SEO, they have the most comprehensive beginners guide that walks you through step-by-step of what you will need to know. It is even listed by Forbes Magazine as the best place to start learning about SEO.
  • Google, of course, has its own well-developed primer to help beginners understand SEO and other website optimization to get the best Google rank possible. It is appropriately called Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. A second Google site to learn the basics of how websites get listed and how searching works is on their Webmasters page.
  • Wordstream, an online advertising and consulting website, produced its own basics of SEO after repeated requests from users. They obliged and created a guide that includes explanations of reporting, analytics, goals, content, linking and design.
  • Search Engine Land, another trusted source of SEO information, has a nine-chapter online guide for learning SEO. This educational resource guides users
    through success factors, search engine ranks and results, and penalties for

These are just a few of the websites that offer free educational material for those wanting to learn the basics. Some of the sites even delve into more advanced topics as the users need or want more information. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it actually provides a stream of traffic to the website. Those who understand the basics may decide that they don’t want to expend the effort to do it themselves and will use the consulting and business services of the website itself. It’s a perfect marriage of marketing and education.

Free Education Websites

learning on laptop


Over the years, education institutions have opened their online programs for people to use for free. Other websites have been created specifically to provide free training on a variety of topics. If it’s more comfortable to learn when ideas are broken down into lessons, then one of the many massive open online courses, or MOOC, may be for you:

  • Coursera is an online platform that has free lessons from top universities and experts. The courses often have video instruction, assignments and discussion forums to help students comprehend the work. Currently, Coursera has over ten different classes dedicated to SEO
  • Udemy is another online platform with free and inexpensive classes on almost any topic of your choosing. They have an SEO class specifically designed by Moz.

There are many more MOOCs around the world that have classes specifically designed to learn SEO. Checking these resources using Class Central will help narrow down the sites that have the topics that you are looking to learn about. You may also find other topics related to SEO that could be helpful as well.

Online Magazines


There was a time when trade magazines and journals could only be found in academic libraries and bigger public library systems. Today, many of these topic-specific fountains of information can be easily found on the internet. Search Engine Optimization has several magazines and journals dedicated specifically to this topic:

  • SEO Magazine
  • Search Engine Journal
  • Search Engine Marketing Magazine

Other business-related magazines, such as Entrepreneur, may have SEO information
in them as well. When looking for good information, industry experts who write
articles are a good source of information.


crop woman reading e-book


While it may seem that books can become outdated quickly, there are some great beginning guides available since the concept of web engine searches and SEO has been around a while. Plus, many people even prefer to learn material out of books compared to staring at a computer screen for hours.

There are many benefits of learning through traditional textbooks:

  • Comprehension isn’t interrupted because of scrolling or pop-up
    advertisements and is actually improved when we read from a book versus a
    computer screen.
  • There is a tendency to skim more using digital texts. More detailed learning
    can take place when we focus on the content in a book.
  • Books do not require wifi or batteries. We can learn even while being physically
    located in a remote area.
  • We can make notes in the book itself, provided that you own the book.
    (Please do not mark up any library books or books that you borrow from
    your friends).

Your local library will have many current and past books available to help you learn SEO. They may even have free or inexpensive classes being taught there on search engine optimization or other digital literacy topics. Bookstores will also have a good selection of computer related books due to their popularity. In some bookstores, you can take time to look at the contents of the book over a cup of coffee or tea and a pastry.

Two- and Four-Year Colleges

Many colleges offer classes on marketing. SEO would be part of that learning, as well as other important topics. Classes can often be taken independently as a non-matriculated student or through an actual certificate or degree program. Some colleges also offer enrichment classes, many of which are technology based. Checking a local community college or four-year university may uncover some different options, including face-to-face classes or online classes through the school.


People watching tennis video clip on digital device


If you learn better through videos compared to reading, then a quick search on YouTube will reveal a large selection of options. Some of the videos are just a couple of minutes long, which probably means that you won’t learn much, while other videos go for over an hour. These would probably have more detailed explanations and walkthroughs.

New videos can pop up at any time, so using specific keywords and keyphrases such as “how to learn SEO” will show you the most popular videos along with any new offerings.  Older videos with hundreds or thousands of views will probably have lots of relevant information also. A quick look at the comment section of the video will give a good indication if the video is worth watching.

SEO Conferences

The internet is constantly evolving, and it can seem as if certain topics may no longer be as relevant today as they have been in the past. The best way to get a feel for the current state of any topic is to attend a conference. The size of the conference and the quality of the speakers will give you an indication of the importance of the topic.

There are many SEO conferences every year that people can attend:

  • MozCon – There is no surprise that one of the most popular of the conferences
    is MozCon, which focuses no only on SEO, but also other important topics in
    the online marketing industry such as analytics, content marketing,
    conversion-rate optimization, and much more.
  • Search Marketing Expo (SMX) presents SEO and relevant topics throughout
    the world. They also have many breakout sessions and training workshops
    for those who register.
  • Books do not require wifi or batteries. We can learn even while being physically
    located in a remote area.
  • Search Engine Journal Summit brings presenters who have published in
    the journal, as well as other notable experts in the field to interact in small
    group setting with participants. Attendees at this conference have a much
    better chance to connect and interact with the speakers because of the
    small size. Unlike other conferences, this lasts just a day.

Hands-on Experience

The reasons for wanting to learn SEO are varied. Some people may have their own websites that need more traffic, others may think they want to work in marketing and need to learn it. Often, the best teacher is learning for a specific project. If you do not have a project in mind, you can volunteer to help some nonprofit groups optimize their websites. Many nonprofit groups would welcome tech-savvy volunteers who want to help drive traffic to their websites.

The Verdict

The internet can sometimes be a confusing place but abounds with self-learning opportunities. However, not all learning has to be done on the internet, even if the topic is concentrated in it. If one particular method doesn’t work to help you pick up a new skill, then another might, or perhaps a combination of learning platforms best meets your particular learning needs. These are just a few samples of the best places to find SEO information.

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