December 29, 2009
Welcome to part three of this three part series on SEO tools and resources. In the last two articles we discussed the variety of Firefox extensions used for SEO as well as an assortment of other free or affordable SEO tools. In this article we’ll discuss some of the resources you’ll want to access on a regular basis to keep up to date and informed on the goings-on in the search engine and SEO realm.
We’re doing to cover a few different types of resources below and I’m going to try to keep this article to a reasonable length so let’s begin …
when there’s a breaking story or you want an expert opinion on a subject, a good first place to hit is the media sources in that industry. The SEO industry is no different and there are some amazing albeit often unconventional media sources. Some of my favorite are:
Webmaster Radio is an Internet-based radio station with some great programing ranging from affiliate marketing to PPC to organic optimization and much more. With shows hosted by experts in their fields from Danny Sullivan (Search news) to Dave Szetela (PPC) you’ll solid information that is well-sounded. I’d list my favorite shows however what I like may be different than you and what I need to know may be different than what you need to know so look through their programming and either listen through your work day as I often do or download the podcasts for later listening.
WebProNews offers up-to-the-minute information on virtually every event. They have reporters writing constantly and have other scoring SEO blogs and other news sources, compiling the information in one place for easy access. They also have great articles by third-party writers and a very active readership that is proactive in their commenting. Definitely near the top of my go-to list when I’m looking for news and current feedback.
This site is difficult to classify as it fits into a couple categories but I decided to include under media as that’s my primary use. They include tools, resources, a directory and much more on their site. My primary use of this site is for the articles and newsletter.
No list of SEO resources would be complete without including Search Engine Watch. This site is the one that started it all. Search Engine Watch provides everything from fantastic articles to breaking news to search engine stats and an awesome forum. A definite bookmark.
As with many industries – blogs are a great way to keep informed on the latest goings-on in the SEO realm. The trick, however, is figuring out which blogs are worth reading and which authors are truly knowledgeable. Over the years I’ve read many blogs and to be honest – I still do. Below are some of the key blogs I reference on a regular basis.
Aaron Wall over at SEO Book has an excellent blog worth reading on a regular basis. I have yet to visit his blog and not find some tid-bit of information that was worth reading either because of the information itself or because often he’s just entertaining. Another to add to your weekly reading list.
It’s nice to get it from the horse’s mouth. For those who don’t know – Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s Webspam team. He blogs about Google, technology and occasionally his cat. One has to read what he writes knowing that he’s a Google employee and as such can’t really give away the farm BUT he gives tons of great advice, insight and tips. The perk being – this time you don’t have to ask if following his advice will get you banned.
Bill Slawski (the author) focuses his attentions on the more technical side of things with tales of patents, algorithmic possibilities, statistics and functionalities. For many, his would be one of the more dry blogs if not for his gift with words and ability to make even the most bland of subject, palatable. You don’t need to visit his blog daily but adding it to your weekly journey through the web is recommended.
What blog list would be complete without the inclusion of the SEOmoz blog. Rand Fishkin and crew keep their visitors up-to-date of some great research, news and SEO tips. From opinion pieces to months-long whitepapers you’ll find useful information. Again – not necessary to visit every day but a weekly pass is always worthwhile.
Forums are a great place to gather information, especially on current events such as ranking updates. That said, reading forums can be a risky thing. Almost anyone can join a forum and post their thoughts. While this format allows us to capture a wide range of information and knowledge – it also results in less qualified people giving advice as well. So while I recommend reading forums – I also recommend taking things with a grain of salt – at least until you figure out who’s who.
The SEO chat forums are easily one of the largest and most popular of the SEO forums. They cover a HUGE array of issues from Google to social media to Alexa rankings to (hold your hats) Ask Jeeves (that’s right – the forum’s been around for THAT long). Users worth noting are rustybrick, fathom, and randfish.
DigitalPoint also is an ancient forum (2000 – ancient by web standards at least). They cover a wide range of topics from SEO to PPC to affiliate programs. Some users worth noting there are shoemoney, daven, and of course digitalpoint. A great place to ask your questions. Heavily visited and they have a ranking system for their users so you can get a decent feel as to whether they’re reliable.
There are a variety of reasons I like SitePoint and I own a number of their books. Their forums focus on design and development (not SEO) but every SEO needs resources on the design and development side.
Newsletters & Other Resources
Of course there are other resources that every SEO or webmaster needs to be able to get their hands on. Here they are:
These are the guidelines set out by Google telling you what you can and can’t do and what tactics to look out for. Worth a look over periodically as the do change from time-to-time. If you’re heading into the forums for advice you’ll definitely want to gander at the guidelines first to make sure that if you get lead astray – at least you’ll know what can get you banned or penalized first.
A social media site for SEO. Here you’ll find user-submitted stories on a wide array of Internet Marketing topics. Obviously the quality and relevancy of the stories ranges from brilliant to utter crud but the cream usually rises to the top with good stories hitting page one. That said – an occasional peek at specific threads often reveals some hidden gems.
Perhaps I should have included this in the media section above as it’s a fine site unto itself but it was the newsletter component that I find most helpful and so I have decided to place it here. Sign up for their newsletter and you’ll get daily notification as to when some of the major search engine events happen and some solid advice as to what it means for you.
Jill over at High Rankings puts out a solid newsletter where she provides tips and advice including replies to visitor questions. While I may disagree with some of her points from time to time (the same can likely be said for more of the resources noted and I’m sure others can say the same about my writings and opinions) I’ve never seen her provide bad advice – my advice just might be different from time-to-time.
Obviously there are a ton more tools and resources available. In this series of articles I’ve tried to include those that apply to the broadest spectrum of people and that are the most helpful. I highly recommend hunting for your own – especially if you’ve got issues that you can’t find help for here.
Dave Davies is the CEO for Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc. Beanstalk offers organic SEO services, consulting, link building and SEO copywriting services. While they offer their SEO from Victoria, BC they are proud to serve the world.