How to Learn SEO Completely Free (Including Step-by-Step Guides)

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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.

50 FREE Ways to Learn SEO (Updated for 2019)

  1. The Best SEO Guides and News Sites
  2. The Best SEO Blogs
  3. The Best Free Tools for Learning SEO
  4. The Best Videos for Learning about SEO
  5. The Best Places To Learn SEO in Person
  6. Social Media Accounts to Follow to Learn About SEO
  7. 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. It’s 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 2019.

3. Google (Search)

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.

4. Search Engine Land’s SEO Guide

Designed as a companion piece to the periodic table of search factors, Search Engine Land’s SEO Guide is a nine-step tutorial.

5. SERPStat’s SEO Guide

This SEO guide explains how you can use the SERPStat tool to improve your website’s SEO.

6. WordStream’s SEO Guide

Had enough of 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 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 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 favourite!

Screenshot of Moz's Beginners Guide to SEO

Moz have 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 2019 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.

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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.

15. Copyblogger

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.

16. ProBlogger

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 Knowledge Base

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 favourite non-Exposure Ninja blog of the moment, with the blogging team at Ahrefs bringing A-grade content to life in this beautiful blog.

Screenshot of the Exposure Ninja Blog

Lots of free SEO guides and articles to be found in our digital marketing blog

The Best Free Tools for Learning SEO

21. WordPress

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!

28. Majestic

Majestic is a powerful backlink profiler that gives free users a limited number of tries per day. At Exposure Ninja, 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.

Screenshot of the Google Analytics Academy

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 favourite 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.

Screenshot of Crawling Monday's YouTube series

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.

35. MeetUp

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!

Screenshot of a event page 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 94,000 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 90,000 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 hat!

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.

42. AskNinja

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!

44. Slideshare

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. Check out the slides from Exposure Ninja’s Dominate 2019 Conference, as well as Adrian Phipp’s guide to creating content that ranks at position 0.

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.

Screenshot of SparkToro's Trending page

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)!

49. Codecademy

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.

Screenshot of SEMrush's Academy

SEMrush are continually adding new and free courses to their academy

In Summary

There are so many great places where you can learn how to do SEO for yourself, including many which didn’t make this list.

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