Learning SEO – A Roadmap with Free Guides & Tools
[Updated on January 18, 2023]
Start learning SEO or expand your SEO education to grow your site’s organic traffic by understanding every aspect of SEO in order to become or grow further as an SEO specialist with Learning SEO. Learning SEO is a comprehensive guide, featuring the main areas along with resources to learn.
From SEO fundamentals concepts, such as keyword research, link building, to content optimization, technical SEO, to SEO metrics to monitor, how to establish an SEO strategy and what to do when a search algorithm update happens, SEO advice and tips about each main topic from specialists and more, here you’ll find a complete roadmap to learn all the aspects of SEO with free reliable comprehensive blog posts, guides, online courses, resources and tools developed by the SEO community.
The SEO Learning Roadmap
Take a look at the SEO learning roadmap below, featuring the different areas, from the basics of SEO, to the most common activities and phases of the SEO Process:
The Free SEO Learning Guides, Tips & Tools
If you’re also looking for free reliable resources to learn search engine optimization using this SEO roadmap, I’ve aggregated the best free guides, checklists and courses from the SEO industry that you can use to learn, since there are a lot of excellent free SEO online resources but also a lot of noise, so it’s sometimes difficult to identify them. Select the area you’re interested on:
In case you want to easily copy to use or share these free reliable SEO resources from the different areas covered by the roadmap, I’ve also created a Google Sheet that you can copy here to use it as a reference while you learn SEO.
The Learning SEO Roadmap FAQs
In what order should you go through the SEO roadmap?
For SEO Beginners Looking to Start Learning:
If you’re just starting to learn SEO, begin with the first phase “Learn SEO Basics” which teaches about the main concepts and areas that influence SEO, what are search engine crawlers and how they work, what are title tags, what is an internal link, what impact search rankings, what doesn’t affect search results, how to identify relevant keywords with keyword research tools, how to optimize relevant content, what is link building and what link metrics to pay attention to, and more start with your understanding of SEO and most common SEO issues.
Then follow with the second phase “Learn to Execute an SEO Process” which covers what SEO needs to be implemented, fundamental to have an “overview” of how the SEO process actually works from a strategical standpoint to attract the desired relevant traffic: How to develop an on page SEO audit, how to establish a link building strategy or how to monitor your search engine rankings or Website’s visibility.
If you want to start executing an SEO campaign for hands-on experience for free or very little resources in your own sites, take a look at the “Implement with Free SEO tools” section to obtain reliable handy free tools to use in your first SEO processes: from on page optimization to page speed, and keyword tools, with tips from SEO experts about how to use them.
Have a WordPress site? Or a Website using Shopify, Magento or Webflow? If the site you’re working on is using one of the most popular Web platforms, take a look at the “Implement SEO in your CMS“, to get hands-on advice to effectively implement SEO related best practices in them, leveraging these platforms functionalities and plug-ins.
For SEOs Looking to Expand Knowledge:
Expand your SEO knowledge beyond the fundamentals, to take your organic search results to the next level with the “Deepen your SEO Knowledge” to get more in-depth SEO understanding: from site speed to content strategy, this section covers the different technical, content, backlinks, management and opportunities across different day to day SEO scenarios.
Depending on the type of company or industry you’re working for (or want to work at) you might want to decide to specialize, and for that you can pick the specialization you’re interested about from the “Specialize within SEO” area.
At this point, you would have already started with your SEO process implementation and seen there are very time-consuming tasks that within your context they should be viable to automate and you already know (or willing to learn) some of the most popular programming/scripting languages to automate them. For that take a look at the “Automate SEO Tasks” section.
In parallel, I would recommend you to start following the latest SEO related updates and search engine news, to keep up with all what you’ve started to learn. Check out the “Keep up with SEO News” for that, listing reliable SEO publications, podcasts, newsletters, etc. that you can subscribe to.
Finally, to complement your SEO journey and support your efforts through the execution of the SEO process, you can take a look at the “Complement your SEO Knowledge” section, listing broader digital marketing resources of connected areas known to be useful for SEO projects success, although not SEO specific, like using Google Analytics, or the building blocks of Front-End Web Development.
Should you go through all the areas and resources of the SEO Roadmap to learn SEO?
I’ve been also asked if I recommend reading all the SEO roadmap resources and go through all the different areas to better learn SEO or if it’s ok to just pick some of them to pick up the SEO basics and a few SEO techniques to start with.
As you can see in the answer I gave to the question above about “In what order should I go through the SEO roadmap”, there’s value in each one of these areas to become a well-rounded successful SEO that understands all the needed aspects to grow Websites organic search traffic, although depending on what you want to specialize on, you might want to decide to go deeper in some of them and leave others for later on.
Because of this, if you can, I would recommend going through all the areas and read at least a couple of the SEO guides/resources listed in each, since I believe that it will allow you to better understand how each of these play a role within the SEO process, and how SEO works as a whole, even if you later decide to focus on a certain area (technical SEO, content SEO, link builder) instead of deciding to become an overall SEO specialist. Then, if you decide to specialize on a specific area within SEO, you can then go through all the resources listed within that area and related/connected topics.
Can you help me to sort out why a page doesn’t rank better (or at all)?
Sure thing! “Why a page is not ranking for a relevant query in Google Search results” is one of the most common questions you’ll get asked as an SEO. To help you, here’s a checklist with basic SEO diagnostics questions to ask, as well as areas to analyze and types of tools to use, including a Google Sheets resource too.
What are the top issues, challenges and mistakes to avoid when learning SEO?
There are common challenges when learning SEO that would be important to be aware of to avoid. Here are top ones shared by experienced SEO specialists:
- “Misinformation or out of date information. It’s strange how many people have read things on the internet, from ranking studies to black hat forums where someone has said something and it has been treated as factual.” – Gerry White, SEO Director and co-organizer of TakeItOffiline.
- “Feeling overwhelmed because I’m learning something new. I think that’s very common, especially with Tech SEO, to feel extremely overwhelmed by what you’re learning. It’s important to take your time, ask for help and to believe that you’ll eventually ‘get’ it.” – Areej AbuAli, SEO Consultant & Founder of Women in Tech SEO.
- “The idea that *Teach me/my team everything about SEO in <6hr* works – is a recipe for failure. You need to learn principles, you view them 1st with a lens to your own needs & then you apply them to gain experience. This takes time, everyone needs realistic expectations here.” – Chris Green, Senior SEO Consultant at Torque Partnership.
- “I’d say learning without practicing. Courses and guides from the right sources are good ways to learn SEO, but they are just one side of it. If you don’t try out what you’re learning, you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t. If possible, build a website or ask family & close friends for access to theirs and practice what you learn (cautiously). This way, you not only learn but can get results, no matter how small, that’ll come in handy in landing your first SEO job. It worked for me.” – Katherine Nwanorue, Technical SEO Specialist
- “Mistake: Believing every piece of information published online. Solution: Do read what others have to say or present but don’t believe it blindly. Test and analyse it, then make your decisions. Always test on a small sample of pages first before making sitewide changes.” – Praveen Sharma, SEO Consultant & Strategist
- “For me it was to learn that content, technical SEO and other digital channels have to work together to be successful” – Veronika Hoeller, Senior SEO Manager
- “In SEO the biggest pain point in learning it as a beginner is misinformation. Beginners will inevitably feel overwhelmed and would not know how to discern fact from disinformation (esp. SERP searches). Ideally the best way to go would be to join a forum or slack channel, like the one for tech seo women, where you can get legitimate feedback in a healthy manner. It’s free and the feedback is from professionals.” – Iman, SEO Specialist
SEO learning Tips from experienced Specialists
It’s always hard when you start learning something new, and SEO in particular can seem a complex topic at the start since it covers so many different areas and influence aspects of the site that you don’t fully control. Because of this, I asked over twitter about those top things experienced SEO professionals would have love to know when they started and would advice to new SEOs who are just learning!
Here you have some of the top advice to take into consideration through your SEO learning process: