Learn me SEO
July 31, 2014 6:14 AM   Subscribe

I am taking on a new role which will require me to be conversant in SEO. Our SEO product manager likes to obfuscate things so no one can pin him down. It is my job to pin him down and call bullshit. I have no idea what schema.org is or what this canonical stuff is all about. Can anyone recommend a great book / site where I can get up to speed on all things SEO? I don't have a lot of time to spend so brevity is key.
posted by jasondigitized to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
HubSpot might be a good place to start. They have basic articles on the topic, and you can test drive the platform for free.
posted by Longtime Listener at 6:32 AM on July 31, 2014

Moz's Beginners' Guide to SEO is exactly what you need. You can follow it up with Moz's other online materials.
posted by lunalaguna at 6:39 AM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Google's information for webmasters is a great resource.
posted by cCranium at 6:47 AM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just for the record, SEO is a rabbit hole that one can dedicate years to and still not know if they are doing it in the most effective manner. The idea that one can learn enough to call bullshit quickly is a bit unrealistic. The recent metatalk thread shows this in action. This is also a moving target, so what seemed like a great idea 3 years ago can bite your ass next year.

Get any two books on SEO and you will see they will have advice that is diametrically opposed.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:26 AM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, keep in mind that while your SEO product manager may or may not be a bullshitter, Google and placement thereon is a complex thing that is a rapidly moving target. Google keeps a lot of things secret because if they were known, black-hat types would simply use that knowledge to game the system. Sometimes things DO become known (or perhaps a better statement might be - some black-hat scheme becomes consistently effective), with the result that Google - changes stuff. So a perfectly competent SEO person can still wake up and find out that everything they've been doing is out the window because they're collateral damage.

So I'd recommend learning more, but as a means to - knowing more about what this person is supposed to be doing. Not as a means to finding a "gotcha," which is a big difference.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:36 AM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Our SEO product manager likes to obfuscate things so no one can pin him down. It is my job to pin him down and call bullshit.

Buzzwords and vagueness...Unfortunately, it sounds like your SEO PM subscribes to the snake-oil side of SEO. You're going to be hard-pressed to win against him.

Google's Webmaster resources (which cCranium liked to) is probably your best weapon, as the vast majority of SEO is aimed directly at gaming Google, and "Google recommends..." is probably going to carry a lot of weight with your superiors.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:36 AM on July 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

Note: The following may or may not be relevant to your needs, but I'm throwing it in there anyway.

I have a wordpress site, and I have the SEO by Yoast plug in.
This massive article is a great way to start.

I will say that after installing the plug in, and paying attention to the way I create my blog posts, my website traffic has increased and is actually on an upward curve.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 8:02 AM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

SEO for Dummies was where I started out. Some of it is really basic, but it explains things pretty clearly.
posted by vickyverky at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2014

There's a cheat sheat at that link, too.
posted by vickyverky at 11:49 AM on July 31, 2014

Dirty little secret - legit, white-hat SEO is 1 part head knowledge, 1 part luck, and 10 parts lots and lots of hard work. Writing stuff people actually want to read (or buy) and doing a lot of tedious little things to set it up properly. That's why so many people want to make it seem so mysterious. Like a lot of other things to do with marketing, everyone's looking for a "secret sauce" / shortcut.
posted by randomkeystrike at 9:21 AM on August 1, 2014

I run an advertising agency that does a lot of work with SEO for our clients. I highly recommend Moz.com as a resource (their software platform is good too) along with searchengineland.com as resources. If you want to get serious about SEO you can also look to attend search conferences such as SMX (searchmarketingexpo.com). In my experience once you know the basic principles SEO requires lots of constant reading a learning - which is part of the fun of it, honestly - in order to stay up to date.
posted by tundro at 7:26 AM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

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