Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is overall a basic concept. It’s the act of ensuring that your web properties can be found by search engines, such as Google.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Once you delve deeper past that basic concept, you then have ranking factors, Google updates, coding speak, content debates and user behavior.

We’ve talked about the top SEO tools to track your campaigns, so let’s take a step back and talk about some of the best free resources out on the Interweb to understand the metrics you’re tracking.

Top SEO Guides to Download Now

1. The Short Cutts – Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s Webspam team and is essentially their spokesperson when offering advice to the public on maintaining their websites. Whenever Cutts talks about specific Google algorithm updates, it’s usually through a lengthy YouTube video that often finds you scratching your head wondering if he really explained anything at all.

Skip the puzzling videos from Cutts himself and head over to The Short Cutts – an awesome blog that gives you the “jist” of what Cutts is describing in each of his videos.

2. Google’s 200 Ranking Factors [Infographic] – When I first saw this infographic, I felt warm and fuzzy with nerd goodness! This is a complete list of what we know are Google’s ranking factors in a beautiful infographic. You should print this out and have it plastered on the wall immediately! Many thanks to Search Engine Journal and Back Link for being so nerdtastic.

3. SEO: The Free Beginner’s Guide by Moz – Probably the best SEO training guide out there, this free guide by Moz should be your first step if you’re training someone (or learning yourself) what exactly SEO is and how search engines work. You can even download it as a PDF for easy printing – Chapter 4 is my favorite when training team members.

4. Link Building Strategies – The Complete List – What is link building? What does it mean? This post is where you can get a full breakdown of how to gain relevant links to your sites and gives you an estimate on how long each tactic will take you and what exactly you’ll need. Link building is still one of the most misunderstood SEO tactics out there and is often done “behind the scenes” by a hired third party. Boost your link counts or keep your agency on track with this interactive guide. It’s been shared over 5,000 times, so that’s got to tell you something.

5. Google’s Search Engine Optimization Guide – In addition to Matt Cutts’ videos, Google does put out some resources regarding SEO. Start with their SEO Guide, which then links to their Webmaster Guidelines. They even offer a one-page guide for easy reading that focuses mostly on meta data, content and digital asset optimization.

What SEO tools and resources do you lean on? Tell us in the comments!

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