To learn the art and science of SEO (search engine optimization) it is my belief that the best source is your own efforts at hypothesis, experimentation and refinement.
If you’re starting from scratch and really have no idea what SEO is, then certainly one of the popular SEO books would be a appropriate as well as attending an industry conference like SES, SMX, Pubcon or a regional event.
Both Google and Bing have made great efforts at providing webmasters with resources that are worth checking out as well. Online SEO training like that offered by Market Motive (affiliate link) can help those without the time to attend “real world” events.
For brand marketers, I’d suggest checking out the ad:tech New York Marketing Masters SEM Track in November that I’ve been putting together with case studies and best practices SEO and Integrated PPC insights from VW, REI, Salesforce and several others. (shameless plug)
Every other SEO resource has pretty much been covered in posts like this elsewhere on the web but when sourcing any kind of recommended list (including this one) care should be taken as to motive and real-world validity of the advice and information provided. There are plenty of smart pontificators that have taken “make shit up” to an art form, blending reasonable advice with pure theory and packaging it as SEO gospel. In fact, that same dose of healthy skepticism could be applied to anything you find and read on the web.
Literally everything you’d ever want to know about becoming a successful SEO is online, you just have to sort through what’s theory, rant and outdated information. That’s why, if you create a strong base of knowledge through your own testing and direct observation, you’ll be in a better position to filter quality signal from the noise.
We just added a review of the 2012 MarketingSherpa SEO Benchmark Report – a great source of data driven insights about SEO. Very useful as a SEO learning tool. A similar resource that we’ve reviewed: Econsultancy SEO Best Practices Guide is also a great aid in learning SEO.
Whether you’ve been in the search engine optimization game for 1 or 10 years, what have you found to be the best sources of information to learn, maintain and advance your SEO knowledge? What would you recommend to a SEO newbie? Or to an in-house interactive marketer with SEO responsibilities but limited time to test and learn on their own?