Search engine optimization, or SEO, can drive sustainable, cost-effective traffic to your site over time without the cost of paid advertising.
The challenge of course, is that the industry is constantly evolving. What worked yesterday may no longer work today.
Beyond that, the specifics of SEO can be technical and there’s lots of outdated and simply incorrect or unethical advice out there.
So we’ve rounded up the best SEO blogs for business owners to check-in with to keep up with SEO. Even if you’re hiring someone else to do your SEO, understanding the basics of where things are in this important industry is always a good idea.
Our SEO Blog Recommendations
Moz brings together the best of the best in the SEO industry under one roof. Multiple authors contribute their expertise to this blog, offering you access to thorough guides, how-to lessons, and relevant advice that will help your business grow online.
One of their top posts is the weekly Whiteboard Friday video, which is often hosted by co-founder Rand Fishkin. Each video, which is about 15 minutes in length, will give you technical details about how to implement effective SEO strategies for your business.
“SEO isn’t all meta tags and content,” shares Britney Mueller in a recent post. “A huge part of the success you’ll see is tied up in the inevitable business negotiations.”
Ahrefs writes a practical SEO blog which corresponds to the services the company offers. There are usually 1-2 posts per week that will give you actionable ideas that you can use to improve the organic attention your website receives. There is a heavy focus on content creation and creating more backlinks to your site.
They also bring in data from searches and their own SEO work to help you understand what is going right or what could be going wrong with the structure of your website.
Joshua Hardwick, head of content at Ahrefs, offers this simple suggestion in a recent blog post: write for the same sites that publish your competitors’ guest posts.
Of course, the suggestions do tend to involve using premium company services. You will also find, however, that the additional insights offered beyond what Ahrefs can do will help you grow your business over time.
One of the biggest issues all of us face with a website is outside of our control. We rely on the algorithms of Google (and other search providers) to promote the content we create as the most valuable to searchers.
If Google changes their algorithm, then you are forced to change your approach to SEO. If you’re just getting started with your optimization process, it can be difficult to know what you can do to adjust.
The posts offered on the SEMRush blog give you practical ways to find innovative solutions to algorithm adjustments and other changes that may occur within the search engine.
Take a recent post authored by Brett Elliott regarding how to find keywords you ranked or lost after an algorithm update.
“The first thing we need to do is found out which pages experienced large gains or drops,” writes Elliott. Then he takes you through the analytics for your site, provided by Google Analytics, to track organic traffic entrances.
Then you can track which keywords that are ranking for your site, helping you to understand how algorithm changes are affecting your organic traffic.
Founded by Brian Dean, the amount of SEO knowledge you will find on this website is incredible. Even if you’ve never contemplated doing your own optimization, the practical guides and advice offered by Dean makes it possible to sit down and see gains almost right away.
One of his most recent posts is entitled 27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018.
Like most good blog posts, Dean over-delivers by offering two bonus strategies in addition to the number promoted in the title.
One piece of advice really stands out in this post. Dean recommends that you create content which appeals to your influencers.
By recognizing specific problems within your industry, you can present solutions that are meaningful and brand-specific to your company. That generates interest in your content, which then creates more opportunities for shares and mentions.
If those mentions happen on an authority site, you will see a spike in your organic traffic. Then keep repeating that process to see a nice boost from your SEO efforts.
5.Search Engine Watch
This blog is unique with its structure because it feels more like a news site. You’ll find several interesting posts available above the fold at any given time. Multiple authors contribute to the content, providing a diverse array of opinions that can help you understand SEO on a deeper level.
One stand-out post asks an interesting question. Is it important for SEO to rank first?
For many business owners, getting the top rank is a critical outcome for their optimization investment. That is because you’ll find SEO statistics that say one-third of search traffic goes to the No. 1 position in Google.
“The big difference with SEO ranking through the years is that search engines are becoming smarter,” says Tereza Litsa. “Users are happier with the ease of finding what they’re looking for and businesses have to adapt in the way SEO works.”
This blog also helps you understand the additional boxes Google offers, what Position Zero really means, and the importance of local information being up-to-date for your business listing.
6. Matthew Woodward
When you speak with SEO professionals, you’ll find that most will tell you that your optimization must include link building for the work to be effective. The author of this blog, Matthew Woodward, decided to conduct an experiment.
He wanted to see what would happen if you did SEO without link building.
The results were instant. He reached six figures with his blog in less than 12 months.
As an added benefit, Woodward covers more than just SEO. He shares insights into marketing, internal linking, and affiliate work that can help you structure your online presence better.
Woodward adds about one new post per month. His advice is clear and precise.
“If your site has many different pages,” Woodward writes, “like blog posts, landing pages, and an about us page – you can expect a wide range of bounce rates. That’s why you need to take a look at the bounce rate of each individual page to see which one has the highest bounce rate right now.”
“You should focus on fixing the pages with the highest bounce rate and the most traffic before anything else.”
7. Search Engine Journal
As you begin your quest to improve organic results through SEO, most businesses find that they see less traffic headed their way instead of more.
That is because optimization is only one element of the sales funnel which brings better sales your way. The structure of your website also matters.
This SEO blog does an excellent job of going beyond the basics of optimization to help you promote a website that is viewed as valuable to the casual visitor.
“You need to set up your website correctly to bring in qualified leads that can then be converted into paying customers,” is the advice offered in their post entitled 20 Possible Reasons Why Your Site Traffic Dropped.
“There are many causes of sudden drops in website traffic. Being able to diagnose and identify the reasons will determine whether your business suffers what could be a disaster or you get your web traffic back on track.”
If you are operating a WordPress website, then you are likely familiar with the Yoast plugin for SEO. That plugin is nice because it gives you real-time feedback about the quality of your content and optimization efforts.
You’ll find category-specific topics covered by the Yoast blog, including content, technical SEO, and social media optimization. If you are new to SEO, there is an entire section which covers the basics of SEO to make life easier.
You can also sign up to receive SEO tips each week, if you don’t mind a sales pitch for their products coming your way.
9. Neil Patel
If you are using any form of search engine optimization or internet marketing, then there is a good chance that Neil Patel has influenced your approach in some way. He is regularly recognized as a Top 10 influencer and a Top 100 entrepreneur.
From a content marketing perspective, one of his best posts is simple and straightforward: “How to Write a Blockbuster Blog Post in 45 Minutes.”
“While blogging isn’t a direct sales tool,” writes Patel, “you want to be intentional about choosing topics that are aligned with what your business offers. That way, you’re not blogging for the sake of blogging and are more likely to see a return on your time investment.”
Patel covers every SEO topic with thorough how-to guides, including screenshots and research references, to help you develop your own plan of attack.
Navigating the blog from the home page can be a little difficult at times, so use the search box on the site to research specific topics. Then you will find plenty of reading material to consume.
10. Search Engine Land
If you want to learn more about the current events happening in the SEO industry, then this is the blog you must follow. It will track Google’s algorithm updates in real time and give you relevant advice to avoid search engine penalties.
It is also one of the few blogs that will give you specific optimization advice for search engines besides Google, such as Bing.
A stand-out post on this blog is entitled “Flying Close to the Sun: SEO Tactics That May Get You Burned.”
“If you are willing to risk a Google penalty for the possibility of quicker or better rankings, then go for it!” writes Stephan Spencer. “Just don’t be surprise when Google gets wise to what you’re doing, and your traffic takes a nose dive.”
“Doesn’t matter if it’s months or years later; expect to pay the piper.”
11. SEO Book
Search engine optimization is about two-thirds knowledge and experience. The other third is based on the tools that you use to implement the techniques that you believe will work. SEO Book is the blog to follow when you want to have in-depth information about the different tools you’re thinking about using.
The blog itself is not very user-friendly, which is a little ironic, since it is an SEO blog that sometimes offers advice on how to create a better user experience.
Once you get used to the format, however, you will find the information presented is very relevant.
Grist for the Machine is a great example of this.
“The hype surrounding transformative technology that dis-intermediates geography and other legacy restraints only lasts so long.”
Every SEO technique will have some hype to it. What you must do is separate the hype from the process to use the techniques which will grow organic traffic for your company. This blog brings in observations from throughout the industry to help you be able to do this.
12. Search Engine Roundtable
Founded in 2003, Barry Schwartz has been providing information and advice about search engine optimization longer than most. What is nice about the structure of this blog is that the posts are quick and informational.
You’re able to stay up-to-date on relevant industry news. You can then access more information if something piques your interest.
Schwartz offers his own brief insights to the news or information that is being presented, along with a content blurb from another blog post or news item that he found to be interesting.
He also doesn’t pull any punches with his opinions.
“There is nothing like experience, and often, when you are new to something, hearing from those who have gone through things many times that you are for the first time experiencing is helpful,” he writes. “So, many help forums can be, um, helpful.”
Many of the posts have interesting discussions as well, often with relevant advice, that are also worth reading.
13. Cognitive SEO
If you like reading a good listicle, then you’re going to love this SEO blog.
Although there is a lot of in-depth content available, such as how to complete an HTTP to HTTPS migration, the real benefits come from specific, actionable ideas within specific subjects.
One stand-out post is called “45 Quick Traffic Hacks That Will Boost Your Website.”
The structure of each post like this is very convenient. You’ll receive all the different ideas at the beginning of the content. Each is linked to the specific answers you’re wanting.
That means you don’t waste a lot of time scanning the content for an actionable idea. Just review them all, then read the ones which seem interesting.
One quick traffic hack idea offered is to turn your infographics into in-depth articles. By repurposing the content into a different form, you get the opportunity to rank for more keywords.
Updates happen about once per week.
14. Hobo Web
This SEO blog would be ranked higher if it had been updated recently. The last new post occurred in March 2018 (at the time of writing this post, anyway).
It still makes this list of top SEO blogs because it is one of the few that separates the different optimization techniques you can use into relevant categories. If you want to learn more about keyword research, then just click on the link and you’ll see all relevant posts on the topic.
Although content marketing tends to be the focus of this blog, there are some interesting observations found here that you won’t find in other places. By taking the information you can glean from your CRM, you can tailor your content to meet the specific needs of your current and future customers.
One way to accomplish this is to look for keywords and long-tail phrases within the emails and messages being logged into your CRM. Watch for patterns that indicate your customers are experiencing certain issues that your goods or services can solve.
Then use a tool like keyword.io to research alternative keyword ideas that will help you be able to expand your optimization footprint within your specialization areas.
“Examine these keywords to see what questions they ask,” writes Mike Moran, a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and a senior strategist for multiple organizations. “Learn which keywords go with which products. These are the steps to take to see what content you need to create.”
If you have an online presence, then you must make it mobile friendly. This SEO blog will give you relevant information about what you can do to improve your organic mobile traffic.
As you take a look at this site, however, you’re also going to see some of the things that you shouldn’t be doing with modern optimization.
Take the Do This, Get That Guide on SEO Company piece that was recently published. Does that title even make sense?
Then look at the subheadings in the piece. It is very clear that the post is attempting to rank for the keyword “SEO company.”
Try to read the whole post. You can also tell that this content was generated from somewhere else because of how the content reads. The author likely used spinning software to get the content to pass duplication filters.
“Remember which you’re looking for a search engine marketing company, so their site ought to be on the surface of the search results.”
That sentence would read better as, “Remember that you’re looking for a search engine marketing organization, so their website should be on the top of the search results.”
Spinning software would automatically swap out common words to adjust how the sentence reads. Without editing the content afterward, you’re always left with awkward sentences like this example.
Never take shortcuts with SEO. It will only take away from the reputation you’ve worked hard to build for your business.
17. Google Webmaster Central Blog
If you want to stay up-to-date with how SEO is evolving, then it is helpful to go right to the source of the information. This blog does an excellent job of keeping everyone updated about what is happening at Google.
Although the blog is updated when events necessitate information being shared, so it can be sporadic, you will still find the older content to be useful. The new URL inspection tool overview is just one example of this.
18. John Battelle
Battelle is a co-founder of WIRED and his insights about search engine marketing and optimization come from a personal perspective. Instead of receiving how-to guides or troubleshooting help, each post feels like you’re having a conversation.
One of his most insightful recent posts is called “The Tragedy of the Data Commons.”
“One of the most fundamental tensions in an open society is the potential misuse of resources held ‘in common’ – resources to which all individuals have access,” he writes.
With SEO, we are effectively breaking down customer demographics into sub-segments. We focus on people who are interested in what we have because they are the most likely to purchase something.
In doing so, we often miss the other people who might not be as interested in a purchase today. Instead of looking to the future, SEO tends to focus on the present.
Battelle puts it this way. “Once the system can discriminate on a multitude of data points, the commons collapses, devolving into a system rewarding whoever has the most profitable profile.”
Remember that search engine optimization must provide relevant information for all visitors, not just a privileged few.
19. Content Marketing Institute
There’s a reason why content marketing and SEO are intertwined. Without content, you have no effective way to communicate to visitors or search engines. This blog helps you be able to refine you content to help it make the greatest impact possible.
Multiple authors contribute to this blog, each bringing their own perspectives of content creation to you. There is also a podcast and magazine you can use as resources with this organization as well.
“Good content is one thing, but great online content is another,” writes Julia McCoy. “[Great content] should convert like crazy. After all, that’s the point of content creation for us.”
20. SEO By the Sea
Founded by Bill Slawski, this SEO blog looks at the whitepapers and patents which come from Google and the other search engines. There are fewer posts which speculate about what you can or cannot do with modern optimization, with Slawski’s focus being on proven techniques which build results out of direct feedback.
He will also pull in discussions, posts, and other forms of media that are structured in a similar way. One such example is his post entitled, “Learning to Rank.”
Much of the information provided on this blog tends to be technical in nature, simply because of its content focus. If you’re just getting started with SEO, you may wish to wait until you’re more familiar with the structures of optimization to glean insights from it.
What is great about this SEO blog is that it uses insights from the marketing work their team does every day to create useful posts. Optimization is more than technique implementation and keyword reports. There is a very human element to SEO which cannot be ignored.
Kayla Walker addresses this idea in her stand-out post called “Being a Better Human – How to Give Better Positive Feedback.”
BONUS SEO BLOG: Tubular Insights
When content marketing is discussed from an SEO perspective, the mind naturally wanders to the written word.
With improvements in ISP connections, video is an area of SEO where your business can gain a competitive edge.
This unique SEO website takes a look at how video marketing can be turned into analytic information that helps you refine the focus of your SEO efforts.
The blog also presents real-time trends and statistics which can help you modify an optimization effort as consumer preferences change in your industry.
A recent post discusses the growing popularity of Fortnite fail videos, with over 726 million views on YouTube in the first three months of 2018 alone. In October 2017, the same type of video content received just 7 million views.
By watching for trends, then taking advantage of them, you can take advantage of trending searches to boost your SEO efforts.
The posts on this site will help you understand how that can be done, then offer relevant advice that can be applied to your business.
New SEO Perspectives Create Opportunities for Your Business
Benjamin Barber once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures. I divide the world into the learners and the non-learners.”
Search engine optimization can feel like an intimidating process which could do more harm than good. Attempting to understand the entire world of SEO at once will only hasten the formation of these feelings.
To be effective with SEO, we must each look at the goals we have for our businesses. We must use optimization to push closer toward our goals.
There must be a clear purpose behind our efforts.
Then we must remember the human element of this process. Search engines, crawlers, and bots are not going to be purchasing goods and services. People are. We must include the user experience as part of our SEO efforts to be successful.
This is a process which takes time. For some companies, an SEO campaign which risks no penalties may not begin producing results for 12+ months.
It is a journey that can be frustrating at times. It might seem like a fruitless effort, especially if traffic levels drop initially.
Thankfully, these SEO blogs help to pass the time. They provide insights, wisdom, and encouragement. Be sure to add them to your reading list today.