The SEO industry gets quite a bit of grief for its previous incarnations, sometimes being labeled or viewed as a snake oil industry. A lot of people made a lot of money telling clients a lot of fluff that ultimately didn’t return the results people were expecting. Some of those same people spent a lot of money buying links in bulk that burned their clients, ultimately leaving them to believe that SEO was nothing more than a quick buck being made with no real substance.

You might be surprised to learn that I think that’s a fair assessment given the history of the industry. Black hat tactics were extremely effective for a long period of time and returned great results. But for those people that got burned, they don’t see the shedding of skin that SEO has been taking over the past couple of years. This new coat requires a lot of knowledge about your industry and building effective strategies around that knowledge that incorporate many moving parts in unison.

But where do you turn to get effective tactics backed up by data and research?

Who to Read and Why

What I want to do with this post is give you a few resources that I use to stay up to date on industry news and updates. It’s extremely easy to get lost in a lot of noise and fluff in SEO, especially with content being the hot item. There are constantly articles being posted that don’t say anything new or provide any real tactics to get your started. Hopefully, I can change that a bit for you.

Here’s who I read:

1. SEO Theory

SEO Theory - Michael Martinez, the creator and author of SEO Theory, always writes in-depth articles that give great insight from both experience and historic insights. Michael doesn’t write to win you over, he doesn’t write to create hype or buzz, and he doesn’t write to capitalize on fears.

Whether debunking myths, providing link building thoughts, or just helping you understand what you are reading, Michael gives honest views on industry topics and news that you can inherit yourself or explore deeper for your own thought process. That’s the great thing about Michael’s writing - he makes you have an opinion and dig deeper. Alone this is a lot more than you can say for a lot of SEO outlets pumping out nonstop content that doesn’t really do much besides waste your time.

He also has a great newsletter and weekly tips that you can take advantage of to keep up-to-date and a sweet website banner. I highly recommend it.

2. SEO By the Sea

SEO by the Sea - Simply put, Bill Slawski is fantastic at taking complex ideas and patents from Google and explaining them. With a Juris Doctorate Degree from Widener University School of Law and multiple speaking engagements at Search Engines Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, and Webmaster’s World PubCon, Slawski is a thought leader in algorithms, personalized search, and semantic search.

Bill has written great articles with topics ranging from ranking factors to text extraction and quality scores for news sources with each post making you appreciate the complexity of a search engine rather than gaming it. This is definitely a blog for the more technical SEO and those that are interested in how search engines may work.

But wherever you fall in the SEO spectrum, you will learn something new and exciting.

3. Moz

Moz - I like Rand Fishkin. I find him to be extremely personable and a fantastic marketer. I have always loved his style and always found his blog posts and content to be engaging.

Rand and his team are great at breaking down different marketing theories and giving you great tactics to try out on your own. They make you feel empowered to test ideas and take chances with new thought processes.

Even the least seasoned SEOs and marketers are able to find information on Moz that will help them get started, especially in the Moz Academy section. You are also able to join the community, post your own blog posts, ask questions, and earn points. The community aspect is fantastic and you learn a lot.

You can also connect with me there.

4. Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land is made up a community of writers specializing in SEO, SEM, local search, and digital marketing news. While the site has recently diversified into these other areas, they still keep you up-to-date on the latest news and updates in SEO with articles on potential algorithm updates and SEO tips you can try on your own.

While it might not necessarily be as in-depth as some of the others on this list, it is a great place to stay in the loop on the latest in the digital marketing world and to pick up some tips along the way.

5. Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts leads the web spam team over at Google and is a great resource for questions on search engine best practices. He will generally give you warnings on algorithm updates and tell you the types of things you should be focusing on with your website.

His blog has little tidbits of information, but he also answers user questions on YouTube often to give you in-depth answers on how Google views your website and how to avoid tripping their spam algorithm.

6. Occam’s Razor - Avinash Kaushik

If you’re a big fan of Google Analytics like us, you’ll definitely want to follow Avinash. He is an analytics wizard that takes the confusion out of looking at your data. While his posts can be quite lengthy, they are full of information you can use to to supercharge your data.

He also does a great job of speaking on a more common level so readers don’t get lost in the technicalities of the data.

Follow his blog to get the latest tips and tricks for deciphering your website’s traffic.

Read Blogs and News That Speaks to You

I am by no means claiming these blogs to be the end-all to SEO and digital marketing; these are the ones that I enjoy the most and have found to be the most insightful. Whatever you read and whatever industry you are involved in, always read blogs and news that are going to challenge your thought process or give you a new perspective. That’s the only way you are going to grow and become more knowledgeable in your field.

It’s easy to get lost in noise and steered in the wrong direction. Always keep your reading list small and to the point. Don’t immerse yourself in multiple sources at one time. Find sources you like, take your time, read, see how it applies to you and your website, experiment, and track your changes. You’ll learn so much more that way. Enjoy!

Let’s have a conversation - who are you guys reading? Did I miss anyone? Let me know below and also why readers should check out that blog or outlet!