Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a critical cornerstone of modern business.  With the right SEO strategies, even a new website can get noticed and ranked with search engines that will send visitors and ultimately customers to the site.  However, if you're a beginner and are looking for ways to help direct traffic to your website, where can you go for help?

The good news is that there are plenty of resources available that can help beginners with SEO, including free guides that share quality tips and useful tools that can help you enhance your SEO.  New webmasters can also chat with the veterans in forums discussing SEO topics, and you can always follow reputable SEO experts in their blogs. 

Free SEO Guides

The internet is home to a medley of “freebies,” and free SEO guides are no exception.  With all the SEO guides available, how does one know which to read?  First, chose a guide that is written by a reputable SEO expert.  A practiced SEO expert can offer the best advice in a well-written and composed e-book.  What do you have to do to get these free guides?  Usually just supplying your email address for a regular newsletter or subscribing to a blog is all you need to do.  

What are the best guides?  The first place that a beginner should look is Google.  Google is by far the largest and most used search engine on the planet.  Additionally, Google has provided a plethora of information to help webmasters build great websites that are keen for search engine ranking.  Start with Google's SEO Starter Guide.  This 22 page PDF format guide offers the best tips on creating page titles, meta tags, image usage, and much more to help your website get noticed by the Google search engine bots. 

Another great guide is the SEOmoz Beginner's Guide.  SEOmoz has become one of the leading blogs and resources for website SEO.  They've been featured on Newsweek, USA Today, The Washington Post, and many other major print and web media outlets.

Helpful SEO Tools

You can find plenty of internet tools that can help you with your SEO efforts.  Of particular interest are tools that help you discover the best keywords to use in your website.  Using targeted keywords is one of the main strategies in SEO that help differentiate your site from others.  Using the right keywords and phrases can mean the difference between getting noticed and getting buried within thousands of other similar websites.

Google, of course, offers a keyword tool to help with their Google AdWords application.  This application allows you to input a keyword to evaluate its approximate search volume, as well as how competitively the keyword is used by other websites.  You can also get plenty of alternate keyword ideas with this tool.

Other useful tools you can find online might be, but are not limited to:

  • Traffic Measurement
  • Link Popularity
  • Rank Checkers
  • Toolbar Tools
  • Anchor Text Analysis

Webmaster Forums

If you want to know what the best webmasters are talking about and discover their SEO secrets, check the webmaster forums, where they post questions and have lively discussions about important website topics. 

One major forum is Webmaster World, where you can find news and discussions for web professionals.  The list of topics can be overwhelming at first, but you can browse the topic index and find the SEO categories that suit your needs. DigitalPoint is another great webmaster forum for SEO tips and tools, as well as access to a webmaster forum.  If you can't find what you're looking for, feel free to leave a question that can be answered by community experts. 

SEO Blogs Penned by Experts

SEO blogs are an excellent way to stay ahead of changes in the algorithms.  Matt Cutts, a search engine software engineer at Google, started his blog in 2005, offering resources for webmasters on topics concerning SEO.  In many of his blog posts, Matt highlights faulty and sneaky SEO tactics that Google does not like.  These important “what-not-to-do” posts can be extremely helpful in realizing what your website does and does not need to get ranked by Google. 

Other helpful blogs you should read include:

Free information is easily and readily available for SEO topics.  If you are new to the world of SEO, take advantage of these resources.  Good luck with your optimization!