Resources: SEO, Web Design and More

Resources: SEO, Web Design and More

Learning SEO

Learning Web Design

General SEO Tools

Wordpress Plugins

Web Design & Development

Keyword Research

Keyword Research Tools

Content Development & Content Marketing

Content Marketing in Boring Industries

Link Building

Social Media Marketing

Local SEO

Review Management & Acquisition

Local SEO Blogs

On-Site SEO, Site Structure & URLs

Big Picture SEO & Misc SEO

Misc. Marketing

Other Tools & Resources

Learning SEO

How SEO Works (The Plain English Version)

This post was designed to explain what SEO is and how it works, without getting into the weeds of teaching you the process. Start here.

The Beginner's Guide to SEO

Moz’s guide is clear, comprehensive, and absolutely essential. Start here.

How to Learn SEO in 2017 (and Stay Sane)

Once you’ve learned a little bit about the basics of SEO, this resource will show you where else to learn, who you should follow, the big skill sets that are in daily use, and what advice to take with a grain of salt.


A lot of SEO is shaped by Google’s webmaster guidelines, and Varvy is your best shot at understanding them. This guide delves into each one in great detail, trying to define the mechanics behind Google’s language, and providing real world advice on how to approach it for your own site.

Hubspot’s Marketing Library

Hubspot’s guides cover a lot of ground, from understanding what role social media plays in SEO to conversion rate optimization.

200+ Actionable SEO Tips In One ‘Noob Friendly’ Guide

An easily digestible, intentionally oversimplified list of basically everything worth considering for your SEO.

100+ Google SEO Success Factors, Ranked

This guide from Cyrus Shepard is probably the best balance between thorough insight and actionable advice. Strap in, it’s a long one.

Beginner’s guide to server response codes

Don’t know a 503 from a 404? Fix that.

An Essential Training Task List for Junior SEOs

Calling this list “essential” is a huge stretch - the truth is that you can make a great living in SEO if you don’t know squat about half of this list. It also severely downplays the role of link building, which is far and away one of the most important (and IMO, one of the most challenging) aspects of SEO.  That being said, it’s still one of the most comprehensive training lists in the industry.

Hall of Fame: The Best Marketing Articles of All Time

This is a cut above your average curated list, and it’s backed by a pretty decent methodology. This is a great place to start for a variety of marketing and SEO topics.

Local SEO: A Simple (But Complete) Guide

This is the single best guide to local SEO, period. This gives you all the guidance you need to DIY, but it also makes a great case for hiring a professional instead. :)

Learning Web Design


Never heard of an anchor tag or an h1? Start here and read this guide in order.


Learn basic HTML, Ruby, AngularJS, and everything in between for free. It’s a great resource - just make sure you know what you want to get out of it before going down the rabbit hole.

A Beginner’s Guide To Creating A WordPress Website

Exactly what it sounds like. This one starts from the assumption that you have a computer and know what a website is, and gets you to a live site.

Before You Launch a WordPress Site, Go Through This Checklist

Seriously. Do it.

Art Directed Posts

We’ve all seen them, but most of us probably don’t even know the name for them. If you want to support your flagship content with custom page-level CSS, here’s how to approach it. Article includes a wordpress plugin for the purpose.


The best DIY platform for building and hosting a good looking website. It has a ton of content block options, some basic SEO out of the box, and a great variety of responsive, quick-loading themes.

The Most Important Words Every New Web Design Client Must Hear

Some big picture/design philosophy notes for managing web design client expectations and keeping projects on track. This is also a good mantra for building your own websites.

Why “Simple” Websites Are Scientifically Better

A smart, well-illustrated look at the benefits of simpler websites.

A slick, well-organized way to learn and reference CSS rules.

General SEO Tools

Moz Pro

A great all-in-one SEO suite that includes rank tracking, link checking, site crawl functions, keyword research, reporting, and more. If you want to do DIY SEO and are willing to spend $99/mo, this is a solid place to start.


For $99/month, Ahrefs is the best link checker money can buy. It tends to find a lot more links than Moz’s open site explorer, though the results often require a little more scrutiny. Its built in keyword explorer is also pretty amazing, and they’re adding new features constantly. If you’re considering it, be sure to read this post that explains the platform’s proprietary metrics.


A decent way to estimate a competitor’s ranking keywords and search volume for midsize and larger sites. It can drop the ball for smaller sites, and Ahrefs provides a lot of the same features. Where SEMrush has an edge is that it also discovers paid traffic sources, provides keyword data for it, and estimates traffic.

SEMrush is free for the first several scans per day.

Screaming Frog’s Spider

A free site crawler, and one of my absolute favorite SEO tools. I use it to check server codes (like redirects and 404s), access meta data quickly (like title and description tags), and model site architecture. Check our SEER Interactive’s quick tutorials for 55+ use cases.

There’s also a paid version and a 5% chance that you’ll need it.

Moz Local

At $84/location, you can pump your local business’s data to all the major data sources, like Infogroup and Acxiom, which then pass it to Google Local, Apple Maps, and more. If you don’t have the resources to manually submit to all these data sources, or if you’re trying to clean up bad data, this is a smart, cost effective way to do it.


Yext is similar to Moz Local, but covers a lot more customer-facing directories (like Yelp, Yellowpages, and eLocal) instead of the data aggregators. The pricing is all over the place, but plan for about $500/year. Moz Local is generally a better (and cheaper) option, though Yext has its benefits if you’re looking for an all-in-one suite. Generator

This generator is quick way to wrap businesses or reviews in rich markup language, which has all sorts of odd benefits. The output’s formatting is a little whacky, but it’s a good starting point.

10 Free Online Marketing Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs

I use several of these tools on a very regular basis.

Wordpress Plugins

Yoast SEO

Pound for pound, Yoast SEO is the best SEO wordpress plugin by a substantial margin – and it’s free. Use it to control your indexing rules, page titles, archival rules, and to keep track of your keyword targeting. If you don’t know what that means, read Yoast’s essential Wordpress SEO guide.

Jetpack by

Jetpack is the Swiss army knife of Wordpress plugins. Its publication, security, and integration features are all pretty handy, and it’s free to boot.


Akismet is a powerful anti-spam plugin for your comments and forms. By Wordpress, for Wordpress.


Covers a lot of the same ground as Jetpack, but does a few things better. I usually install it for the better social sharing buttons, if nothing else.


It’s a premium plugin, but if you’re keeping track of multiple Wordpress sites, ManageWP will help you keep everything backed up remotely and up to date from one central dashboard. Their site cloning tools aren’t bad either.

Web Design & Development

How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site - And Increase Organic Traffic By 39.1%

This intensely in-depth guide goes through just about every aspect of speeding up a WordPress site. Get comfy--it’s a long one.

Keyword Research

How to Do Keyword Research - The Beginner's Guide to SEO

When you’re ready to learn about keyword research, start here.

A Step-by-Step Process for Discovering and Prioritizing the Best Keywords - Whiteboard Friday

Probably the best practical, high-level walkthrough of keyword research I’ve seen.

Keyword Research: The Ultimate Guide

“The Ultimate Guide” might be overselling it a little, but it’s still a solid, fairly comprehensive guide.

A Complete Guide to Keyword Research

This isn’t even remotely a complete guide to keyword research, and that’s a good thing. Instead of focusing on content mapping and finding accurate keyword search volumes, this is all about reshaping your keyword targeting philosophy around non-commercial keywords and defining new keyword goals.

Use this 19 Step Keyword Research Process to SKYROCKET your Organic Search Traffic

Hyperbole aside, this is a great guide for harvesting large lists of keywords. I have to give it bonus points for including Keyword Shitter in the process.

How to Use Google Keyword Planner in 2018 (and Beyond)

This guide from Ahrefs, an indirect competitor to keyword planner, shows just how far you can push Google’s free tool.

How to do Keyword Research in 90 Minutes

The long, thorough, and fairly legitimate approach to keyword research.

How to Build a Killer Content → Keyword Map for SEO - Whiteboard Friday

How to match your keywords to your urls, identify quick opportunities, and prioritize longer term options.

Frustrated by Lack of Google Keyword Planner Data? Try the Forecasting Tool

A free and surprisingly reasonable workaround for Google’s missing keyword data.

LSI Graph

Give it your target keyword and it spits out other keywords you should consider adding to the page. That’s all it does, and that’s all it needs to do.

Keyword Research Tools


This grown-up Yahoo Answers is a great way to find blog topic opportunities for any subject. Just Google the first relevant question you stumble across and see if anyone’s turned it into a blog post. If not, go for it.

Answer The Public

A keyword/topic generation tool with a generous dash of madness. Just try it.

SpaCy’s Semantic Analysis of the Reddit Hivemind 

A semantic map of every comment posted to Reddit in 2015. Great for exploring related topics at light speed without getting hung up on specific keywords.


A keyword/topic tool that generates a ton of extremely long tail options. This one sticks tightly to the seed keywords, for better or worse.

Yoast Google Suggest Expander

This tool works a lot like Ubersuggest, except it only returns Google’s “searches related to” keywords. Have fun with it.


A great long tail keyword generator. It only shows relative volumes (like Google Trends) but the autocomplete suggestions run deep.

Content Development & Content Marketing

10 Simple Steps for Creating a Blog Your Readers Will Adore

You could also call this Blogging 101.

How to Plan and Create Evergreen Content

A guide to publishing content that never goes out of style.

How to Find Data for Research-Backed Blog Posts – The Ultimate Guide to Writing High-Quality Content

This one is pretty long, but it’s all good stuff.

SEO Copywriting: 7 Steps to Make Sure Your Content Ranks in Google

This guide from Ahrefs is extremely meta - it attempts to rank for “SEO copywriting” which teaching you the techniques behind it. It also pokes holes in the competition in a healthy, insightful way. This should eventually rank first.

Types of Content Hubs: 5 Approaches & 30+ Examples

Building a content hub is a fantastic way to help position your site as a topical authority, and this hub of hubs is a great place to start.

10 Conversion Copy Tips Every SEO Writer Needs to Know

If you’re more comfortable writing SEO copy than sales copy, this is the article for you. It covers topics like headline structure, matching your approach to your audience, and what makes a good CTA.

We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned (New Research)

This piece from Buzzsumo goes into an absurd amount of depth about the top performing headline structures and the psychological factors behind them. This one is a must read.

Deconstructing Linkbait: How to Create Content That Attracts Backlinks

If you’re trying to build some serious links and don’t read this, that’s your fault.

Evergreen Content: How Updating An Old Post Boosted Pageviews by 468%

The story of one optimizer who found an accidental evergreen post on his site and turned it into a top performer. Everyone in the industry should try this at least once.

White Hat SEO Case Study: How to Get a #1 Ranking

A very thorough case study of Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique featuring an office snack delivery subscription company. Grab some trail mix, because this one might take a while to get through.

Outsourcing Content: Tips, Tricks and Workflows That We Use at Ahrefs

Includes tips you can use for vetting and hiring on any platform, plus an experiment to find the best platform for hiring quality writers.

Debunking the Myth of Long Form Content: A Data-Driven Case for Short Content

A strong argument against the skyscraper technique. You should read this one before trying out either approach.

The Non-Writer’s Guide To Creating “Big” Content

A pretty excellent walkthrough of what it takes to create skyscraper content, from choosing your keywords to hiring your writers.

How to create a style guide for your SEO content writers

This is a great guide to creating concise, straightforward guidelines for outsourced writers to keep them on brand and help them understand the objectives behind the content they produce.

How We Gained More than 100 Links for a Travel Website via Content Marketing

A great case study on leveraging pop culture fan bases for completely unrelated link building.

A Data-Driven Guide to Viral Content

A toolkit of ways to make content more shareable and viral. A few of these will be common sense on your first readthrough, and it shouldn’t take too long for the rest to become totally natural.

Why It's a Bad Idea to Only Create Content for Your Specific Target Audience - Whiteboard Friday

This advice is rock solid - especially for those who specialize in “boring” industries.

6 Exceptional Content Marketing Examples You Should Emulate In 2016

What I like about this post is that all six examples take totally different approaches to content marketing, from the blog that only posts one thing a month, to the site that publishes 35 posts per day.

3 Requirements For A Successful Link Building Campaign

Straightforward and true, but it bears repeating.

What 300+ Content Marketing Campaigns Can Teach You About Earning Links

A great rundown of which kinds of content elements make a big difference when it comes to link building.

9 Tangible Linkable Asset Ideas and How to Build Links to Them

This one shows its age a little (I probably wouldn’t make blogroll links a high priority) but most of it is timeless.

How to use Reddit search to discover winning content ideas

Pretty straightforward guide, though I suggest searching through subreddits with Metareddit instead.

16 Actionable SEO Copywriting Secrets That Will Drive More Traffic To Your Site

Most posts with this kind of title are chock full of common sense, but Brian Dean delivers. If every writer I worked with covered all of these bases, I’d be a happy man. #11 is my go-to intro formula now.

The Complete SEO Strategy That Increased Our Blog’s Search Traffic by 89% (in 3 months)

Spoiler: deleting your old, crappy posts can be a good idea, but read this first.

The Advanced Content Promotion Checklist

Extremely thorough, actionable, and straightforward, this guide tells you exactly which sites you should share your content on.  

9 Tangible Linkable Asset Ideas and How to Build Links to Them

Even if you’ve been doing content marketing for a while, you probably haven’t considered a couple of these options. My favorite probably has to be inventing a word - it’s a long term play, but a strong one.

3 Ways to Reoptimize Underperforming Content

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Have fun.

75 Content Marketing Examples to Inspire Your SEO

Need links? So did these guys, before they built their A+ cornerstone content.

10X Content - a curated list created by Rand Fishkin of Moz

God-tier content without a lot of context.

Resource Page Link Building

How to build links to resource pages

An In-Depth Look at Guest Blogging in 2016 (Case Studies, Data & Tips)

A great, data-backed look at guest blogging costs and benefits. This is an A+ post.

4 Fascinating Pieces of Link Bait that Generated INSANE Backlink Totals

What do Red Bull, Axl Rose, and Pornhub have in common? This.

SEO for Bloggers: How to Nail the Optimization Process for Your Posts - Whiteboard Friday

This is a must watch video for every new (and potential) blogger. It’s a high level walkthrough (and essentially a checklist) of everything you should be doing during the blogging process.

How to Uncover SEO Content Marketing Ideas with Google Search Analytics

A quick and dirty, highly actionable guide on how to use Search Console to analyze your best performing content and leverage it into new post topics.

100 Practical Ideas for Small-Business Blog Posts

These ideas are mostly geared towards people who are really involved with the business, either as owners or central employees, but they’re a great set of prompts for anyone to work with.

What’s Stopping You From Creating Insanely Great Resource Pages?

Lots of things, probably. But read this anyways.

5 quick web page fixes any blogger can make

These should be common sense for any blogger, but too often they aren’t.

31 Value Proposition Examples You Wish You Had

This is a fun, smart post that looks at the value propositions for leading brands. That’s all there is to it.

What Does It Mean to "Write for SEO" in 2018? - Whiteboard Friday

I love this video. It covers what it meant to write for SEO through the ages, where we are today, and a brief writing process that works for today. A+ content.

Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator

Give this tool a target keyword and it will plug it into several winning blog title formulas. It’s so simple it hurts, but you’ll wish you thought of it.

14 Ways to Build Links Through Content Marketing

This one is a no nonsense post for someone with junior-level experience.

How to Do Content Curation for SEO: Your Starter Guide

Sometimes it makes more sense to compile, curate, or translate other peoples’ content instead of writing your own. Some really smart people even compile really long lists of helpful SEO resources. Crazy, right?

Content Marketing in Boring Industries

Content Marketing in Boring Industries

A nearly 90 minute Moz webinar that takes a pretty in-depth look at the subject.

Creative Content Marketing in a Boring Niche? Yes, Please.

A better than average rundown of your options for content marketing in boring niches, with plenty of examples.

How To Create Targeted Viral Posts that Drive HUGE Traffic (even in boring niches)

It’s a simple but powerful formula that will always stay on Google’s good side.

How This Boring Business Grew Its Inbound Leads by 252% In a Year

A clear, actionable post about abandoning your industry to target your audience. Frankly, I love this post.

5 reasons to create content outside your niche

This post’s makes a strong argument for a simple premise: publishing content outside of your main niche has a variety of benefits worth exploring.  

A Landing Page for a Potato

This designer decided to make an apple-style landing page for a regular old potato, just to see what they could do. The awesome results prove that, with the right content, you can market anything.

Tangential Content Earns More Links and Social Shares in Boring Industries 

A strong argument for why the most effective content in boring industries, measured by links and social shares, is only barely related to the brand.

Building links in boring industries

I love this post because it uses dumpster rentals as the case study target, which really requires some creativity. The details on outreach/value proposition are pretty scant, but it’s good food for thought.

Link Building

The Noob Friendly Guide To Link Building

The best 101-level guide to link building you’ll find anywhere.

Link Building: The Definitive Guide

This one comes from Brian Dean, one of the best link builders on the planet. This guide will point you in the right direction for everything you need to know.

The 3 Easiest Link Building Tactics Any Website Can Use to Acquire Their First 50 Links - Whiteboard Friday

This is seriously the fastest way to get a site off the ground in just a few hours, without any free or paid tools. 

Weird, Crazy Myths About Link Building in SEO You Should Probably Ignore - Whiteboard Friday

I love this video way too much. Chances are good you’ve ever believed, or know someone who still believes, at least one of these link building myths.

Your Content Doesn’t Matter [as much as you think]

I love this post and you should too.

Guest Blogging for SEO: How to Build High-quality Links at Scale

I love this straightforward, easily spinnable strategy.

The Importance Of Second-Tier Links

Why you should build links to things other than your website, and how to approach the subject.

6 strategies to build links for your small business website in 2016

It’s not the most original topic, but it has better examples and more immediately actionable advice than most posts like it.

How Long Does Link Building Take to Influence Rankings?

An A+ post that covers a lot more ground than you would expect.

Directory Submission Sites Google (Still) Likes

No, really. Go submit your site to them, manually.

8 Actionable Ways To Get Backlinks By Spying On Your Competitors

One of the deeper posts on how to steal competitors’ backlinks.

Backlinks from Client Sites, Sites You Own, Widgets, & Embedded Content: How to Maximize Benefits & Avoid Problems - Whiteboard Friday

Great advice on how best to link between properties you can access. I think this one can be taken at face value.

I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email Without Reading. And NO, I Don’t Feel Sorry (2017 Revisited)

How to do email outreach for link building and promotion without sounding like a goober.

How to Create Content That Keeps Earning Links (Even After You Stop Promoting It)

A+ advice. This one is hard to engineer, but I’ve pulled it off a couple times and it’s absolutely worth it.

Should I disavow?

A simple tool that lets you check urls against Marie Haynes’ massive disavow blacklist.

PressList: A Curated Database of 257 Journalist Contacts

Do you have a good story about your business that belongs in the New York Times? Here are the people who can help you get there.


A free toolkit with a decent backlink checker, among other things.

Nofollow links are not useless: Earning them Is central to good SEO

A quick rundown of the role nofollow links can and do serve in the contemporary SEO landscape.

Do Links From Pages With Traffic Help You Rank Higher? [Ahrefs Study]

A study about the correlation between rankings and links with organic traffic. It’s a must read for link builders.

Social Media Marketing

Seven Tips to Increase Your Facebook Reach Fast

Surprisingly advanced tips on how to optimize your Facebook advertising with the specific goal of growing your total audience at the top of the funnel.

The Buzzfeed Approach to Social Media Strategy

Don’t let the name fool you. This post leverages off of Buzzfeed’s approach but makes a much bigger point about how to approach social media as a brand.


Perhaps the best tool for scheduling social media posts across every major platform.


A decent way to supplement your social media posts with somewhat relevant content.

50 Best Social Media Tools From 50 Most Influential Marketers Online

A wrap-up post that covers a lot of ground.

The Smart Way to Do Reddit Marketing [Case Study]

As a long time Reddit user, I found this advice is simple but spot on.

9 Proven Tips to Get More Social Media Followers

This post is a couple steps above common sense: most of it isn’t painfully obvious, and all of it is fairly actionable.

101 Effective Ways to Increase Twitter Followers

I’m a big fan of using twitter for business, but it’s one of the most confusing social networks out there. This list has a lot of common sense advice, a lot of clever advice, and everything in between.

How to use Pinterest to drive high-volume traffic on auto-pilot

This post makes a good case for Pinterest as a traffic source, and then walks you through the basics of setting up a campaign based around an auto posting tool. Not groundbreaking, but it’s a great place to start.

What Brands Post on Social vs. What Consumers Want to See

This is actually a recipe for hot sauce.

13 Facebook Engagement Tactics for Your Business Page

This article is for people who already understand Facebook for personal use, and who have already experimented with running their business's Facebook page, but want to take it further. Enjoy a little data and a lot of examples.

Local SEO

Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors

An annual industry survey of which SEO factors move the dial for local SEO. I suggest looking at this before reading other guides so you can get a feel for which factors to prioritize.

Local SEO Guide’s Local SEO Ranking Factors

A data-driven correlation study of local SEO ranking factors. This one provides less context than Moz’s annual survey, but still shouldn’t be missed.

The Moz Local Learning Center

This is your top to bottom local SEO guide. It’s a bit of a read, and some of it is out of date, but if you want to succeed in local SEO and don’t read this guide at least once, that’s on you.

The Complete Guide to Local SEO in 2017

A fairly comprehensive, well-organized resource about the ins and outs of local SEO.

The most important question to ask in local SEO

This is the best short, high-level local SEO advice out there. Don’t leave home without it.

The Step by Step Guide to Local SEO

Still don’t know where to start? This flowchart from Pickaweb does a pretty good job prioritizing all of your local SEO efforts in a logical, only slightly overwhelming way.

Local #SEO 101: How to Do a Local SEO Audit in 30 Minutes Flat

This one is a little watered down, but it’s still a good starting point for local SEO audits. It’s also miles ahead of using one of those all-in-one SEO scanners.

How to Perform a Basic Local Business Competitive Audit

A quick and dirty, but extremely practical, way to do a quick 1-to-1 local SEO audit.

Local SEO: The Definitive Guide 2016

A long, exhaustive guide on the ins and outs of local SEO. My favorite part is chapter 8, the list of SEO tools.

The Best Types of Content for Local Businesses: Building Geo-Topical Authority

A thorough rundown of how a local business can flesh out the content on their website and off-site platforms to establish themselves as a local topic authority. This one is thorough but accessible and comes backed with lots of great examples.

Troubleshooting Local Ranking Failures: A Beginner's Guide

If your site isn’t ranking and you don’t know why, read this.

50 Examples of Title Tags that Rock at Local SEO

This one is exactly what it sounds like.

25 Principles of Building Effective City Pages for Local SEO

How to create city landing pages that rank well and don’t get your site penalized.

The perfect local SEO landing page

A sripped down version of the “25 principles” post that sticks closer to local SEO ranking factors.

When You Rank High Organically but Not Locally (Case Study)

Are you ranking just below the map pack when you should be in the map pack? Here’s what’s up.

Website Optimization Basics For Local SEO

A step by step breakdown of what to do with Moz’s local search ranking factors.

Local SEO: White Hat(ish) Link Building For Businesses On A Budget

Extremely tactical and actionable advice. Even if you don’t agree with it, it’s still worth a read.

Here’s How Multi-Location Businesses Can Compete Effectively for Organic Traffic

How to build service-based page nexuses around locations in a multi-location site structure to increase inbound traffic and improve conversion rates. I have a couple of issues with this article and the examples, but the example pages he links to are absolutely worth a look.

Overcoming Your Fear of Local Landing Pages

Despite the name, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. This guide will show you how to build local landing pages using tons of real business data.

Template for Creating Knockout City-Page Content for Local SEO

A straightforward excel template full of questions to get from a business owner to build city pages.

How to Find Opportunities for Local Link Building

A good smattering of approaches, including agency and owner/operator tactics.

The Schema Industry List

David Deering’s list of the best schema type for each category of local business.

Using the Barnacle SEO Method to Prove Local Community Awareness

A rich, in-depth post on how to latch a business onto a community event and leverage it for SEO purposes. This one includes way more examples than you would have ever expected.

Match Your Local SEO to Your Business Type with the Local SEO Checklist

This one is kind of a misnomer - 90% of it is just a local SEO checklist that applies to anyone who wants to rank locally. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Gender vs Age – what different consumer groups REALLY want from local business websites

The key takeaways of a survey that looks at age/gender demographics and what what expect from websites (including crucial info, mid-funnel factors, contact preferences, etc.) This is definitely worth a glance before making any big changes to your website.

Local Citation Sites for Top 100 USA Cities

Want to know the best citation sites for sending local signals in Oakland, Fort Wayne, or Anchorage? Then go right ahead.

17 Ways to Get Localized Search Results After Google Killed its Location Setting

Including browser extensions, software, and habits, along with each option’s drawbacks. I personally use BrightLocal’s tool.

SEO Case Study: How Buzzstream Helped Take a Local Client to the Top

This one is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, since a lot of their links come from pages that resyndicate the case study, but it’s still a solid strategy at heart.

4 Powerful Local SEO and Content Marketing Strategies No One is Talking About

A few unusual local SEO tactics that could make a big difference for the right kind of business. Here’s the swimming pool company that he keeps mentioning but doesn’t want to link to.

Local SEO: Become the voice online for your market

A fairly straightforward look at publishing local content outside of your industry’s vertical.

Dummy Links: Part of a Smart Local SEO Strategy

How to get links for a local business that don’t require burning a lot of brain cells.

How Local Content is Helping SMBs Keep Big Brands at Bay

A look at the unique advantages of locally owned businesses in the context of content marketing.

Best Niche Citation Sites for 41 Business Categories

A seriously long list of citation sites that include countries, links to listing urls, and whether each is free or paid. Oh, and they’re organized by industry.

Make Your Local SEO Clients Embrace Content

A rundown of the most meaningful ways that a local business owner and employees can contribute to your content marketing efforts.

Local citations are dead; long live local citations!

A quick rundown of what role local citations really play in SEO, including a little historical context, the effects of a citation cleanup campaign on 1300 locations, and more.  

The Local Keyword Generator Tool

A nifty little Google Sheet that takes your target city, commercial keywords, and slaps them together into a big long list. If you’re not a spreadsheet wizard already, you’re going to love this.

The 7 Citation Building Myths Plaguing Local SEO

A breakdown of some of the misinformation surrounding citation building and citation cleanup.

Here’s How We’re Using Lean Startup Methodologies for Local SEO

This doesn’t have much of anything to do with local SEO specifically, but it’s solid advice on how to fold battle-tested project management methodologies into SEO agency operations.

3 Tactics for Hyperlocal Keywords - Whiteboard Friday

A few quick and dirty ways of generating keyword lists when your target market is too small to get good data.

5 ways you can improve your new business’s visibility on Google Maps

Straightforward advice that bears repeating.

Why Is This [BLEEP]er Outranking Me in the Google Maps Results?

A rundown of the most likely reasons that someone else is eating your local lunch.

45 Local SEO Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them

These aren’t just the usual suspects. This guide covers everything from the limiting factors of your business name to social media pitfalls to bad driving directions.

Current Google Local Services Ads Markets & Verticals

Google Local Ads are changing constantly, but this page will show you where they’re currently being served, for which industries, and for how much cost per lead

10 Types of Ninja Pages You Can Sneak up the Local Search Results

It’s easy to overlook how many kinds of content can rank in local search results, especially for long tail searches. Here’s a good overview of which types of content are viable, and how to game them.

Review Management & Acquisition

Online Reviews: Why your Local Business Needs Them (and how to get more)

A very comprehensive look at local business reviews, how to get them, and the role they play.

How To Convert Local Searchers Into Customers With Reviews

A look at the benefits of reviews, along with some general information and acquisition tactics

Local Reviews and Ratings - Moz Local Learning Center

Some of the info may be a little out of date, but it’s still a pretty solid intro to the role reviews play in local SEO and what your options are.

How Online Reviews can Boost Local Search Rank

This one is a little overbuilt, and I wish it stuck to the original premise a bit more, but it’s still full of a lot of basic and intermediary food for thought.

Fighting Review Spam: The Complete Guide for the Local Enterprise

This really is a complete guide, and one of the best written resources on the subject.

Yelp Ranking Factors

Go on. Guess what this is.

How to ask customers for reviews (and actually get them)

I know what it sounds like, but this is actually a great collection of macaroni and cheese recipes.

Yelp Elite for 3 Years with Only 66 Reviews: How?

Phil Rozek shares some insight into Yelp’s filtering mechanisms and the Yelp Elite program.

Effective “Review Us” Pages for Local Businesses: a Fistful of Examples

A quick look at a review acquisition cornerstone.

How to Bulk-Identify Prime Yelp Reviewers with Yelp’s “Find Friends” Feature in 7 Easy Steps

Or, how to turn a long list of client emails into a manageable outreach list.

Why Send Good Customers to Crappy Review Sites?

There are a lot of good reasons to send someone to Yellowpages or CitySearch, actually. Phil Rozek spells it out.

Review improvement strategies for franchise and multi-location companies

A mature approach to managing and growing reviews for multiple locations.

How To Do Review Audits That Turn Clients’ Worst Reviews Into Actionable Solutions

How to get the absolute most out of your bad reviews.

10 Ways Local SEOs Can Start Helping Their Clients Get Reviews

A solid wrap-up post of all your options by one of the guys who knows best.

Diagramming the Story of a 1-Star Review

Miriam Ellis gives us the most in-depth, completely over the top analysis of a bad review made worse by a business owner’s response. If you only want to read one “how to deal with a bad review” guide for the rest of your life, this is it.

If Nobody in Your Area Cares about Yelp, Should You Still Bother Getting Reviews There?

Spoiler alert: yes you should. Here are a few very compelling reasons why.

Want Amazing Reviews in a Boring Industry? Use Selfishness

If you work in a boring industry and want to get super aggressive with review acquisition, this is a great starting point.

3 next-level Yelp tricks for business owners

Tip #3 is the real winner here: use your element inspector to find the user pages behind filtered reviews so you can help get them out of the sandbox.

Data: ‘Silent Majority’ More Likely to Generate Positive Reviews

A wrap-up of a study by Customer Lobby that shows why every business should ask for reviews.

The Monster List Of Ideas To Generate Reviews

This is actually just a bunch of photos of cats.

Nearby Now

A premium Wordpress plugin that combines employee check-ins and a review request platform with heat maps that generate unique content for each of your city pages in real time. Their review request emails aren’t amazing, and not everyone will want to pay $99/month, but otherwise it’s pretty stellar.

Get Five Stars

A great, slimmed down review acquisition platform for $30/location/month. Unlike Nearby Now, Get Five Stars sends you a notification if you get a bad review before it’s posted publicly.

23 Stats That Show Why Online Reviews Matter

Are you still struggling to see why you should care about online reviews? Read this.

Are Yelp ads worth paying for? How to figure it out

A case study by industry veteran Joy Hawkins that shows how Yelp distorts how many leads you get from their ads. Spoiler: Yelp ads are a waste of money.

Local SEO Blogs

Local SEO Guide

You should expect two things on Andrew Shotland’s blog: offbeat, quality insights into issues you didn’t even know about and chronic meme abuse. Tell him Joe sent you.

Blumenthal’s Blog

If you’re wondering if a button just disappeared in Google Maps or what they’re calling Google my Business this week, Mike Blumenthal is your man. Mike posts on intensely specific ecosystem updates like Google’s removal of the local pin for one boxes and legal loopholes for review incentivization.

The Local Visibility System Blog

A good mix of articles, guides, and resources, updated fairly often. Phil Rozek’s definitive list of local review sites or list of local citations sources that offer follow links are always good references to keep around.

Street Fight 

If you want to keep track of which obscure Uber for rickshaws just bought out a company that develops in-store beacons for warehouse clubs, you probably want to check Street Fight daily.

The Whitespark Blog

The Whitepsark Blog’s big deal is highly actionable, highly specific guides on scholarship link building, performing review audits, and other useful stuff. Updates are rare, but quality.

Local Search Forum

Don’t let its old-school design fool you. Local Search Forum is a treasure trove of local SEO Q&As, and a lot of great discussion along the way.

On-Site SEO, Site Structure & URLs

How to Clean Up Your Site Structure

This one comes from Yoast, who has probably done an insane number of website audits by now. I don’t see any harm in taking it at face value.

On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page

This one comes from Backlinko, which means it’s long, thorough, and pretty much perfect.

The Ultimate Guide to Site Structure

The name oversells it, but it’s still a good post. The only part I’d disagree with is that you should immediately set up categories for your site--if you don’t have a lot of content, a content calendar, experience with redirects, or definitive SEO goals, it’s easy to set up the wrong categories, redo them too often, botch the redirects, and ultimately do more harm than good. I recommend posting or planning a bunch of content before setting those categories up.

How To Increase Website Traffic Without Building Links Or Adding New Content

How to check current organic value of a post and re-optimize around new keyword goals.

What Should I Put on the Homepage? - Whiteboard Friday

This is easily my favorite Whiteboard Friday video.

Does Google look at anchor text in internal links?

Yes they do, and here’s some anecdotal proof to back it up.

6 Ideas (and Examples) to Optimize Your Landing Page for Phone Calls

A few good points on the subject. Nothing too flashy.

Here’s How to Keep 301 Redirects from Ruining Your SEO

Straightforward and actionable. Covers redirect chains, internal linking through redirects, unnecessary 301s, and canonicals that 301.

10 Elements of Power Category Pages That Rank + Convert

A great, long, and well-documented guide about turning blog and store category pages into valuable hub pages.

9 easy-to-miss crawl reports in Screaming Frog and DeepCrawl that pack serious SEO punch

Troubleshooting technical SEO issues with the help of less common crawl reports.

Are related sitewide footer links the key to dominating Google?

A quick look at the unnatural ranking power of sitewide footer links and Google’s policies on them.

10 factors that may be impacting your organic traffic

I really like this list because it’s accessible, goes beyond the basics, and applies to a lot of sites.

Optimizing your internal link structure

A methodical approach to internal link structure options that spans from big-picture considerations to manageable napkin math. If you’re planning on redesigning your site with SEO in mind, you’ll either need to read this or already know about everything in it.

15 Site Architecture Tips for Performance SEO: Master Guide

This one from Cyrus Shepard is geared towards larger content-driven sites, but anyone doing on-site SEO can benefit. Enjoy.

8 Vital SEO Tips to Get Your URL Structure Right

This post is good because it covers some of the internal debates you should have about planning your url structures.

We Fought the Comment Spam (and the Comment Spam Didn't Win)

An oddball but worthwhile piece about the state of comment spam in 2016, what roles comments play on websites (and in SEO), and how to drive engagement in your comments section.

The 4-Step Plan to Construct Your Own Keyword-to-URL Map

A smart, actionable guide to keyword research in 2016, how to plan your content structure around keyword goals (with an included Google sheets template), and how to react to changing keyword ranks and goals. This one is a winner.

I've Optimized My Site, But I'm Still Not Ranking—Help! - Next Level

A long, in depth guide to troubleshooting a site that isn’t ranking. This one covers a lot of ground, with a focus on tool-based troubleshooting and technical issues.  

More content, less traffic: part I

A strong case for removing crappy urls from your site and the dramatic, immediate effect that can have on rankings.

4 Methods to Create Website Silos for SEO

There’s a good bit of content out there on creating website silos, but this is one of the more actionable ones. You should still take it with a grain of salt (don’t ever install a blog in a subdomain unless you have a really good reason for it) but by and large it can be used as is.

Should You Make It a Page or a Post?

Here’s pretty much every argument for why you should make your next piece of content a page or a post.

The Complete Guide to Domain Name and URL Structure

I generally tend towards a shallower URL structure than this guide suggests, but I also don’t work with that many high-volume blogs.

Speed Up Your WordPress – How to Save Images Optimized for Web

If your site is loading too slowly on image-heavy pages, here’s a good place to start.

Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting your Content

You can take this one at face value.

Crawl Budget Optimization

A quick rundown of what crawl budget is, how to see where your site’s crawl budget stands, and a couple of tips to improve yours.

Taming the Spiders: Optimize Your Crawl Budget to Boost Indexation and Rankings

Crawl budget isn’t the easiest concept in the SEO world to wrap your head around, but it is important. Here’s one of the best 101 guides on the subject.

How to Choose a Domain Name - Whiteboard Friday

One of the few posts on here that I agree with 100%.

The Most Effective Way to Improve Sitewide Quality and Rankings (Most of the Time)

This applies to sites that have been around for a little while. Here’s how (and why) to prune low-quality content from your site for across the board gains.

Local SEO for Multiple States: a Case-Study in How to Expand Your Reach

A surprisingly in-depth case study of how to retool your website and blogging strategy to rank in multiple states.

How to Craft the Perfect SEO Title Tag (Our 4-Step Process)

How to satisfy the many stakeholders involved with title tag creation. This guide offers a surprising amount of depth and is very well referenced.

25 Amazing Contact Us Pages That Will Make You Rethink Your Website

It’s hard to do anything unique with a contact page without risking its functionality, and that’s reason enough to check out this roundup.

URLs, Crawling, and PageRank; Fundamentals of SEO

This guide goes deep into the relationship between URLs, crawling, pagerank, sitemaps, Javascript, HTML parsing, and more.

Scaling Internal Link Building with Screaming Frog & Majestic

A quick, actionable guide to finding all of your website’s own internal link opportunities for your most valuable pages.

Big Picture SEO & Misc SEO

SEO basics: What does Google do?

This post should help you explain how Google and SEO work to the less tech-savvy crowd.

201 Powerful SEO Tips (That Actually Work)

A smart, actionable, and filterable list of SEO tips. This is a great place to start if you’re looking at your site and asking “what now?”

We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO

An in-depth look at which factors move the dial and what you can forget about.

[Case Study] How We Ranked #1 for a High-Volume Keyword in Under 3 Months

This case study is thorough, transparent, and 100% actionable. This is the good stuff.

Quick Wins To Beat The SEO Waiting Game

Most of this should be common sense after 6-12 months of doing SEO, but they’re still good reminders if you’re desperate for quick gains.

10 Basic Parts of an Effective Local SEO Audit

It’s easy to get stuck in the weeds while developing an SEO audit, but this guide makes a strong case for a straightforward, highly actionable audit.

Should SEOs Only Care About DIRECT Ranking Signals in Google? - Whiteboard Friday

Spoiler alert: no.

Study Shows Outgoing Links Have Positive Effects on SEO

This one is exactly what it sounds like, with information about the study’s methodology and limitations.

Query Classes

How to aggregate user intent and produce valuable content in bulk. Sorta.

SEO Tips: 100+ Search Engine Optimization Best Practices

Did you run out of ways to optimize your site? You won’t know for sure until you read this.

7 proactive ways to jump-start your SEO before a site launch

Take Shia’s advice and just do it.

Are Keywords Really Dead? An Experiment

A really clever experiment that shows (spoiler alert) that keywords are not really dead. This piece is a lot hairier than it sounds, so don’t feel bad if some of it goes over your head.

The Start-to-Finish Guide to Optimizing Your WordPress Blog Posts [Plus a Checklist]

“My hope is that after going through [the checklist] multiple times, posting and optimizing your blog posts on WordPress will come as second nature to you (or your team).”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

5 Steps to Boost Your Site's Indexability

A short, practical guide to maximizing your site’s crawl budget and consolidating pagerank.

Google Search Console: a complete overview

A rundown of every tool and feature in Search Console.

SEO Tips: The Complete List (201 Actionable Techniques)

I love the filtering options for these tips - they help you go straight from a pain point to something you can do about it just a little bit faster.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Anchor Text (But Didn’t Know Who To Ask)

A normal mortal might ask who wants to read 2,500 words about anchor text - but not you. You’re special.

What are impressions, position, and clicks [in Search Console’s Search Analytics Report]?

Crucial information for Search Analytics users, including how positions are calculated when different SERP features are involved.

(Case Study) This SEO Checklist = 48.7% More Organic Traffic

An in-depth walkthrough of how one site grew their organic traffic through on-site and on-page SEO alone. Like most Brian Dean posts, you could follow this advice to the letter.

How to Get CDNs to Play Nice with SEO

Tips, expectations, and debunked myths about the intersection of CDNs and SEO.

How to Stay Up-to-Date in The SEO Industry

A great rundown of how to stay on top of SEO news and emerging strategies via email, social media, and a lot more.

How to Fix Crawl Errors in Google Search Console

You could safely call this one an “ultimate guide.” It’s a thorough overview of all the different kinds of crawl errors you could run into, how to solve them, and some commentary on whether they’re even worth solving.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Money-Making Blog in 1 Hour

This one from Neil Patel is interesting. It doesn’t go very far into the money-making aspect, but it does compile a lot of solid basics for first-time bloggers, and even goes into the psychographics of reader personas.

The Most Important Things We Learned About Google's Panda Algo

Google’s own Gary Illyes said this article is so good that they stopped answering questions about Panda and just send people to the article instead.

The Technical SEO Renaissance: The Whys and Hows of SEO’s Forgotten Role in the Mechanics of the Web

A huge post about the role technical SEO played and continues to play (as of late 2016.) You’re going to come away from this one a lot smarter, but feeling a lot dumber.

SEO on a budget: How a small manufacturer started a program from scratch

I wish this post was a lot more transparent, but it still has a few good takeaways.

Guide to Google ranking factors – Part 9: outbound links

Covering topics like “do outbound links leak pagerank,” “can linking out improve my ranks,” and more.

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Setting up and Using Google Analytics

These mistakes are easy to make, and several of them could render your analytics pretty much useless.

Study - Outgoing Links Used As Ranking Signal

This is the closest thing we’ll ever see to conclusive evidence that linking out to authority sites will help your site rank better, period.

Master Your Homepage Meta Descriptions Now (Plus, 15 Inspiring Examples!)

It might sound a little remedial, but with CTRs and brand signals becoming stronger ranking factors, now’s a great time to brush up.

New Ways to Track Keyword Rank

Mad genius AJ Kohn teaches you how to track whole baskets of keywords as a single index for enterprise-sized sites. This one is pretty advanced, so hold on tight.

How 35 Top Influencers Grew Traffic from 0-10K Visitors (in 30 Days or Less)

This roundup actually includes a few big influencers. It’s a good read before getting started with any new project or business.

How To Do SEO for B2B Companies

This is one of the few posts that covers the topic in depth.

How to use long-tail keywords to build your short-tail rankings

A simple, straightforward explanation of how and why you should focus on long tail keyword targets if your long term goal is to rank for short tail keywords.

All Google Manual Penalties Explained from SMX East

Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting runs through all the things that Google issues manual penalties for, why, and what to do about them.

Agency SEO

SEO Is a Means to an End: How Do You Prove Your Value to Clients?

A surprisingly tactical and actionable approach to communicating the value of an SEO campaign.

Win That Pitch: How SEO Agencies Can Land New Business

It heavily pitches STAT rank tracking software, but also gives multiple insights into how to track keywords at an enterprise level as part of the pitch process.

Misc. Marketing

Discovering Which Sites Your Target Audience Visits - Whiteboard Friday

Also includes some idea about what to do with that information, once you’ve got it.

The Creative Marketing Strategies That Launched These 3 Major Tech Startups

An awesome, historically well informed post about three smash hit creative marketing case studies, as well as how they can go horribly wrong.

Going Viral: How I got 10k Views on Medium in 4 days

An awesomely thorough and transparent guide to platform’s eccentricities and possibilities. It’s a must read for anyone who uses Medium.

The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen

This post went viral for good reason--it’s a clear case for a sales approach that is quickly becoming the norm.

The Burrito Principle and Beyond: 12 New Marketing Ideas That are Memorable, Actionable, and Useful

Yes, it’s a mouthful. Yes, it’s worth a read.

The 9 Habits of an SEO Freelancer

An interesting look at what it’s like to offer freelance SEO services full time, along with some good advice on how to make it happen.

Here’s How a Brand New Website Built an Email List of More than 1,300 Contacts in Three Days

Pretty straightforward and fairly actionable stuff.

Which Site Seal do People Trust the Most?

A survey from 2013 about which SSL, association, and anti-malware seals for websites are the most trusted. This article gives the most context of why it matters to site owners, though you should also check this shorter survey for 2015.

What is Quora and Why Should SEOs Care?

This one is exactly what it sounds like.

The Beginner's Guide To PPC Advertising

PPC isn’t my forte, but this is still the best beginner’s guide I’ve seen for it anywhere.

Other Tools & Resources


Ninite is a tool that lets you download a wide variety of the most popular software with just one install file. There’s no adware, bloatware, or annoying toolbars to opt out of. Use it to set up new computers in record time.

Content Reveal

 A wordpress plugin that lets you build filterable skyscraper content like this.

Master Google Sheets and Become a Spreadsheet Expert

This guide from Zapier covers just about everything you’ll ever need to know about Google Sheets. Expect a mountain of shortcuts, short guides, and full fledged tutorials.


A free way to add Facebook Messenger to your site, so you can improve your sales process without learning a new platform. Also see Modern App if you want a paid version with more features.


Freemium platform for managing shared inboxes (like in gmail. Comes complete with email templates, metadata fields, and more.

Mastering Google Search Operators in 67 Easy Steps

If you use Google, period, it’s worth skimming through this once at the very least. This guide will show you how to better clarify what you’re searching for, exclude results with specific words, and a lot more.

Why Procrastinators Procrastinate

A lighthearted, thorough, and weirdly poetic approach to understanding and overcoming procrastination.


Pilco is the best way I’ve found to keep track of brand assets in Google Suite (without trying to manage your own labyrinthine sheets and folder hierarchies.)


Undraw offers free & royalty free illustrations for a variety of web design needs. Have fun.