First off, a bit of a contradiction here.
I don’t believe in reading books about search engine optimization, if you don’t know how to do SEO. The best thing you can do is build your own websites and try to rank them.
Trial and error for SEO works best.
That is how I, your humble author, learned search engine optimization. And it took me years and thousands of hours and I made a lot of mistakes and wasted a ton of money in the process.
One thing I tried to do is learn from people that were better than me at understanding algorithms.
And that helped a lot.
Since I’ve been able to rank many different websites, in many different niches in Google, I’ve come to the conclusion that the fundamentals of SEO hasn’t changed for at least 3-5 years. In fact, the fundamentals have become more important.
And the fundamentals will become even more important in the future.
You’ve got to learn how to build a web page that a machine (googlebot) comes to and crawls, so that the machine can actually understand what they webpage is about.
The big thing you need to understand about SEO is that a machine can’t look at a page, or an image on a page, and understand or form an opinion about what the page is about.
You have to tell the machine specifically what the page is about.
And this important basic ideas is not going to change.
Because of these fundamental ideas aren’t going anywhere, I can now actually recommend books for someone to read on the topic of Learning SEO for a Beginner.
SEO Books I Recommend
I will only recommend 2 authors, because I know they are good and I’ve learned from both of them.
The first recommendation is from Ryan Stewart titled: The SEO Blueprint: How to Get More Organic Traffic Right Now
You should also follow Ryan on Twitter (I do).
Just read another article arguing that "SEO is dead".
If you agree with this, here's my thoughts…
SEO isn't dead. You just suck at it.
— Ryan Stewart (@ryanwashere) October 29, 2020
Ryan’s active on social and I’ve learned a lot from his posts on Twitter and LinkedIn.
I’ve followed Ryan’s work for years now. He consistently stays up to date with the latest methods and even pushes the envelope in some areas.
One of Ryan area of expertise is systems and processes.
If you do SEO for any amount of time, you’ll quickly learn there are huge time sucks in SEO. What I mean by time suck is, little tedious tasks that will take up way too much of your time.
Ryan is one of the very best at creating systems to efficiently handle these important but tedious tasks.
Ryan is so good at creating systems that he sold his first search marketing agency, basically because the buyer wanted to acquire all this sales and fulfillment processes.
In his book The SEO Blueprint: How to Get More Organic Traffic Right Now, Ryan shows you how to do this and more.
I definitely recommend reading this book if you’re a beginner to SEO, but also if you’ve been at it and successful for a while with search. Because darn near every SEO practitioner I know, needs to get better at creating systems so they can expand their business.
My second recommendation is by Bruce Clay: Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies.
Bruce Clay has been around from the beginning of SEO. I found out about Bruce Clay from reading his blog. Even if you don’t buy his book, you should definitely read his blog.
If you want to know the foundations of search engine optimization, Bruce is the guy to learn from.
What's the core web vital "cumulative layout shift" and how can you check it on your website?
— Bruce Clay, Inc. (@BruceClayInc) October 21, 2020
You can follow Bruce Clay on Twitter if you want. I don’t because it’s a boring company account. You can still learn stuff, but the Bruce Clay Twitter account doesn’t use social media correctly, like a networking tool.
That account isn’t really “social”. That’s why I recommend following Ryan Stewart on Twitter, but going to Bruce Clay’s website to read his blog.
If you’re looking for fancy tricks and techniques, you won’t find it in Bruce’s book Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies.
What you will find is how to build a proper web page and website that is easily found and understood by Google. And this is why I recommend his book, because this information is not going to become obsolete in the next year, or the next Google update.
Bruce tells you how to build information on the internet in a foundational way, that will only become more important in the future.
And because this is part of the “For Dummies” franchise, it is written in an easy to understand, and easy to take action manner.
That’s it. Those are my 2 recommendations.
I see a lot of other posts that compete with this one that recommend 10 or 15 different books on SEO that you need to read.
Definitely don’t read 10-15 SEO books if you’re a beginner. It’s a complete waste of time.
That’s why I’m only recommending 2, and these are the 2 best know I know of and have gotten value from myself.
Thanks for reading!