So, you’ve finally decided you want to learn all you can about SEO. Now what? Where do you go? How do you know that where you are is the right place to be? The last thing you want to do is waste your time and money buying into a bunch of SEO bull. So… where do you go to get the real low down? You find a a room full of SEO and patent geeks! Of course, when you first step in, it’s going to sound like a foreign language. You might hear things like:

The Long & Winding Road

“…it can be a pain in the rear, but it’s good for sessionized data. Log data – not so good.”

“Splice that keyword data into declines and trends; you can see what new words peeps are looking for and get some kind of direction…”

“…like the source, internal, external… whether or not it was an apparent query refinement…”

You’ll spend a lot of time with a puzzled look on your face but, eventually, the light bulb comes on and it all starts to make sense. Because, you see, the only way to really learn SEO is to pick the brains of the warriors…

SEO Reading: Lots of Meals, but It’s Mostly Just Chicken

In SEO Fast Food: I’ll Take #1 Ranking with That, but Hold the Fries, Gabriella wrote about the various types of SEO companies in relation to the ratings of restaurants. As informavores on the hunt for bite-sized snacks of information, you’re looking for steak. Yet, a lot of blogs and articles out there, no matter how they’re dressed up to look like steak, are really just… chicken.

A few bring out the good meals and fine wine when it comes to information for beginners, such as the Google Webmaster Central Blog and Bing Webmaster Center Blog, but what about when you’ve read all you can? Where do you go next? Where ARE the rooms of conversating search professionals, geeks and pundits, filled with prodigious commentary unintelligible to the common mortal?

Where’s the Beef? Where the SEO Experts Go

If asked where the experts go to get industry news, discuss topics, read about search patents and so on, you’ll get a list of places to visit. What you’ll also have is an (almost) absolute guarantee that these places will only be serving the tastiest, most filling meals for your informational taste buds. When taking the advice of the experts on where to go, however, keep a few things in mind:

  • Don’t mind the mess – these sites aren’t always going to be pretty. Some search geeks are so obsessed with search; they’re completely lost when it comes to design. They’re like the absent-minded professors of the search world.
  • Carry a dictionary – or, at the very least, have search up and ready. If you think “long-tail” refers to a species of animal, you’ll be wearing out your search engine of choice before you’re through the first article.
  • Take small bites – you WILL get overwhelmed if you try to digest years’ worth of accumulated knowledge on optimization. Read a little every day and chew slowly.
  • Ask questions – because you’ll need the answers to gain further understanding. Questions are your saving grace, and most (if not all) are willing to answer them.

With that said, here’s a short list of sites for beginning to advanced optimization learning:

Search Engine Land – Without a doubt, SEL is a top notch online publication. Here, you can find tons of information and news on the extremely broad topic of internet marketing. Categories include: SEM, SEO, PPC, Social Media, How-To’s, Google & Search and Indepth Analysis. SEL is well worth the bookmarking and daily intake.

SEO Book – Created, managed, and mostly written by Aaron Wall, SEOBook is a comprehensive blog full of search geekiness. You may not always agree with what Aaron has to say, but he’ll always make you think. Warning – he fills his posts up with handy, informative links. You could, quite possibly, get lost in the reading.

SEO By the Sea – Owner/Author Bill Slawski is a true search patent geek. He’s the guy optimizers go to when they don’t have the time to search the patents themselves. The amount of pure information found on this site -in terms of search and SEO –  is nothing less than phenomenal. When you’re ready to advance in SEO, this is the place to bookmark.

Webmaster World – The tagline says “News and Discussion for the Web Professional”, and it doesn’t lie. Code, content, presentation, hardware and OS technologies, analytics, ecommerce… Webmaster World has it all. Best of all, it’s a heavily moderated forum, and you’ll always find someone in there to talk shop with.

SEOAnd Then There’s the SEO Training Dojo

Most of the above places are blogs; a few have forums.  Yet, none are quite like the  SEO Training Dojo. On many a professional’s site or blog, you’ll either find a link to the Dojo under “Places to Visit” or some form of a “Proud Member” badge. In fact, you’ll find the SOSG (Seriously Obsessed Search Geek) badge at the bottom of this blog. The SEO Dojo is chock full of people on the road to becoming SEO warriors: beginners, advanced optimizers and top notch experts alike.

SEO Dojo Members

This isn’t just a training platform, however. Within the Dojo are hundreds of members who love what they do and want to share, engage and grow with like-minded people. If you’re interested in really digging into optimization, this is the room full of SEO and patent geeks. When you enter the Dojo, you’ll learn about SEO whether you want to or not. It’s kind of a “survival” kind of thing, because you’re in the ring with people like:

David Harry – AKA the Gypsy. The Dojo’s creator and an original SOSG, Dave is buried in all things search. He has more patent information stored in his head than Microsoft has in their whole portfolio. He’s been involved in design and search for over 12 years, pandering to his obsessions of information retrieval, machine learning, research papers, patents and anything else he can get his hands on.

Terry Van Horne – AKA Webmaster T. Terry’s been buried in the search world since… well, since before there was a search world. You can find some of his earlier writings as far back as 1997 (the year Google Search was created), if not further. Founder of SEOPros.org, Terry is one of the original SEOs (OS), passionate about industry standards and contrary as they come!

Debra Mastalar – President of Alliance-Link and a practitioner for almost 12 years, Debra is one of the most well known link builders in the industry; she’s also one of Level343’s Top SEO Women of 2011. Her words of wisdom have been shared at SMX (Search Marketing Expo) and SES (Search Engine Strategies Conference), and she’s provided several training sessions for SES and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). If you’re having problems with your link building, Debra’s the woman to read, follow and otherwise learn from.

Anthony Verre – AKA the Milwaukee SEO. Tony is the co-author of eProfitability, an eBook on understanding the search landscape for C-Level executives and upper level management. He holds Qualifications for Google AdWords Individual and Google Analytics Individual; individuals with these qualifications have to retest every 18 months to retain them. He’s been in search for at least six years, is a definite SOSG, and as nice as they come – though extremely blunt. Don’t ask his opinion if you aren’t prepared to receive it!

Barry Adams – A regular contributor to State of Search and Search News Central, as well as the Senior Internet Marketer for Search at Pierce Communications, Barry’s another Dojo member who’s been involved in the Internet since before it was cool. Of course, SEO was an afterthought until about 11 years ago, but as these things go, he can still be considered an early adopter. Barry’s a Dutchman, SOSG, Mensan and top notch SEO; he swears a lot, but we’re pretty sure it’s not his fault.

All-in-One Community, Marketplace and SEO Shophighway_lights_Wallpaper__yvt2-300x225

The Dojo is a thriving community; it’s also a strong community, where B.S. and ego is (mostly) left at the door. It’s devoted to search, and everything involved in search. In the dedicated chat room, we’ve discussed Google, the impact of social signals, Panda, key terms, link targets and too many other topics to name. (If you want to hear the things we complain about, you can always visit the SEO Bullshit blog – the optimizer’s place to rag and rage. Be warned, though… the language ain’t pretty.)

Along the way, we’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of professionals in our industry and make great contacts. For many a professional, these contacts sometimes become co-workers on various projects; no optimizer can do it all, and the SEO Dojo is excellent pool of qualified resources. Copywriters, marketers, patent geeks, optimizers, coders and any other profession you can name come together to learn, grow and produce search geek goodness.

As an added benefit, many of these people are also the creators of a number of tools, used by SEO professionals and beginners alike. Because of their belief in the Dojo and enjoyment of the community, many have become sponsors, providing a slew of tools, products and services at discounts for Pro Dojo Members. At last count, the discounts added up to over $1000 in savings, and the amount is still growing.

Heavy Resource Lists

Among all the goodies offered by the Dojo, you’ll find an extensive video library encompassing all things search. You also find a long list of tools used by a number of practitioners, productivity resources, links, articles and much, much more. It is, after all, called the SEO Training Dojo. No matter what level of learning you have, there’s something for everyone.

call-to-actionA Discount for You

We have a disclaimer to make. We realized we couldn’t say enough good things, so we did the next best thing. As careful as we are about recommending and supporting sites, products, services and so on, we’ve become one of the Dojo’s sponsors. Yes, we’re that proud to be members of this great community.

With that said, the SEO Training Dojo recently celebrated its 2nd birthday, and we wanted to share with our readers. Until December 1st, you can buy a Dojo membership for 25% off, using the coupon code LEVEL343. We hope you take advantage of the discount to find out about this wonderful, thriving community of search!

*Disclaimer: This is not an advertisement, and there are no affiliate links within this article. We do not receive money or special privileges from the SEO Dojo for our support. This article is simply a show of support for a program that we feel is well worth the time, money and effort involved to be a participating member. With rare exceptions (a few Amazon links to books we have read and recommend), Level343 does not provide affiliate marketing links on this site, and has no plans to do so in the future. Thank you.