Imagine that you could have instant access to the right tools and information on online marketing and how to drive more targeted traffic. How much would you pay for it?
Well, today, you’ll pay nothing. In this article, I’m going to show you 21 resources that will help you master online marketing, so that you can grow your sales the right way.
To start, all you need are the right tools – tools that have helped other businesses improve their ROI.
Whether you’re running a PPC campaign or focusing on content to drive organic search visitors, you’ll benefit from these resources.
Online Marketing Tools
We’ll start by listing some of the tools and essential guides that can kick your marketing skills up a notch.
1. The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors
If you want to understand Google’s ranking factors, you need to read the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.
The chart below provides an overview of the factors that affect search engine rankings, but there’s a lot more to the Table. It explains the reasoning behind specific factors. You can learn a lot from studying it.
The chart focuses on the core Google ranking factors and how to ensure that nothing catches you off-guard, even when Google rolls out another update.
When you understand that search engines reward web pages that combine ranking signals, you’re better equipped to manage those signals and see your pages gradually climb to the top of Google SERPs.
If you want to cut through the noise, stand out and speak directly to your customers, without losing them to other sites and blogs, you’ve got to conduct a competitive audit.
You can use this step-by-step illustration:
How do you use SEMrush? Just follow these simple steps:
Step #1: Go to SEMrush.com. Plug your competitor’s site URL (e.g., searchengineland.com) in the search box. Click the “search” button.
Step #2: Analyze your competitor’s organic keywords.
With this tool, you’ll also know the keywords that are generating the most targeted organic traffic for your competitor.
3. Open Site Explorer
Moz’s Open Site Explorer is another SEO and SEM tool that’ll help you explore any site. You can use it to find link building opportunities and to find out where you’re being mentioned on the web.
Just plug in the URL for the site that you want to explore. Click the “search” button:
If you’re not sure about the anchor text used to link to your site, you can simply click the anchor tab in the top left corner. Your objective is to get more brand anchor texts and fewer exact keyword anchor texts.
4. Quick Sprout
Quick Sprout gives you insights into how you can get the best results from your marketing efforts. The tool also tells you your load time, page size, number of requests and speed score.
To use it, just plug your site URL into the search box and click the button:
Next, analyze your metrics.
Note: You can also use Quick Sprout to conduct social media, search engine and competitor analysis for specific URLs.
Google is your #1 source of organic traffic. According to Spearhead Sales & Marketing, your customers use Google much more than other search engines – over 60% of the time, actually. So, if you understand how to optimize your web pages correctly for Google, you’ll generate more leads.
Ahrefs provides a range of information that tells you virtually everything that you need to know about your site, what you’re doing correctly and how to improve. Knowing exactly how your web pages are performing in the search engine is crucial, if you want to reach your target customers.
With the Ahrefs site explorer you can:
- Explore all of your links, when you enter your domain name in the box
- Explore content, by inputting any keyword into the box
Effective online marketing requires gathering data about users, your site, keywords, competitors and the latest search engine developments. Without all of that data, it’d be difficult to improve your search rankings.
How can you use Ahrefs to learn more about your site and users?
Step #1: You can use Ahrefs to conduct three searches without registering. But, if you want to have more flexibility, you need to sign up. You’ll find the “REGISTER FREE ACCOUNT” link at the top right.
Next, follow the simple instructions. Fill in your personal details and you’re ready to use the tool.
Step #2: Explore your links: Once you verify your account and log in, Ahrefs helps you to explore the links pointing to your domain, how many links you’ve gained over a period of time, which anchor texts are used and the authority of the referring sites.
To explore your links, click the “SITE EXPLORER” tab, then plug your site URL into the search box. Hit the “search links” button:
You’ll first see an overview of your URL:
Global Rank: The global position of your domain name.
URL Rating: Your URL’s score, based on user trust. Just like with products, the star ratings show the quality of your site – the higher, the better.
Domain Rating: Your domain rating, based on several other metrics used by Ahrefs.
Backlinks: The number of backlinks that your domain name has generated. This includes all duplicate links as well (note that two or more links from the same site are counted as backlinks).
Referring domains: This metric is much more important than the backlinks, because you can rely on the referring domains to know where links to your domain are coming from.
When you scroll down the overview page, you’ll see other important metrics about your site, including your referring IPs, subnets, links from educational sites, dofollow links, nofollow links, text, links coming from images on other sites and your Ahrefs’ rank chart:
Content Explorer: This is one of Ahrefs’ latest features. If you like Buzzsumo, then you’ll love the “content explorer,” because it shows you the most shared content for a given keyword.
Click the “content explorer” tab, then type your main keyword (e.g., link building) into the search box and click the “search” button to explore the most shared content related to link building.
Next, explore content for the past year, so you can get more results to learn from. Here’s the screenshot:
6. Remove’em Ratios
Remove’em Ratios is a unique online marketing tool that predicts how many low-quality links and over-optimized anchor texts that you should remove, if you’re experiencing issues with your ranking. For example, Felix saw a drop in organic traffic after Penguin 2.1 was rolled out – here’s the screenshot:
From the site:
This tool enables you to identify your anchor text diversity and highlight the areas where you might have anchor text over-optimization. If you notice that you are over-optimized for specific search terms or keywords, you should consider modifying the anchor text of specific links, to focus more on your brand or remove links that are using that specific anchor text.
If you’ve experienced negative SEO, you can get your site back, by leveraging the insights from Remove’em.
With this tool, you can pinpoint the anchor texts and links that triggered a penalty. As soon as you get rid of them, you should see a boost in organic search traffic. With Remove’em, it’s easy to identify low-quality and harmful links and request changes from the webmasters.
This was exactly how Felix recovered from Penguin 3.0. And, his search traffic and rankings soared.
Here’s how to use it: On the Remove’em homepage, type in your site URL and click the “submit” button.
Next, analyze your link diversity:
Note: For effective and safe anchor text optimization, use brand keywords. For example, 33% of the anchor texts have “no anchor” text at all, which is really not a good practice. On the other hand, 17% are brand (i.e., queryletters.com).
From the screenshot above, I need to remove some of the inbound links that have no specific anchor and remove or replace them. Also, I need to earn more quality links, using my brand domain name instead of the main keyword for the site.
7. FeedTheBot Pagespeed
Feedthebot Pagespeed tests your site for speed-related issues and tells you how to improve.
What’s more, according to Radware, 46% of online consumers indicate that checkout speed is the number one factor that determines whether or not they make future purchases on the site.
It’s a lot easier to improve your conversions when your site loads quickly. On the other hand, recent statistics showed that a 1-second delay in page load time will most likely yield a 7% reduction in conversions.
To use the FeedtheBot tool, just plug your site URL into the box and click “Go.”
Next, analyze the issues related to your page or site:
From the above screenshot, the result shows that marketingprofs.com scored 64 out of 100. Feedthebot tells us that the web page is on the slow side and needs to be optimized to bring that score up to 80%.
Some of the issues that slow down the marketingprofs.com web page are:
The tool provides suggestions on how to fix some of these issues:
Site speed definitely has an impact on how well your web pages perform in the search engines. When you know what’s making your web pages load slowly, you’ll be able to fix them and, in the process, improve your search rankings.
Online Marketing Books
There are lots of helpful books out there to help you implement SEO and SEM best practices. So, let’s explore some of the best titles on the subject of SEO and SEM:
8. The Art of SEO
The Art of SEO contains tons of accurate and reliable data that will help you understand the full spectrum of search engine optimization.
The author, Eric Enge, is a top SEO practitioner who believes in clarity of purpose. In his book, he lays out the ingredients needed to achieve top search rankings, not by manipulation, but through education and strategy.
The book has been endorsed by Seth Godin, Danny Sullivan and Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos), among others. If you’re relatively new to SEO, The Art of SEO is a must-read.
9. The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords
Expanded Ramblings found that 1.17 billion searchers use Google every month and conduct over 11.944 billion monthly searches.
The fact that so many people use Google makes it a powerful advertising medium your business can’t afford to ignore.
The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords by Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd, with AdWords and Analytics expert Mike Rhodes, walks you through successful techniques for picking the right keywords to target.
The latest edition will introduce you to the fundamentals of Google AdWords Express, Product Listing Ads, Enhanced Campaigns and the best tricks to double or even triple your traffic with Google’s Display Networks.
Most importantly, you’ll learn how to profit with local advertising. No matter what industry you’re in, local marketing can help you attract more visitors and acquire quality leads. After all, according to Kelsey, 97% of consumers use the web to research local products and services.
Local targeting and social media marketing together will help you to reach your SEO and SEM goals. LocalVox found that 70% of small business owners are leveraging social media to improve their search engine performance.
Ultimate Guide To Google AdWords can teach you how to chisel your way into tough markets, pick inexpensive yet profitable keywords and write killer ad copy that will captivate your prospects.
10. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics
Brian Clifton’s SEO and SEM success all boils down to focusing on actionable metrics and using them to improve the overall performance of his web pages.
Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics isn’t for beginners, but rather for seasoned pros who want to do a deep-dive into each GA metric.
Note: This book is geared towards Google’s classic Analytics users, not those who use the newer Universal Analytics.
Clifton discusses all aspects of Analytics, including social media analytics and tips to improve performance, starting with a thorough look at filters, which can be applied to both internal and social traffic.
Clifton also includes case studies to demonstrate how you can optimize your PPC campaigns for maximum ROI.
It clocks in at about 600 pages and covers everything that you need to know about Google Analytics and integration with social media.
11. Google+ for Business
This makes it a robust social networking platform for marketers. A lot of companies are benefiting from using it.
Through Google Hangouts, you can reach hundreds of people – just look at Cars.com, which has generated over 2,200,000 million Google+ fans. Google+ is actually one of their major sources of traffic.
Chris Brogan, the author of Google+ For Business, shows you how Google’s social network changes everything you know about search engine optimization and marketing, as well as social networking in general.
Chris Brogan is a well-known social media advocate, business advisor and in-demand social media speaker. His book has helped lots of people get results, as quickly as possible, without spending much money.
You’ll also learn how to leverage the relationship between Google and Google+ to increase your search traffic.
12. SEO King: How I Built My Blogging Empire
In this Kindle book, Jason Blair shares how he turned one blog with little traffic into a powerhouse that generates over 250,000 monthly visitors.
One of the things that Blair focuses on is his belief that you should be creating blogs that interest you. Becoming passionate about your blog is the only way to sustain your efforts, until you start making money.
Personally, I have to agree that passion is essential. I’m the co-founder of 5 multi-million dollar SaaS companies, because I love marketing and writing.
This one won’t take much of your time, at just 21 pages.
Now, the book has also received some negative reviews on Amazon. Do your own research before buying. Here are some of the reviews:
That being said, I decided to include it, because I’ve gained a tip or two from it. Even if that’s all you get from a 21-page ebook that costs about $1, I think it’s worth it.
So, if you want to get reacquainted with SEO basics, this book may just be a good choice.
13. SEO Hack: How to Double Your Search Traffic in 45 Days
In SEO Hack: How to Double Your Search Traffic in 45 Days, the author, Michael Chibuzor, introduces you to the world of long-tail keywords and how to integrate them into your blog posts in a way that Google will reward you for.
Chibuzor also covers guest blogging – how it works, which blogs to target and what to do when your rankings aren’t improving, even after you’ve targeted the right keywords.
He also covers user optimization.
After Google Panda, low-quality content got pushed down in the SERPs. Then, when Google Hummingbird was rolled out, the focus shifted from keyword targeting to user optimization. And, that’s exactly what SEO copywriting is all about.
These days, it’s all about the user.
14. Search Engine Marketing, Inc
There are few books available that address SEO for company blogs. Did you know that 49.7% of companies that consistently blog increase sales within 7 months? Yet, the fundamentals of SEO for company websites and blogs aren’t discussed much.
This has been a problem for B2B marketers, because they can’t really figure out how to improve their results.
Mike Moran shows you, step by step, the process for getting even more search engine value from your efforts – working smarter, not harder.
This 528-page book contains comprehensive and actionable tips. It should do nicely as an SEO/SEM resource for you.
One lesson you’ll learn from the book is to focus on the target audience. Of course, you can write about your products. But, let it be in the interest of your users and how the product can improve their lives.
Best Content on Online Marketing
There’s a lot of content out there – enough to lead to information overload and leave an audience feeling helpless. According to Content Marketing Institute, “85% of all marketers in the UK and over 90% of B2C marketers are currently investing in content marketing.”
More content is being produced these days, because content drives leads and increases sales, but also because content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and actually generates 3x as many leads.
Of course, you still have to nurture your audience and get them to trust you. But, it’s a lot easier to build trust with content marketing – especially considering some new and improved tools.
Virtually every marketing-related blog offers content about SEO, link building, keyword research and so on.
So, let’s cut through the noise and look at some of the best SEO and SEM guides out there:
15. SEO: The Free Beginner’s Guide From Moz
If you’re new to SEO and want to get started right away, the free Beginner’s Guide to SEO is what you need.
This beginner’s guide to SEO has been read over a million times, because it’s incredibly valuable and thorough. It contains easy-to-understand information on SEO practices that will improve your search traffic.
The beauty of this guide is that it’s organized in chapters. You start by learning how search engines work and move all the way through measuring and tracking your success. It’s a complete SEO resource and I encourage you to read it and bookmark it.
16. Search Engine Marketing: Streamline Your Search Marketing Efforts
If you’ve been trying to understand how a particular company has succeeded, reading and analyzing their content is your best bet.
A research study by Altimeter reported that 57% of marketers listed custom content as their top marketing priority over the past year. And, 78% of CMOs believe that custom content is the future of marketing.
So yes, you need to learn how to develop custom content. By studying this guide, you’ll find it a lot easier to create content that attracts readers and customers.
WordStream’s resource helps you streamline your efforts, in order to improve your productivity and achieve more in less time. It also demonstrates how the WordStream software provides relevant metrics that can improve your Google AdWords campaigns.
Of course, you need to integrate both SEO and content strategy into your content, if you want to maximize its reach and improve your ROI.
Wordstream’s software helps you research long-tail keywords that have little or no significant competition in the Google Display Networks and Google search engine.
17. The Advanced Guide to SEO
I’ve been blogging full time since 2007. But, I’m especially proud of my advanced guides. This one teaches SEO and what works. When it comes to online marketing, a thorough grasp of content marketing and copywriting will be helpful.
When you’re reaching out to people, the ultimate goal is to get them interested in your content, so you can then lead them through your funnel and establish a healthy relationship with them.
With great content, buyers get to know, like and trust you, even as they remain in control of the decisions that they make. If your content is helpful enough, they’ll be more likely to become loyal customers.
This is why 86% of consumers skip TV advertisements and 44% of direct mail pieces are never opened. People want good content that solves their problems and introduces them to the right products and services.
Chapter 1 introduces you to indexation and accessibility, while chapter 2 teaches you how site speed and performance correlate with your rankings.
Chapters 3 and 4 cover the new SEO and WordPress respectively. If you’re a WordPress user, and I’m guessing most people reading this article are, then you need to know how to optimize your WordPress pages, so that Google can find you, evaluate your content accurately and send you the organic traffic that you want.
18. SEO and SEM Predictions and Tips For 2015
In this post, James A. Martin predicted what the future would be like for search engine optimization and marketing. One of the key areas he pointed out was mobile marketing. He said that marketers will pay more attention to mobile marketing in 2015, with a correlating increase in marketing budgets.
You can see that happening already, especially in the U.S. where mobile ad spending has already reached $189.38 billion in 2015.
Mobile marketing truly works. Many B2C and B2B companies are generating lots of quality leads and sales from mobile users. For example, Seattle Sun Tan, a 35-location tanning salon business, leveraged mobile marketing to send text message offers that increased their bottom line.
The text message went to 4,750 customers who signed up to receive text message offers. The campaign resulted in $196,000 in new sales.
Harley Davidson increased sales on helmets by 250%. And, Dunkin’ Donuts boosted their store traffic by more than 21% – all through mobile text messaging.
19. 5 Search Engine Marketing Tips to Compete With the Big Guys
But this resource guide is more than just a blog post. It shows you exactly what you need to know and do, in order to compete with the big guys in your industry.
You can still adapt and grow your own business, by targeting customers based on their geographic location:
As a beginner, you can also stand out and drive more traffic by using the Ad Extension, which gives you the ability to include additional information in your ad.
You’ll also learn the importance of writing enticing ad copy, because your competitors with those huge advertising budgets may not really be doing it well. Great copy gives you a great shot at outpacing them.
20. SEO Guide To Google Webmaster Recommendations for Pagination
Vital manages all of these health professional data points, so you can imagine the level of categorization and pagination.
Take time to read this post. It may not be as obviously relevant to your efforts, or as interesting as the typical web design or link building article, but you can pick up tips that will help you greatly improve your SEO skills, as well as user experience.
In summary, the author advises you to do “what’s right for the user.” This is excellent advice, because the site exists solely for the user.
If your site isn’t easy to navigate, it’s going to be hard to increase conversions, no matter how useful your content is.
This post will also help you understand the common problems of pagination, such as crawl hog, page juice dilution, thin content and duplication.
Once you’re familiar with those concepts, you can expand your knowledge, by extracting data from Google Webmasters and using it to improve your own pagination and user experience.
21. The Definitive Guide to Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization
Online retail sales are predicted to grow exponentially in the next few years. According to eMarketer, we could see an increase from $225.2 billion in 2012 to $434.2 billion in 2017.
If you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur, you have to understand how to do SEO for your product pages, homepage and checkout pages (optional), as well as the best ways to make your customer reviews unique for the search engine.
The reason why I created the Definitive Guide to Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization was because, at the time, I couldn’t find any detailed and current information that would help my customers, some of whom had just launched online stores.
With this guide, you’ll learn how to attract more qualified leads to your online store, services page or landing page. Interestingly, some of the tips could be useful, even if you’re a personal blogger, or a B2B or B2C content marketer.
The average B2B marketer uses 12 different content marketing tactics to improve their lead generation and sales.
Online marketing isn’t just about Google AdWords or SEO. It requires a deeper understanding of the user and what drives their decision making.
This is why you have to continually invest in learning about your user. I know that these 21 resources will help you and your team do just that.
What other online marketing resources would you recommend for content marketers?