Now Live for Your SEO Learning Pleasure: The NEW Beginner’s Guide to SEO!


It feels like it’s been a king’s age since we first began our long journey to rewrite and revamp the Beginner’s Guide to SEO. For all the long months of writing and rewriting, of agonizing over details and deleting/replacing sections every so often as Google threw us for a loop, it’s hard to believe it’s finally ready to share:

The new Beginner’s Guide to SEO is here!

What makes this new version so darn special and sparkly, anyway?

I’m glad you asked! Our design team would breathe a sigh of relief and tell you it’s because this baby is on-brand and ready to rock your eyeballs to next Tuesday with its use of fancy, scalable SVGs and images complete with alt text descriptions. Our team of SEO experts would blot the sweat from their collective brow and tell you it’s because we’ve retooled and completely updated all our recommendations to ensure we’re giving fledgling learners the most accurate push out of the digital marketing nest that we can. Our developers would tell you it’s because it lives on a brand-spankin’-new CMS and they no longer have to glare silently at my thirteenth Slack message of the day asking them to fix the misplaced period on the fourth paragraph from the top in Chapter 7.

All joking aside, every bit of the above is true, and each perspective pulls together a holistic answer: this version of the Beginner’s Guide represents a new era for the number-one resource for learning SEO, one where we can update it at the drop of a Google algorithm-shaped hat, where it’s easier than ever to access and learn for a greater variety of people, where you can rely on the fact that the information is solid, up-to-date, and molded to best fit the learning journey unique to SEO.

I notice the structure is a little different, what gives?

We can’t escape your eagle eyes! We structured the new guide quite differently from the original. Everything is explained in our introduction, but here’s the gist: taking inspiration from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we built each chapter based on the core foundation of how one ought to go about doing SEO, covering the most integral needs first before leveling up to the next.

A pyramid of SEO needs mimicking Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory of psychology.

We affectionately call this “Mozlow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” Please forgive us.

A small but mighty team

While it may have taken us a full year and a half to get to this point, there was but a small team behind the effort. We owe a huge amount of gratitude to the following folks for balancing their other priorities with the needs of the new Beginner’s Guide and putting their all into making this thing shine:

Britney Muller, our brilliant SEO scientist and the brains behind all the new content. Words cannot do justice to the hours she spent alone and after hours before a whiteboard, Post-Its and dry-erase notes making up the bones and muscles and soul of what would someday become this fully-fleshed-out guide. For all the many, many blog comments answered and incorporated, for all the emails and Twitter messages fielded, for all the love and hard work and extra time she spent pouring into the new content, we have to give a heartfelt and extremely loud and boisterous THANK YOU. This guide wouldn’t exist without her expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to excellence.

Kameron Jenkins, our SEO wordsmith and all-around content superheroine. Her exquisite grasp of the written word and extensive experience as an agency SEO were paramount in pulling together disparate feedback, finessing complicated concepts into simple and understandable terms, and organizing the information in ways most conducive to aiding new learners. Again, this guide wouldn’t be here without her positive attitude and incredible, expert help.

Trevor Klein, editor extraordinaire. His original vision of organizing it according to the SEO hierarchy of needs provided the insight and architecture necessary to structuring the guide in a completely new and utterly helpful way. Many of the words, voice, and tone therein belong to him, and we deeply appreciate the extra polish and shine he lent to this monumental effort.

Skye Stewart, talented designer and UX aficionado. All the delightful images you’ll find within the chapters are compliments of her careful handiwork, from the robo-librarian of Chapter 2 to the meat-grinder-turned-code-renderer of Chapter 5. The new Beginner’s Guide would be an infinitely less whimsical experience without her creativity and vision.

Casey Coates, software engineer and mystical CMS-wizard-come-miracle-maker. I can safely say that there is no way you would be exploring the brand-new Beginner’s Guide in any coherent manner without his help. For all the last-minute additions to CMS deploys, for calmly fielding all the extra questions and asks, for being infinitely responsive and helpful (case in point: adding alt text to the image block less than two minutes after I asked for it) and for much, much more, we are grateful.

There are a great many other folks who helped get this effort underway: Shelly Matsudaira, Aaron Kitney, Jeff Crump, and Cyrus Shepard for their integral assistance moving this thing past the finish line; Rand Fishkin, of course, for creating the original and longest-enduring version of this guide; and to all of you, our dear community, for all the hours you spent reading our first drafts and sharing your honest thoughts, extremely constructive criticisms, and ever-humbling praise. This couldn’t exist without you!

Y’all ready for this?

With tender pride and only a hint of the sort of naturally occurring anxiety that accompanies any big content debut, we’re delighted and excited for you to dive into the brand-new Beginner’s Guide to SEO. The original has been read over ten million times, a mind-boggling and truly humbling number. We can only hope that our newest incarnation is met by a similar number of bright minds eager to dive into the exhilarating, challenging, complex, and lucrative world of SEO.

Whether you’re just starting out, want to jog your memory on the fundamentals, need to clue in colleagues to the complexity of your work, or are just plain curious about what’s changed, we hope from the bottom of our hearts that you get what you need from the new Beginner’s Guide.

Dive in and let us know what you think!


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A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Your Business with Customer Feedback –


Customer feedback can be a goldmine for your business, but many companies still aren’t sure how to how to navigate this growing and shifting landscape. However, ignoring it could be a grave error.

According to Spiegel Research Center, nearly 95% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Not only is getting customer feedback vital to your business, but the things that you can do with it can also be transformative. Here is a step-by-step guide to improving your business with customer feedback.

Step 1: Obtain Customer Feedback

It’s no secret that customer feedback can be highly valuable for a business, but the first challenge for most companies is obtaining it. Clients have their own agendas and busy schedules, and few feel obligated to provide your business with information about their experience.

Some customers either feel inconvenienced by the entire review process or are reluctant to be honest if their experience was less than stellar. But your goal should always be to get the most accurate feedback possible and not just glowing reviews. This is definitely the case if you want to improve your business.

Group of coworkers smiling together.

Collecting customer feedback is only one piece of the puzzle.

So, how do you approach customers and get them to provide honest feedback? Fortunately, you have many options, and believes that you should offer more than one to increase your odds of success.

  • Create surveys. Some of the most meaningful feedback comes from customer surveys that you can customize to generate high response rates and provide the data you need to make essential business decisions.
  • Send a follow-up email. One of the most successful ways to prompt customers to leave feedback is through an email message. Whether you are referring a customer to an online review site or asking them to complete a survey, a post-purchase email with the right tone can prompt action.
  • Use paper feedback cards. If you still prefer to do things the old fashioned way, hand out some customer comment cards and ask for a few thoughts on the experience. You can have specific questions, provide a rating scale or leave room for free-form comments. Another option is to hand out these cards and refer the customer to a website to complete the process.
  • Add surveys to your WiFi network. Businesses that offer free WiFi to customers also have the opportunity to ask for feedback from a captive audience. Ask for some feedback via a brief survey while the customer is online.
  • Conduct customer interviews. Another way to collect valuable customer feedback is to interview customers directly. Loyal and frequent customers are often happy to spend a few moments giving feedback if you just ask.
  • Monitor social media channels. Social media is now one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways to communicate with your target audience. Most consumers are already actively using sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and your business can join these conversations for free. Make sure to monitor social media for feedback and respond to both mentions and reviews appropriately.
  • Monitor review sites. Instead of directly asking for feedback, it’s also essential to monitor certain websites that are already collecting reviews, such as Google, Facebook and industry-specific sites. Potential customers not only look for reviews on these sites but also want to see how a company responds to customer feedback.
Group of coworkers working together looking at a laptop.

There are many ways that your company can obtain valuable feedback from customers.

Step 2: Analyze Customer Feedback

You may begin to receive more customer feedback than you dreamed possible, but it won’t be worth much if you fail to manage it. An online reputation management (ORM) system is the best solution. The right solution provides a single repository for the feedback coming into for your company from all online sources.

This system will allow you to create tickets so that there is accountability and transparency. It also provides you with an incredible cache of data that can be sorted and analyzed. For example, feedback can often be divided into categories such as pricing/billing, feature request, customer service, usability issue, generic positive (e.g., “I love your product!”) and generic negative (e.g., “I hate this product!”).

Group looking at documents with charts and graphs.

Analyzing and taking action on customer feedback can drastically improve your business.

Step 3: Make Feedback Useful to Your Business

Another one of the benefits of having a powerful customer feedback management system in place is that you’ll have data on hand that can be useful to your business in several ways:

  • Drive changes to products and services. Instead of brainstorming internally about what’s working and what isn’t, your customers will tell you with their feedback. Use this information to drive strategic changes to your products and services. This can help set you apart from your competitors.
  • Boost employee morale. Happy employees are more productive employees. And who doesn’t like to know that their contribution to the big picture is making a difference? Find a way to funnel positive feedback to employees to use a motivation tool.
  • Use feedback as a sales tool. Having positive comments from past customers can help attract new ones. One of the most valuable things your company can do with praise is to use it as a testimonial.
  • Provide incentives to improve service. When customer feedback uncovers service issues, your company can create incentives to address the specific areas that need improvement.
  • Create new opportunities. Beyond improving the products or services you already provide, your company may be able to get ideas for new opportunities from customer feedback. When you strengthen relationships with customers by responding to their comments, this also increases retention rates.

The goal of customer feedback is to increase engagement with customers and learn something that you didn’t know before. Properly managing feedback from customers and creating the right changes to your organization can be a tall order.

Not only is every piece of feedback actionable, but the right customer feedback and online reputation management tools can help find ways to leverage data for meaningful change. specializes in helping enterprise-level businesses analyze customer feedback across a variety of channels so that strategic business decisions create a better customer experience. Download our free guide to Getting Started with Online Reputation Management.


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