Natasha's recent post Where Can I Find Free Images? caused a minor furor among the Monkey Followers. She got feedback along the lines of “you should always pay for images”... which I think is CRAZY!
Certainly, sometimes you should pay for a bespoke service, but that’s not always necessary. This site is full of a mixture of free images, those we've commissioned (by the prodigiously talented Chris J Suico and Owen Williams), created in house or licensed. That’s a mix that works well for our organisation and probably most others.
Slightly more irksome was the occasional call for “free SEO advice” that came across like some sort of challenge; “You’re willing to give away images, but not SEO advice!” seemed to be the thrust.
Au bloody contraire.
We love learning new stuff, testing new techniques and creating new tools (free, by the way) and then sharing EVERYTHING. It might even be the bit of the job I enjoy the most!
There is free SEO advice on this blog (Over 5 years worth, all tried, tested and free), there are the workshops and seminars I run with BRAVE, BEN / Bristol Science City and North Somerset Enterprise Agency, (for which we don’t charge, but each agency will charge you for the roof over your head and some tea / coffee / lunch) and if that’s not enough then, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, allow me to present:
Jon Payne’s 5 top sources of trustworthy, free SEO advice.
I've made a distinction here between “free” and “trustworthy”. This is because there are plenty of SEO experts and SEO companies out there who will offer you all sorts advice that will harm your website, your brand and your profits. When we're putting right the damage they've done to websites, I often can't tell if they've been knowingly ripping someone off or simply fraudulently negligent.
The good news is, I trust these, so you can too:
SEOmoz. There’s pro accounts but http://www.seomoz.org/resources will give you tons of free information. Have a click about, read, watch their White Board Fridays and Mozinars,you’ll be in good hands. You can even ask questions of the community if you become an active Mozzer yourself and see which answers to your questions are from the most trusted, experienced individuals.
SEOmoz is, by some distance, the site which has the best, most reliable answers I need to SEO questions.
Search Engine Land. No better or worse than SEOmoz, but a different kind of resource. You can get help with your SEO issues here, but there’s also loads of news, up to date insight and interviews and comments from the main players at Google, Bing, et al. The guys behind Search Engine Land have been covering online marketing trends and challenges for 11 years. I've probably visited their site at least 3 times a week for the last decade.
Google Webmasters on You Tube. People ask questions about SEO. Matt Cutts (the head of the webspam team at Google) answers them using the utterly modern medium of TV, but on the internet. Brilliant, simple and cuts through the crap. You know that thing that your mate down the pub said about how it’s all about the number of links on your site? Matt knows and Matt will tell you. You might also follow the Google Webmaster Blog too.
Hubspot Blog – A resource I don’t use that often (I’m kind of wedded to the three above), but the rest of the team (who are less geeky than me) swear by. I get lots of articles forwarded to me by the Monkeys and they are normally chock full of practical, implementable ideas for your own website.
Relatively new to the scene compared to the first three, but an undoubted winner, the Hubspot Blog is the resource for people who wear a marketing hat more often than they wear an SEO one. Check it out.
Twitter – Follow people who know what they’re talking about and you’ll get more SEO ideas than you can poke a stick at. Here, I’ve made you a list: https://twitter.com/MrJonPayne/online-marketing It’ll be dead busy in there, but check it out every so often and you’ll find a gem or two of an idea that will work for your business.
Nothing beats common sense, so make sure you test each piece of advice against your own internal bullshitometer first. If it feels like the only reason you're trying something is to 'game the system' and there's no benefit for human visitors to your site, avoid it.
If you think I've missed any resources that you consider awesome, then let me know in the comments below, I’d be thrilled to take a look.
If you’d like a bespoke SEO service, then take a look again at that Twitter list. Many of the people in there are competitors with methods and ethics that I respect, so call one you like the look of. Or call the team at Noisy Little Monkey of course.