So, you’ve decided to work on your digital marketing skills, or maybe you’re just starting from scratch? Great! But with so many different learning resources out there, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to get the most out of your efforts.
If you haven’t already, take a look at my recommended steps to learn digital marketing, which will give you an overview of how to structure your learning. In this guide, I’ll be looking more specifically at some of the best (free) digital marketing resources to help you succeed in developing your knowledge across different tactics. Let’s get started!
Search engine optimisation (SEO) has long been one of the most fundamental elements of digital marketing. While SEO might not be as straightforward as it used to be, there are still a range of best practices and techniques which can make a huge difference to the amount of relevant traffic landing on a website. As such, this is a great place to start if you’re learning digital marketing.
- How Search Works by Google. Learning how search engines find, understand, and return website content will help you to understand the reasons for making all of those “good” changes to your website- and it’s really interesting, too!
- Google Digital Garage. Beginner-level videos about SEO (and other topics), with a certification of completion too. A nice alternative to all the reading you’ll be doing.
- Moz SEO Learning Centre, including their Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Great guides covering SEO fundamentals and more advanced topics too.
- Search Engine Land (including their Guide to SEO), Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, and the Moz Blog. Industry news, analysis and guides covering mostly intermediate and advanced topics.
- Moz Whiteboard Friday. These weekly video presentations about a range of interesting search-related topics, both basic and advanced, deserve a special mention. Also check out the comments for some extra discussion.
- Google Keyword Planner and Keyword Planner Help. Google Keyword Planner is technically for plannning AdWords campaigns, but digital marketers have long used it for regular (organic traffic) keyword research too. If you don’t have any active AdWords campaigns the data will be mostly useless, but it’s still worth learning how to use it for when you’re researching keywords in the future.
- Google Search Console and Search Console Help. Search Console is a great place to analyse various components of SEO/website health and your organic search traffic, while the help pages explain what you’re looking at and why. Not only will this develop your understanding of (more technical) SEO, it’s also a tool which is frequently used by professional digital marketers- so you should know how to use it. If you don’t have a website to analyse, then why not set one up?
Content Marketing Resources
Content marketing is increasingly popular with large and small businesses alike, and is one of the most important components of inbound marketing. Content often goes hand in hand with SEO, but involves more than just sticking some keywords in a blog post. Furthermore, while written content on your website is often a big part of content marketing, it doesn’t encompass all of it: content can be emails, social media posts, videos, and anything else you produce for your audience. Ultimately, being able to effectively create and deliver targeted content is highly important in digital marketing.
- Google Digital Garage. Beginner-level videos about content marketing (and other topics), with a certification of completion too. A nice alternative to all the reading you’ll be doing.
- HubSpot Inbound Certification. A good introduction to the inbound marketing methodology, taught through a series of video lectures and further reading. See also: is the HubSpot Inbound Certification worth it? (Short answer: yes).
- Moz Blog (including the specific content category). Content marketing guides and opinion/analysis articles covering a range of topics.
- Content Marketing Institute (including their Getting Started guide) and Inbound.org. A huge range of resources from two of the leading content marketing communities.
Social Media Marketing Resources
Social media marketing is arguably a type of content marketing, but is big enough to deserve its own category. Importantly, social media represents an opportunity to reach and engage with your audience on their chosen platform, and – if done well – can have a hugely positive impact on your brand. In addition, Facebook advertising offers some of the best audience targeting options available, to generate awareness and drive action among the people who are most likely to be your best customers.
- Google Digital Garage. Beginner-level videos about social media (and other topics), with a certification of completion too. A nice alternative to all the reading you’ll be doing.
- Hootsuite Social Marketing Education. A free course covering social media fundamentals, social media strategy, and social media advertising, taught through a series of video lectures. (Note: you have to pay to take the final exam and get certified, but personally I’d skip this step).
- Hootsuite Blog and the Moz Blog (including the specific social media category). Social media marketing guides, news and opinion/analysis articles.
Digital Analytics Resources
Analytics is essential across virtually all areas of digital marketing: it allows you to benchmark key metrics and conversions, gain insight about your audience, and evaluate the performance of your digital marketing campaigns. Even if you’re not going to specialise in analytics, every marketer can benefit from being able to review data and pull out useful insights. So, time to get stuck into the data.
- Google Digital Garage. Beginner-level videos about digital analytics (and other topics), with a certification of completion too. A nice alternative to all the reading you’ll be doing.
- Google Analytics and the Google Analytics Demo Account. GA is the most widely used web analytics program which can offer a dizzying array of data about how people reach, navigate and engage with your website. Knowing how to access the data you need in Google Analytics is essential, and just looking around the interface is a good first step.
- Google Analytics Training and Support, including Google Analytics Help (a huge range of help articles) and Google Analytics Academy (more structured video courses). Once you’re feeling confident in your knowledge, you can take on the Google Analytics Individual Qualification to get certified.
- Google Analytics Blog. The latest (official) GA news and advice.
- Kissmetrics Blog. A marketing blog with emphasis on digital analytics.
- Occam’s Razor. A blog by Avinash Kaushik covering a range of intermediate and advanced topics in web analytics.
- Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. In digital marketing, you’ll find yourself exporting and manipulating data a lot- whether that’s traffic data, keyword rankings, or conversion metrics. Suffice to say, the better your skills in your chosen spreadsheet application, the quicker and easier these tasks will be. Plus, you can make all of your reports even more useful/pretty.
So, there you have it. Hopefully, along with my wider recommendations for learning digital marketing, you’re now well on your way to improving your digital skills. If you still have questions, feel free to get in touch and I’ll do what I can to help. Good luck!