The best SEO books for beginners and everyone else in 2022

The question “What are the best books about SEO?” usually gets answered with either it depends or there are no good SEO books. In fact, there isn’t a ton of worthy books on the subject, because it’s such a quickly moving target. However, there are a few that are worth reading in addition to the many SEO blogs you should be following. They are great for both beginners and advanced SEOs, anyone (whether you are a specialist or a business owner) can learn something from them or dust off some long-forgotten knowledge. Without further ado, let me present our ultimate totally-worth-it compilation!

The best SEO books everyone should read

Some books are good, some books are great, and some are simply the ones you can’t miss. In honor of the best of the best SEO books, we’re dedicating a separate section to the SEO books you can not miss.

The Art of SEO (3rd edition – 2014)

If you could only read one book about SEO let it be this one! This staple of search engine optimization books is considered an organic ranking bible. It gives an overview of pretty much every little detail there is to know about SEO. Although a little dated this 2014 edition covers all the basics. We can probably expect an updated 4th version soon, as it’s already been almost 6 years since the latest edition.

Ultimate Guide to Link Building (2nd edition – 2020)

Recently, a second edition of the popular book on link building has been published, this is a must-read for everyone looking to up their game and get inspired for their next link building campaign.

Top SEO books for in-house SEO specialists

Agency and in-house SEO are two very different beasts. While you might have more variety in client work at an agency you will usually not be able to dive as deep into the problems at hand as if you’d worked on the client-side. For this, and other reasons such as stakeholder management, budgeting, and more the work of in-house SEOs is much different, and they face other challenges.

On the downside, it might be a little lonely working as an in-house SEO if you don’t have a big organic search department (most companies don’t). You don’t have many other people understanding your tasks to bounce ideas off and you need to rely on outside information for a bigger portion of your up-to-date industry knowledge.

Most SEO specialists have their favorite side of the job, but everybody agrees that they are much different. All of the above makes way for content specifically geared towards in-house SEOs, and below you can find a few really good books just for your in-house SEO soul.

Mastering In-House SEO – 2020 Edition

The first edition of Mastering In-House SEO is a book compiled by a UK SEO agency Blue Array and their CEO, Simon Schnieders. It was most probably partly meant as an agency lead magnet as it used to be sent for free to UK-based in-house SEO specialists. This doesn’t invalidate the content, though. If you can look past the rough edges of the first edition (like poor editing) it truly is a gem. The book consists of stories from many field-tested in-house SEOs that share their learnings about navigating their own respective corporate structures and getting stuff done at often quite a big scale. Many valuable lessons, useful also for agency people to understand the other side better.

Mastering In-House SEO – 2020 Edition Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. How I Built a Community for Women to Support One Another
  3. A Culture of Autonomy: Building an SEO Team That Can Do It All
  4. How a “Simple” Point of View Made a £30,000/Day Difference
  5. Beyond Tactics: Principles to Drive Strategic SEO
  6. How a Best-Practice Guidebook has Helped the Times and the Sunday Times to Succeed With SEO
  7. How to Win Friends and Influence People: SEO Edition
  8. Necessary Evil to Notable Edge: Optimising Filter Pages for Ranking and Conversion
  9. Reducing Risk With Automated SEO Testing
  10. Data-Led Journalism: How we Created Pages More People Wanted to Read
  11. The Penguin Prognosticator: Going Against the Crowd
  12. Think Land Grab: Career Advice for SEOS and Their Employers
  13. The Overkill Approach to Scoring Your Dream SEO Role
  14. The Survivalist’s Guide to the Enterprise SEO Jungle
  15. Proxies, Prerendering and PR: Lessons From a Brief Brand Campaign
  16. The Fast and Furious: Life as an SEO Expert in a Start-Up
  17. The Journey: What to Focus on as Your Career Unfolds
  18. Collaboration and Coordination: An SEO Master List to Get More Done
  19. History and Legacy: Joining a Company as the First In-House SEO
  20. Selling SEO: How to Get a Bigger Budget to Grow Organic and Your Career
  21. Why SEO is More Than SEO
  22. Imposter Syndrome and SEO: Beating Back Specters of Self-Doubt
  23. Life in the Newsroom: SEO in the “Breaking News” Landscape
  24. The Need for Speed: Simple Page Speed Optimisations to Make Your Site Faster
  25. Scientific SEO: A Test-Driven Approach to Validating SEO
  26. The SEO Scale: How to Tell if Your Next Company Measures Up
  27. Cross-Cache: When Pages “Jumped” Countries (And How I Fixed IT)
  28. Bonus Contribution

Mastering In-House SEO – Second (2021) Edition

The second edition of Mastering In-House SEO that came out in 2021 is following the same concept as the first one but boasts better editing and reads a little better overall. Simon and BlueArray have once again delivered interesting stories from some of the top in-house SEO experts at companies that do great in organic search. For those of you that think of skipping either one of the editions, please don’t. The stories are unique in both of them and all are well worth reading. In tandem, they have some of the highest signal-to-noise ratios of all of the SEO resources out there. The contributing authors are not holding back and hiding behind the dreaded “it depends” phrase.

Product-Led SEO – 2021

Product-Lead SEO is a book by Eli Schwartz that has a very simple premise, yet is a really refreshing look at SEO. While most SEO resources will focus on technicalities and processes on keyword research, link building, and technical optimization this one will warrant a little shift in your SEO mindset. We’re not going to spoil the fun of reading, but rest assured the clue is in the title. It is definitely worth a read to challenge some of the long-standing staples of SEO but do not expect a quake-like shake-up of the basic principles of SEO.

Product-Led SEO Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Basics of SEO And How Search Works
  3. What Is Product-Led SEO?
  4. SEO Is a Job for Humans
  5. SEO And Digital Marketing
  6. Strategic SEO
  7. Tactical SEO
  8. Broad SEO Categories
  9. The Company And SEO
  10. Implementing Product-Led SEO
  11. Conclusion
  12. Acknowledgments
  13. About The Author

The best Technical SEO books

There aren’t many great tech SEO books. In fact, there isn’t even one that talks specifically about technical SEO. Tech SEO is still quite new to the masses and it’s a combination of many different areas like web development, server administration, data science, and more. That’s why having some experience in those fields will be beneficial for anybody doing technical SEO. You can be sure that we will include here any tech SEO books that will be published in the future, and in fact, it looks like there might be one Technical SEO book in the works – let’s see.

High Performance Websites – 2007

Despite being a little dated this is a book every technical SEO should have read. Understanding basic concepts about the World Wide Web is a must if you want to properly optimize websites for performance.

Even Faster Websites – 2009

A follow-up to High-performance Websites broadens the subject and explains even more concepts dedicated to web performance.

If you like our selection of SEO books, we’re pretty sure you’ll love the handy compilation of must-have SEO tools for every specialist in organic traffic acquisition! We even have a great Screaming Frog SEO Spider user guide, for one of the best SEO tools ever.

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