how to learn seo at home free

How to learn SEO at home for free in 2021

Have you ever wondered : “Can I learn SEO at home, for free ? or “Can I teach myself SEO ?”

Me too ! When I started doing freelancing marketing gigs a few years ago, SEO seemed to be the most in-demand skill, but I was a broke student that couldn’t afford $1000 SEO courses. 

I’ve spent hours looking for free resources with strategies that work (see proof below) and because I feel like being nice today, I’m going to share them all in this article !

how to learn seo at home free

PSA : This article is strictly about learning white-hat SEO. If you’re looking for black hat SEO tactics, this is probably not the article for you.  

Too busy to read the 15 resources ?

Click on the icon to get a summary of all the resources cited throughout this article.


Step 1 : Learn keyword research & SERP analysis

In my opinion, the one thing you have to start learning if you want to get better at SEO is keyword research and SERP analysis (looking at the top ranking websites in search engine results page to see if you have a chance of outranking your competitors).

Here’s what you need to know : 

1) Find keywords ideas

  • Stop Using Keyword Research Tools (And do this instead!) 
    • 🎥 Youtube video by Income School
    • ⏰ Video length : 13 mn 
    • ❓ This video by Income School is all about how to use Google Keyword Suggestions to find long-tail keywords.
  • Keyword Golden Ratio: How to find keywords you can rank for in 48 hours
    • 📖 Article by Doug Cunnington
    • ⏰ Reading time : 32 minutes
    • ❓ The Keyword Golden Ratio is a very simple concept, but very effective to find keywords to rank for, even as a beginner ! Basically, it’s a formula that  that divides the number of Google results that have the keyword phrase in the title divided by the monthly search volume in order to find low competition keywords. 
how to learn seo at home free
an example of the KGR rule in action : I've been able to rank the article on even though it's a new domain that has no links and no domain authority !

2) Understand search intent

  • Searcher Intent: The Overlooked ‘Ranking Factor’ You Should Be Optimizing For
    • 📖 Article by Ahrefs
    • ⏰ Reading time : 15 mn  
    • ❓ Ahrefs’ tool is quite expensive and not affordable for most beginners (it is amazing though), but their blog is full of gems, like this article about search intent. Basically, this is about aligning your content with what the user is looking for. For example, someone searching for “how old is Beyonce” does not want to read a 2000-page article about Beyonce’s discography, but just wants to know that Queen B is 39 years old.

3) Assess the competition

  • How to Analyse SERP and Keyword Competition
    • 🤝 Post in the Black Hat World forum (written by an anonymous poster) 
    • ⏰ Reading time : 10 mn  
    • ❓ Forums like Black Hat World can be very hit or miss, but there are some posters that really know what they’re talking about and are generous enough to share their knowledge : this post is the perfect illustration of that ! It explains perfectly how you have to look beyond numbers to assess the keyword difficulty, and gives you actionable advice to do this (search results analysis, keyword golden ratio…)
  • [Guide] Analyze Your SEO Competition Without Spending A Dollar
    • 🤝 Post in the Black Hat World forum (written by an anonymous poster) 
    • ⏰ Reading time : 10 mn  
    • ❓ Like the previous post, this post really helped me understand how to analyze a keyword’s difficulty competition without relying completely on keyword difficulty scores given by SEO tools, which are not always super accurate..

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Step 2 : Learn to write SEO-optimized content

Now that you’re a keyword research expert, time to write ! Here are some resources to help you with the writing process : 

  • On-page SEO : the complete guide
    • 📖 Article by Backlinko 
    • ⏰ Reading time : 30mn 
    • ❓ Long gone are the days where all you needed to do was stuffing your keyword 100 times in your content to rank… This Backlinko article gives tips to make your titles, descriptions and content more SEO-friendly !
  • SEO copywriting : The Definitive Guide
    • 📖 Article by Backlinko 
    • ⏰ Reading time : 20mn 
    • ❓ Here’s another guide by Backlinko (what can I say, this is one of the best blogs for SEO !) This article completes the previous one on on-page SEO by going even deeper on how you can write compelling copy that will make people click on your articles, and actually read them ! 

Step 3 : Building backlinks

If you want your articles to rank, you’ll also need backlinks. Backlinks are created when one website links to another : the goal is to get as many relevant websites in your niche to link to your blog post.

And make no mistake : I’m not talking about spamming comments in blog posts or harassing blog owners for guest posts, but about getting your content in front of people who are truly interested in sharing it.

Additional reading : If you’re on the hunt for more original link building strategies, you can also read the two following blog posts :

Step 4 : Time to master more advanced SEO techniques

Yay, we covered the 3 main concepts of SEO : keyword research, writing SEO-optimized content & link-building ! 

Now, you can take a break, but only a quick one, because we’re not totally done ! Before we finish, here’s some advanced concepts  to step your SEO game up once you master the basics.

Technical SEO

  • Technical SEO : The Definitive Guide
    • 📖 Article by Backlinko
    • ⏰ Reading time : 30 minutes
    • ❓ I personally believe you don’t need to be a technical SEO expert as most website builder take care of this for you (or have plugins that do it instead, like Yoast on WordPress). Anyhow, knowing about it can’t hurt, so this guide will teach you everything you need to know about site architecture, crawling, sitemaps and other very fun technical stuff.


  • How to Establish E-A-T on Your Site and Crush SEO
    • 🎥 Video by Income School 
    • ⏰ Video length : 35 minutes
    • ❓ If your site deals with health, finance, safety or similar topics, it’s going to be considered by Google as YMYL site. This means that in order to rank, the Google algorithm needs to be able to see that your site has enough Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EAT) on the topic covered. So, if you have a YMYL site, you should watch this video to improve your EAT. 

Schema markup

  • What Is Schema Markup? How to Use It for SEO
    • 📖 Article by Ahrefs
    • ⏰ Reading time : 20 minutes
    • ❓ Have you ever seen search results with rich snippets before ? Well, this is achieved using Schema markup code. Read the guide to find out all you need to know about it and how you can use it.
how to learn seo at home free
this is what rich snippets look like.

Snippet optimization 

  • Snippet Optimization Tutorial: How to Dominate the Search Results
    • 🎥 Video by Income School
    • ⏰ Reading time : 10 minutes
    • ❓ Schema markup is one way to get rich snippets, but it’s not the only way ! In this video, the guys from Income School show us a very simple to format your blog post to win snippets and get to the coveted position #0.

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And we’re done with this free “SEO 101” course that will help you start learning SEO at home, all for free !

As promised, just fill your email in the field below to receive the summary of all the resources cited throughout this article.

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If you were wondering where to start with SEO, I hope that you got some answers.

Reading/Watching all of the resources mentioned in the article will take you about 5 hours, which means that you can begin your learning journey in less than one day ! Pretty cool, no ?

However, I have to be honest : you will not become a SEO expert only by reading all of this material. I’m a big believer in “learning by doing”, so when you’re done reading, create your own sites, write your articles, and see for yourself what works and what doesn’t. 

And if you want more marketing tips and experiments, you’ll find everything you need here.