Online Marketing

Online Marketing Mastery

Everything you need to know to know everything you need. To know. You know?

One of my favorite things about online marketing is how much stuff there is to learn. The downside of that is how easily you can get lost in all the blog posts and Google algorithm updates and Analytics data…

Your goal should to become a T-shaped marketer. 

Essentially, a T-shape employee is one that has broad knowledge of a lot of related topics, but is an expert in only one specific field.

Adria Saracino, SearchEngineWatch

So here’s what I advise:

(very similar to the advice offered here:

  1. ​Choose a specialization that most interests you. Aaron may prefer UX and CRO for their graphical elements, while Sam may prefer PPC because its rapid set-up and feedback appeal to his (as well as my own!) ADD issues. 
  1. Focus your research on your area of specialization. 
  1. As you learn a new concept referenced by your area of specialty, read up on it. Your knowledge will slowly grow laterally as well as vertically.
  2. Stay curious. Whenever you run across a new concept you’re unfamiliar with, research it. Make notes. Have 40 browser tabs open at the same time. As long as you follow your curiosity into areas that interest you, you’ll never be bored. 

Where to start

This is a fairly comprehensive introduction to the online marketing world and a great place to start:​ 

Here’s another good overview: 

And keep in mind the 5 strategies of highly successful marketers: 

Great big list of links

One of the biggest advantages we have is the incredible range and depth of educational resources, references, guides and how-tos freely available online. You don’t have to pay a penny to become an online marketing ninja. All it takes is your time and interest. 

Note: I broke this down into categories so you can zero in on a topic that interests you. Attack this list in any order you like but be sure to note concepts you don’t understand yet so you can dig deeper. 

General resources

Conversion funnel

Adwords / paid search

Introduction to Google Adwords:


SEO is incredibly dynamic simply because Google constantly refines and tweaks their ranking algorithm. Best practices of 2013 don’t work anymore. The most basic elements (content and links) don’t change, but almost everything else does.

SEO in 30 seconds

Two things matter:

  1. The content on your website (on-page optimization)
  2. Links pointing to your website (off-page optimization)

Everything else is details.

SEO basics: 

Once you’re past the basics

Local (location-based) SEO

Social media marketing


Content marketing


CRO (conversion rate optimization)

UX (user experience)


User experience means how a customer feels about every single interaction with a business. It’s a BIG topic — we’re focusing on website user experience mostly, and how that impacts conversion rate.

UX links


Certifications: proving you can walk the walk

There really aren’t many certifications worth pursuing. For that exact reason, an entire cottage industry of unnecessary and mediocre-quality courses has sprung up. Other than these listed here, I encourage you to avoid online marketing certifications. 


Google uses Skillshop to handle certifications now — use the filters to set “Earn an Award” and get cracking!


Bing has the only significant minority of paid search ads. The exam is easier, too — because Google is essentially a humongous advertising company, and Microsoft is a, well, um, a computer hardware and software and cloud services and Bill Gates turning shit into gold and whatever.

Note: my disdain for certifications does NOT apply to becoming officially certified with tools we actually use. For example, if we landed a super-high-end client who used Adobe Analytics and required we use it, it might be smart to pursue the appropriate certification: 

Tools and other cool stuff is just about my favorite tool for SEO, Adwords and competitive research. Lets you see your competitors’ organic keyword rankings, paid search keywords, and even ad text! Why do your own research when your competitors already did it for you?? is better than SpyFu but a lot more expensive.

WhatRunsWhere is the best service I’ve seen for spying on competitors’ banner and mobile ads.

Use Google Pagespeed Insights or Pingdom to check website speed.


  • Evernote is my favorite software for keeping track of all my research, articles to read, awesome images, etc. — and it’s totally free!

My favorite Google hacks

define:keyword gives you a definition of the keyword. shows the number of pages Google has indexed. keyword searches the specified site for the particular keyword — returns results from specified site only. 

keyworda -keywordb returns results excluding keywordb

“exact phrase” returns results that include the exact phrase returns a list of websites that link to is the passive-aggressive way to answer dumb questions

Keyword research

  • Google Adwords keyword planner
  • Google Correlate finds keywords related to your original phrase
  • Bing Keyword Research tool isn’t as comprehensive as Adwords
  • Google Trends shows you change in keyword search volume over time: … this helps you determine whether a specific keyword phrase is seasonal or steady, growing or dying out. 
  • Google Autocomplete
  • Amazon autocomplete — go to Amazon and start typing a product name in the search box. See those suggestions? Those are GOLD and there is NO WAY to capture them except manually, one at a time — you can’t even screenshot them. You can try to get the same info from a tool like Sonar but I’m not totally confident in the results.



You can do it!

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