When I started learning SEO back in 2011, one of the first sites I turned to was Moz (formerly SEOmoz.) Between their exceptional Beginner’s Guide to SEO and their consistently high-quality blog, I was immediately hooked.
I’m not here to talk about their beginner’s guide or their blog, though. I’m here to talk about the main event: Whiteboard Friday.
What is Whiteboard Friday?
Whiteboard Friday is Moz’s flagship video content series. Each Friday, Moz founder Rand Fishkin or another SEO expert breaks down a complicated SEO concept in about ten minutes, with the help of a whiteboard.
On paper it sounds like the simplest thing in the world, but it’s the focus on simple illustrations, excellent formatting, and clear communication that makes the series stand out. C suite executives, seasoned SEO specialists, and newbies trying to teach themselves SEO can come away from these videos with a better understanding of the concepts they cover.
The first WBF was published in 2007 and briefly features intro music by Modest Mouse, just to add to the 2007-ness. 568 videos later, they’ve come a very long way.
Without further ado, here are my choices for Moz’s five best Whiteboard Friday Videos:
Building links is one of the most vital tasks in SEO, and also one of the hardest. It can take a lot of outreach, paid tools, experience, and resources to do it right.
In this video, Rand skips over all that noise and simply gives you three straightforward and free ways to build your first 50 links. That’s it.
What makes this video great is that these tactics are dead simple, will never become obsolete, and they don’t even require free tools to execute. The only prerequisites are that you have a website and understand that links are valuable for SEO.
No, really. That’s it.
Keyword research is another big SEO subject that can trip you up.
While this video requires more tools and experience than #5 on our list, it’s amazing just how much ground it covers. In just 12 minutes, Rand takes you through building a list of keyword suggestions, how to group them by searcher intent, how to add quantitative factors to prioritize your best keywords, and how to create content around those keywords. Whew.
What I love about this video the most is how seamlessly it blends strategic suggestions with high-level understanding at every step of the process. If this was the only tutorial about keyword research you ever encountered, I think you’d be just fine.
This is a relatively new video, but I think it’s essential.
Between Google’s spotty communication and the SEO community’s echo chamber, it’s almost impossible to find legitimate, worthwhile advice about writing for SEO.
That is, outside of this video.
What I love about this entry is that Rand steps back to talk about what “writing for SEO” used to mean in 2001 and 2008, when SEO was a very different animal. By saying “some of this misinformation used to be true,” it helps put that advice into context, and hopefully to rest.
At the end of the video, he also runs through a brief process for writing “SEO content” in 2018, just to make this lesson actionable.
Thanks to this video, “10x content” is now its own keyword.
In this video, Rand shows you how to create content that is “10 times better” than the competition’s. While this advice is generally very high level, it’s also very comprehensive. The video touches on practical criteria (like “great UX on every device”), topic research and ideation, how to make your content difficult to duplicate, and how to present it for maximum impact.
I also love that Rand admits that this advice is not foolproof: it takes 5 or 10 attempts for each success, and even practice won’t make perfect.
What the hell, Joe? This is your #1 Whiteboard Friday?
You bet your butt it is.
Deciding what to put on your homepage can be a nightmare. If you’re in a large organization, expect all of your stakeholders to want a say, from the marketer with her new promotion and the C-class that wants it to “pop” to the sysadmin who wants your hosting server to survive the load.
If you’re in a smaller organization, or building a website for yourself, the lack of constraints and endless options can be just as crippling.
In this video, Rand tells you what to put on your homepage and why, and that’s pretty much it. He also frames it by explaining the old methodologies behind homepage design and why they have to evolve.
In the end, it’s a strong argument that benefits from its own simplicity. Even if you don’t agree with it 100%, it will give you the perfect starting point for forging and articulating your own opinions.
So There You Have It
While all of my top five videos happen to come from Rand, he is by no means the only WBF host worth watching. Don’t miss out on some great contributions from Cyrus Shepard, Dr. Pete, Brittney Muller, Ruth Burr Reedy and more.
Also be sure to check out my other favorite SEO resources, like and subscribe, and tell me why all my choices suck in the comments.