There’s no substitute for hands-on experience when it comes to online marketing but if you want to really rise above the competition, you’ll devote some time to reading insights from the experts.

I often tweet and share blog posts that have inspired or informed me, and now I want to highlight some of the books I think are most helpful and accessible.

So here they are, the 12 top books I think every online marketer should take the time to read:

50 Ways to Make Google Love Your Website (by Steve Johnston and Liam McGee)

This accessible book sets out practical and achievable steps that every website
can take in order to boost its traffic by earning Google love.

It’s not overly simplified or overly complicated, but instead looks at the important SEO strategy issues, helping you understand Google works and how to optimise a site in order to achieve great results.

The New Community Rules: Marketing On The Social Web (Tamar Weinberg)

Marketing through social media is hard to get right and all too easy to get wrong, but this book shows you the best ways to connect
with potential customers
through blogs, forums and networking sites – while outlining the pitfalls and how to avoid them.

The result is an insightful and useful guide to the tricky world of social
marketing.

Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity (David Allen)

Online marketers have many different threads to keep track of and it can be overwhelming, which is why I recommend this GTD book for boosting productivity. It’s far removed from a tacky self-help book, in fact, it’s a fun and practical guide to setting priorities and keeping on top of the minutiae of modern life.

I’ve written about this in
more detail
in the past, but it really is a great way to ensure you focus on the important tasks and bigger picture.

Winning Results with Google AdWords (Andrew Goodman)

Anyone can advertise on Google, but if you want to advertise well and achieve the best returns possible, then this guide to running a profitable AdWords
campaign
is a must-read.

It’s far more than a guide to the basics, it takes the reader through some of the really advanced tactics for paid search success.

Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust (Julien Smith and Chris Brogan)

Every internet marketer wants to win the
trust of the online audience
in order to build brand influence, whatever they’re trying to sell, from footballs to political reform.  This book gives an excellent account of how you can tap into the power of social networks to enhance your business success.

Importantly, it highlights case studies too, so that you can see where other businesses have successfully used the techniques it outlines, making it a really valuable addition to any marketer’s bookshelf.

The Art of SEO (Jessie Stricchiola, Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer and Eric Enge)

If you want a practical guide to some of the more technical
fundamentals of search engine optimisation
then this is a very good place to start. Rather than just laying out instructions, this book also explains the theory behind the tactics, meaning you get a rounded industry education.

There are even tips on building a competent SEO team, so it’s also a handy guide for a business owner looking to understand the area before hiring an in-house team.

Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity (Avinash Kaushik)

This book will give you practical recommendations for analysing your data and then using it to measure the success of multi-channel campaigns or social media activity.

It also outlines ways you can use your data to experiment and rapidly upgrade your online marketing.

Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions (Tim Ash)

It’s all too easy to neglect the basics but this book will make you sit up and recognise the power
of your landing pages
when it comes to converting – or losing – customers.

You’ll find it helps you uncover problems with your pages you didn’t realise were costing you money.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income (Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett)

Although it’s predominantly aimed at would-be professional bloggers, this is also a valuable resource for anyone aiming to build a successful blog on their corporate site.

It’s a beginner’s guide, but there is so much information in this book that most bloggers and marketers will have something to learn.

The Dip: The Extraordinary Benefits of Knowing When to Quit (and When to Stick) (Seth Godin)

I wish I’d had this when I was first starting out as an entrepreneur. It’s only a short book but it makes you recognise when an idea is going nowhere and when you’re struggling to achieve something that is genuinely worthwhile.

Motivational but pragmatic, this will help anyone trying to succeed in the challenging online world.

The Longer Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand (Chris Anderson)

People seem to love or hate this book, but I personally think it’s a really useful guide to a challenging area of search
engine marketing
– targeting the long tail efficiently and effectively.

The way consumers behave is changing and this is a useful guide to staying ahead of the game.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience (Carmine Gallo)

Whether you’re a successful online marketer being called upon to speak at industry conferences or a new search exec having to present your strategy to your bosses, you will take something from this book.

Steve Jobs is legendary but this guide will show you the public
speaking theory
behind his success and equip you with the skills you need to give some memorable performances of your own.