Book Review: The Art of SEO
by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Rand Fishkin, and Jessie C. Stricchiola
It’s hard for me to review The Art of SEO–after all, the book was a gift from author Eric Enge, owner of search marketing firm Stone Temple Consulting. Eric gave me a copy at PubCon Paradise in Honolulu in February of 2012, and I returned the favor by humbly offering him a copy of my book, WordPress 3.0 Search Engine Optimization.
But were I not to like the book or discover some obvious error, I’d be looking the proverbial gift horse in the mouth. To make my task even more challenging, I’ve met co-author Stephan Spencer as a co-speaker at several PubCon conferences, and the other co-authors are of equal stature in the SEO sphere. Then, I procrastinated this review for so long that the Second Edition came out, necessitating a second gift to me, this time from Spencer.
But no problem: The Art of SEO meets its well-deserved reputation as the Bible on SEO: a sound, comprehensive guide to nuts-and-bolts search engine optimization.
The first thing you’ll notice about The Art of SEO is the testimonials; accolades are offered up by industry heavyweights including Tim Ash, Will Critchlow, Danny Sullivan, Barry Schwarz, Andy Beal, and more. The second edition offers testimonials that go on for pages. The book itself is voluminous: nearly 700 pages of very dense text and ideas.
Support for Fresh SEOs
For an SEO book to be worthwhile, it must serve both experienced practitioners and those just starting out. “Search Engine Basics” lays a solid foundation in clear terms for the material to follow. Chapter 4, “First Stages of SEO,” maps out a clear plan of action for the early stages of a campaign. Some of the more advanced material, though, will likely leave an inexperienced webmaster with a headache. However, text throughout the book is accompanied by explanatory diagrams and images that help the reader visualize the concepts.
Each chapter is broken down into comprehensive subsections. This allows for an in depth analysis without seeming overwhelming. The detailed snippets focus on the importance of each element, while getting straight to the point.
The sections pertaining to social media are particularly extensive. They discuss the benefits of link building with social media on multiple platforms. They also discuss what types of content work best to attract attention on the different platforms. This section has general information that is beneficial for those new to social media, but it also goes deep into analytics information and new trends that are great for those well versed in social media marketing.
The last chapter, “An Evolving Art Form: The Future of SEO”, discuses how Google and SEO are constantly changing. It’s a game to try to constantly crack the code. It emphasizes the importance of local, voice recognition and mobile search which are recently increasing with the development of new technology — like Siri on the iPhone.
Overall, The Art of SEO is a good book for both beginners and experts. It has basic information, but also goes in depth to fully discuss certain tactics and methods.