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Book Review : SEO for dummies

SEO For Dummies
  • Woody Rank

Great resource for learning the basics of SEO with actionable tips, strategies and advice on how to improve your rankings

Why I Read this book?

When I started my blog, I had very little real-world SEO experience. I knew and understood some of the technical basics from an HTML development perspective with some familiarity with the primary HTML meta tags and the best practice associated with them.

This was based on the knowledge I had accumulated from years working as a web developer and on a number of web-based projects. I'd naively assumed that there really was nothing else too SEO and couldn't really understand what all the hype was about.

In the early months of blogging, I never really did anything SEO wise, all I ever did was ensure my posts had Title and Meta Descriptions, ensured I installed Google Analytics and I think that was about it!

I didn't have and wasn't working to according to any real plan and just wrote about anything and everything that I felt like. I'd sit down write some stuff and publish. Thinking that the magic would just happen and over time people would just find my blog resulting in my traffic gradually increasing.

In retrospect this was a kind of good thing, because the reality was my writing was extremely poor and probably wasn't worth reading. However, one can become extremely disheartend when you excitedly start checking your Google Analytics and your total visitor count for the week was 10 people!

Probably like everyone else who starts a blog, I had visions of becoming an overnight success and making bundles of quick cash from my blog. Despite the fact I didn't really have a clue on how this was going to be achieved.

I think it was round about the 6-month mark I decided to start getting serious about SEO and understand it a little better. I started to read and research a little more online about it, but to be honest I found a lot of stuff to nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to get you signed up to some course or programme that promises to transform you into a multi-millionaire internet success just by learning some obscure tactic relating to SEO.

I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of SEO because I realised it is vital if I ever wanted to take this blogging seriously.

Being the cheapskate or as some might say, frugal guy, I also didn't want to unnecessarily pay huge amounts of money if I didn't need too. Especially when my blog was nothing more than I part-time hobby and not really a business.

So I did, what I always do when I want to learn about something new, I go see if there is a For Dummies book on the subject. I have done this so many times in my career!

What I learned from this book

SEO for dummies is a great book for beginners, and has loads useful reference material on SEO for even the advanced users.

The author, Peter Kent, stays true to the Dummies theme and makes most of the material easy to understandm easy to read and enjoyable.

The book is well organized with chapters on :

  • Planning Search Engine Strategy
  • How to build Search Engine Friendly sites
  • Picking Powerful Keywords
  • Finding Traffic via Geo-Targeting.
  • Using Structured Data Markup
  • Local Search
  • Basics of Social Networking

A book on SEO best practices, can help readers understand basic SEO and why their SEO agency makes certain recommendations.

SEO for Dummies is geared at beginners with little or no SEO knowledge and, in my opinion, does a great job of covering the basics to bring the reader up to speed with what they need know.

The book starts out by providing a high level overview on how search engines work and ways your website can attract attention. After covering these basics, SEO for Dummies discusses various analytics tools that will help you track your website’s performance and tweak SEO to improve your placement in search results.

SEO for Dummies also covers what not to do if you want to improve your search engine results, which is important since accidentally doing the wrong thing can harm your reputation and your website’s placement in search results.

In addition to natural search engine optimization, SEO for Dummies includes a section on pay-per-click advertising for businesses wanting to gain an understanding of how to use advertising to promote their website.

What I like about this book

Over the years, I have really grown to appreciate For Dummies guides and have frequently turn to them to learn about new subjects. In fact, probably one of the primary reasons why I'm a software developer today is that I read C++ For Dummies which helped to learn an understand C++ which helped me to get my first developer job in 1998.

SEO For Dummies, in my opinion, follows in exactly the same vain and has helped me gain a deeper understanding of SEO and how to to apply them to benefit my blogs and websites.

Who Should Read this book ?

Essential reading for anyone who wants to gain more than a basic understanding of SEO

If you find yourself described in the following list, then SEO For Dummies is the perfect book for you!

  • Web Designer - who wants to gain some additional knowledge
  • Blogger - wants to improve search rankings for your blog
  • Entrepreneur - Gain understanding of how SEO affects your business plan
  • Web Master - Gain an understanding of how SEO can and will affect the performance of your website
  • General Manager - Gain understanding of how SEO can and will affect business performance
  • CEO - Learn what your marekting teams keeps banging on about
  • Marketing Professional - gain an understanding of how SEO will influence your digital marketing strategy

In many instances a committed and dedicated SEO team makes sense for a business, but they should never be left unmonitored and left calling the shots. As the old adage goes, nobody takes better care of your money than you. The same applies to SEO, you need to be able to ensure that whoever is doing your SEO is doing correctly and ethically and you need to ensure all the checks and balances are in place.

The positive side regarding text books, is they cover a subject with breadth, the downside of text books is that they are a little bit difficult to read cover to cover. SEO for Dummies is a solid book that provides detailed and code-level recommendations for all of the topics relevant in SEO, but in a very easy to read and understand manner. With a few funny bad jokes thrown in!

You don't need a in-depth knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript or computer science degree to understand the book, but a basic understanding of internet and web pages work is more than suffice.

Although the book is a little out of date now and references some sites and resources that no longer exist, it is a useful book for an intermediate SEO marketer.

What I did not like about this book?

Overall, I really liked this book and it has helped me a whole lot to improve my search engine rankings for my blog. I have gained #1 rankings for pages on this blog, which helps to drive a significant portion of my traffic.

I also now have a far more consolidated and methodical approach to blogging which has significantly improved my overall reach and discoverability of my blog in general. So I find it very difficult to find anything bad at all to say about this book!

Why I recommend this book

You can learn a lot of basic information from SEO for dummies , and the book will provide a great grounding on the subject and fantastic platform to build your knowledge on. However, SEO is constantly changing, and you will find you may learn more from SEO agency blogs and articles, but it is important to make sure certain SEO best practices are still in use.

Gary Woodfine
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