Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Best SEO Books

What is SEO? And Why Do I Need To Learn It?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines through search results. The higher a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users, resulting in more business or sales.

The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines - Google, Bing and Yahoo!. If your site cannot be found by search engines or your content cannot be put into their databases, you miss out on the incredible opportunities available to websites provided via search - people who want what you have visiting your site. Whether your site provides content, services, products, or information, search engines are a primary method of navigation for almost all Internet users.

Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization's success. Targeted visitors to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other. Investing in SEO, whether through time or finances, can have an exceptional rate of return., and this is why YOU need SEO.

What Is The Best Way to Learn SEO?

Whenever someone asks me how to learn SEO, I always recommend they read a book. Some SEOs I know will thrash me for this, but SEO has a lot of pieces and without having a foundational knowledge, none of the pieces will have any context.

What's Missing?

To me, the ideal way to learn SEO is 3-fold:

1. Gain a foundational knowledge of SEO
2. Apply the principles to a website with monetary goals
3. Stay current by testing and reading industry literature

One of the biggest barriers to entry right now in SEO is the technical challenge of building a site worth optimizing. Many SEOs cut their teeth on a WordPress site or blog, but there's nothing to optimize, so it's really not the ideal workshop for learning and testing SEO. The big gap right now is that the skill disparity between building a good-looking, functional site (especially an ecommerce site) and doing SEO on that site is HUGE.

What the industry is missing is a turnkey e-commerce platform with the simplicity of many third party blogging platforms that comes pre-populated with good looking category and product pages and the ability to customize all of the SEO-critical information. Most of the "internet-business-in-a-box" solutions right now are either scams or too inflexible to be valuable.

eRetailers like have put a lot of resources into helping their affiliates sell products and have provided all of the functionality to embed products and code onto existing sites. Why not go a step further and create the actual platforms that would enable affiliates to sell products right out of the gate? Amazon could even partner with WordPress to create a basic hybrid system that would smooth entry into the ecommerce world and make them that much more money.

I know it's wrong to hope for more competition, but I feel like having an ecommerce site that can go up as quickly as a blog (and look as normal) would be awesome for the industry.

* Good SEOs would get even better.
* New SEOs would get up-to-speed more quickly.
* Search results would become more relevant (assuming an increase in unique content).

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