Book Review – “Search Engine Optimization” by Jerri L. Ledford

SEO is one of my latest concerns, especially since Google and Bing started to change a couple of years ago so much the search engine landscape. My worries translated recently in some readings about the search engine optimization semi-science. I call it so since it is a relatively young field of knowledge and still has a long way to go to become a mature field.

This impression lasted also from the book itself. “Search Engine Optimization” is comprehensive yet I could not escape from the feeling of bundling several things together and hardly trying to tie them together. The book is quite nice and has a lot of content anyway, don’t get me wrong.

“Search Engine Optimization” comes from the Wiley Bible series, where authors try to write books as complete as possible. It means that if you are an advanced user of SEO tools, you might find this a bit too extensive, yet I think it is always good to have on the shelf a book with all the details in. “Search Engine Optimization” comes nicely organized and cross-annotated, as all the Bible books, so that you can find your references very quick.

The book has 5 parts, constructed from the simple / contextual tasks to the most comprehensive ones:

Part I Understanding SEO
Part II SEO Strategies
Part III Optimizing Search Strategies
Part IV Maintaining SEO
Part V Appendices

What I liked the most was the practical twists applied to each and every chapter. For example, after the sub-chapter called “How the links affect SEO”, Jerri L. Ledford presents comprehensive formulas on how Google calculates the page rank for a page. It might look a bit like a lot of math (for me looked easy 🙂 ) but if you do not understand this, it is no point in complaining why you cannot make your page rank fly.

What I also enjoyed was part 4 – which describes the grinding job on how to maintain your website highly visible on different search engines. Jerri L. Ledford puts some emphasis on the difficulty of the daily chores and on their necessity and I enjoyed her psychological approach to these tasks.

In the last part the author throws in some real life case studies which are very useful if you want to see how SEO works in practice. In an interview, Jim Whalen suggested that you start with optimizing your website as soon as you start or in the worst case at the redesign phase, which sounded like a good advice for me. I think I already started doing so by reading this book and researching the topic a bit, yet I feel like there is a long way to go…

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