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Book review: The Art of SEO

I know I am the co-author of a search marketing book, but you really need to read this one, too. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization is an in-depth look at organic search practices by four of the top experts in the field. It goes deeper than any book I have seen into specific areas of SEO that any serious practitioner needs to know. It’s the best deep dive into SEO of any book around, so I want to bring it your attention.

This book has been out a few months, so you might be wondering why I am bringing it up now. Well, the answer is that my memory is shot. I woke up this morning and realized that I had read two books months ago and had never posted reviews. This happened to me because I was sent preview copies and then forgot to post the reviews when the books became available to the public. Let me remedy one of those oversights today.
Before I start, I should point out that this isn’t exactly an unbiased review. I have known one of the authors (Stephan Spencer) for years and I have met Rand Fishkin a few times. I know the other two authors by reputation and this really is an all-star team of SEO authors. I opened this book expecting it to be good and I closed it by writing a blurb that is printed inside the book. So, I am not unbiased–I know these people and highly recommend anything they do, including this book.
The book itself is unique in that it is an in-depth treatment of Search Engine Optimization (SEO, or organic search) and doesn’t try to cover the additional ground of paid search. As the search marketing industry has matured, the need for deep coverage of specialties has become more and more apparent, and this book is an excellent place to deepen your knowledge.
I’ve seen some criticisms of this book because it does not have the top-level introductory coverage of the search industry that beginners require, which is true. But I don’t think that was the author’s purpose. If you need the overview for newbies, buy a Dummies book or buy our book that covers the basics, along with in-depth marketing concepts along with organic and paid search. The Art of SEO is not a beginner’s book–it’s your second book on organic search and it is a fine choice.
Perhaps the best way to explain how important this book is would be to list all of the topics covered in depth in this book that are not covered (or covered lightly) in our book. See, our book really is a good first book in search marketing, but it can only go so deep. This book picks up where we leave off:

  • Analyzing ranking factors
  • Image search
  • Local search
  • Moving domains
  • Competitive analysis
  • Duplicate content
  • Content theft
  • Site redesigns
  • Changing SEO vendors
  • Optimizing Flash

And that’s just a partial list. Some critics (who say the same thing about every SEO book) claim that you shouldn’t buy any books because you can find everything in the book on the Web for free. Well, that’s fine, go ahead. I even post a lot of the content from our book free on my Web site.
But if you aren’t too cheap to buy a book or two, make sure that the The Art of SEO is one of them. You can’t go wrong listening to experts like these and it will save you enormous amounts of time in searching around Web sites and (more importantly) trying to figure out which free advice is actually correct. If these folks say it, you can take it to the bank.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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