The Art of SEO – Book Review

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Back in 2009, I was in a Mastermind Group where one of the members was into SEO and suggested I pick up a copy of The Art of SEO. I didn’t understand why, in this day & age of blogs & microblogging, would I want a book on SEO (a topic with weekly updates). However, this book combined so much knowledge from Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Rand Fishkin and Jessie Stricchiola, I’m glad I bought it.

When I saw a second edition was recently released, I had to wonder if it was worth buying again. I had originally paid $38.20 at the end of 2009, and the second edition is available for $42.33 ($31.99 for the Kindle Edition). AppSumo had a free chapter available, so I thought I’d compare the contents of the new version versus the first edition, based on the table of contents and Chapter 6: Developing an SEO-Friendly Website.

Based only on what’s listed in the Table of Contents, here are some new topics in the 2nd edition that were not included in the first version:

  • Chapter 3: Determining your SEO Objectives and Defining Your Site’s Audience
    • Understanding Search Engine Traffic and Visitor Intent
    • Developing an SEO Plan Prior to Site Development
  • Chapter 5: Keyword Research
    • Understanding the Long Tail of the Keyword Demand Curve
  • Chapter 6: Developing an SEO-Friendly Website
    • Optimizing Flash (omitted from 2nd edition Table of Contents, but updated in context)
  • Chapter 8: How Social Media and User Data Play a Role in Search Results and Rankings – ALL NEW
    • Why Rely on Social Signals?
    • Social Signals That Directly Influence Search Results
    • The Indirect Influence of Social Media Marketing
    • Monitoring, Measuring, and Improving Social Media Marketing
    • User Engagement as a Measure of Search Quality
    • Document Analysis
    • Optimizing the User Experience to Improve SEO
    • Additional Social Media Resources
    • Conclusion
  • Chapter 10: Tracking results and measuring success
    • Other Third-Party Tools
  • Chapter 13: Build an In-house SEO Team, Outsource it, or Both?
    • The Business of SEO
    • The Impact of Site Complexity on SEO Workload
    • Working with Limited Resources / Budget (omitted from 2nd edition)
  • An Evolving Art Form: The Future of SEO
    • Localization added to Personalization, Localization, and User Influence on Search
  • Glossary

This does not account for the actual content within the chapters, but gives you an idea of broad topics which have been added (or removed) in the 2nd edition. Closer examination of Chapter 6 will help identify actual content changes.

First, I have to wonder how much new content is in the book when Chapter 6 starts on the same page in both editions (page 181). I understand this is a formatting topic, and a mild coincidence, but it makes me wonder if “upgrading” is worth it. Some specific changes I was able to pick out in Chapter 6:

  • The section on Indexable Content has been expanded
  • Mobile, Image and Video Sitemaps have been added to the Sitemaps coverage
  • rel canonical, next, and prev are explained with examples given.
  • and Microformats added
  • Content Themes added (I can’t wait until Google uses this to penalize Guest Posts that have links that are completely irrelevant to the rest of the post or the entire site)

Chapter 6, Developing an SEO-Friendly Website, is one of the most important in The Art of SEO because it is the only part of SEO that you can completely control.

Will I buy the 2nd edition? Probably.

The Art of SEO is the only book on SEO that I recommend. Odds are, I’ll give away my first edition, and pick up the Kindle Edition for myself.

If you don’t own the first edition, it’s a no-brainer: buy The Art of SEO. It may seem silly to buy a book on an Internet Marketing topic that changes so quickly like SEO, but the fundamentals in The Art of SEO are essential for any SEO to master.

  • Kush A.
    Posted April 2, 2012 9:02 am 0Likes

    I was just thinking about comparing the two edition to see if it’s worth upgrading – thanks for the overview!

    By the way, since you own the first edition you can save up to 50% off second edition (you’ll just have to register it with publisher). I’ll be getting mine for $19.99

    From O’Reilly “Because you’re a valued O’Reilly customer, and registered your book with us, we want to offer you a special 40% discount on the new print edition and a 50% discount on the new ebook edition. Offer expires June 25th, 2012 e-book $19.99”

  • Photographer
    Posted April 19, 2012 6:58 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for the great overview of this book. I have been dancing back and forth about whether or not it was worth dropping the money on an e-marketing book. I think you have provided the final push to get it. Looking forward to a good read, thank you!

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