SEO Fundamentals: Audiobook ReviewJanuary 28th, 2015 by Jeff Winget
I spent 5 hours in a car last night, so I thought I would take the opportunity to educate myself on a subject I know very little about–SEO. So, I downloaded SEO Fundamentals from the SEO University from Audible on to my iPhone and started my education into the world of search engine optimization.
Let’s start with the audiobook. It is well written, easy to follow, and thorough in its discussion of the topic. It starts with the very basics: what is SEO, how Google’s algorithms have changed over the years, and what the basic goals of an SEO campaign are for a company rolling out a website. Most of this information was a review to me. I don’t know a lot about SEO, but I know the basics. The part that was new and particularly interesting was the discussion of changes to Google’s algorithms.
About 10 years ago Google was losing the war against spammers who were artificially inflating page ranks of sites and domains through unethical means (key word stuffing, link farming, spamming, etc.). Their algorithm wasn’t filtering out this irrelevant content that was being rocketed up the search pages by SEO masters regardless of the quality of the content within them.
To combat this, Google started a campaign for relevancy and quality on the web. It released several updates to its algorithms (Google Panda, Google Penguin, and Google Hummingbird) that sought to make content the king of the World Wide Web. The discussion of this process in the book was insightful and interesting, and the author’s conclusion–that solid SEO could only happen through providing solid, relevant content and not through black hat endeavors–was spot on. A book about doing business on the web that encourages readers to work hard and work honestly is pretty refreshing.
The next part of the book talked about strategies that website owners and SEO experts could use to help sites rise in the rankings. He explained that page ranking is all about trust with Google and that there are three areas of trust that Google values: age, keyword relevance, and authority links.
Domain age is a hard metric to work with if you’re just starting out. For instance, my domain name (professionallyproofed.com) is brand new, and I can’t make it age in any way other than waiting. In the audiobook, Adams suggests that you can speed up this process by buying an aged domain from an auction or a buy-it-now option. He gives some detailed instructions on how to ensure that your new domain is appropriate for your needs and suggests using the Way Back Machine to see what has been on your domain in the past.
The discussion of keyword relevance is particularly enlightening, and I saw some things that I can change with my website. He discusses how new websites should use long-tail keywords and try to rank them at the beginning because the competition isn’t as stiff, and ranking a page on a less competitive keyword is better than not ranking a page at all because you’re competing with very well established sites. His suggestions were concise and easy to follow, and I will definitely revisit this section of the audiobook soon to do some updates to this site.
The last section about link building and off-site SEO was interesting as well because it is one place where black hat SEO tactics have been prevalent in the past. Adams discusses the need for being honest and following the rules when adding links because Google will punish you if you don’t. He discusses the role of social media in link building and suggests 45 social media sites that you should put links to your site on. He gives specific advice on how to build your own organic SEO web of links using available tools and a lot of hard work.
In conclusion, Adams’s book is a great primer on the world of SEO and how to move a site up the page rankings. His secret is hard work and following the rules. I can get on board with that.