The Art of SEO, 4th Edition

Book description

Three acknowledged experts in search engine optimization share guidelines and innovative techniques that will help you plan and execute a comprehensive SEO strategy. Complete with an array of effective tactics from basic to advanced, this fourth edition prepares digital marketers for 2023 and beyond with updates on SEO tools and new search engine optimization methods that have reshaped the SEO landscape, including how generative AI can be used to support SEO and SEO-related tasks.

Novices will receive a thorough SEO education, while experienced SEO practitioners get an extensive reference to support ongoing engagements.

  • Learn about the various intricacies and complexities of internet search
  • Explore the underlying theory and inner workings of search engines and their algorithms
  • Understand the interplay between social media engagement and other factors
  • Discover tools to track results and measure success
  • Examine the effects of key Google algorithm updates
  • Consider opportunities for visibility in mobile, local, vertical, social, and voice search
  • Build a competent SEO team with defined roles
  • Identify what opportunities exist for using generative AI as part of an SEO program
  • Gain insights into the future of search and internet discoverability

Table of contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
    1. Who This Book Is For
    2. How This Book Is Organized
    3. Why Us?
    4. Conventions Used in This Book
    5. O’Reilly Online Learning
    6. How to Contact Us
    7. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. Search: Reflecting Consciousness and Connecting Commerce
    1. Is This Book for You?
    2. SEO Myths Versus Reality
    3. The Mission of Search Engines
    4. Goals of Searching: The User’s Perspective
    5. Determining User Intent: A Challenge for Search Marketers and Search Engines
      1. Navigational Queries
      2. Informational Queries
      3. Transactional Queries
      4. Local Queries
      5. Searcher Intent
    6. How Users Search
    7. How Search Engines Drive Ecommerce
    8. Types of Search Traffic
      1. Search Traffic by Device Type
      2. More on the Makeup of SERPs
    9. The Role of AI and Machine Learning
    10. Using Generative AI for Content Generation
    11. SEO as a Career
    12. Conclusion
  4. 2. Generative AI and Search
    1. A Brief Overview of Artificial Intelligence
    2. More About Large Language Models
    3. Generative AI Solutions
    4. Generative AI Capabilities
    5. Prompt Generation (a.k.a. Prompt Engineering)
    6. Generative AI Challenges
    7. Conclusion
  5. 3. Search Fundamentals
    1. Deconstructing Search
    2. The Language of Search
      1. Word Order and Phrases
      2. Search Operators
      3. Vertical and Local Intent
    3. Crawling
    4. The Index
      1. The Knowledge Graph
      2. Vertical Indexes
      3. Private Indexes
    5. The Search Engine Results Page
      1. Organic Results
      2. Special Features
      3. Query Refinements and Autocomplete
      4. Search Settings, Filters, and Advanced Search
    6. Ranking Factors
      1. Relevance
      2. AI/Machine Learning’s Impact on Relevance
      3. EEAT
      4. Local Signals and Personalization
      5. Timing and Tenure
      6. Legitimacy
      7. Source Diversity
      8. Keywords in Anchor Text
      9. Negative Ranking Factors
      10. User Behavior Data
    7. Conclusion
  6. 4. Your SEO Toolbox
    1. Spreadsheets
    2. Traffic Analysis and Telemetry
      1. Google Search Console
      2. Server-Side Log Analysis
      3. JavaScript Trackers
      4. Tag Managers
    3. Search Engine Tools and Features
      1. Autocomplete
      2. Google Ads Keyword Planner
      3. Google Trends
      4. Google News
      5. Related
      6. Search Operators
    4. SEO Platforms
      1. Semrush
      2. Ahrefs
      3. Searchmetrics
      4. Moz Pro
      5. Rank Ranger
      6. Other Platforms
    5. Automation
    6. YouTube Optimization
    7. Conclusion
  7. 5. SEO Planning
    1. Strategy Before Tactics
    2. The Business of SEO
      1. Ethical and Moral Considerations
      2. The Escape Clause
      3. Deciding on Accepting Work
    3. Typical Scenarios
      1. Startups (Unlaunched)
      2. Startups (Launched)
      3. Established Small Businesses
      4. Large Corporations
    4. Initial Triage
      1. Document Previous SEO Work
      2. Look for Black Hat SEO Efforts
      3. Watch for Site Changes That Can Affect SEO
      4. Identify Technical Problems
    5. Know Your Client
      1. Take Inventory of the Client’s Relevant Assets
      2. Perform a Competitive Analysis
    6. Information Architecture
    7. SEO Content Strategy
      1. The Long Tail of Search
      2. Examples of Sites That Create Long-Tail Content
      3. Why Content Breadth and Depth Matter
      4. Can Generative AI Solutions Help Create Content?
      5. Measuring Progress
    8. Conclusion
  8. 6. Keyword Research
    1. The Words and Phrases That Define Your Business
      1. The Different Phases of Keyword Research
      2. Expanding Your Domain Expertise
      3. Building Your Topics List
      4. Preparing Your Keyword Plan Spreadsheet
    2. Internal Resources for Keyword Research
      1. Web Logs, Search Console Reports, and Analytics
      2. Competitive Analysis
      3. People
    3. External Resources for Keyword Research
      1. Researching Natural Language Questions
      2. Researching Trends, Topics, and Seasonality
    4. Keyword Valuation
      1. Importing Keyword Data
      2. Evaluating Relevance
      3. Priority Ratings for Business Objectives
      4. Filtering Out Low-Traffic Keywords
      5. Breaking Down High-Difficulty Keywords
      6. Trending and Seasonality
      7. Current Rank Data
      8. Finding the Best Opportunities
    5. Acting on Your Keyword Plan
    6. Periodic Keyword Reviews
    7. Conclusion
  9. 7. Developing an SEO-Friendly Website
    1. Making Your Site Accessible to Search Engines
      1. Content That Can Be Indexed
      2. Link Structures That Can Be Crawled
      3. XML Sitemaps
    2. Creating an Optimal Information Architecture
      1. The Importance of a Logical, Category-Based Flow
      2. Site Architecture Design Principles
      3. Flat Versus Deep Architecture
      4. Search-Friendly Site Navigation
    3. Root Domains, Subdomains, and Microsites
      1. When to Use a Subfolder
      2. When to Use a Subdomain
      3. When to Use a Separate Root Domain
      4. Microsites
      5. Selecting a TLD
    4. Optimization of Domain Names/URLs
      1. Optimizing Domains
      2. Picking the Right URLs
    5. Keyword Targeting
      1. Title Tags
      2. Meta Description Tags
      3. Heading Tags
      4. Document Text
      5. Image Filenames and alt Attributes
      6. Visual Search
      7. Boldface and Italicized Text
      8. Keyword Cannibalization
      9. Keyword Targeting in CMSs and Automatically Generated Content
      10. Effective Keyword Targeting by Content Creators
      11. Long-Tail Keyword Targeting
    6. Content Optimization
      1. Content Structure
      2. CSS and Semantic Markup
      3. Content Uniqueness and Depth
      4. Content Themes
    7. Duplicate Content Issues
      1. Consequences of Duplicate Content
      2. How Search Engines Identify Duplicate Content
      3. Copyright Infringement
      4. Example Actual Penalty Situations
      5. How to Avoid Duplicate Content on Your Own Site
    8. Controlling Content with Cookies and Session IDs
      1. What’s a Cookie?
      2. What Are Session IDs?
      3. How Do Search Engines Interpret Cookies and Session IDs?
      4. Why Would You Want to Use Cookies or Session IDs to Control Search Engine Access?
    9. Content Delivery and Search Spider Control
      1. Cloaking and Segmenting Content Delivery
      2. Reasons for Showing Different Content to Search Engines and Visitors
      3. Leveraging the robots.txt File
      4. Using the rel=“nofollow” Attribute
      5. Using the Robots Meta Tag
      6. Using the rel=“canonical” Attribute
      7. Additional Methods for Segmenting Content Delivery
    10. Redirects
      1. Why and When to Redirect
      2. Good and Bad Redirects
      3. Methods for URL Redirecting and Rewriting
      4. How to Redirect a Home Page Index File Without Looping
    11. Using a Content Management System
      1. CMS Selection
      2. Third-Party CMS or Ecommerce Platform Add-ons
      3. CMS and Ecommerce Platform Training
    12. JavaScript Frameworks and Static Site Generators
      1. Types of Rendering
      2. JavaScript Frameworks
      3. Jamstack
      4. Problems That Still Happen with JavaScript
    13. Best Practices for Multilingual/Multicountry Targeting
      1. When to Enable a New Language or Country Version of Your Site
      2. When to Target a Language or Country with a Localized Website Version
      3. Configuring Your Site’s Language or Country Versions to Rank in Different Markets
    14. The Impact of Natural Language Processing
      1. Entities
      2. Fair Use
    15. Structured Data
      1. Markup Overview
      2. How to Use
      3. Summarizing’s Importance
    17. Google’s EEAT and YMYL
    18. Author Authority and Your Content
      1. Why Did Google End Support for rel=“author”?
      2. Is Author Authority Dead for Google?
      3. Author Authority and EEAT
      4. Author Authority Takeaways
    19. Google Page Experience
      1. Use of Interstitials and Dialogs
      2. Mobile-Friendliness
      3. Secure Web Pages (HTTPS and TLS)
      4. Core Web Vitals
      5. How Much of a Ranking Factor Are Core Web Vitals?
      6. Using Tools to Measure Core Web Vitals
    20. Optimizing Web Pages for Performance
      1. Approach to Rendering Pages
      2. Server Configuration
      3. Ecommerce/CMS Selection and Configuration
      4. Analytics/Trackers
      5. User Location and Device Capabilities
    21. Domain Changes, Content Moves, and Redesigns
      1. The Basics of Moving Content
      2. Large-Scale Content Moves
      3. Mapping Content Moves
      4. Expectations for Content Moves
      5. Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After a Site Redesign
      6. Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After Domain Name Changes
      7. Changing Servers
      8. Changing URLs to Include Keywords in Your URL
      9. Accelerating Discovery of Large-Scale Site Changes
    22. Conclusion
  10. 8. SEO Analytics and Measurement
    1. Why Measurement Is Essential in SEO
      1. Analytics Data Utilization: Baseline, Track, Measure, Refine
      2. Measurement Challenges
    2. Analytics Tools for Measuring Search Traffic
      1. Valuable SEO Data in Web Analytics
      2. Referring Domains, Pages, and Sites
      3. Event Tracking
    3. Connecting SEO and Conversions
      1. Attribution
      2. Segmenting Campaigns and SEO Efforts by Conversion Rate
      3. Increasing Conversions
      4. Calculating SEO Return on Investment
    4. Diagnostic Search Metrics
      1. Site Indexing Data
      2. Index-to-Crawl Ratio
      3. Search Visitors per Crawled Page
    5. Free SEO-Specific Analytics Tools from Google and Bing
      1. Using GA4 and GSC Together
      2. Differences in How GA4 and GSC Handle Data
      3. Differences Between Metrics and Dimensions in GA4 and GSC
    6. First-Party Data and the Cookieless Web
    7. Conclusion
  11. 9. Google Algorithm Updates and Manual Actions/Penalties
    1. Google Algorithm Updates
      1. BERT
      2. Passages and Subtopics
      3. MUM
      4. Page Experience and Core Web Vitals
      5. The Link Spam Update
      6. The Helpful Content Update
      7. Broad Core Algorithm Updates
      8. Functionality Changes
      9. Google Bug Fixes
    2. Google Search Console
    3. Google Webmaster Guidelines
      1. Practices to Avoid
      2. Good Hygiene Practices to Follow
      3. Quality Content
      4. Content That Google Considers Lower Quality
      5. The Importance of Content Diversity
      6. The Role of Authority in Ranking Content
      7. The Impact of Weak Content on Rankings
    4. Quality Links
      1. Links Google Does Not Like
      2. Cleaning Up Toxic Backlinks
      3. Sources of Data for Link Cleanup
      4. Using Tools for Link Cleanup
      5. The Disavow Links Tool
    5. Google Manual Actions (Penalties)
      1. Types of Manual Actions/Penalties
      2. Security Issues
    6. Diagnosing the Cause of Traffic/Visibility Losses
      1. Filing Reconsideration Requests to Remediate Manual Actions/Penalties
      2. Recovering from Traffic Losses Not Due to a Manual Action/Penalty
    7. Conclusion
  12. 10. Auditing and Troubleshooting
    1. SEO Auditing
      1. Unscheduled Audits
      2. Customized Approaches to Audits
      3. Pre-Audit Preparations
      4. Additional SEO Auditing Tools
      5. Core SEO Audit Process Summary
      6. Sample SEO Audit Checklist
      7. Auditing Backlinks
      8. SEO Content Auditing
    2. Troubleshooting
      1. Pages Not Being Crawled
      2. Page Indexing Problems
      3. Duplicate Content
      4. Broken XML Sitemaps
      5. Validating Structured Data
      6. Validating hreflang Tags
      7. Local Search Problems
      8. Missing Images
      9. Missing alt Attributes for Images
      10. Improper Redirects
      11. Bad or Toxic External Links
      12. Single URL/Section Ranking/Traffic Loss
      13. Whole Site Ranking/Traffic Loss
      14. Page Experience Issues
      15. Thin Content
      16. Poor-Quality Content
      17. Content That Is Not Helpful to Users
      18. Google Altering Your Title or Meta Description
      19. Hidden Content
    3. Conclusion
  13. 11. Promoting Your Site and Obtaining Links
    1. Why People Link
    2. Google’s View on Link Building
    3. How Links Affect Traffic
    4. Finding Authoritative, Relevant, Trusted Sites
      1. Link Analysis Tools
      2. Identifying the Influencers
      3. Determining the Value of Target Sites
    5. Creating a Content Marketing Campaign
      1. Discuss Scalability
      2. Audit Existing Content
      3. Seek Organically Obtained Links
    6. Researching Content Ideas and Types
      1. Articles and Blog Posts
      2. Videos
      3. Research Reports, Papers, and Studies
      4. Interactives
      5. Collaborations with Other Organizations
      6. Collaborations with Experts
      7. Quizzes and Polls
      8. Contests
      9. Cause Marketing
      10. Comprehensive Guides and In-Depth Content Libraries
      11. Infographics
      12. Tools, Calculators, or Widgets
      13. Viral Marketing Content
      14. Memes
      15. Content Syndication
      16. Social Media Posts
    7. Creating Remarkable Content
      1. Hiring Writers and Producers
      2. Generating and Developing Ideas for Content Marketing Campaigns
      3. Don’t Be a Troll
      4. Don’t Spam, and Don’t Hire Spammers
    8. Relationships and Outreach
      1. Building Your Public Profile
      2. Link Reclamation
      3. Link Target Research and Outreach Services
      4. Qualifying Potential Link Targets
      5. The Basic Outreach Process
      6. What Not to Do
    9. Outbound Linking
    10. Conclusion
  14. 12. Vertical, Local, and Mobile SEO
    1. Defining Vertical, Local, and Mobile Search
    2. Vertical Search
    3. Local and Mobile Search
      1. The Impact of Personalization
      2. Journeys and Collections
      3. How Local Is Local Search?
      4. Vertical Search Overlap
    4. Optimizing for Local Search
      1. Where Are Local Search Results Returned?
      2. Factors That Influence Local Search Results
    5. Optimizing Google Business Profiles
      1. Customer Reviews and Reputation Management
      2. Understanding Your Local Search Performance
      3. The Problem of Fake Competitors
      4. Common Myths of Google Business Profile Listings
      5. Optimizing On-Site Signals for Local
      6. Optimizing Inbound Links for Local
      7. Optimizing Citations for Local
      8. Structured Data for Google Business Profile Landing Pages
    6. Image Search
      1. Image Optimization Tips
      2. Image Sharing Sites
    7. News Search
      1. Google News
      2. Measuring News Search Traffic
    8. Video Search
      1. YouTube
      2. Google Videos and Universal Search
    9. Conclusion
  15. 13. Data Privacy and Regulatory Trends
    1. The Consumer Data Privacy Revolution
    2. The IAB Sounds the Alarm
    3. Privacy Legislation Overview
    4. Third-Party Cookie Deprecation
      1. Google’s Privacy Sandbox
      2. Google’s Topics API
      3. Google’s Protected Audience API
      4. Google Analytics 4
      5. Apple’s Consumer-Friendly Privacy Shift
    5. Conclusion
  16. 14. SEO Research and Study
    1. SEO Research and Analysis
      1. SEO Forums
      2. Websites
      3. Subreddits and Slack Channels
      4. Resources Published by Search Engines
      5. Interpreting Commentary
      6. SEO Testing
      7. Analysis of Top-Ranking Sites and Pages
      8. Analysis of Algorithmic Differences Across Various Search Platforms
      9. The Importance of Experience
    2. Competitive Analysis
      1. Content Analysis
      2. Internal Link Structure and Site Architecture
      3. External Link Attraction Analysis
      4. SEO Strategy Analysis
      5. Competitive Analysis Summary
      6. Using Competitive Link Analysis Tools
    3. Using Search Engine–Supplied SEO Tools
      1. Google Search Console
      2. Bing Webmaster Tools
    4. The SEO Industry on the Web
      1. Social Networks
      2. Conferences and Organizations
    5. SEO and Search Marketing Training
    6. Conclusion
  17. 15. An Evolving Art Form: The Future of SEO
    1. The Ongoing Evolution of Search
      1. The Growth of Search Complexity
      2. Natural Language Processing
      3. Entities and Entity Maps
      4. Meeting Searcher Intent
      5. More Searchable Content and Content Types
      6. Crawling Improvements
      7. New Content Sources
    2. More Personalized and User-Influenced Search
      1. User Experience
      2. Growing Reliance on the Cloud
    3. Increasing Importance of Local, Mobile, and Voice Search
      1. Local Search
      2. Voice Is Just a Form of Input
    4. Increased Market Saturation and Competition
    5. SEO as an Enduring Art Form
    6. The Future of Semantic Search and the Knowledge Graph
    7. Conclusion
  18. Index
  19. About the Authors

Product information

  • Title: The Art of SEO, 4th Edition
  • Author(s): Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Jessie Stricchiola
  • Release date: September 2023
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781098102616