The Art of SEO, 3rd 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 third edition prepares digital marketers for 2016 with updates on SEO tools and new search engine optimization methods that have reshaped the SEO landscape

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

  • Comprehend SEO’s many intricacies and complexities
  • Explore the underlying theory and inner workings of search engines
  • Understand the role of social media, user data, and links
  • Discover tools to track results and measure success
  • Examine the effects of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms
  • Consider opportunities in mobile, local, and vertical SEO
  • Build a competent SEO team with defined roles
  • Glimpse the future of search and the SEO industry

Visit the book website ( for FAQs and to post your own burning questions. You’ll have access to special offers and discounts on various SEO tools and services. You can also get exclusive access to instructional videos related to the concepts in the book by sending an email to

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Table of contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface
    1. Who Should Read This Book
    2. Safari® Books Online
    3. How to Contact Us
    4. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. Search: Reflecting Consciousness and Connecting Commerce
    1. The Mission of Search Engines
    2. The Market Share of Search Engines
    3. The Human Goals of Searching
      1. Who Searches and What Do They Search For?
    4. Determining Searcher Intent: A Challenge for Search Marketers and Search Engines
      1. Navigational Queries
      2. Informational Queries
      3. Transactional Queries
      4. Adaptive Search
      5. Searcher Intent
    5. How People Search
    6. How Search Engines Drive Ecommerce
    7. The Mobile Shift
    8. The History of Eye Tracking: How Users Scan Results Pages
    9. Click Tracking: How Users Click on Results (Organic Versus Paid)
      1. Distribution of Search Results and Traffic
    10. Conclusion
  4. 2. Search Engine Basics
    1. Understanding Search Engine Results
      1. Understanding the Layout of Search Results Pages
      2. Understanding How Vertical Results Fit into the SERPs
      3. Google’s Knowledge Graph
    2. Algorithm-Based Ranking Systems: Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking
      1. Crawling and Indexing
      2. Retrieval and Ranking
      3. Evaluating Content on a Web Page
      4. Understanding What Content Search Engines Can “See” on a Web Page
    3. Determining Searcher Intent and Delivering Relevant, Fresh Content
      1. Document Analysis and Semantic Connectivity
      2. Content Quality and User Engagement
      3. Link Analysis
      4. Evaluating Social Media Signals
      5. Problem Words, Disambiguation, and Diversity
      6. Why These Algorithms Sometimes Fail
    4. The Knowledge Graph
    5. Analyzing Ranking Factors
      1. Negative Ranking Factors
      2. Other Ranking Factors
    6. Using Advanced Search Techniques
      1. Advanced Google Search Operators
      2. Bing Advanced Search Operators
      3. More Advanced Search Operator Techniques
    7. Vertical Search Engines
      1. Vertical Search from the Major Search Engines
      2. Universal Search/Blended Search
    8. Country-Specific Search Engines
      1. Optimizing for Specific Countries
    9. Conclusion
  5. 3. SEO Planning: Customizing Your Strategy
    1. Strategic Goals SEO Practitioners Can Fulfill
      1. Visibility (Branding)
      2. Website Traffic
      3. High Return on Investment
    2. Every SEO Strategy Should Be Customized
    3. Understanding Search Engine Traffic and Visitor Intent
    4. Developing an SEO Plan Prior to Site Development
      1. Business Factors That Impact Your SEO Strategy
    5. Understanding Your Audience and Finding Your Niche
      1. Mapping Your Products and Services
      2. Understanding That Content Is King
      3. Segmenting Your Site’s Audience
      4. Understanding Context: Market Competitiveness
    6. SEO for Raw Traffic
    7. SEO for Ecommerce Sales
    8. SEO for Mindshare and Branding
    9. SEO for Lead Generation and Direct Marketing
    10. SEO for Reputation Management
    11. SEO for Ideological Influence
    12. Advanced Methods for Planning and Evaluation
      1. SWOT Analysis
      2. SWOT Guidelines
      3. SMART Objectives
    13. Conclusion
  6. 4. SEO Implementation: First Stages
    1. The Importance of Planning
    2. Identifying the Site Development Process and Players
    3. Development Platform and Information Architecture
      1. Technology Decisions
      2. Structural Decisions
      3. Mobile Sites and Mobile Apps
      4. Single-Page Applications
    4. Auditing an Existing Site to Identify SEO Problems
      1. Elements of an Audit
      2. The Importance of Keyword Reviews
      3. Keyword Cannibalization
      4. Example: Fixing an Internal Linking Problem
      5. Server and Hosting Issues
    5. Identifying Current Server Statistics Software and Gaining Access
      1. Web Analytics
      2. Log file Tracking
      3. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
    6. Determining Top Competitors
      1. Identifying Spam
      2. Seeking the Best
      3. Uncovering Their Secrets
    7. Assessing Historical Progress
      1. Timeline of Site Changes
      2. Types of Site Changes That Can Affect SEO
      3. Previous SEO Work
    8. Benchmarking Current Indexing Status
    9. Benchmarking Organic Rankings
    10. Benchmarking Current Traffic Sources and Volume
    11. Leveraging Business Assets for SEO
      1. Other Domains You Own/Control
      2. Relationships On and Off the Web
      3. Content or Data You’ve Never Put Online
      4. Customers Who Have Had a Positive Experience
      5. Followers, Friends, and Fans
    12. Conclusion
  7. 5. Keyword Research
    1. The Theory Behind Keyword Research
      1. Thinking Strategically
      2. Understanding the Long Tail of the Keyword Demand Curve
      3. Understanding the Impact of Google Hummingbird
      4. Understanding Keyword “Not Provided” and Co-Occurrence Analysis
    2. Traditional Approaches: Domain Expertise and Site Content Analysis
      1. Including Competitive Analysis
      2. Integrating Keyword Research, Co-Occurrence Analysis, and Knowledge of User Intent
    3. Keyword Research Options
      1. Keyword Research Data from Search Engines
      2. Keyword Research Data from Tools
      3. Keyword Research Data Analysis
      4. Ad Campaign Runs and Third-Party Search Data
      5. Landing Page Optimization
    4. Leveraging the Long Tail of Keyword Demand
      1. Extracting Terms from Relevant Web Pages
      2. Mining Keyword Research Tools
      3. Identifying Long-Tail Patterns
      4. Applying Editorial Content Strategies for Long-Tail Targeting
      5. Applying User-Generated Content Strategies for Long-Tail Targeting
    5. Trending, Seasonality, and Seasonal Fluctuations in Keyword Demand
    6. Conclusion
  8. 6. Developing an SEO-Friendly Website
    1. Making Your Site Accessible to Search Engines
      1. Indexable Content
      2. Spiderable Link Structures
      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. When to Use a TLD Other Than .com
    4. Optimization of Domain Names/URLs
      1. Optimizing Domains
      2. Picking the Right URLs
    5. Mobile Friendliness
    6. Keyword Targeting
      1. HTML <title> Tags
      2. Meta Description Tags
      3. Heading Tags
      4. Document Text
      5. Image Filenames and alt Attributes
      6. Boldface Text
      7. Keyword Cannibalization
      8. Keyword Targeting in Content Management Systems and Automatically Generated Content
      9. Effective Keyword Targeting by Content Creators
      10. Long-Tail Keyword Targeting
    7. Content Optimization
      1. Content Structure
      2. CSS and Semantic Markup
      3. Content Uniqueness and Depth
      4. Content Themes
    8. Duplicate Content Issues
      1. Consequences of Duplicate Content
      2. How Search Engines Identify Duplicate Content
      3. Copyright Infringement
      4. How to Avoid Duplicate Content on Your Own Site
    9. 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?
    10. Content Delivery and Search Spider Control
      1. Cloaking and Segmenting Content Delivery
      2. Showing Different Content to Engines and Visitors
      3. Displaying Different Content to Search Engines Versus Visitors
    11. 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
    12. Content Management System Issues
      1. CMS Selection
      2. Third-Party CMS Add-Ons
      3. Flash Coding Best Practices
    13. Best Practices for Multilanguage/Country Targeting
      1. How to Target a Specific Country
      2. Problems with Using Your Existing Domain
      3. The Two Major Approaches
      4. Multiple-Language Issues
    14. Semantic Search
      1. Google’s Hummingbird
      2. Semantic Search and SEO
      3. Entities and Semantic Search
      4. Structured Data
      1. Overview
      2. How to Use
      3. Summary
    16. Google Authorship and Author Authority
      1. A Brief History of Google Authorship
      2. Why Did Google End Support for rel=“author”?
      3. Is Author Authority Dead for Google?
      4. Google+ Authors in Personalized Search
      5. The Future of Author Authority at Google
      6. Author Authority
      7. Google’s Publisher Tag
    17. Google’s Knowledge Graph and the Knowledge Vault
      1. Overview of Changes in Search Complexity
      2. Fair Use?
      3. How the Knowledge Vault Works
      4. The Future of the Knowledge Vault
    18. Conclusion
  9. 7. Content Marketing
    1. How Links Historically Influenced Search Engine Rankings
      1. The Original PageRank Algorithm
      2. Additional Factors That Influence Link Value
      3. How Search Engines Use Links
    2. Further Refining How Search Engines Judge Links
      1. Additional Link Evaluation Criteria
      2. How Search Engines Determine a Link’s Value
    3. Creating Content That Attracts Links
      1. How Are Links Earned?
      2. How Can Sites Approach Getting Links?
    4. Introduction to Content Marketing
      1. Using Content to Attract Links
      2. Understanding Content Marketing Basics
      3. Customizing Your Content Types to Your Audience
      4. Implementing Content Marketing Strategies
      5. Developing Content That Works
      6. Brainstorming Content Ideas and Being Creative
      7. Speedstorming
      8. Getting Creative Help
      9. Repurposing Content
      10. Understanding What Makes Content High Quality
      11. Integrating Emotional Triggers, Titles, and Images
      12. Leveraging the Power of Memes
      13. Measuring Engagement in Content Marketing
    5. Choosing the Right Content Marketing Strategy
      1. Identifying Types of Sites That Might Link to a Site Like Yours
      2. Placing a Value on the Sites
      3. Segmenting Your Audience, Identifying Personas, and Targeting Content
      4. Putting It All Together
    6. Types of Content Marketing Campaigns
      1. Guest Posting
      2. Content Syndication
      3. Link-Worthy or Viral Content
      4. User-Generated Content
    7. Building an Audience
      1. Get to Know Other People’s Audiences
      2. Leverage Influencers and Influencer Marketing
      3. Get Active in Social Media
      4. Build Offline Relationships
    8. Relationships and Outreach
      1. Building Relationships with Influencers
      2. Creating a Value Proposition for a Relationship
      3. Using Direct Email Pitches Effectively
    9. Other Ways to Earn Links
      1. Web Directories
      2. Manual Social Media Link Creation
      3. Gray Hat/Black Hat
      4. Awards and Badges
      5. Customer Discount/Incentives
    10. How Search Engines Fight Link Spam
      1. Google’s Penguin Algorithm
      2. Other Algorithmic Approaches to Fighting Link Spam
      3. Negative Link Building
      4. Unnatural Links Messages
      5. Other Search Engine Courses of Action
    11. Social Networking for Links
      1. Blogging for Links
      2. Leveraging Major Social Media Platforms
      3. Using Social Media Networking Effectively: Dos and Don’ts
      4. Using YouTube Successfully for Content Marketing
      5. Implementing Guest Posting Successfully
      6. Putting It All Together
    12. Conclusion
  10. 8. How Social Media and User Data Play a Role in Search Results and Rankings
    1. Correlation Between Social Signals and Google Rankings
    2. What Is the Value of Social Signals?
    3. Bing’s Experiments with Social Signals
    4. Does Google Use Facebook as a Ranking Signal?
    5. Does Google Use Twitter as a Ranking Signal?
    6. Does Google Use Google+ as a Ranking Signal?
      1. Google+ Personalization
      2. Google+ Posts in the Search Results
      3. Google+ Brand Pages in the Search Results
      4. Google+ Impact on Nonpersonalized Rankings of Content
      5. Study on Google+ as a Ranking Factor
      6. How Might Google Use Google+ as a Ranking Factor?
    7. The Indirect Influence of Social Media Marketing
    8. Monitoring, Measuring, and Improving Social Media Marketing: Best Practices
      1. Claiming Key Profiles
      2. Deciding on a New Social Network
      3. Tracking Social Media
    9. User Engagement as a Measure of Search Quality
      1. How Google and Bing Collect Engagement Metrics
      2. Potential User Engagement Signals
      3. Voting Mechanisms
    10. Document Analysis
      1. Poor Editorial Quality
      2. Reading Level
      3. Keyword Stuffing/Lack of Synonyms
      4. Ad Density and Offensive Ads
      5. Sameness
      6. Page Speed
    11. Optimizing User Experience to Improve SEO
      1. Step 1: Build a Survey
      2. Step 2: Send It to Your Customers/Potential Customers
      3. Step 3: Record Responses and Leverage Them to Build What the People Want
    12. Additional Social Media Resources
    13. Conclusion
  11. 9. Panda, Penguin, and Penalties
    1. Diagnosing the Cause of a Traffic Loss
    2. Summary of Major Google Algorithms
    3. Panda
      1. Target Areas of Panda
      2. Importance of Diversity in Rankings
      3. Role of Authority in Rankings
      4. Impact of Any Weak Content on Rankings
      5. Path to Recovery
    4. Penguin
      1. Target Areas of Penguin
      2. Path to Recovery
    5. Penalties
      1. Types of Manual Penalties
      2. Links Google Does Not Like
      3. Link Cleanup Process
      4. Sources of Data
      5. Using Tools
      6. The Link Removal Process
    6. Conclusion
  12. 10. Mobile, Local, and Vertical SEO
    1. The Mobile Landscape
      1. SEO for Mobile
    2. App SEO: Deep Linking and Indexing for Mobile Search
      1. App Deep Linking
      2. App Indexing
    3. Optimizing for Vertical Search
      1. Universal Search = Blended Search
      2. The Opportunity Unleashed
    4. Optimizing for Local Search
      1. Local Listing Submissions
      2. Google My Business
      3. Google Knowledge Graph Carousel
      4. Bing Places for Business
      5. Yahoo! Local
      6. Business Website Optimization for Local Search
    5. Optimizing for Image Search
      1. Image Optimization Tips
    6. Optimizing for Google Shopping Search
      1. Submitting a Product Feed
      2. Optimizing a Product Feed
      3. Promoting Products in AdWords
      4. Reporting Results of Shopping Ads
    7. Optimizing for Blog Search
      1. Structural Blog Optimizations
      2. Optimizing Your Anchor Text
      3. Sticky Posts
      4. Author Profile Pages
      5. Links
    8. Optimizing for News Search: Google News
      1. Acceptance Criteria
      2. Application Process
      3. Paywalls and Subscription Sites
      4. Google News Publisher Center
      5. Technical Requirements
      6. Thumbnail Images in Google News
      7. Recrawling
      8. Google News Sitemaps
      9. Videos in Google News
      10. Editor’s Picks
    9. Optimizing for Video/Multimedia Search
      1. Video SEO for YouTube
      2. Video SEO for Google
    10. Conclusion
  13. 11. Tracking Results and Measuring Success
    1. Why Measuring Success Is Essential to the SEO Process
      1. The Tracking Cycle: Produce, Launch, Measure, Refine
      2. Establishing a Proper Baseline
      3. Using Analytics as a Business Case for SEO
    2. Measuring Search Traffic
      1. Basic Overview
      2. Selecting the Right Analytics Package
      3. Extracting Valuable SEO Data in Web Analytics
      4. Number of pages getting search traffic
      5. Segmenting Search Traffic
      6. Referring Sites
      7. Using Custom Analytics Dashboards
      8. Taking a Deeper Look at Action Tracking
      9. Separating the Analytics Wheat from the Chaff
    3. Tying SEO to Conversion and ROI
      1. Managing Attribution
      2. Setting Up Analytics Software to Track Conversions
      3. Segmenting Campaigns and SEO Efforts by Conversion Rate
      4. Increasing Conversion
      5. Determining Project ROI
    4. Competitive and Diagnostic Search Metrics
      1. Search Engine and Competitive Metrics
      2. Site Indexing Data
      3. Link-Based Tracking of Content Marketing
      4. Ranking
      5. Shelf space
      6. SEO Platforms
      7. Crawl Errors
      8. Tracking the Blogosphere
      9. Tracking Your Blog(s)
      10. Search Engine Robot Traffic Analysis
      11. Web Traffic Comparison
      12. Temporal Link Growth Measurements
    5. Key Performance Indicators for Long-Tail SEO
      1. Duplicate Content
    6. Other Third-Party Tools
      1. MozBar
      2. SEO Quake
      3. SEO for Firefox
      4. SpyFu
      5. SEMrush
      6. Rio SEO Search Analytics
      7. Rio SEO Website Optimizer
      8. Searchmetrics Essentials
    7. Conclusion
  14. 12. Domain Changes, Redesigns, and Troubleshooting
    1. The Basics of Moving Content
      1. Large-Scale Content Moves
      2. Mapping Content Moves
      3. Expectations for Content Moves
    2. Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After a Site Redesign
    3. Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After Domain Name Changes
      1. Unique Challenges of Domain Name Changes
      2. Pre-Move Preparations
    4. Changing Servers
      1. Monitoring After Your Server Move
    5. Hidden Content
      1. Identifying Content That Search Engines Don’t See
      2. Identifying the Cause of Non-Spidering
      3. Identifying Hidden Content That May Be Viewed as Spam
    6. Spam Filtering and Penalties
      1. Low-Quality Domains and Spam Sites
      2. Spam Reports
      3. Duplicate Content
      4. Basic Rules for Spam-Free SEO
      5. Search Engine Penalties and Reconsideration Requests
    7. Content Theft
    8. Changing SEO Vendors or Staff Members
      1. Potential Problems with SEO Staff Changes
      2. SEO Documentation for Actions and Progress
      3. SEO Documentation for Rapid Training
      4. Cleanup and Auditing
    9. Conclusion
  15. 13. SEO Education and Research
    1. SEO Research and Search Performance Analysis
      1. SEO Resources
      2. SEO Testing
      3. Analysis of Top-Ranking Sites and Pages
      4. Analysis of Algorithmic Differentiation Across Engines and Search Types
      5. The Importance of Experience
    2. Competitive Analysis
      1. Content Analysis
      2. Internal Link Structure and Site Architecture
      3. External Link Attraction Analysis
      4. What Is Their SEO Strategy?
      5. Competitive Analysis Summary
      6. Using Competitive Link Analysis Tools
      7. Competitive Analysis for Those with a Big Budget
    3. Using Search Engine–Supplied SEO Tools
      1. Search Engine Tools for Webmasters
    4. The SEO Industry on the Web
      1. Blogs
      2. SEO News Outlets, Communities, and Forums
      3. Communities in Social Networks
    5. Participation in Conferences and Organizations
    6. Conclusion
  16. 14. SEO Support: In-House, External, or Both?
    1. The Business of SEO
      1. Understand Your Market Opportunity
      2. Get Buy-In Across the Organization
      3. Lay the Groundwork
      4. Motivate Resources That Don’t Share Your Goals to Help You
      5. Progress Through the Stages of SEO Maturity
      6. Building an SEO team
    2. Using In-House SEO Talent Versus Outsourced Support: Dynamics and Challenges
      1. The Value of In-House SEO
      2. The Value of Outsourced SEO Support
    3. The Case for Working with an Outside Expert
      1. How to Best Leverage Outside Help
      2. How to Implement Your Expert’s Recommendations
      3. How to Integrate SEO Knowledge in the Organization
    4. The Impact of Site Complexity on SEO Workload
    5. Solutions for Small Organizations
      1. Developing the In-House SEO Specialist
      2. Making the Most of Limited Resources or Budgets
    6. Solutions for Large Organizations
      1. Contracting for Specialist Knowledge and Experience
      2. Applying SEO Recommendations Intelligently
    7. Hiring SEO Talent
      1. Selecting the Right SEO Person
      2. Pitching the Person
      3. Making the Offer
    8. Selecting an SEO Firm/Consultant
      1. Getting the Process Started
      2. Preparing a Request for Proposal
      3. Communicating with Candidate SEO Firms
      4. Making the Decision
    9. Mixing In-House SEO with Outside SEO Help
    10. Building a Culture of SEO into Your Organization
    11. Conclusion
  17. 15. An Evolving Art Form: The Future of SEO
    1. The Ongoing Evolution of Search
      1. The Growth of Search Complexity
      2. Google’s Dominance
    2. More Searchable Content and Content Types
      1. Engines Will Make Crawling Improvements
      2. Engines Are Getting New Content Sources
      3. Multimedia Is Becoming Indexable
    3. More Personalized, Localized, and User-Influenced Search
      1. User Intent
      2. User Interactions
      3. New Search Patterns
      4. Growing Reliance on the Cloud
    4. Increasing Importance of Local, Mobile, and Voice Search
      1. Local Search
      2. Mobile Search
      3. Voice Recognition Search
    5. Increased Market Saturation and Competition
    6. SEO as an Enduring Art Form
    7. The Future of Semantic Search and the Knowledge Graph
    8. Conclusion
  18. Glossary
  19. Index

Product information

  • Title: The Art of SEO, 3rd Edition
  • Author(s): Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Jessie Stricchiola
  • Release date: August 2015
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781491903643