Cliff Notes version: For small business owners who are looking to audit their own websites this book is perfect. For the seasoned SEO who is looking for “secrets” from a reputable name in the industry to quote the book: “These are not the droids you are looking for…”
First of all the book is written in an easy-to-read and entertaining manner which makes it easy to get through even though it’s over 400 pages long. I’m writing this review after reading half the book as it seems the first half of the book pertains to on-site search engine optimization and auditing websites for SEO while the second-half is more about the business of SEO consulting.
As I mentioned in the Cliff Notes, this book is perfect for the business owner who is reluctant to outsource SEO or wants to give himself a good idea of what on-site search engine optimization entails. This book is very thorough for that and perfect for the SMB owner who wants to audit his own website.
Search Engine Optimization Secrets does give you a pretty detailed walk-through on how to conduct an SEO audit for a website and if this book has any value that’s where it is…
Danny Dover talks about some basics like the importance of domain names and the importance of links or “popularity” and then gets into one of the biggest problems I see when auditing websites and that’s duplication and canonicalization. He also talks about the importance of good site architecture and good navigation and of course he gets into the proverbial SEO copy debate on “what is good content” and how to be able to distinguish the good from the bad.
Danny Dover also gets into different tools that he uses to audit websites and tools he uses and recommends to track and monitor SEO progress. This is where I feel this book can be invaluable to some SMB owners because I have to imagine most of them are clueless about half of the tools that are available to them for SEO…
Unfortunately that’s about as positive as I can get about this book. Frankly I’m not really sure why someone with such a stellar reputation in the industry would use the word “secrets” in the title of their book when he probably pretty damn well knew there wouldn’t be any in the book. The preface for chapter 5 has a line which reads:
Alright here it is: most SEO problems are caused by a lack of links. You see, hyperlinks are the Swiss Army Knife of SEO. Assuming a few other conditions are met, links can fix almost any problem.
Unfortunately Danny Dover doesn’t spend too much time on link-building… matter of fact I believe the book had a whole page dedicated to the topic which was a huge disappointment for me.
According to Danny if you wanna get real wild, cut loose and take on a little risk with your link-building you should look into… drum roll please… buying links from directories.
Things I took away from this book
Not much really but it did have some basics that I think are critical for anyone getting started with SEO:
- It’s all about bout the links – links are still the most important ranking factor in Google’s algorithms
- Title tags are the most important on-page ranking factor for SEO
- Identifies the most common SEO mistake – duplication and canonicalization
- Stresses the importance of good site architecture and navigation
- Stresses the importance of good, in-depth content
The unfortunate thing is the majority of this stuff is covered in the first couple of chapters…
Price of the book? Is it worth it?
I picked up this book for a little over $40 at my local Barnes and Noble. At that price I still think I got my moneys worth and I still haven’t read the second half which covers SEO consulting. This book was nice for me because I’ve never worked inside an agency so it was nice to get a view or insight into how bigger SEO firms or consultants conduct their audits. It does give you a nice template and review process for auditing a website.
As far as containing any secrets, this book was a huge fail and that’s why I’m not thrilled about it. The title of this book should be Search Engine Optimization by Danny Dover but that probably wouldn’t have sold as many books I’m thinking.
If you’re a small business owner thinking about SEO, GET IT. If you’re an experienced SEO looking for secrets to get you a #1 ranking, “This isn’t the droid you’re looking for…”