The Art of SEO


Four acknowledged experts in search engine optimization share guidelines and innovative techniques that will help you plan and execute a comprehensive SEO strategy. This third edition focuses on a number of tool updates and examines the changes brought about by Hummingbird, Google's context-aware algorithm.

The book is perfect for anyone interested in becoming an SEO practitioner, as well as people already working in the profession. For novices, it's a complete and thorough ...

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The Art of SEO

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Four acknowledged experts in search engine optimization share guidelines and innovative techniques that will help you plan and execute a comprehensive SEO strategy. This third edition focuses on a number of tool updates and examines the changes brought about by Hummingbird, Google's context-aware algorithm.

The book is perfect for anyone interested in becoming an SEO practitioner, as well as people already working in the profession. For novices, it's a complete and thorough education on search engine optimization—SEO 101. For experienced SEO practitioners, this book serves as an extensive reference volume 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
  • Recognize how changes to your site can confuse search engines
  • Learn to build a competent SEO team with defined roles
  • Glimpse the future of search and the SEO industry
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hype-free, data-rich and loaded with insight that’s essential reading for anyone who needs a deep understanding of SEO.”

“SEO expertise is a core need for today’s online businesses. Written by some of the top SEO practitioners out there, this book can teach you what you need to know for your online business.”

“Written by some of the top minds in SEO!”

“Save years of learning with The Art of SEO! The book’s content and strategies are sure to help your bottom line. Even if you’re a seasoned online marketer, this book has tips and tricks for you!”

“The second edition of The Art of SEO expands and enhances a book that was already the industry standard for SEO education and strategy. Anyone looking to optimize their website and get better rankings on the search engines should keep this book on their desk and refer to it daily. All of the advanced technical SEO strategies are covered in a straight-forward method which is easy to understand and action-oriented. When you are finished reading this book, you will have a better grasp on how search engines work and how you can optimize your website with expert proficiency. If you want to drive more traffic to your website, engage your audience on a deeper level, generate more sales, and grow your business—this books lays the plan out for you.”

“Rarely does a work so thoroughly deconstruct the art and science of SEO: what it is, how it works, who makes it happen, and why it is important to the modern firm.”

“With over 80% of Internet sessions starting with a search, you should be looking for ways to develop traffic from search engines. The Art of SEO is a book I continually recommend to beginners and more experiences marketers. This book can shave years off the learning curve for anyone thinking of delving into the world of search marketing. The Art of SEO walks you through the most important steps in planning and executing a top-flight program. The authors of this book are trusted individuals whose repeated, proven success working with SEO & Social Media marks them as leaders in the field. Easy to understand and well written, this book walks you through everything you need to understand to be successful with your own SEO campaigns. Read now, prosper now and later.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781491948965
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/25/2015
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 600
  • Sales rank: 850,705

Meet the Author

Eric Enge is the founder and CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, a leading SEO firm that serves a wide variety of companies, including a number of Fortune 100 companies. He writes regular columns in Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch, and has also provided feature articles to SEOmoz. The interview series he publishes on the Ramblings about SEO blog ( regularly provides information directly from senior people fro Google and Microsoft on a regular basis. Eric is also a highly regarded speaker, and regular speaks on Internet marketing topics at conferences such as Pubcon, Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, the American Marketing Association, SEMPO, Internet Retailers, O'Reilly, Web 2.0, and many others. You can also see content published by Eric on a regular basis by following him on Twitter (@stonetemple) or putting him in one of your circles on Google+ (+Eric Enge).

Stephan Spencer is the author of Google Power Search (O'Reilly, 2011). He is the founder of Netconcepts, a leading SEO firm that was acquired in January 2010 by search marketing agency Covario. He is the inventor of the automated pay-for-performance SEO technology platform GravityStream, now re-branded as Covario's Organic Search Optimizer. Stephan is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, Multichannel Merchant, Practical Ecommerce, and MarketingProfs, among others. Stephan is a sought-after conference presenter who's spoken on SEO at hundreds of events across the globe for organizations such as the AMA, DMA,, Internet Retailer, SMX, SES, PubCon, O’Reilly/TechWeb, Blog World Expo, Affiliate Summit, Elite Retreat, IIMA, ECMOD, IQPC and IIR. Stephan is also an avid blogger. He blogs at,,,, and He is currently producing a video-based SEO training and coaching program at

As the founder of Alchemist Media, Inc., a San Francisco search engine marketing company, Jessie Stricchiola began her search engine optimization career in 1997. For the past five years, she has been a guest speaker at each of the search industry's leading conferences including Incisive Media's Search Engine Strategies Conferences, Danny Sullivan's Search Marketing Expo, WebmasterWorld's PubCon, ad:Tech, WebGuild, and As one of the original nine founders of SEMPO (the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization), she served for two years on the Board of Directors for the organization. Jessie has been interviewed by numerous trade publications and media outlets,including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine, The Washington Post,,, CNBC, NPR, and The BBC. Her work on click fraud is featured in The Google Story by David Vise.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xix

Preface xxi

1 The Search Engines: Reflecting Consciousness and connecting Commerce 1

The Mission of Search Engines 2

The Market Share of Search Engines 2

The Human Goals of Searching 2

Determining Searcher Intent: A Challenge for Both Marketers and Search Engines 5

How People Search 9

How Search Engines Drive Commerce on the Web 14

Eye Tracking: How Users Scan Results Pages 14

Click Tracking: How Users Click on Results, Natural Versus Paid 16

Conclusion 22

2 Search Engine Basics 23

Understanding Search Engine Results 21

Algorithm-Based Ranking Systems: Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking 30

Determining Searcher Intent and Delivering Relevant, Fresh Content 41

Analyzing Ranking Factors 49

Using Advanced Search Techniques 53

Vertical search Engines 65

Country-Specific Search Engines 74

Conclusion 78

3 Determining Your Seo Objectives and Defining Your Site's Audience 79

Setting SEO Goals and Objectives 79

Developing an SEO Plan Prior to Site Development 84

Understanding Your Audience and Finding Your Niche 85

SEO for Raw Traffic 91

SEO for E-Commerce Sales 91

SEO for Mindshare/Branding 92

SEO for Lead Generation and Direct Marketing 93

SEO for Reputation Management 93

SEO for Ideological Influence 95

Conclusion 96

4 First Stages of Seo 97

The Major Elements of Planning 97

Identifying the Site Development Process and Players 101

Defining Your Site's Information Architecture 102

Auditing an Existing Site to Identify SEO Problems 106

Identifying Current Server Statistics Software and Gaining Access 116

Determining Top Competitors 118

Assessing Historical Progress 122

Benchmarking CurrentIndexing Status 124

Benchmarking Current Rankings 126

Benchmarking Current Traffic Sources and Volume 127

Leveraging Business Assets for SEO 131

Combining Business Assets and Historical Data to Conduct SEO/Website SWOT Analysis 132

Conclusion 134

5 Keyword Research 135

The Theory Behind Keyword Research 135

Traditional Approaches: Domain Expertise, Site Content Analysis 136

Keyword Research Tools 138

Determining Keyword Value/Potential ROI 166

Leveraging the Long Tail of Keyword Demand 171

Trending, Seasonality, and Seasonal Fluctuations in Keyword Demand 176

Conclusion 179

6 Developing An Seo-Friendly Website 181

Making Your Site Accessible to Search Engines 181

Creating an Optimal Information Architecture 187

Roof Domains, Subdomains, and Microsites 201

Optimization of Domain Names/URLs 207

Keyword Targeting 211

Content Optimization 222

Duplicate Content Issues 226

Controlling Content with Cookies and Session IDs 234

Content Delivery and Search Spider Control 238

Redirects 254

Content Management System (CMS) Issues 263

Optimizing Flash 269

Best Practices for Multilanguage/Country Targeting 275

Conclusion 278

7 Creating Link-Worthy Content and Link Marketing 279

How Links Influence Search Engine Rankings 279

Further Refining How Search Engines judge Links 289

The Psychology of Linking 295

Types of Link Building 296

Choosing the Right Link-Building Strategy 309

More Approaches to Content-Based Link Acquisition 314

Incentive-Based Link Marketing 319

How Search Engines Fight Link Spam 319

Social Networking for Links 321

Conclusion 330

8 Optimizing For Vertical Search 333

The Opportunities in Vertical Search 333

Optimizing for Local Search 338

Optimizing for Image Search 346

Optimizing for Product Search 352

Optimizing for News, Blog, and Feed Search 355

Others: Mobile, Video/Multimedia Search 366

Conclusion 372

9 Tracking Results and Measuring Success 373

Why Measuring Success Is Essential to the SEO Process 374

Measuring Search Traffic 376

Tying SEO to Conversion and ROI 388

Competitive and Diagnostic Search Metrics 397

Key Performance Indicators for Long Tail SEO 435

Conclusion 437

10 Domain Changes, Post-Seo Redesigns, and Troubleshooting 439

The Basics of Moving Content 439

Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After a Site Redesign 444

Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After Domain Name Changes 445

Changing Servers 447

Hidden Content 449

Spam Filtering and Penalties 455

Content Theft 467

Changing SEO Vendors or Staff Members 470

Conclusion 472

11 Honing The Craft: Seo Research and Study 473

SEO Research and Analysis 473

Competitive Analysis 482

Using Search-Engine-Supplied SEO Tools 487

The SEO Industry on the Web 500

Participation in Conferences and Organizations 504

Conclusion 506

12 Build An In-House Seo Team, Outsource It, Or Both? 507

The Dynamics and Challenges of Using In-House Talent Versus Outsourcing 507

Solutions for Small Organizations 509

Working with Limited Resources/Budget 511

Solutions for Large Organizations 514

Hiring SEO Talent 517

The Case for Working with an Outside Expert 519

Selecting an SEO Firm/Consultant 521

Mixing Outsourced SEO with In-House SEO Teams 528

Building a Culture of SEO into Your Organization 529

Conclusion 530

13 An Evolving Art Form: The Future of Seo 531

The Ongoing Evolution of Search 532

More Searchable Content and Content Types 533

Search Becoming More Personalized and User-Influenced 541

Increasing Importance of Local, Mobile, and Voice Recognition Search 546

Increased Market Saturation and Competition 552

SEO As an Enduring Art Form 554

Conclusion 555

Index 557

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