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 second edition brings you up to date on recent changes in search engine behavior—such as new ranking methods involving user engagement and social media—with an array of effective tactics, from basic to advanced.

  • Comprehend SEO’s many ...
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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 second edition brings you up to date on recent changes in search engine behavior—such as new ranking methods involving user engagement and social media—with an array of effective tactics, from basic to advanced.

  • 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

Visit for late-breaking updates, checklists, worksheets, templates, and guides.

"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."
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of, Inc., author of New York Times bestseller Delivering Happiness

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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: 9781449304218
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/26/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 662,134
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

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.

Rand Fishkin is CEO and co-founder of Moz, a Seattle-based startup focused on building software for marketers.

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Table of Contents

Who Should Read This Book;
Conventions Used in This Book;
Using Code Examples;
Safari® Books Online;
How to Contact Us;
Chapter 1: Search: Reflecting Consciousness and Connecting Commerce;
1.1 The Mission of Search Engines;
1.2 The Market Share of Search Engines;
1.3 The Human Goals of Searching;
1.4 Determining Searcher Intent: A Challenge for Both Marketers and Search Engines;
1.5 How People Search;
1.6 How Search Engines Drive Commerce on the Web;
1.7 Eye Tracking: How Users Scan Results Pages;
1.8 Click Tracking: How Users Click on Results, Natural Versus Paid;
1.9 Conclusion;
Chapter 2: Search Engine Basics;
2.1 Understanding Search Engine Results;
2.2 Algorithm-Based Ranking Systems: Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking;
2.3 Determining Searcher Intent and Delivering Relevant, Fresh Content;
2.4 Analyzing Ranking Factors;
2.5 Using Advanced Search Techniques;
2.6 Vertical Search Engines;
2.7 Country-Specific Search Engines;
2.8 Conclusion;
Chapter 3: Determining Your SEO Objectives and Defining Your Site’s Audience;
3.1 Strategic Goals SEO Practitioners Can Fulfill;
3.2 Every SEO Plan Is Custom;
3.3 Understanding Search Engine Traffic and Visitor Intent;
3.4 Developing an SEO Plan Prior to Site Development;
3.5 Understanding Your Audience and Finding Your Niche;
3.6 SEO for Raw Traffic;
3.7 SEO for Ecommerce Sales;
3.8 SEO for Mindshare/Branding;
3.9 SEO for Lead Generation and Direct Marketing;
3.10 SEO for Reputation Management;
3.11 SEO for Ideological Influence;
3.12 Conclusion;
Chapter 4: First Stages of SEO;
4.1 The Major Elements of Planning;
4.2 Identifying the Site Development Process and Players;
4.3 Defining Your Site’s Information Architecture;
4.4 Auditing an Existing Site to Identify SEO Problems;
4.5 Identifying Current Server Statistics Software and Gaining Access;
4.6 Determining Top Competitors;
4.7 Assessing Historical Progress;
4.8 Benchmarking Current Indexing Status;
4.9 Benchmarking Current Rankings;
4.10 Benchmarking Current Traffic Sources and Volume;
4.11 Leveraging Business Assets for SEO;
4.12 Combining Business Assets and Historical Data to Conduct SEO/Website SWOT Analysis;
4.13 Conclusion;
Chapter 5: Keyword Research;
5.1 Thinking Strategically;
5.2 Understanding the Long Tail of the Keyword Demand Curve;
5.3 Traditional Approaches: Domain Expertise, Site Content Analysis;
5.4 Keyword Research Tools;
5.5 Determining Keyword Value/Potential ROI;
5.6 Leveraging the Long Tail of Keyword Demand;
5.7 Trending, Seasonality, and Seasonal Fluctuations in Keyword Demand;
5.8 Conclusion;
Chapter 6: Developing an SEO-Friendly Website;
6.1 Making Your Site Accessible to Search Engines;
6.2 Creating an Optimal Information Architecture (IA);
6.3 Root Domains, Subdomains, and Microsites;
6.4 Optimization of Domain Names/URLs;
6.5 Keyword Targeting;
6.6 Content Optimization;
6.7 Duplicate Content Issues;
6.8 Controlling Content with Cookies and Session IDs;
6.9 Content Delivery and Search Spider Control;
6.10 Redirects;
6.11 Content Management System (CMS) Issues;
6.12 Best Practices for Multilanguage/Country Targeting;
6.13 Conclusion;
Chapter 7: Creating Link-Worthy Content and Link Marketing;
7.1 How Links Influence Search Engine Rankings;
7.2 Further Refining How Search Engines Judge Links;
7.3 The Psychology of Linking;
7.4 Types of Link Building;
7.5 Choosing the Right Link-Building Strategy;
7.6 More Approaches to Content-Based Link Acquisition;
7.7 Incentive-Based Link Marketing;
7.8 How Search Engines Fight Link Spam;
7.9 Social Networking for Links;
7.10 Conclusion;
Chapter 8: How Social Media and User Data Play a Role in Search Results and Rankings;
8.1 Why Rely on Social Signals?;
8.2 Social Signals That Directly Influence Search Results;
8.3 The Indirect Influence of Social Media Marketing;
8.4 Monitoring, Measuring, and Improving Social Media Marketing;
8.5 User Engagement as a Measure of Search Quality;
8.6 Document Analysis;
8.7 Optimizing the User Experience to Improve SEO;
8.8 Additional Social Media Resources;
8.9 Conclusion;
Chapter 9: Optimizing for Vertical Search;
9.1 The Opportunities in Vertical Search;
9.2 Optimizing for Local Search;
9.3 Optimizing for Image Search;
9.4 Optimizing for Product Search;
9.5 Optimizing for News, Blog, and Feed Search;
9.6 Others: Mobile, Video/Multimedia Search;
9.7 Conclusion;
Chapter 10: Tracking Results and Measuring Success;
10.1 Why Measuring Success Is Essential to the SEO Process;
10.2 Measuring Search Traffic;
10.3 Tying SEO to Conversion and ROI;
10.4 Competitive and Diagnostic Search Metrics;
10.5 Key Performance Indicators for Long-Tail SEO;
10.6 Other Third-Party Tools;
10.7 Conclusion;
Chapter 11: Domain Changes, Post-SEO Redesigns, and Troubleshooting;
11.1 The Basics of Moving Content;
11.2 Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After a Site Redesign;
11.3 Maintaining Search Engine Visibility During and After Domain Name Changes;
11.4 Changing Servers;
11.5 Hidden Content;
11.6 Spam Filtering and Penalties;
11.7 Content Theft;
11.8 Changing SEO Vendors or Staff Members;
11.9 Conclusion;
Chapter 12: SEO Research and Study;
12.1 SEO Research and Analysis;
12.2 Competitive Analysis;
12.3 Using Search Engine–Supplied SEO Tools;
12.4 The SEO Industry on the Web;
12.5 Participation in Conferences and Organizations;
12.6 Conclusion;
Chapter 13: Build an In-House SEO Team, Outsource It, or Both?;
13.1 The Business of SEO;
13.2 The Dynamics and Challenges of Using In-House Talent Versus Outsourcing;
13.3 The Impact of Site Complexity on SEO Workload;
13.4 Solutions for Small Organizations;
13.5 Solutions for Large Organizations;
13.6 Hiring SEO Talent;
13.7 The Case for Working with an Outside Expert;
13.8 Selecting an SEO Firm/Consultant;
13.9 Mixing Outsourced SEO with In-House SEO Teams;
13.10 Building a Culture of SEO into Your Organization;
13.11 Conclusion;
Chapter 14: An Evolving Art Form: The Future of SEO;
14.1 The Ongoing Evolution of Search;
14.2 More Searchable Content and Content Types;
14.3 Personalization, Localization, and User Influence on Search;
14.4 The Increasing Importance of Local, Mobile, and Voice Recognition Search;
14.5 Increased Market Saturation and Competition;
14.6 SEO as an Enduring Art Form;
14.7 Conclusion;

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

    SEO in Depth

    The Art of SEO is a good solid book full of valuable information about search engine optimization. This is not a beginner's book to SEO, it assumes basic knowledge. It is not on the other hand heavily technical. It does not give a formula for setting up a website to maximize its SEO potential. Websites are unique and require different strategies to maximize their SEO.

    The book does give tons of examples and techniques used in various ways that would increase the ranking within search engines. It also discusses, and gives examples of so-called tricks that have been used in the past to increase rankings. It does points out the danger of using such tricks in the present environment.

    There is plenty of information for the web developers and webmasters to consider when developing for a site. Such as the drawbacks of using Flash or Silverlight in regards to SEO. The importance of naming conventions for such things as images. The book discusses site hierarchy as it applies to search engine optimization. Linking, the dos and don'ts. What works, what works best.

    The book is an easy read, and although it requires some technical knowledge, almost anyone with a basic level of understand should have no problem. If someone wants to be a SEO expert, they might feel the need to read this book will are cover to cover. For others it would make a good reference book or something to be skimmed through picking out the information that may apply to the work they're doing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 11, 2010

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    Posted February 3, 2011

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