With all the SEO (search engine optimization) books and blogs out there, you could read all of them for years and still not come up with the answers to your questions, or even begin to formulate the questions correctly. I am certainly no expert in the subject—I'm a musician! However, in trying to get the word out about my business, I have had to at least scratch the surface of SEO. Now along comes a book that claims to demystify the subject for ordinary people like me.
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review. I will also receive an additional ten tips for having completed the writing of this review. Other than that, I have received no consideration whatsoever.
The audience for Fifty SEO Ideas is the busy corporate executive who needs to delegate tasks, or who at least needs a blueprint and checklist if she or he plans to take on those tasks. In this respect the book is stellar; the author consistently remembers his audience throughout. The book is not too technical for the reader who is new to search engine optimization, and not too shallow for those readers who already have some experience with it.
Each chapter includes a checklist where the reader can rate the importance of the task to her or his company. I would have preferred a complete checklist all in one place, which would have enabled me to skip or postpone reading the chapters which I felt were less critical. However, without the explanations of each aspect of SEO, that might not be feasible. I think that perhaps the author could devise some sort of questionnaire that might be useful in determining a company's needs before an executive begins to read the book. Also, at least in Preview on a Mac, the PDF is not editable, so it's not possible to save the completed checklist for future use. An editable PDF would have been useful not only for saving the checklist, but for checking off which tasks have been done, and when. This would be even more important in the Kindle copy, because annotation is key to managing a busy executive's workload. (Since I did not receive a Kindle copy, I cannot comment on whether annotation works on the Kindle.)
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(price as of Oct 30, 2014)
The writing is clear and to the point throughout; sometimes I found it a little too direct, as I was not familiar with some of the terms, and I would have appreciated a little more explanation. However, I like the author's respect for my time by not indulging in unnecessary wordiness. The book's organization is likewise clear, but the logical progression from one task to the next is not particularly evident to a non-SEO expert. I would have preferred the first ten chapters to be the most critical tasks (in the author's opinion). Perhaps in this aspect the book would have been better as a series of books, each reordered for a different kind of business (the needs of a local business which provides a personal service are much different than the needs of a large company which may not ever see a customer in person). Some of the chapters also seemed repetitive, although that could be attributed to reader fatigue setting in after trying to absorb too much in one sitting.
Fifty SEO Ideas has a list of several web resources for each task at the end of each chapter. Although I am familiar with many web resources, this book did list a number of web sites and tools that were new to me. Again, I think some duplication of effort might be avoided if there were a section of the book that said: "Go to this website, and do tasks X, Y, and Z, addressed in chapters 18-20." For companies where the IT department is small, this feature would save a lot of time. However, the list was at least mercifully short, and the tools with which I am familiar I find very useful. I will be trying out some of the sites which are new to me very soon.
I have one technical quibble with the book: when I copied a URL and pasted it into my browser, the periods in the URL did not work correctly. Again, this occurred in Preview on a Mac; your experience may differ.
All in all, I believe that Fifty SEO Ideas: Free Tips, Secrets, and Ideas for Search Engine Optimization is well worth the time it takes to read and understand it. A big thank-you to Dr. Jason McDonald, who has been generous enough to share some of his SEO secrets with the rest of us! For those readers who are new to search engine optimization, or need a quick review of some important concepts, this book is an investment in your company's ability to attract the notice of potential customers searching for your product or service.