From January 2015

SEO 2015

SEO 2015
Click to view on Amazon

As the author points out many articles on SEO and marketing are written by interns, or the office junior, the reason being that the real gurus of SEO are too busy. Well, I am glad this expert took the time out to write this guide. All too frequently these low cost Kindle books are just the results of scraping by non-experts and then thrown together and coming from the school of ‘How to write a kindle book in one day’ and its ilk. It can be quite hard sorting out the wheat from the chaff in the copious amounts of kindle SEO books, and all claiming that they will get you to the top of the search rankings with little effort required. This book definitely is of the ‘wheat’ variety and is one of the better SEO guides I have read in a while, so don’t be put off by its low Kindle price or crappy cover.

If you do not have Google Analytics installed, put down this book, install Google Analytics now and then slap your web developer.

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WordPress Pedal to the Metal

Speed-Up WordPress
Click to view on Amazon

Google is on a mission to speed up the web and is suggesting that an above the fold page load should be within one second for mobile devices. While WordPress is fairly fast out of the box when combined with a well configured server and not much traffic, it is when you’ve installed a custom theme and plugins that things will start to slow down. Since loading time is one of the ranking factors there is a very good chance this will start to effect your postion in SERPs. This is one very good reason why I prefer to roll-my-own my websites as it gives me the ability to think about and integrate SEO considerations from the very beginning, and although there are always improvements that can be made I know I can always go back and tweak the code as and when either Google changes its algorithms or I learn more. However, having recently started my own blogs and so as not reinvent the wheel I opted for WordPress. I’ve always been a bit reluctant in going down this road because of the apparent lack of control of the SEO aspects. Up till now the total sum of my efforts in regard to this has been to include the odd SEO plugin such as that by Yoast:WordPress SEO Plugin

Serendipitously, just when I am looking at improving the SEO for my blogs, I came across this Kindle book. To be honest I wasn’t expecting very much as so many of these low-priced Kindle books promise so much and deliver so little and are usually badly written to boot. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth for this book. In fact I would say it under sells itself, no bold promises in the product description unlike so many others of a similar ilk. After a few pages it becomes clear that this guy knows his stuff and even better knows how to write about it, with clear step-by-step instructions and plenty of screen-shots. Don’t be put off by the occasional error in the author’s use of English, such as technic instead of technique and the occasional stilted sentence. These do not detract in any way from an otherwise well written text.

With an hour or two I had made significant improvements to both the loading speed and optimisation of my blog. All of the techniques I would say are do-able by your average blogger who knows how to open up the WordPress admin panel at the very least. Most of the techniques are applicable to both low and high traffic blogs, and the reader is even shown how to CDN their blog free of charge for the ultimate speed-up; a veritable Formula One of site loading. My site has already shown significant improvement with just a few of the techniques discussed and there are still a few more left to implement.

Your page load time will go from 5.70 seconds, or worse, to an expected goal approaching 1 second

Why should you bother in speeding up your site? We are given some very convincing reasons followed by how to actually measure your site speed before and then again after each technique to give instant feed back to show how your efforts are being rewarded.

I won’t cover the specific techniques as the reader can refer to the book description where the topics covered are given for each of the 10 chapters. However, if by the end of Chapter six you haven’t achieved a significant improvement in the loading time of your blog then I will eat my hat!

In the WP Hacks & Tricks chapter techniques are given to avoid being penalised by your host provider when the CPU time or memory usage becomes heavy, particularly relevant for average blogger on a shared server host.

I was fortunate enough to spot this book when the need arose and better still when it was on promo but would have happily parted with my hard-earned cash knowing that it actually delivers on what it says and then some.

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Search Engine Optimization 101 by Daniel Transon

Book cover for Search Engine OptimisationKindle book review: Search Engine Optimization 101: How to Create a Popular Blog and Generate Traffic by Daniel Transon

Initially I felt it would be rather unkind to be derogatory about the usefulness of this book since it was free on Amazon at the time, however digging a bit deeper it seems that the author has a whole series of Kindle books on diverse subjects ranging from buying cars to career advice and financial investment to leadership, in all Amazon returns thirty-four results for Daniel Transon. Each around the £2’ish mark, not expensive I concur but when you note that these are only around ten to twenty pages or less each (as stated on the product pages), makes me suspect a pattern here. Assuming they are all written by the same guy, then this must be a very adept individual or they are just products of regurgitation or internet scraping. For this book at least (I haven’t read any of his other books), the same information and more can readily be found on the internet.

The subtitle of this book is `How to Create a Popular Blog and Generate Traffic’ but the topics covered also apply to many other types of websites as well. For Bloggers a discussion of SEO plugins and techniques pertinent to the most common blogging platforms such as WordPress would have given relevance to the subtitle but is sadly missing.

Some of the advice given should have been qualified further such as when the author talks about the domain age delay effect in that it is preferable to buy an established domain rather than a new one for quicker SEO results. However, no mention is given as to the dangers and precautions which should be taken when doing so, such as how to avoid sandboxed or blacklisted sites. Without these precautions the effect of purchasing an established domain, usually at an inflated price, could have the opposite to the desired effect.

The product description states:

* How to come up with great blog content ideas
* What separates one blogger from another
* How to increase your traffic ten-fold
* And MUCH more!

Does it achieve any of this? I don’t believe it comes anywhere close and therefore cannot recommend this book.

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