Some of my readers have asked what books are available for learning everything there is to know about SEM (define). Unfortunately, I have to tell them that there's no such thing. Many search marketing books will offer some good insights and tips, but you're really going to learn the most by getting out there and doing.
Still, there are several books out there that can help further your understanding of search marketing in general, or do a deep dive on a specific sub-topic. Several years ago, you would only find books focusing on just a general topic, such as SEO or PPC (define). Now there are books that cover everything from Web analytics to landing page optimization and beyond.
The ever-evolving world of SEM is growing and expanding. It opens up new opportunities for authors to fill in the gaps with great books that satisfy our appetite for instruction. But with that ability and expansion enters one caveat: some information in print is only good for so long. Check the expiration date, so to speak.
With that in mind, let's look at some of the titles that are in circulation today:
Search Engine Marketing, Inc.
If you're practicing SEO in-house or run an Internet marketing agency, then "Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site" is one book you'll definitely want to read. Bill Hunt and Mike Moran start with the latest in SEO fundamentals and then outline the steps to build a search marketing program, develop a team, create proposals, get executive approval, and measure your search marketing campaigns. Soup to nuts, as it were.
Search Engine Optimization Bible
Of course, every series needs a book that touts itself as the end-all "bible." "SEO: Search Engine Optimization Bible" by Jerri Ledford has all of the tips, how-to's, and instruction on SEO you'd expect. You can even read interviews with more than a dozen experts and get their take on SEO.
Landing Page Optimization
At Search Engine Strategies in New York last week, Tim Ash introduced his new book "Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions." Packing everything about SEM into one book is becoming a big challenge these days, which is why many books, like this one, are focusing on one aspect of search. In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about fine-tuning your landing pages for optimal performance.
Many of you may have heard of SEO Book, written by Aaron Wall. It's been around for a few years now, highly acclaimed, and has helped many SEOs get started in the business. It used to be in eBook format and sold for $79. Currently, by opening a free account at seobook.com, then subscribing to the site's always-current premium content for $100 per month, the eBook is included for "free." This seems to be the only way to get the actual book, but also offers the springboard for further improvement and keeping up to date in the SEO world.
SEO For Dummies
Of course, no subject is complete without the "Dummies" edition. Peter Kent delivers a clear, simple approach to learning the fundamentals of SEO. If you're brand new to search and need a place to get started, then "Search Engine Optimization for Dummies" is the place to start.
There are more books out there that cover almost every aspect of SEM. If you've read any good books that I haven't mentioned, or if you read any of the books I've recommended here in the future, please e-mail me your comments and thoughts on how beneficial you found them.