Maximizing Search Engine Visibility

This definitive guide to search engine optimization and marketing offers solid fundamental advice for creating search engine friendly sites, at the same time debunking myths and snake oil "techniques" that can bedevil the unwary webmaster.

As the web expands into a vast sea of information, users increasingly turn to search engines as their fundamental navigation aid. And yet search engines face a daunting task, forced to select from thousands or millions of possible web pages when answering queries. Ultimately, all search engines in one way or another favor web sites that are "search friendly."

Shari Thurow is one of the world's foremost authorities in the field of search engine optimization and marketing, and shares her knowledge about creating search friendly web sites in her new book, "Search Engine Visibility."

A popular speaker at the Search Engine Strategies conferences, Shari is known for her straightforward, no-nonsense approach to search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. I'm delighted to report that her book is true to form, expanding and enhancing the material she presents at the conferences.

A key differentiator between this book and many other sources of SEO "information" is that Shari is careful both to avoid and dispel many of the myths and fads that can easily beguile the unwary.

Her straight-forward approach emphasizes common sense methods that will endure for the long run, avoiding flavor of the moment trends and "techniques" that in many cases can actually hurt, rather than help, search engine positioning.

To many, search engine optimization means using methods to trick search engines into giving pages higher rankings. Spend enough time tweaking your HTML or using clever codes and your web pages will rise to the top, the thinking goes.

But this search engine centric approach often ignores the real reason a web site exists -- to provide useful information, services, or products to human beings. Unless a site appeals to users, even the most clever manipulation will have little effect on influencing search engine rankings.

The key, according to Shari, is to strike the appropriate balance between search engine friendly and people friendly web design. A fundamental principle is to build a solid foundation for your web site. "Without a strong foundation, a search engine marketing campaign will ultimately fail," writes Shari in the introduction of the book.

Search Engine Visibility is appropriate for anyone working to make web sites more search engine friendly, from novices to experts. Shari is a gifted teacher, explaining even the most complex concepts in forthright, easily understood language.

The book is organized into five parts. Part 1, "Before You Build" lays important groundwork, explaining the differences between search engines and directories, and the basics of effective web site design. Part 2 offers explicit instructions and tips for building better web pages that will appeal to both search engines and people.

Parts 3 and 4 get into the nitty gritty of search engine optimization and submitting sites to search engines and directories. And Part 5, "Best Practices: The Dos and Don'ts of Search Engine Marketing" is invaluable -- wisdom culled from years of experience that can not only help you achieve greater search engine visibility, but avoid the traps and pitfalls that can cause search engines to penalize your site and make it all but disappear from result listings.

Shari has also created a companion web site for the book, with bonus material and other goodies. Best of all, the site is designed using the principles outlined in the book. It's an excellent model for anyone wanting to design a search engine friendly site.

Whether you want to create search friendly sites yourself, or are looking for a guide to selecting a reputable firm to do the work for you, an investment in this book will likely pay for itself many times over when you begin to reap the very real benefits of creating a search friendly web site.

Search Engine Visibility
New Riders Publishing
ISBN: 0735712565

Search Engine Visibility
This site serves as a companion to the book Search Engine Visibility, now available from New Riders Publishing.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.