Can You Learn SEO From a Book? – Part 2

The general consensus from the SEO community and Search Engine Watch readers: learning SEO solely from a book doesn’t cut it.

Here’s one reason why, illustrated by search marketing wisdom from one of my readers:

“I’ve been doing search since 1997 and have learned most from surfing around and trying differing things that come up on my radar. I have bought almost all SEO books and to be honest have not learned much that I didn’t know already. I do subscribe to one online resource which is helpful, but no more books.”

I’d like to point out that we’re not slamming the SEO book business; there are myriad colleagues who’ve poured their souls into books that will bring you the basics of SEO. So, if you’re just starting out on the SEO train, picking up one of those books might help get you started.

Sleepless in SERPville

Once you’ve got the basics down — or think you do — the next place to continue your education is by reading blogs. It only makes sense: SEO gains its magical powers only online; the gatekeepers of the algorithms reside online; announcements about alterations, advancements, and seemingly antithetical behavior will also appear online and almost always in blogs.

We’ve put together a few notes on some of the hotter spots in the search world you might want to use to keep up with the SEOnses. We’ll start with the official blogs of companies who give us sleepless nights and dreams of SERPs.


Google Blog shares insights from Googlers about all aspects of their culture and technology, from new stuff in labs to office life. From here you can find links to blogs on all of their products like the Adwords Blog for those of you learning about Google Adwords PPC advertising.

Another absolute essential: Google Webmaster Central Blog, which focuses on information about Google indexing process, sitemaps, and tips for making your site Google friendly. All of these blogs follow Google’s modus operandi of simple design, relevant content, and an inviting atmosphere.


Microsoft Live Search Blog provides official news from the Live search team. The Microsoft adCenter Blog covers news and tips on using adCenter. Unfortunately, this also tends to mimic previous Microsoft experiences in that it’s a little cumbersome. The adCenter blog is only updated once or twice a week. The Live Search blog hasn’t been touched in a month and a half.

Ask Answers Occasionally

Ask Blog provides posts on official Ask news and insights on the inner workings of their search engine. They have a standard format with links to other blogs but the updates are not consistent.

Yahoo Rising

Yahoo Search Blog is a glimpse inside the world of search from folks at Yahoo. Here you can find official news and links to other Yahoo blogs like Yahoo Search Marketing Blog and Yahoo Publisher Network Blog, which is a blog about content advertising. Again, updates are less frequent, but that’s not the main point about any of these search company-run blogs per se.

You read to hear news from the horse’s mouth. Then you can get the real scoop in the search engine forums. That should give you a head start on what the major search engines are saying about themselves.

But what about what the search engines don’t want you to know? Next time we’ll delve into the world of blogs that are not directly affiliated with any search engine company. These blogs are especially valuable because they are written by people who have experience in the search engine world, either reporting on them, working in the SEO business, or both.

We’ll begin with group or multi-poster blogs, such as the columns you’re reading right now at Search Engine Watch Experts that pull together the expertise of many to form a concise base of, well, expertise.

We’ll wrap up in Part 3 with some independent SEO blogs, single-posters, what’s to be gained, and SEO they’re not only reporting on, but practicing as well.

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