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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Programming an SEO site
Creating a website that can be found among all the other sites on the web has always been important to the success of any site. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is as important to the marketing of a website as image optimization is to its graphic design. For dynamic-driven websites such as BellaOnline, it is a continuous challenge to maintain search engine...
Published on April 20, 2007 by Diane Cipollo

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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete disappointment - nothing professional here
I've read through this book from first to last page in a hope of finding any valuable information and must say, that most of what the book suggests is of no value to any professional in field. It's begins with some general giberrish about SEO, which is of no real value and can be collected over the web within hour. Then follow some worn out URI rewriting recipes, which I...
Published on March 5, 2008 by Amazon Customer


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Programming an SEO site, April 20, 2007
By 
Diane Cipollo (Editor at BellaOnline.com) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
Creating a website that can be found among all the other sites on the web has always been important to the success of any site. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is as important to the marketing of a website as image optimization is to its graphic design. For dynamic-driven websites such as BellaOnline, it is a continuous challenge to maintain search engine optimization. This book by Jaimie Sirovich and Cristian Darie is written for the PHP programmer who needs to understand the many technical issues involved when programming a search-engine-friendly site from attracting search engine spiders to site promotion. Throughout the book, you will find code examples and practice exercises which show how to implement the techniques covered in the book.

The authors begin with a discussion of the programming environment including setting up the MySQL server and then move on to tools and resources for the IT professional and the basics of search engine optimization. One of the most important aspects of search engine optimization is the URL. The URLs that you generate for your pages must not only be search engine friendly but also people friendly. The authors discuss how to make the task of creating and managing search-engine-friendly URLs easier. Another problem you will encounter is duplicate content which will harm your site's search engine rating. The authors discuss many ways to prevent or minimize this problem such as using robots.txt and meta exclusion.

Your site visitors enjoy those cool looking interactive features, such as fancy menus, that can be created using JavaScript, Ajax and Flash. These same features make it difficult for search engines to find your site. However, web readers have come to expect a certain amount of interactivity and without at least a few of these goodies, your site will be bland by today's standards. The authors discuss this problem and cover several ways to help such as generating SEO images and the use of graphic text.

One of the most popular ways to promote a website is with RSS feeds and syndication. To be effective, these feeds must be updated as new content is added to your site. This can be time consuming especially if your site is updated several times a minute. Two answers to this problem offered by the authors are to automate the generation of RSS feeds with a PHP class and displaying feeds with SimplePie.

A standard for a good search engine friendly site is a good sitemap system. As with RSS feeds, keeping a sitemap updated can be a challenge and the authors show you how to create a traditional and an XML-based sitemap. Once your site is live, your job as an IT professional has just begun. There are many SEO technical issues the authors touch on including maintaining your site, changing hosts and cross linking.

One thing that makes a technical-heavy book like this more helpful is a working example that incorporates what you have learned. The case study for this book is an E-commerce store and catalog. The authors have also covered how to enhance a pre-existing site to be more search engine friendly and how to create a search engine optimized blog using WordPress.

Jaimie Sirovich is a search engine marketing consultant, programmer and administrator for the search engine marketing blog SEOEgghead. Cristian Darie is a software engineer and author of several books and tutorials on AJAX, ASP.NET, PHP and SQL. [...]
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for PHP developers who develop commercial websites, April 26, 2007
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
Most websites are developed without SEO in mind. They are often developed by teams that have a very deep knowledge and understanding about programming websites and applications, databases and also general business and e-commerce. A large (if not the most) number of those teams only have little or no knowledge of SEO at all. The result is a website that might violates some of the very basic rules of creating a site that is well accessible and understandable for the human visitors as well as the non-human visitors (the search engine spiders or crawlers).

Changing a site after it is live and around for a while, when somebody realizes that search engine traffic is not the way it should be, can be very costly and in the worst cases may be even require an almost entire rewrite of the website code.

That's why is it important that not only marketers are being educated about the benefits and principles of search engine optimization, but the people that build websites as well. Who builds websites? Web developers. This book was written exactly for this audience, but also a SEO who knows most of the information to SEO provided in the book could benefit from this book. It includes a lot of very practical PHP sample source code for ready to use tools that can help marketers in their daily routine.

Although a lot of the content is not PHP specific are other parts that are using a lot of sample source code to demonstrate possible solutions, specific for Apache web servers (.htaccess), PHP and MySQL Databases.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid PHP How-To, May 11, 2007
By 
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
Last year, I reviewed the book Ajax and PHP by Cristian Darie. Since then, he and I have kept in touch. When he asked if I would like to read his latest writing endeavor, Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP, I was immediately interested. He joined Jaimie Sirovich in co-authoring this one, and they are also writing a companion version on SEO with ASP.NET. Their ASP.NET edition will be available in August of 2007. First off, here's a bit of background info about the authors.

Jaimie Sirovich is a self-titled "SEO Egghead" and is a hybrid programmer turned search engine marketer. What makes him uniquely qualified is that he understands the tech side of SEO and isn't just a slimey snake oil salesman who spouts off conjecture. He holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

Cristian Darie is a software engineer and PhD student, currently studying distributed application architecture for his dissertation. He has published several books on a variety of web topics - including: Ajax, ASP.NET, PHP and SQL. Needless to say, he is himself quite the server-side programmer as well.

The book starts off by defining who it is written for: PHP programmers and search engine marketers. Programmers will benefit because this book talks about the factors that help improve readability of URLs for both humans and search engines. For instance, using Apache's mod_rewrite to create:

(...)

As opposed to:

(...)

Marketers will benefit from this book because rather than rely on the myriad of disinformation that is available (leading one another in circular logic), they can start to understand things from a more concrete perspective and begin to make more accurate assessments. If it's true that All Marketers are Liars, then at least they will sound more convincing when it comes to SEO.

Once the basics are out of the way, this book delves into more tangible code examples, showing how to use .htaccess redirects as well as HTTP responses to your advantage. They also cover the concept of cloaking, such as employed by the New York Times, allowing search engines to index their content, but not cache it. This enables them to rank high in relevant search results, but also requires a subscription to read it. Apparently, Google turns a blind eye for big business, but potentially punishes smaller sites for such practices.

They also explain how to use "white hat" methods such as IP sniffing, to make sure that international readers receive pages that are relevant to their particular locale. While not always 100% accurate, this can assist in returning pages in the correct language for a particular country or region.

Additionally, they explain how to use sitemap XML and text files to describe to Google and Yahoo, respectively, the information architecture of your site. This is helpful for sites which are inherently inaccessible due to excessive use of Flash or Ajax. While it's certainly no substitute for semantic code, at least search engines know you have more than just an index page.

Overall, this book is great. I appreciate their description of both accepted and unethical SEO, rather than obscuring dirty "black hat" tricks. Acknowledging these methods exist is necessary in order to spot them. While I don't go out of my way for SEO when developing a site, I certainly don't want to knowingly or ignorantly do anything that would hinder a site's visibility.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for programmers learning SEO, August 22, 2007
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
I am still somewhat new to PHP and this was my first book I've read on SEO. However, this book was packed full of great information for programmers. I never realized that there's so much that can be done from a architectural standpoint for SEO. I will definitely be referring back to this book on a regular basis in my future web developments.

One thing to keep in mind, this book is not for search engine marketer's. Although the authors do explain the reason behind the methods they provide, about half of this book is PHP code. This book is designed for improving ranking during development and design of the website, and not after publication. I learned that there are two facets to SEO; the architecture and design of the site and the marketing of the site. This book addresses the former.

The only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars is that the book was primarily geared towards an e-commerce site with a majority of the examples directed as such. Now, most e-commerce sites do implement PHP, there are plenty of other sites that implement it as well that do are not e-commerce. I understand that SEO is relatively easier on these sites, but there are plenty of methods and examples that can be implemented on any site, not just e-commerce such as; URL Rewriting via mod_rewrite, 301 redirects, duplicate content, sitemaps, link bait, and more.

Overall, still a great book and well worth the price and the read. I will definitely looking for more titles from these authors.

P.S. Author Jaimie Sirovich has a tremendous SEO Blog site that while reading this book quickly became one of my favorite sites.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete disappointment - nothing professional here, March 5, 2008
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
I've read through this book from first to last page in a hope of finding any valuable information and must say, that most of what the book suggests is of no value to any professional in field. It's begins with some general giberrish about SEO, which is of no real value and can be collected over the web within hour. Then follow some worn out URI rewriting recipes, which I would be ashamed of offering as an solution to any of my clients and call them "SEO". Then ending chapters again are some general giberish, not a dime better that what can be found on web for free.

If the title read "Beginning SEO with PHP", that would be somehow acceptable and the content would be OK, but there is nothing "Professional" in this book.

Firstly, going with PHP4 for your examples in 2007 is a little bit um... "anachronous".

Secondly, eg. the "Custom markup language" the authors introduce in chapter 6 is something, I'd expect from schoolkids but not from somebody who does not hesitate to call his product professional. It's not only terribly half baked and a promissing maintenance nightmare, but it also takes up so much space in the book, that authors could be able to introduce some basic techniques of XML parsing in PHP and explain it's advantages over the ugliness they have provided the reades with. That section among other things gives me clear picture of the "professionality" of the book.

Chapter 7 + 8 - again using PHP4 object model - c'mon, we are in 2007...

Let's say that CH3..CH5 are "OK", the rest is something, that in my opinion does only fills space in the book and readers would be better off searching the approprite information on the internet, where the book points you anyway in the end.

After reading "Professional SEO in PHP", I've for good understood what Joel Spolsky ment when he claimed that you can never learn a technology from a book in red cover with mughshots, however professional it claim to be, because there's no overall intelligence behind it, chapters repeat things and left things out, and in rush to get the book to the market, editing appears to be non-existent.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Non-Programmers Too!, October 11, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
Running a successful search engine optimization firm means that I have to have a solid understanding in numerous coding strategies that can play a role in an SEO campaign. I'm not a programmer, and don't know a lick about PHP, but I also knew that pSEOwPHP would be a valuable book worth reading. I was right.

pSEOwPHP is a book written by programmers for programmers. Rarely will you go more than a couple of pages without getting an in-depth look at php code illustrating just how certain jobs are done. But that should not dissuade the non-programmer. Going through this book I did a good deal of skipping. I don't need to know the code--wouldn't understand it anyway--but what I did get was a solid grasp on how PHP can be an extremely effective tool in a search engine optimization campaign.

So what can you learn in a book about PHP without knowing PHP? You'll get a crash course in creating search engine friendly URLs, redirects, duplicate content, search friendly html, web feeds, sitemaps, link bait, cloaking and a whole lot in between. For the non-programmer I found all the things that you can do with PHP fascinating. The concepts here are nothing new but I'm certain my programmers will find information in here that they can apply liberally throughout our client campaigns.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great SEO Book, April 28, 2007
By 
Amazon Customer "NSUSA" (Highlands Ranch, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
I received this book as a present earlier this week. I started skimming through it the other night and got hocked into the stuff right away. I manage a network of about 50 websites and they rank average in search engines. After reading this book I have so many things to go back and work on my sites - I hate it and I love it. I hate it because this book gives me so much work suggestions to do and the implementation will take time I could spend on other things. I love it because this book will hopefully open the flood doors at the search engines and finally move my sites from good to great. It's too early to tell if every single trick described in the book works, but from what I can tell right now - I missed so many things to improve my sites and this book helps me to fill those gaps. Thanks for writing this great book.

One note of caution. You should have some minor programming knowledge to understand what you are doing. Everything is well documented, but it sure helps to cut down on implementation time. You do not need to be a pro coder though, but if you can do some basic HTML and PHP it will certainly help you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good introduction to SEO for PHP developers, August 21, 2007
By 
Discoveror "Mike" (Westerly, RI United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
Until recently, I had been under the impression that search engine optimization was wishful thinking, since Google et al are so covert regarding their proprietary ranking algorithms. While that's true, this book provides as much insight as could be expected into the empirical tricks of search engine optimization.

I read it cover-to-cover, including the Appendix! If it weren't for some "duplicate content", early on, I would give it 6 stars! <G> Consistent with the PHP camp, this book is very pragmatic, offering specific code solutions to each SEO issue, raised ... AND most thorough explanations of the code, following each example.

If you, like me, thought of SEO as a 'black art', you'll find this an easy and enlightening read. Then, you can set about correcting the things that you did to your website, obliviously, which hurt its "Page Rank". <G>
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource -, July 23, 2007
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
The SEO tactics, and information in this book I found very illuminating, and helpful when coupled with my current development's SEO needs.

I suggest this book to anyone seeking SEO specifics, and prefers to have control versus paying an outside firm.

I'd purchased another SEO book prior to this one and found lots of general information, but no specific tactics - which is all that is required.

Simplicity is genius, and in my opinion that is what this book provides.

-n8
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5.0 out of 5 stars Solid SEO foundations with solid PHP examples, September 17, 2007
This review is from: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO (Paperback)
Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP by Jaimie Sirovich and Christian Darie is a very thorough resource and tutorial on how to optimize your website for search engines, using PHP as your programming language of choice. If you are a Search Engine Marketer, there probably isn't much new information in here for you. However, if you are an experienced PHP programmer wondering how your work on the back-end affects the front-end aspect of things, and how you can be more conscious as a developer, then this is a book for you. If you are just beginning your journey with PHP, this book is a must-read.

Search engine optimization is an ever changing field, but understanding some of the core principles will help you build a solid foundation that will allow you to grow or scale with the industry. That is exactly what this book sets out to achieve: Give you a solid foundation as you optimize your website for search engines.

Without repeating the same information you can find from the back of the book or the introduction, I am going to briefly touch on some of the topics that were discussed in the book.

Contents:
This book covers a broad range of topics, and does so in great detail and with excellent code examples. The book starts off with the basics of both PHP and search engine optimization. They give a quick SEO primer, including some extra resources for homework. The PHP examples start with creating basic functions, then progress into creating useful objects that are reusable and portable as you develop your sites. The PHP code is very well structured and organized, something I was pleasantly surprised to see.

Creating a site that is friendly to search engines means understanding how a search engines finds your content, makes sense of your content, and indexes your content. The first exercise begins by creating search engine friendly URL's using Apache and mod_rewrite. This allows you to create more lean and meaningful URL's.

From there they move to understanding some of the basic HTTP status codes and how they affect the robot's indexing of your website. Here you will learn how to properly redirect your pages if necessary, and how to properly flag a page as an error. All of this focuses on having one point of entry for your pages, giving you a clean index to deal with.

Duplicate content is something that is often times overlooked or ignored. This chapter discusses the details necessary to avoid duplicate content, and how to use robots.txt to block the robots from pages that could potentially look to be duplicates, such as archives.

The next few chapters discuss things such as SE-Friendly HTML and Javascript, Web feeds and social bookmarking, Black Hat SEO, and Sitemaps. All of these things play an important role in making your content accessible to search engine robots (spiders), as well as humans. It discusses such things as sharing your content, streamlining the sharing process through social networking sites, using your web site's feed to its full potential, and creating a full blown sitemap specifically for search engines. Black Hat SEO is thrown into the mix of these chapters as well as a guide of what is considered Black Hat, why it is considered Black Hat, and how you can avoid many of the common pitfalls. It is important to play by the rules, or else you could find yourself out of the game. All of these play into creating quality content that is accessible to all in an array of different formats.

Before we view some of the case studies, we look at link bait, cloaking, geo-targeting, and IP delivery, and dealing with SEO and foreign languages. These chapters seemed to cover the most controversial topics related to SEO, and the authors take a solid stance on their process and cite solid reasoning for their specific stance. Much is discussed here, more than could be elaborated in a review.

The last few chapters discussed dealing with technical issues, an e-commerce case study, working with existing websites and fixing them for SEO, and how to create a SE-Frienly blog with Wordpress. All of these chapters put SEO into action and show by tutorials and examples of how to create a SE-Friendly website. They touch on the important topic of working with a legacy system and how to migrate or make changes to enhance SEO. Wordpress, being a common platform for blogging, is briefly examined and extra resources are given to help you expand your Wordpress blog. These chapters wrap things up nicely. The foundation is set in the previous chapters, and the building blocks we create in the previous chapters are used in real-world examples.

Conclusion:
Any qualms with this book are few and far between, and are mostly minor details when looking at the big picture. Jaimie and Cristian have done an excellent job of bridging the gap of search engine optimization and PHP. Good search engine optimization is comprised of many different fields and practices: copywriting, writing excellent headlines, understanding the medium of the web and HTML, and the programming that often times glues all of these things together. As a PHP programmer, this will help you make that glue stronger and more cohesive. Though this book is aimed at PHP developers, the principles explained in this book could be carried over to any other programming language of choice.

NOTE: It is important to note that, since the printing of this book, the major search engines now support the sitemap.xml format. Not all support the full extent, but it is becoming more standardized. This just goes to show how rapidly things change.
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Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO
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