Search Engine Visibility (2nd Edition)
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95 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2003
I read this book over the weekend and my advice to you all SEOer, pass your way ... you won't learn anything new.
I'm sorry :) if I was not supposed to read this book, but this is clearly material aimed at beginners to website development and to search engine promotion.
Moreover the 5 chapters that compose this book (sold for 300 pages) span over 225 pages with a third-of-the-page right margin ... this book could be half its size.The rest is forewords, introduction, link list, glossary, index and a free chapter of another book "Speed up your web site" (nothing-new-here-also).
The five chapters are :
- Before you build (36 pages)
- How to build better web pages (72p)
- Page design workarounds (47p)
- After your site is built (47p)
- Best practices : the Dos and Don'ts of Search Engine Marketing (17p)
I only give two stars now because nowhere is this book clearly advertised as a book for beginners.
The back-cover tells : "This book teaches developers, designers, programmers, and online marketers what pitfalls to avoid from the beginning so they can provide their clients with more effective site designs" ... I find it hard to believe that we can still find developers and designers... that don't know those basic facts about website building.
But give me that book 5 years ago and I would have loved it :)
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2004
Only half of the book talks about how to work with search engines. The rest of the book is filled with quick and dirty type of discussions about web usability -- you can get a better usability book than this.

If you are a technical person, forget about buying this book; you can find better information off the Web (or better still, you already know what she has to say!) If you are a non-technical person, I'd recommend you to do some research on the Web and spend your hard earned money somewhere else.

The book is now pilled up with my old magazines in my bathroom for occasional quick reading.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2003
This book puts search engine optimization in perspective. If you've been looking at the web sites of search engine optimization firms and not been able to figure out what it is they do, this book will clue you in as to what you should expect to hear from a reputable company. It may also be an eye opener if you think attaining top rankings in the main search results on engines like Google is as simple as breaking out the checkbook and paying some company to "do optimization" without making any changes to your website (though there are some companies that can pull this off for surprisingly long periods of time).
Search Engine Visibility is the first book I've ever seen that acknowledges search engine optimization does not exist in a vacuum separate from the business or philanthropic goals of a website. Search engine optimization should be an integral part of the planning and design stages of any website. It's refreshing to see a publication that emphasizes this.
This book will help you understand what you can do to increase search engine referrals and further your business goals without spamming the engines. [Though if you take everything in this book literally you may be scared that if you put a few words in your meta tags that don't appear in the copy of your page Google will ban your site - that's just not going to happen, but you do put your site at risk if you resort to some of the other Spam tactics mentioned in the book]
You'll learn best practices in:
* Keyword research and selection
* Site design and layout
* Designing search engine friendly navigation systems
* Crafting keyword (and user!) focused copy on your pages
* Improving visibility for search engine "challenged" sites
* Preparing for and doing directory submissions
The section on dealing with directories and directory editors is probably the best write up of the directory planning, submission, and listing process I've ever seen. [This comes from one who has been one of those editors since 99'] It gives you very realistic expectations with respect to getting your site listed in the major web directories. Follow the included guidelines and checklists and you can't go wrong. Chances are, however, it will take a fairly long time for your site to get reviewed and listed unless you expressly pay for an express review.
You won't find the minute technical details of how each engine works in this book and you don't need them. All engines look at the link text and visible copy on your site as well as some combination of title, description, keyword, alt, and header tags. Focus on the basics and you'll do just fine. Keep your eye on your customers; a search engine spider will never buy anything from you.
To round out your search engine optimization/marketing library be sure to pick up a copy of "NetWords", "Persuasive Online Copywriting", and a good book on style sheets (CSS) such as "Designing CSS Web Pages" By Christopher Schmitt or "Eric Meyer on CSS"
For more up to the minute info on search engine promotion pay a visit to the WebmasterWorld forums.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2003
I agree with the guy who said that the book is mostly her opinion on what makes good designs.
There is very little actual SEO information and what can be found is very basic in nature. You can find much more information from free websites.
There is also an excessive amount of fluff. For instance she spends an entire page explaining what a URL is. Maybe she thought her target audience was the Internet ignorant.
She also contradicts herself sometimes. For instance she uses the example of a site called "TranquiliTeas" and says that it would be unethical to separate the run-on just to increase keyword density because that is not the true site name. One inch down on the page she then advocates leaving off ".Inc" for this exactly purpose. (actually she claims that its because people don't search for "Inc." but of course people don't search for "TranquiliTeas" either). In any case you're doing the same thing, changing the actual company name to increase relevance. Depending on which part of the page you're reading its either spam or good practice.
Of course if you want my opinion the correct advice would be to plan for promotion before you form your business, and so when naming your business include a space between your keywords. So in other words, don't name your site "CarParts" name it "Car Parts." Problem solved.
My recommendation? Don't buy it, but if you must have it find it at a library (if possible). It'll only take a day or so to get the few bits of useful info out of the book.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
After having read the book "Search Engine Optimization" back in 2002, I hadn't run into anything as useful and concise to help with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization, in case you're wondering) functions. The beauty of the book by this long time consolidated Web Marketer is that it is general while still being extremely useful. True, it doesn't focus on Google, but I think that is precisely its biggest strength, because there's life beyond Google.
As much as we'd like to think that Google is the ultimate Search Engine for which you need to optimize, the truth is that there are several others, any of which, if you do your homework, following the advice from this book, you will get the traffic you deserve... specially, considering the shakedown that the Search Engine industry will be submitted to during 2004 and 2005, as Yahoo! dumps Google and Microsoft strikes back with a propietary search solution.
All in all, I appreciated the information by Ms. Thurow and the structure it was given. It is one of the two best books out there on the topic.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2004
This book teaches some web site design, some usability, and some basic SEO. Author thinks that SEO is not about getting top rankings. So, how can you expect her to teach you SEO? Do not waste your time and money if you know some basic SEO which you can find free on the internet.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2003
Shari Thurow offers practical tips for effective and "safe" search engine optimization. She reveals the design techniques that attract search engine spiders without compromising Web site aesthetics (yea!). She also provides examples and resources to help business owners create a search engine marketing strategy, and to help Web designers implement it.
I appreciated the detailed recommendations - such as the character length of meta data and how to use the "robots.txt" file. Thurow's design experience shines through her suggestions too; for example, what font/typeface and hyperlink colors best appeal to Web site customers.
Even if readers are looking to outsource their search engine optimization efforts, this book will educate them on the techniques that professional firms should use.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2009
I read Thurow's original 2003 edition way back when, and that is what I am commenting on now. The earlier version was the absolute best approach to take at the time when I was brand new to SEO and website design in general. It was very helpful, easy to read and non-technical. While I do not do SEO professionally, after applying the info in the book, the sites I maintain are ranked on page 1 for their keywords/phrases and get a lot of relevant traffic.

If you have a small business, then you will quickly realize that you don't need to hire an expensive SEO expert, because you can do this yourself. If you have a large company or are in IT, etc., and you need to hire someone, then you will have a pretty good idea of what kinds of firms/persons to avoid, and promises to be wary of.

Some of the suggestions in the earlier version are dated now, but hopefully these have been edited out of this edition.

I read some of the other reviews that were complaints. I doubt the following: 1) those people realized that it was a book for beginners before starting, and 2) that they actually read the ENTIRE book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Shari has written what I would consider the definitive "textbook" for search engine optimization and marketing. Shari demonstrates her vast knowledge and experience in the field of search optimization and marketing and lays out all of the basics in a simple and easy to understand format.

While this book is geared more toward those who are at the beginner SEO level, the information provides a good refresher to anybody who has been performing SEO on an intermediate to advanced scale.

Visibility covers everything you need to know before, during and after you build your site, how to ensure it is search engine friendly, what pitfalls to avoid as well as common-sense techniques that will give you an edge over your competitors.

To ease you through the learning process, Shari has provided substantial visible examples to ensure you aren't left trying to image what she's describing-it's there for you to see! While she utilizes the techno-terms that are common within the industry, Share takes time to explain the terminology as you read (where appropriate) and has also provided a glossary of terms as well.

I felt she spent quite a bit time talking about directory submissions throughout the book, however Shari does not waste her words on this important aspect of search visibility.

I encourage any website owner that is either performing SEO duties in-house or is sub-contracting SEO out to another firm to pick up this book. Visibility will provide you with the information you need to ensure that your SEO work is being performed properly and effectively, regardless of who is doing it. The information you'll receive far outweighs the cost of the investment.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2005
I have a feeling in its day this was an amazing book... it's not to say you won't pick up a new tip or learn something, but since the book came out in January 2003, so to say a few things have changed in the world of search engines is being generous... it's an easy read, well written and still has a place on your book shelf... you won't be disappointed, but you'll notice a dated feel as you get into it... the book at times is like a walk down memory lane... you'll read references to the once great internet players... hotbot, alta vista and lycos... there are also plenty of references to a possible up and coming search engine called Google... it's worth reading, but it is a bit out dated
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