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Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content 1st Edition
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About the Author
James Mathewson has followed the Web since 1994, first as a contributing editor specializing in Web publishing and search for ComputerUser magazine, and later as the editor in chief of the magazine and its Web site. As the ComputerUser.com editor, he published more than 1000 articles, mostly related to Web technologies. He has also published in several other magazines and periodicals, including IBM Systems magazine.
Frank Donatone is an Internet professional with over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry. His experience includes people management, project management, Web site design, usability, accessibility, search engine marketing with a SEMPO certification in advanced SEO, and social media optimization. Using his previous experience in addition to customer satisfaction survey analysis he provides tactical and strategic recommendations to IBM for Web site improvement. His position as a IBM Worldwide Web Effectiveness Lead has a strong focus on SEO and social media to improve IBM’s ranking on the Web for key terms, managing the brand’s reputation, identifying sales opportunities, and improving share of voice. Frank has also co-developed and taught several search engine optimization courses at IBM with his coauthors. Recently, he has participated in the design and presentation of education related to using social media for sales inclusive of Twitter, LinkedIn, and event promotion. In addition to his Web Effectiveness role Frank also serves as a social media lead for ibm.com.
Cynthia Fishel is a Senior Interactive Marketing and Brand Specialist with over 24 years of global agency and corporate Fortune 500 experience in the IT Industry. She has a proven track record of building teams that build successful Web sites. She was among the original team that launched ibm.com back in the early 90s and has continued to work on IBM’s Web site for the past 15 years. She produced the ibm.com interactive and visual design standards in support of all ibm.com worldwide Web development for consistent customer experiences across IBM Web sites. She drove IBM’s strategy for Web collaboration and developed the first Collaborative Branding Standards for co-marketed and co-branded Web sites.
Top customer reviews
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The description and reviews on Amazon promised a book that would help write better targeted web content. In this matter, I was a bit disappointed. The book is more SEO-focused than writing-focused. However, the basic principles it lays out can help build a solid foundation for better content.
Be warned: the book assumes some knowkedge of web design. I didn't know what a wireframe was at the time of reading and I had trouble following the no-doubt useful chapter about site architecture optimization.
The first two chapters are mostly theoretical and deal with the difference between web and print content. They define what the authors mean by "relevance" and set up relevance as the major factor in planning and writing web content.
The authors go through all the steps for determining and optimizing relevance: keyword research, audience engagement, optimized site architecture, link building, social media and measuring results.
As you can see, these chapters discuss what happens around writing web content, not writing itself. Maybe my expectations were wrong, however. But even taking the book's content itself, I wish the authors had delved a bit deeper in the how-to of things, especially about using search and web analytics tools.
As an introduction to web content planning and management, this book does a great job. However, don't look for tutorials or more pratical strategies; they are woefully missing.
I certainly learned quite a bit about search engine optimization from this book. Unfortunately, it was not exactly what I was looking for and I found myself frustrated with the book's content. Despite this problem, I will certainly keep it close in my electronic bookshelf for later reference, when I actually start building web content strategies for clients.
The authors give an excellent overview of how writing for the web is different than writing for print. The main point they make is that to be successful on the web, you need to write for search engines, especially Google. You need to use the right keywords to help the right people find your site. And you need to focus on linking strategies that ensure your audience can find you from other places, and that sites like Google consider your site important.
I have attended search engine optimization educational sessions run by the authors, so when I started my blog, I actually tried to implement some of their ideas. Through the book, I learned a great deal more about how to analyze keywords that my audience uses and where to include them within my pages. I also learned about how Google's PageRank works. And I got a lot out of the chapter on Capturing Social Media Opportunities, which includes a section on specific ways to optimize your blog for search.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is responsible for web writing. Most of the examples are from IBM, and it's more focused on websites rather than blogs. But I also found a lot that I can apply to my blog. So if you're looking for ways to improve your blog visitors' experience and increase your ranking on Google, check it out! And if your other job involves writing for a website, as mine does, I'm sure you'll find a great deal of valuable information as well.
More than a guide to effective web writing, this book illuminates the facets of creating relevant web content, using search and social media. You'll be introduced to the search-first write methodology, for defining your audience and strategic tactics that are woven into an integrated approach. And, you'll take away knowledge of sustainable practices for responding to and engaging with diverse audiences.
As the authors point out, the web is a writers medium. I liken this book to having a personal trainer for writers, to step you through the exercises that will fine tune your skills and advance your expertise for delivering relevant and targeted web content.