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Welcome to the Magic Circle
on 21 June 2008
Search Engine Optimisation has acquired a status which might be regarded similar to that of the magic circle:
It's secretive - only those in the circle really know the tricks
There's an element of magic - SEOs do things we don't understand
It's competitive - we all want to get to the top
It's closed - those within the circle do not disclose all the tricks
They even categorise their tricks as good and bad with the terms "white hat" and "black hat"
Well, in this excellent new book David Viney has let us all into the circle, and what we learn is that it's not magic!
However, I should like to follow that statement by immediately saying that it is plainly not easy either. Also, by the very nature of the fierce competition for the top spots, it will always be competitive, and you will always have to work at it.
What this particular magician sets out for us all here is a structure and a method which we might follow to improve our own success.
The author uses the analogy of cookery; there are ingredients, recipes to follow - and I would add, a great deal of time needed to be spent in the kitchen!!
You will be surprised to learn the breadth of things that you will need to do to be in with a competitive chance. The book covers the many factors that contribute to your ultimate success. I was surprised at just how many areas contribute to a site becoming successful, in 240 pages David Viney covers a lot of ground.
The title is so clever; Step 1 in David's plan focuses on finding the "phrases that pay", and sure enough, the title of his book is of course just one such example - nicely wraps-up in a phrase what the book is all about AND is what we are all searching for!
As other reviewers have written here, the book strikes an excellent balance in readability, suitable for reading and use by other professional SEOs and equally works very well for the novice.
The seven step procedure does categorise the areas of focus well, and does give a guide to chronology, but it's not his intention that you should remain in a step until you have done everything you possibly can, more that you need to do a wide number of things, and that over the longer period you will need to track back and forth through the steps and re-visit activities.
The book does a great job of illustrating the size of the market, the strength and importance of Google in that market, and the potential prizes available to the top of page one winners.
"Having your site in the top 10 is like having your store right on Main Street or near the entrance of the largest shopping mall in human history. Being outside the top 20 is like having a corner store on the very outskirts of town."
You should buy and read this book before building your website, probably even before naming you business. The tips within it on subjects such as targetting a niche, phrases that pay, finding and targeting keywords, domain names, hosting locations, etc. are all key considerations in the choices you should make in the very early days.
But there's no need to worry if you are already well into the life of your business and your website, there is plenty within this book for all to heed and follow.
I would strongly recommend the book to anybody interested in getting their website "to the top on Google", you will learn a great deal, and will be able to take action based upon the guidance within the book.
However, go into this exercise with the awareness that it is a long game. You may read the book in just a few hours, but you will need to work persistently at your website's optimisation continuously to reach the top and stay there .........The prizes are Great. It is fiercely competitive. The web is continuously evolving. Your competitors will read this book too.
This is probably the best book on this subject that you can buy.
Take the first step, buy and read the book.
Then keep it next to your computer, keep dipping into it, follow its recommendations.
Then, be prepared to buy an updated version or follow-up next year, with more and new recommendations for you to implement!