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Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP: A Developer's Guide to SEO [Kindle Edition]

Jaimie Sirovich

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Product Description

Product Description

Maybe you're a great programmer or IT professional, but marketing isn't your thing. Or perhaps you're a tech-savvy search engine marketer who wants a peek under the hood of a search engine optimized web site. Search engine marketing is a field where technology and marketing are both critical and interdependent, because small changes in the implementation of a web site can make you or break you in search engine rankings. Furthermore, the fusion of technology and marketing know-how can create web site features that attract more visitors. The mission of this book is to help web developers create web sites that rank well with the major search engines, and to teach search engine marketers how to use technology to their advantage. We assert that neither marketing nor IT can exist in a vacuum, and it is essential that they not see themselves as opposing forces in an organization. They must work together. This book aims to educate both sides in that regard.

From the Back Cover

Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not only the job of the marketing department. It must be considered from a web site's inception and throughout its lifetime by you, the web site developer. Making changes to the architecture of a web site and modifying presentation techniques can dramatically increase search engine rankings and traffic levels.

Written for the PHP developer or tech-savvy marketer, this unique reference provides techniques for creating and maintaining web sites optimized for search engines. You'll discover how to facilitate the indexing of your site, as well as how to leverage specific technologies and services for site promotion. You will understand the role of web site architecture in search engine optimization and explore various topics therein. Knowing this will help you to develop a site that achieves great search engine rankings. Finally, you'll apply this knowledge by creating a sample e-commerce catalog and an optimized WordPress blog.

What you will learn from this book

  • Understand the criteria that influence search engine rankings
  • Create keyword-rich URLs using PHP, Apache, and mod_rewrite

  • Use HTTP Headers to properly indicate the status of web documents

  • Create optimized content and cope with duplicate content effectively

  • Avoid being the victim of black hat SEO techniques

  • Understand and implement geo-targeting and cloaking

  • Use site maps effectively—for users as well as search engines

  • Create a search engine–friendly WordPress blog

  • Build a search engine–friendly e-commerce catalog

Who this book is for

This book is for PHP developers who need to incorporate search engine optimization principles into their web applications, as well as marketers who want to gain a better understanding of the technologies involved in search engine marketing.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5872 KB
  • Print Length: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (May 18 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001C34Q1S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Programming an SEO site April 20 2007
By Diane Cipollo - Published on
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. [...]
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
By Carsten Cumbrowski - Published on
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid PHP How-To May 11 2007
By Nathan Smith - Published on
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for programmers learning SEO Aug. 22 2007
By Mark Stoecker - Published on
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.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete disappointment - nothing professional here March 5 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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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