Building Findable Websites: Web Standards, SEO, and Beyond Paperback – Feb 13 2008
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From the Back Cover
This is not another SEO book written for marketing professionals. Between these covers you'll find practical advice and examples for people who build websites aiming to reach their target audience. Each chapter will introduce you to best practices and fresh perspectives on how to accomplish these simple, yet indispensable goals:
- Help more people find your site
- Help users find content within your site
- Encourage return visits
Although this book illuminates a broad range of findability strategies, one common theme pervades:
Web standards + compelling content = improved findability = more successful sites
You'll find even more findability guidance on the book's companion website (http://buildingfindablewebsites.com) including 5 bonus chapters.
About the Author
Aarron Walter is a faculty member in the Interactive Media Design department at The Art Institute of Atlanta, teaching courses on a variety of topics including Findability, Dynamic Web Applications, and User-Centered Interface Design. When not teaching, Aarron also runs a one man design/development consultancy in Athens, GA, and writes articles for online publications such as SitePoint.com and DMXZone.com. He blogs, builds and shares things at http://aarronwalter.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is an interesting blend of high-level strategy and low-level techie tools and techniques. The mostly likely audience is actually webmasters more than web designers or marketers, although all would benefit from it. The most valuable part for me was the review of the many management tools, most of them free, available for studying your web site.
The web standards part doesn't really get a lot of attention in this book. No one today is going to seriously argue against following web standards. The advice in this book is limited to "use HTML elements for what they were designed for," with a promise that that will improve your search rankings. For example, it recommends using the various header levels to structure your document instead of just using boldface and bigger type, and it recommends using tables only for tabular date and using CSS for precise placement of a mosaic of elements.
What strikes me most about this book is that literally every page has website resources or bits of code. The second most striking this is the author does not fill page after page of why to do something. The whys are kept to the point and jump right into the hows. This book is not filled with dozens of interviews or inspirational stories though it does have real world examples which the author provides links to so the reader can get more detail. I really liked the example of BMW Germany getting blacklisted from Google for blackhat SEO tactics.
The author also has a great companion website to the book which includes 5 bonus chapters, the table of contents for the book, website tools and code used in the book. Since Amazon doesn't have a 'Search Inside' on this book, you can read the bonus chapters to get a feel for the book and the author. Also be sure and check out his blog at [...] where you can see samples of his work and a list of books he uses as references two of which I've decided to get as well.
After reading this book, I appreciate the difference between findability versus SEO. This book focuses on best practices and web standards of which SEO is only a part of.
Is your website still wrangling a table based layout with messy unreadable code? Before spending thousands on SEO enhancements, read this book. See what the buzz of Web Standards is about(if you have not already) and go from there; you will not be disappointed.
That's the "building" part of the title. The author also covers basic and advanced SEO strategies that don't require knowledge of any kind of programming language. That's the "SEO" part of the title. The last bit is the "beyond" and covers a lot about driving and maintaining traffic to your site. I didn't pick up this book for that reason, but I read most of these sections anyway and I'm glad I did because I learned a lot more than I thought I would.
If you're a developer of any kind working on web sites, or are a project manager dealing with clients, this book will help you sound smart and have some ammo to back it up. I'm already under water with a project that is implementing a ton of these tips - I'm curious to see how much the traffic increases.
Additionally, he discusses the importance of blogging and adding local search to one's Web site(s). Blogging is clearly important to SEO due to the consistent blog posts as well as the linking strategy (to and from the Web site) that complements any blog.
Mr. Walter provides numerous illustrations throughout the text and explains them thoroughly. He is clearly an exceptional teacher, very practical in both his design and his prose; It's probably fair to guess that his teaching style matches his writing style.
This is an enjoyable and enlightened book for both Web designers and Web marketers. I highly recommend 'Building Findable Websites.'