The Art of SEO Voted Best SEO Book of 2009

I’d like to send a personal shout-out to Lee Odden for running the best SEO book survey on his Online Marketing Blog. We certainly don’t mind coming home first as the Best SEO Book in 2009 in the minds of his awesome readers, especially when compared against the rockstar list of books under consideration.

And while we’re here, I would also like to thank Chris Sherman for his great review of the book on SearchEngineLand’s Best SEO Books of 2009 list.

In both lists The Art of SEO is compared alongside a solid lineup of SEO books by very accomplished experts in the field, many of whom are friends. It’s an honor to have our The Art of SEO included alongside these other great SEO books.

The Art of SEO is written by Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting, Stephan Spencer of Netconcepts, Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz, and Jessie Stricchiola of San Francisco SEO company Alchemist Media.

The Art of SEO Book is Now Available!

At long last our The Art of SEO book is available on Amazon. It has been quite a fun, illuminating, and rewarding experience to create this elaborate work. It truly has been an honor to have been given the opportunity, by O’Reilly, to produce such an extensive volume.

I speak for my co-authors when I say that we all, truly, hope you find the book as information and resource-filled as we do.

Once you have your copy in your hands, we would love to hear your feedback – please visit the Art of SEO Book website to submit your comments.


Old School SEO: Whatever Happened to Proximity?

While having a conversation today with a dear first gen SEO friend, the discussion made its way to the topic of SEO today vs. the SEO of years ago. Specifically – we discussed how it seems much of the focus has drifted away from some truly fundamental aspects of optimization, particularly with regard to on-page characteristics.

For example, while links are, without a doubt, essential to the success of any SEO efforts at this point, the on-page content has become way too devalued in some circles. As a very specific example, the concept of “proximity” – the closeness, or “lack of distance” on a given web page between the words that comprise a keyword phrase of two words or more – has all but vanished from the discussion of SEO. It’s not too tough to see what’s getting a page ranked for “cheap tickets” when it appears in the top 10 in Google, but the words “cheap” and “tickets” can’t be found anywhere near each other on the page. Call the bomb squad!

While keyword-rich anchor text in external links is obviously an effective standalone short-term SEO tactic (and a lot of fun for “miserable failure” and “greatest living american”), it certainly does not build the foundation for solid, long-lasting results when the on-page content doesn’t take proximity – and a myriad of other factors – into account.

We rock Connies.

Matt Cutts On The Hot Seat

About Matt Cutts

A personal interview of Google’s Matt Cutts from PubCon 2007 in Las Vegas. Instead of the usual shadow boxing — asking tricky SEO questions hoping Matt will slip up and offer some clues about the Google Secret Sauce — we decide to ask question he never hears and learn about Matt Cutts as a human being.

How does he feel about the annual NCAA conflict: Red State v. Blue State?

What it’s like to be the official taste tester for Ham versus Spam in the Google index?

Hanging with the enemy, does Spam become personal?

Wonder what life’s like after the Google IPO?

What motivates him to get out of bed every day?

Take 11 minutes and get personal with your favorite Google Spokes Model.

Google Gives Valentine’s Day Love to Spammers

Google, please stop giving Valentine’s Day love to parasitic marketers!

Here are some examples of people who are ranking their SPAM by posting it on crowd sourcing sites like or free classifieds in Topix. Try a search for Valentine Lingerie and you will find the #4 position taken by A Splog Post on and the #8 and #9 spots taken by two free classified listings from 2 different domains with essentially identical content on Topix.

It is really hard to make a coherent argument why these pages deserve to rank for Valentine Lingerie more than another costume & lingerie site. Topix and NowPublic have no incentive to fight this garbage unless the engines make them suffer for all of their content, because they get paid on the impressions.

For the “marketer” whose Splog post is on NowPublic, the 699 visits on the page to date might be worth the effort, but it definitely doesn’t mean they deserve the eye balls. NowPublic also doesn’t NoFollow links, even ones that seem to clearly be less than editorially controlled, so there may be (NOT) some PR flowing to the Spammer as well.

I am not sure if MSNBC and Foxnews deserve the love their getting from Valentine’s Lingerie more than NowPublic, but at least these articles aren’t spam, they are “news stories about fashion”.

Google, please stop ranking the SPAM. It encourages blackhats and causes blight in the index!

Parasitic Marketers dominate SERP

Search Spend Laps Display Advertising

Two studies tracking this race conclude that search marketing is lapping the alternatives.

Despite all the hype about display advertising and the block buster ad network deals of 2007, search continues to be the high performance engine that is driving online marketing spend. According to GroupM, search will make up 65-70% of the measured online advertising in 2008, up from 50% in 2005. For the mathematically challenged, that means search has gone from about even to 2 times the display spend. It also means most of the revenue growth has been from search. Nothing But Net, a new study by JPMorgan, meanwhile, puts the global search spend in 2008 at $30.5 billion.*

GroupM goes on to note that online advertising in Sweden is expected to exceed spending on any other channel, with the UK and Denmark likely to follow suit by 2009. Given that search is only getting about 10% of the dollars going to television in the U.S., we have a long way to go to catch up with our friends in Europe (and perhaps European companies need to wake up to the superior ROI of investing in SEO instead of relying on paid search)

Another interesting note from the study is that the 2008 U.S. election cycle is expected to contribute $2 Billion in local and national television advertising. No data is available at the moment, but it seems unlikely that search is getting 10% of that pie and it is clear at the moment that few of the campaigns are spending anything for SEO.

*We rarely call out a company’s SEO issues by name, but JPMorgan needs a lot of help. We wanted to link directly to the report, since we believe in citing source material whenever possible. Despite the fact that this study has been widely quoted, it is impossible to find any links to the study on In fact, searching for study by name, JPMorgan + Nothing But Net, “JPMorgan “Nothing But Net” failed to find a press release, abstract or the study in the top 10. We went on to search for “ nothing but net” and still couldn’t find the source.

JPMorgan Executives, if you’re listening, call us. :-)

Kick Down Doors With Google Alerts

I used to spend more time than I care to think about getting through people whose job it was to make influential people people hard to reach. An amazing tool was introduced a few years ago that makes it easy to get around these roadblocks and get invited in the back door.

That amazing tool is Google Alerts, which allows each of us to get our own private alert whenever Google discovers a new page that contains a keyword or phrase we find of interest. It turns out that there is nothing I find more interesting than reading about me. It happens that many busy and accomplished people share this weakness.

Instead of beating your head against the corporate firewall, do a little social engineering. Post a blog (or even a blog comment) with someone’s name and people will read what you say about them. Does it work? Let me show you with a shout out to some of our friends. I won’t email/text/poke any of them, just to make this a valid demonstration.

Matt Cutts, Danny Sullivan, Kevin Ryan, Aaron Wall, Rand Fishkin, Gord Hotchkiss, Jeremy ShoeMoney, Doug Klein, Bill Gates and Stephen Colbert, let me start by saying hello.

I really appreciate you stopping by and I hope you are doing well. I know you are all really busy and I am really sorry that I called you under what you might consider false pretenses. Since you are here and you have responded to my honey trap…please take a minute and say hello to some of our other friends.

Thanks… and I guess I owe you a beer or something.

Worst Search Results

The recent New York Times article about Google search contained a note that Google is always on the lookout for bad search results. They acknowledged that constant minor tweaks occasionally produce results that are low quality.

We are all aware of the occasional site that ranks and appears to defy logic, but I am curious about queries where a majority of the results, or at least the top few, are particularly irrelevant. What “normal” queries do you run that gives really bad results?

Chain Letter Bombs

DazzlinDonna from has an interesting post about a new variation of the chain letter. This time, you are asked to Disaster Relief

  • Pujols Family Foundation – Children with Down Syndrome
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness – Homelessness
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research – Parkinson’s Research
  • Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program – Child Healthcare
  • Aids Research Alliance – Aids Research
  • Wildlife Conservation Society – Wildlife Protection
  • Cancer Research Institute – Cancer Research
  • Second Harvest – End Hunger
  • AARP Foundation – Helping Senior Citizens
  • On the other hand, I like how this could give candidates plausible deniability for Guerrilla SEO in politics, so here is an alternative list: