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Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP
April 16, 2007
Week: 48 All time: 94
manuellemos.netIf you have content sites and want to make money, or you have some other motivation to want your sites to become as popular as possible, you must not ignore the importance of global search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.
Actually, Google is much more important than the others because it is by far the search engine site preferred by the majority of the Internet users worldwide.
Many users start looking for what they want from the Internet using search engines sites. If you have a content site, usually more than 50% of your visitors come to your site after having searched for something on Google.
If you were not aware of that, try using a web server log analyzer tool, or a site audience analyzer service like Google Analytics, so you can determine how many visitors Google leads to your site every day.
However, having your site pages listed in Google is not enough. When the users search for something, pages from other sites may appear before yours. Users tend to click on pages that appear first in search results pages.
Therefore, it is obvious that the more pages you have appearing first in Google search results pages, more visitors you will get.
But how Google decides which pages appear first? What can be done to make your site pages appear before other sites' pages? Those are questions answered by a relatively new Internet science named Search Engine Optimization, or in short SEO.
This is a topic about which there is a lot to say, starting from the Google page rank algorithm, and what to do, as well what you should not do, to have your sites optimized to attract as many visitors as possible using search engine sites.
That is precisely the main topic of the book "Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP". Despite the title mentions PHP, most of the knowledge presented in this book applies to all kinds of sites, independently if they are served by PHP code or not.
The extension of the topics covered in this book is great. It would be hard to detail in a short review all that is covered by the book. I tried to focus on the most important aspects.
The book has 16 chapters. It starts with brief chapter that explains the importance of having SEO in mind in all stages of development of a site, starting from its conception.
Then it follows with a chapter that introduces all the basic concepts about SEO, like Google page rank algorithm and what factors may influence it, penalties that your site may get for not having things done appropriately, and tools that may assist in your SEO efforts.
The remaining chapters focus on more technical details of the SEO activity, like the importance of the format of your site page URLs, problems caused by duplicated content, using RSS feeds and social bookmarking sites to increase the exposure of your site, using sitemaps to make search engines aware of all your site content, increasing the relevance of your site pages by making links to those pages appear in other sites, considerations about non-English sites or sites of interest for users of specific regions, etc...
The parts that really focus on PHP are the ones that provide examples of dynamic sites generated with PHP. For instance, there is one specific chapter that focus on optimizing Wordpress based sites.
Other than that, there is a particular chapter in this book that I would like to bring your attention. Wherever there is somebody providing a benefit, there will always be somebody abusing it.
In the case of search engines, there are certain practices used by some people to gain elicit relevance in search engine results. These practices are known as black hat SEO practices.
This book has a specific chapter dedicated to black hat SEO practices. It explains what are those practices, why their bad, and what search engine companies do to fight them. It also talks about the legendary Matt Cutts, a distinct employer of Google that leads the company initiatives to what is known as search engine ethics.
Basically, the search engine ethics initiatives are intended to keep out of Google search results the pages of spammer sites that employ black hat SEO practices. The goal is to promote only the sites that provide good content.
If you get your hands on this book, I strongly recommend that you give special attention to the chapter about black hat SEO.
Overall, this is an excellent book search engine optimization - SEO. It is very complete.
Readers that are not aware about this new kind of Internet science, can greatly benefit from the insight that this book provides. After reading the book you can start adopting more efficient practices to attract much more visitors to your sites by making good use of the potential of search engine sites like Google.
Whether or not you are familiar with the subject, if you are looking for good a book to learn all you need to know about SEO, this may be an excellent choice.
yyztech.ca/articles...A while ago while reading another book on website design I came across the point that search engine optimization had to be considered not as an afterthought, but as a critical part of designing a website.
"Search Engine Optimization with PHP" builds on this idea by covering not only how to retro-fit a site designed without SEO (Search Engine Optimization) principals, but how to avoid a whole host of other problems many designers might not be aware of.
The point about making SEO part of the design process is made over and over in this book, which focuses on SEO from many angles beyond coding. For those not creating database-driven extravaganzas, there is plenty of knowledge in this book that can be used, even without any PHP coding.
If there is a weak point, this is probably it - mod_rewrite can be complicated, so perhaps more attention could have been given here.
The PHP part comes in through-out the book, from building feeds as well as automating various processes that could be done by hand, but are simply impractical on larger sites, as well as useful for updating existing sites where the needs to be "translation" between the old non-SEO site to the new SEO-friendly site.
Along the way there is a lot of fundamental things covered, familiar to the long-time developer, but from a SEO angle- Take chapter four on HTTP headers, while most web developers know that 404 pages look bad, the chapter points out how not handling them correctly could result in a lot of duplicate-content pages, which can really hurt your ranking.
In particular, I would suggest the Black Hat chapter as mandatory reading for both programmers and designers. This was an eye-opener to me as it covers a lot of issues, such as how spam posting can harm your ranking (and ways of avoiding this) as well as injection attacks having more than security implications - they can also be used to harm your rankings, again through spamming.
This chapter is particularly interesting as it covers a lot of ways things could be done that I had never considered - it is probably the first book to cover a lot of this material here.
Later chapters include: the basics of building a SEO-friendly e-commerce website (chapter 14), a good checklist of things that can be done right-away to existing sites, and more that can be done with a site re-design.
Finally, in chapter 16 they cover modifying WordPress to make it more search-engine friendly, as well as improvements like added social bookmarking features.
The book ends with a good introduction to regular expressions- important for taking full advantage of mod_rewrite among other software.
While the title may include "with PHP", this book has a lot to offer those not using PHP or a web language at all. I would recommend this book to web developers, even if you do not happen to program PHP - there is a lot of material here that is just good stuff to know when developing a site. Recommended.
2. Book Review: Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP (2007-06-13 08:19)
1. Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP (2007-06-13 18:36)