March 11, 2012
SEO for Dummies – of Downloads, PDF Copies, and SEO for Beginners
Dummies! I love Dummies. The famous Dummies books came of age with the computer revolution – and, of course, there is an SEO for Dummies series, with one book by Peter Kent and another by Bruce Clay and a trove of authors. I have read both books, and actually refer many of my students to them as reference materials. I especially prefer Peter Kent’s, SEO for Dummies… But that book is aging, and needs an update.
But what is dummy? Are you a dummy? It’s an interesting topic to think of what ‘dummies’ means in the area of Search Engine Optimization
SEO for Dummies – Are you a Dummy?
According to the Free Dictionary, a dummy is –
An imitation of a real or original object, intended to be used as a practical substitute.
a. A mannequin used in displaying clothes.
b. A figure of a person or an animal manipulated by a ventriloquist.
c. A stuffed or pasteboard figure used as a target.
d. Football A heavy stuffed cylindrical bag used for blocking and tackling practice.
3. A stupid person; a dolt.
4. A silent or taciturn person.
5. A person or an agency secretly in the service of another.
Consider those definitions and how they relate to the field of search engine optimization. The Dummies series is making fun of the idea that you are a ‘stupid person’ or ‘dolt,’ and turning this on its head – it attempts to explain the concepts of SEO in plain and simple English, terms that everyone (even you) can understand. For this reason, I love ‘Dummies!’ The series at least ‘gets it’ – rather than trying to make SEO diffiult to understand, it tries to make it simple. Compare this with most of the SEO industry, an industry plagued by know-it-all’s and smarty-pants who try to make everyone feel stupid and themselves feel smart. If you have an ‘SEO expert,’ ask yourself is he or she EMPOWERING you to understand the process of SEO, or INTIMIDATING you to feel stupid? If it’s the latter, then you are truly a dummy if you continue to work with such an SEO.
The second definition that’s quite interesting for an SEO dummy is a person or an agency secretly in the service of another. That’s an interesting twist as well. If your SEO is manipulating you into pay zillions of dollars per month for very little… well then you are in service to him and not vice-versa. So you would be a double SEO dummy in that sense.
SEO for Beginners
SEO for Dummies as a concept also gets to the idea of SEO for beginners. Begin at the beginning, I always say. This is another point of contention in how I teach SEO and how most of the SEO community teaches SEO. I find that most companies, most individuals, are actually at the basic level. They often don’t understand even the most basic of SEO principles – such as identifying your target keywords, and placing your target keywords in a short TITLE tag, especially your home page TITLE tag. If I say this at an SEO conference, I get scoffed at as an SEO dummy- that is so basic, Jason, so obvious! Yes it is… but SEO for beginners means starting at the beginning, at the basics. And if your client is failing to put their keywords in their TITLE tags, then just hang up the rest of the SEO project. It won’t work. Basics matter!
Secondly, the other concept of SEO for Dummies or SEO basics that is so critically important is that basics matter a lot, lot more than esoterica. SEO is a lot like the dieting or physical fitness industry. There are so many arcane diets these days… but what really works? Eat less. Exercise more. That’s the basics. Not rocket science – easy to understand, difficult to implement. For SEO, it means as follows –
- Know your keywords.
- Place your keywords in the right tags, beginning with the all-powerful TITLE tag.
- Get inbound links.
Those simple things bring SEO results. Not just for dummies but for anyone ‘smart’ enough to implement the basics. Advanced tactics like XML sitemaps are great but if you foul up the basics, you won’t succeed.
SEO for Dummies – Downloads and PDFs
Many of you reading this post, may be looking for the SEO for Dummies books or the PDF downloads of the books. Here’s my list of the Top Ten Best SEO Books Ever on Amazon including my 2012 SEO Fitness Workbook. For PDF downloads, don’t miss the Google SEO guide in PDF format.
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