This month I wanted to cover at least one book on SEO, so here it is—Outsmarting Google. And, you can enter to win a free copy of this book simply by leaving a comment at the end of this review. Not hard at all, takes less than a minute to do.
3 Reasons To Read This Book:
- Reading the first two chapters will transform you from a novice- to an intermediate-user in knowing how to rank well in Google search results.
- You’re given specific strategies to rank at the top of Google search results.
- You’ll learn how to simultaneously rank well in Bing/Yahoo! which has a unique audience of elderly people & digital pros.
1 Reason This Book May Not Be Right For You:
- If you’ve been in SEO for quite some time you may already know the majority of what is covered in this book.
Evan Bailyn is a 30+ yr-old entrepreneur from San Francisco who wrote Outsmarting Google for purposes of clearing up many of the myths around ranking well in Google. He is white-hat SEO expert who through this book gives you the historical context and reasoning behind Google’s ranking algorithm as well as tips for ranking well. He also covers the more recent Bing search engine so that you could simultaneously rank well there also if you wish, although Bing has a much smaller audience. Evan’s experience with search engines goes back to 2004 when he started his first business that offered college counseling. Since that time he has started several other companies and used his SEO knowledge to get each of these to rank at the top of Google which has driven a large stream of customers his way.
- For further background on Evan Bailyn see this interesting article in Forbes: He Built Multi-Million Dollar Revenues By Beating Google
Who This Book Is For
I believe this book would appeal most to:
- The complete search engine novice, because the book starts from the ground up with Google’s history.
- Anyone who hasn’t yet learned about the Bing search engine algorithm.
What You’ll Gain
Beginnings of Google
You get an introductory crash course on what Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page were thinking when they first created their ranking algorithm called PageRank. PageRank is basically an algorithm that counts how many backlinks your site has—a measure of popularity of your site by others. Then you learn how this algorithm has been replaced by TrustRank, which is an algorithm that Google uses to measure how much it trusts that your site will be valuable to visitors. The reason PageRank was replaced was that it was being manipulated by people using tricks to get 1,000’s of undeserved and irrelevant backlinks to their website.
Top Areas of Focus For Website Owners or Marketers
Bailyn goes on to explain that as a website owner or marketer you really only need to focus your activities on three main areas to accomplish ranking well:
- Page title
The author covers TrustRank in more detail explaining how it works. In a nutshell, you will earn high TrustRank and Google will send you plenty of traffic if you:
- Have many inbound links
- Have never sold links
5 Factors To Keep In Mind To Get Higher TrustRank
These are five factors one should keep in mind as they work on improving their website’s ranking. You already know they three main areas discussed above, so this list simply adds two new ones to keep in mind:
- Page title
Keywords are important because these are used in all three major areas: in links, in page title, and in URL. Also, time is crucial to understand in that Google places your new website on probation for a period of time and only allows a certain % of traffic to reach it until it has matured and can be trusted as a relevant website to searchers. Here’s a rough estimate from Bailyn on the “holdback” of traffic he believes Google places on new websites:
How To Get Backlinks (a.k.a. Inbound Links)
In this section you learn valuable strategies for earning backlinks as well as cautions to take so that you don’t go into “bad neighborhoods” and wind up getting punished by Google.
The book goes on talking about these other topics that are related to driving your site’s ranking higher:
- Google Adwords and SEO
- how to track progress in building links
- a specific ranking stratgey Evan calls “The Nuclear Football”
- myths of Google’s algorithm
- black-hat vs. white-hat SEO
- optimizing for Bing search engine
The goal of the book was to give a person everything the need to know–no more and no less–to get your website to rank on the first page of Google’s search results. I know the book has delivered on its goal because I’ve used its advice to get on the first page of Google for some of the keywords I’ve been targeting, although these were lower-traffic keywords such as “best startup books”. I haven’t yet gone after some of the more popular keywords that drive higher traffic numbers. I have other activities I’m working on with this website, such as improving my email newsletter, so I will have to wait awhile to learn if the book’s advice delivers on more lucrative keywords.
The title of the book is Outsmarting Google, but I felt that this is really about understanding Google so that you know the rules and can play accordingly. The book gave me a deeper understanding of Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s thinking behind ranking websites, which allows me to predict how they might tweak their algorithm in the future. Of course, the useful strategies and tips in the book have helped me to improve this very website so that I capture more of the traffic flowing through search engines, and for that reason I recommend this book.
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