When I set out to write SEO Help: 20 steps to get your website to Google’s #1 page I have to admit I was unsure on how successful I would be. I knew, from my day-to-day dealings with SEO clients that small businesses struggled with the budget and I knew that SEO was a subject that was a closed book to them.
In writing the book I had some very specific aims in mind. Although I love search and search history. I love dealing with the mathematics behind search technology and I am totally enamoured by the technical side of SEO which assesses all the different relationships amongst all the factors governing search ranking, I knew that this would not help any of my readers.
I had a sense that what was really needed was a book which would make the entire methodology of SEO easy to put into practice. A book that would be practical in nature, providing steps which work. A book, in short, which would allow all those webmasters running a small business and really wanting to get their websites to the first page of Google, the opportunity to actually do so.
Writing a book, any book is hard work. First there is the time it takes to actually create it. Then there is the effort required to actually go through everything and make sure that every word there makes sense for the reader. There are endless queries from the editor who often challenges everything you have written and then there is the endless reading of proofs to make sure you have not missed anything out.
When the book does come out, you start to wonder if anyone will read it. Because you have spent so much time on it you have lost any kind of objectivity. You end up thinking that it is very bad (happens often to writers about many good books they have written) or very good (it happens often to writers about any bad books they have written).
SEO Help Became an Amazon Best-Seller
The moment SEO Help appeared, it went on the Amazon best-selling charts in the US, the UK and Canada and stayed there for almost a year.
Here are some of the reviews from readers who bought the book:
Great book for a new webmaster
I am new to the SEO game and as a new website owner I thought it was going to be difficult. This is the third SEO book I tried and the one which made be believe in the power of the web. My site is on Google's first page for 10 main keywords and I have now seen it begin to rise in both Yahoo and BING and I am over the moon! The good news is that I have not even touched on half the chapters. I was just so happy to see it perform so well I have just kept on doing what worked. The book is easy to understand. The chapters are short and to the point and I just love the straightforward honesty. For me this is a big winner. If you are new to the SEO game or are simply tired of the same mumbo-jumbo everyone's spouting this is gold!
Permalink to the review on the Amazon.com website
SEO that you can understand
I'm just now starting to get my own web page up and running. It's a crafting site. Anyway, I never go into anything half prepared. I must know everything about everything before attempting anything. This book is so easy to understand. It's step-by-step and it doesn't overload your mind with information. It tells you exactly what you need to do to successfully get your webpage to where you want it to be, Google's front page!
Permalink to the review on the Amazon.co.uk website
The reviews kept coming in and most of them were positive. The positive ones were a great boost because they showed me that I was on exactly the right path when it comes to preparing a book for webmasters and small businesses which do not have the time and money to hire an SEO firm.
There were also some negative reviews which were harder to understand. They tended to focus on the size of the book itself without examining any of its content, which is where I would have really liked some feedback on. These I took with a pinch of salt. While I love SEO theory and can talk about it for hours, when it comes to practice a small business owner or a webmaster really need to know what to do and how. The why is a luxury which is redundant and even if it had been included (I made a point of including almost zero theory) it would, most likely, have been forgotten. There is also the additional risk that theoretical explanations would have drawn attention away from the practical steps which really work.
About.com reviewed SEO Help and this is what they had to say:
This rather short book takes the mystery out of the smoke and mirrors world of search engine optimization. Don't think that just because it's a short book that it won't take much time to read; with all the tools and tips it took me longer to complete than books twice as long. Very actionable.
Search Changes All the Time
Search never stays still. There are minor tweaks to the search algorithm being carried out every week and major ones every few months and the social media and personalisation questions have created a very fluid landscape. One of my initial worries was that the book would date very quickly, certainly far quicker than it would have been possible to write updates for.
With that in mind I worked to create practical steps which have a direct application upon many of the broad principles which govern success in search. This includes backlinks and linking strategies, content creation strategies, keywords, social bookmarking and social networks. When the Google Panda update happened in March 2011 and then all its refinements came about right up to the end of June 2011 I went back and re-checked every word in SEO Help.
Although I carried out some changes, made some additions and created refinements of my own in the practical steps it details, I was pleased to find that even if I had not carried out those changes the book itself would have worked for the Panda Update also.
Much of this lies in the fact that when I created the 20-step SEO methodology which is the heart of the book I had in mind a long-term, long-lasting, totally ethical SEO approach, which would help a new webmaster or a small business owner carry out SEO themselves and succeed in getting their website on Google’s first page, and then keep it there. So there were none of the usual quick tricks or gimmicks which Google’s adjustments usually filter out.
One of the best testimonials was from a one-man outfit working in South London in a cutthroat business who was able to beat much larger rivals simply by following the advice in my book. The complete case study is here – for me this was almost a poster-business for what I wanted my book to really achieve.
Fame and Fortune are OK but you Also Need to do Some Good
Writers, of course, write for many reasons. Just like everyone else we need to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads. Just like everyone else we need to have a career which last longer than a single book. Unlike most people our words have the ability to reach a much larger audience and our books can provide knowledge which helps others create much greater value in their lives. This gives us a certain amount of power and Spidey’s creed that there should also be a certain amount of responsibility attached with it, is true.
The writer’s unwritten contract with his public is that for their time and effort and money he should always deliver value and a sense of focus which is frequently absent from everyday life. I am never sure how successful I am in the latter, but in the former, at least, I hope you will find that my books have helped you go further in your professional life than you might otherwise have done.