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SEO Book that was almost not written becomes Amazon best-seller

SEO Book that was almost not written becomes Amazon best-seller

David Amerland

A short authors bio : “David Amerland is the author of the best-selling ‘SEO Help’, ‘Online Marketing Help’ and ‘Brilliant SEO’. His books on online marketing, SEO and the social media revolution have helped thousands of entrepreneurs build successful online businesses. When he is not busy writing he advises companies and start ups on social media strategy and gives talks about the social media revolution on the web. He maintains his own blog at http://helpmyseo.com where you can find practical SEO and business advice and spends more time online than is probably healthy. David can be followed on Twitter:@davidamerland you can also find him on Google+ and Facebook.”

“Every webmaster and every website owner wants the same thing: to see their website on Google’s first page and to keep it there.

SEO Help is a practical, step-by-step guide which in 20 easy-to-understand chapters gives you the kind of practical advice a leading SEO engineer would give you if he were standing over your shoulder and helped you search engine optimize your website.

An optimized website gets:

  • Greater online visibility
  • More targeted visitors
  • More online sales and advertising enquiries

What usually stops you from succeeding in the online world is the fact that by the time you learn the valuable lessons you need to apply you have also ran out of time and money.

SEO Help helps you gain both time and money by showing you how to avoid costly mistakes and apply technical shortcuts which will help you optimize your website fast.”

Why did you write this book? – The web is the great equalizer. It is perhaps the greatest opportunity we have to create a world that is better than the one we now have, through more opportunities, greater equality and greater transparency. The roots of all these lie in knowledge and SEO is turning out to be a web fundamental. SEO Help is my contribution to the development of our new online world.

write a paragraph stating why readers should buy your book and what they will get out of it after reading it: “SEO need not be complicated or expensive. SEO Help will not teach you any theory about search engines or SEO, but it will help you carry out the practical steps you need for your site to rank high, fast.”

Just fourteen months ago, speaking in front of a business audience at the Abbey Business Centre in Manchester, UK, I had to start my presentation by explaining what SEO is and how important it is to the lifeblood of any business.

Fast forward to today and I field anywhere between ten and 20 queries a day from businesses which have read my book on SEO, SEO Help: 20 steps to get your website to the #1 page on Google, and want to either arrange for a talk to their staff or ask for some additional information. The change is significant because it also reflects the changed perception and awareness ordinary individuals have of the power of SEO to help a business succeed these days.

In order to understand how SEO went from being an optional extra which few ever really thought about to a ubiquitous technology without which no one can achieve anything online, it is necessary to understand how search engines and the web evolved. Even as recently as 2007 websites used email marketing, paid online advertising, banner ads and traditional offline advertising to promote their services.

In the four years between then and now we have seen not just an accelerated growth of online businesses which have created a vastly crowded web, but we have also seen an explosion in services and access points demanding our attention and the attention of those which businesses are hoping to target. The result is that as the web has increased so has the ‘noise’ that is being generated. The challenge for web users, these days, is to separate the signal from the noise in order to find relevant contentand services. The challenge for businesses and anyone marketing themselves is to generate a signal that’s clear enough to connect with those most likely to be looking for it.

If we imagine the web as an endless landmass covered by a few layers of fog, SEO helps provide the beacon which directs those looking for something in particular to those who have it. The better search engine optimization works the stronger the beacon is and the clearer the signal, all of which makes it easy to understand the importance of SEO, why it is at the heart of everything we do online and why no business, brand or online personality can afford to be without it. It also helps to explain the success of SEO Help: 20 steps to get your website to the #1 page on Google which has become an Amazon best-seller across the US, the UK and Canada. The funny thing about it is that this is a book which I almost did not write.

The idea for it was born out of a conversation I had with a friend in 2007. He had just come back from a two-hour meeting with his web development team, he had a website selling sports shoes and needed to promote it, he was disheartened both by the proposed cost involved and was wondering if he should look for other opportunities. At the time I was working in the PR and Marketing department of a boutique web design studio and I suggested he did a few simple optimization activities instead. He came back excited ten days later mentioning an improvement in traffic and we had another conversation where he wondered just how great it would be to have a simple guide to follow each day without having to worry about the theory behind the steps.

That was the seed for SEO Help. Within a week I had hammered out a detailed outline and sent it to my agent who tried a few publishers. The consensus, incredibly enough, was that “SEO was too esoteric a market for a book”. Despite the initially disheartening response he persevered, sending out the idea and arranging meetings and sure enough, six months after that I had a contract and the rest, as they say, is history.

What does that show? First of all that publishers and the publishing world are always behind the times.The web is moving too fast, these days, for traditional media organisations to keep up with it. Second that if you really believe in the value of what you are doing then you are not going to give up. Funnily enough the same applies to search. Search is at the heart of everything including social media marketing. 75% of all purchasing decisions start with search. Any kind of web presence is impossible to find without proper optimization and this includes self-promotion and branding.

How it’s done is a classic case of taking my own medicine. Apart from having a website at http://helpmyseo.com where I blog every day and which currently attracts over 500 unique visitors a day I am active on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and blog for a number of social media online magazines. SEO and social media marketing are on rapidly converging paths with the former picking up a lot of cues from the latter which then form part of the signal search engines use to rank websites on their search engine results pages.

It may all sound like a lot of hard work, and sometimes it is, but today anyone working online is faced with fantastic opportunities for exposure and publicity provided they are willing to take the time and effort to work for it.

With time I have found out that a lot of the online work becomes easier. I am frequently asked what I would change if I could go back in time and start again and my answer there is always the same: I would be more authentic in the way I write about myself and the work I do. At the beginning of my online career I made the classic writer’s mistake and allowed the work to speak for me, which in real terms, means that a lot of the stuff I posted online sounds removed and impersonal, coming out in a machine-drone voice. This is not the way the web works. Today we really need to know who we connect with and we have to at least have an inkling of their personality and drives, which means that your voice and personality needs to seep through the writing. This is also the advice I give new writers. If you want to get anywhere on the web today do not promote your work, that’s secondary, promote yourself and what drives you, use your passion to connect with others, first and then the rest will come.

Incidentally this works the same way whether it is a business with a large number of employees or a single individual working from home. The web is undergoing a massive change which is driven by the social media revolution we are witnessing. As a result connections need to feel real and this ‘real’ has to be projected correctly whether you are a brand, working online, or an individual. Whether you comment on someone’s blog or interact with people on a social network platform you have to learn to project a little bit of who you are, in that interaction.

Earlier in the year I took part on a webinar as part of the socialmediatoday.com thought leaders series and I was asked by one of the participants emailing in about the future of search and SEO. As the web grows we will see it become more fragmented with more and more languages appearing in it. Search will then serve as navigation and SEO will play a central role in determining the effectiveness of that navigation. In many ways SEO will become invisible, there under the hood and implicit in many of the activities we carry out when we create a presence on the web. We already see examples of that when many websites where we create a profile ask us to tag ourselves and our content. That tagging is part of the website’s SEO efforts and it happens without much effort or thought being put into it by its members.

SEO is constantly evolving and it is constantly changing. It is not however going to go away any time soon, which for an SEO author, is good news I suppose.

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