SEO for Christmas?

Yesterday a dear friend wrote:

“I wanted to ask if you had a recommendation for a good SEO book. I think SEO is something I could really get into. Plus my family needs Christmas ideas for me.”

I am so excited for him. I think he’ll be great at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for many reasons, including:

  • He’s a geek by training (with a degree in Bioinformatics).
  • However, he’s not a developer or a developer-wannabe. Developers already have a huge amount on their plates without having to know all of the ins-and-outs of SEO.
  • He’s enthusiastic and loves to learn.
  • Most important, he’s a great listener. Listening is crucial with SEO. You need to be able to listen to (a) Google, etc., (b) stakeholders, and (c) end users – the latter so you get a sense of how they search.

For many years, I absolutely loved staying on top of SEO. I started paying attention to it before it had a name – I want to say in 1995. For sure I’d been thinking about it before Danny Sullivan, the no. 1 SEO guru in my opinion, came on the scene – and he started making a name for himself way early.

However, since I’ve retired, I’ve stopped following SEO trends. While I still have about 20 sites I watch over, fortunately rankings aren’t that important for any of them. So there’s no need to follow the latest trends in SEO. And to do retirement well, one needs to prioritize carefully, letting go of not just your former job, but also a lot of old patterns. Tracking SEO was a surprisingly easy one for me to let go of.

Don’t misunderstand. I still do SEO fundamentals – and I have not the slightest doubt that basic SEO is over 80% of the game. It’s a great example of the Pareto Principle.

Put this all together and, even though I no longer consider myself an SEO, I loved answering my friend’s question.

I thought my response might help some others. So I’m sharing it….

3 SEO Christmas Suggestions

“SEO is a black art in that it changes rapidly and Google doesn’t tell all of what it’s doing. So I have three suggestions for you.

  1. For Christmas, if your family likes to give things you can actually touch, I’d say search Amazon books for “Search Engine Optimization” and see what (a) has the highest ratings, i.e., lots of people giving it 5 stars, and (b) is less than 6 months old.
  2. If your family doesn’t mind giving virtual gifts and you like to watch video tutorials nights or weekends (which is different than liking video tutorials per se), I can’t say enough good things about Lynda.com. You might ask for a one year subscription. I have one and absolutely love it. But then I’m retired.
  3. That said, an even better use of your precious down time is to go to Ross Jones’s meetups. IMO Ross is by far the best SEO in town. And a super nice guy.”

About that last point. . . . I realize many of you aren’t in the middle Tennessee area. You might look around at meetups in your region. I doubt they will be as fun and welcoming as Ross’s, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Also, there’s a good chance you’ll meet others who are interested and knowledgable, and then you can do things such as getting together over coffee and comparing notes.

The bottom line? Make it fun for yourself and others, and I have no doubt you’ll become a great SEO.