Monday, August 23, 2010
SEO & Social Media Book Review
We get a lot of questions about books that cover social media and SEO. Both disciplines are fluid and require a concerted effort to stay up-to-date. I read a lot and thought it might make sense to share my experience with books that cover the space. From a marketing perspective social media and SEO are highly complementary disciplines. In practice, this means almost every book that covers social media or SEO tends to spend some time on the other discipline. For the review I picked six books that do a nice job of covering social media and SEO. This list could easily be much longer, but I think the titles below provide a great foundation in each subject area. The titles I chose can be sorted based on the primary subject matter and level of technical detail. In this case, technical detail refers to specifics of internet technologies or marketing models. Marketing in the Age of Google
If you want to understand search beyond a cursory introduction and you are not looking for an in-depth, technical discussion, this is the best book to read. The author, Vanessa Fox, does an excellent job of organizing a potentially highly technical topic into an easily accessible format. This is a good book for CMOs, online marketing professionals, agency personnel, and anyone that touches marketing strategy. Vanessa provides a good introduction to search marketing and its place within an integrated marketing strategy.
Her approach is really an excellent framework for marketing, rather than just online or search marketing. Marketers that are familiar with classic marketing tools/techniques (psychographics, personas, etc…) will really appreciate the way she illustrates the relevance of those tools to search. Of particular interest are the sections that cover the use of free search data for marketing research. At the conclusion of the book, the reader will understand where search fits in the overall marketing plan, how to plan/implement organic search marketing strategies, and which metrics matter for organic search. Marketing in the Age of Google
is required reading for our consultants at Compendium. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine OptimizationThe Art of SEO
is also part of our training program for our consultants at Compendium. It is an in-depth guide to search engine optimization. The authors Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge, and Jessie Stricchiola are some of the most respected thinkers in search engine optimization. This is a book for the SEO professional and as such can be thought of as both a guide and a reference manual. A technical background is not required, but certainly helpful to fully appreciate the book.
While there are several technical guides to SEO, The Art of SEO
is the definitive book. The book is over 500 pages and takes the reader from an entry level overview to advanced strategies employed by experts. The authors provide extensive coverage of keyword research, linking strategies, site architecture, and performance measurement. The Art of SEO
is well-written, but is not a leisurely read. If you really want to understand the state of the art in SEO, this is the book to read. The Art of SEO
is my go-to SEO resource book at Compendium. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social TechnologiesGroundswell
is a couple of years old, but unlike more recent titles in the social media category it is actually worth reading. The authors, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, have both spent time as analysts at Forrester and the book reflects a more sophisticated approach to social media marketing. This book is best for someone looking for a useful way to think about social media, marketing, and technology evaluation. It is not a step-by-step "how to" for various social media tools and sites. Social media technology is assessed from a "POST" framework. POST stands for people (target audience), objectives, strategies, and technology, which should be evaluated in that order.
What separates Groundswell
from other social media marketing books is the emphasis on customer psychographic profiles and indexes. The authors emphasize understanding how/why target customers behave online before looking at objectives, strategies, and technology options. This is actually rare in social media marketing books, which tend to assume that you need a Twitter strategy regardless of the target audience’s preferences. The average book on the topic tends to suggest vague strategies for engagement and listening, but avoids measurable outcomes. Groundswell
is best for marketers that are willing to think deliberately about their desired audience, objectives, and measures before implementing specific social media strategies and tactics. The emphasis on how to think about social media rather than how to use specific tools keeps Groundswell
relevant despite a fluid technology environment. The social media book market is increasingly crowded, but Groundswell
is still a clear winner. Trust Agents Trust Agents
is an exploration of the development of trust and reputation in online communities. The authors, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, blend conceptual discussions with tactical advice. Trust Agents
is a great book for anyone looking for an “etiquette” guide to social media interactions and relationship development. The authors emphasize integrity and providing value to customers and potential customers as the starting point for social media programs. That point is often overlooked in reviews of the book. Trust Agents
is not as analytical as Groundswell, but its value as a guide to relationship development in online communities makes it a worthwhile read. If you are new to social media, this is a good early read.Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs
Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan of Hubspot is an overview of “pull” marketing strategies using SEO and social media. The authors provide a brief conceptual overview of SEO and social media before moving into tactical recommendations. The book does a nice job of explaining the relationship between search and social media with an emphasis on content creation. Inbound Marketing is best thought of as a general tactical primer for the current social media landscape. It is particularly relevant for small businesses and marketers new to online marketing. The New Rules of Marketing and PRThe New Rules
by David Meerman Scott is, like Inbound Marketing, an overview of online “pull” marketing concepts. David discusses the value of being found in search, but in less technical detail than any of the previous titles. His emphasis is the type of content that is valuable to an online audience. The New Rules
shines when it helps the reader think through content strategies.
David advocates the use of personas to guide targeted content creation, which is an approach I strongly endorse. His overview of search and social media tends to be more tactical than strategic when compared to Marketing in the Age of Google
, but this is not necessarily a fault. The New Rules
is a good choice if you need to think through content development strategy and execution.
Social media and SEO are evolving disciplines with a steady stream of literature covering each topic. Hopefully, this fairly lengthy post will help you chose a book that delves into your area of need. It seems like a new book is released weekly in each field. If you have suggestions, I am always looking for good resources. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you are interested in learning more about our social content publishing software
, do not hesitate to contact our sales team for a demonstration.