You CAN Handle These SEO Truths – Interview with Author Rebecca Lieb

Image of Rebecca Lieb from FacebookImage of Rebecca Lieb

Here's this week's colun from MediaPost's Search Insider. It's a Part 1 of 2. For Part 2, please share any other questions you have for Rebecca in the blog's comments, via email to marketersstudio @ gmail . com or Twitter at @dberkowitz . If there are too many, I will still run the answers on the blog. Please submit questions by Friday so I can run them in the Tuesday column.

You CAN Handle These SEO Truths

If you're looking to make sure you're
covering all bases with search engine optimization, a good place to
start is Rebecca Lieb's new book, "The Truth about Search Engine
Optimization." You'll find 51 truths in this book, covering everything
from link development to video optimization. They're bite-sized chunks,
and if you feel well-versed in some areas but want some help with
others, it's easy to flip around and read it in the order that matters
most to you.

Lieb, vice president of U.S. operations for
Econsultancy, was previously editor in chief of ClickZ Network and also
ran Search Engine Watch during some of her tenure there, so she's seen
quite a few truths emerge. You can find out more at

it's time to get to the truth behind "The Truth." We'll continue this
interview next week, so if you have other questions, post them in the
comments or e-mail me and I'll work some into the second round.
(Thanks for your questions on Twitter, Anna Talerico (@annatalerico) and Matt McGowan (@matt_mcgowan).

Insider: How did you decide on these 51 truths and techniques? Were
there any you left off that you really wanted to include? Or did you
come across a point where you wanted to stop at, say, 37 and the
publisher said, "Give me 51 or no book deal"?

Rebecca Lieb:
I'm glad to say that not only is the book about organic search, but the
chapter count is totally organic too. That is to say, in writing it, I
sat down and made a list of the topics people need to be at least
briefed on to approach the subject of SEO holistically. The list
totaled 51, and no one at FT Press gave me any arguments — and neither
did the book's highly knowledgeable technical editor, Amanda Watlington.

SI: Who needs this book the most?

Anyone who needs to wrap their head around SEO. This isn't a book about
how to code a Web page; it's a book about the concepts of being found
online. Tons of people behind a myriad of Web sites are interested in
that, from solo bloggers to Fortune 100 companies. It's not a book
that's going to throw coding skills or high levels of technical
expertise at you, but it will help you understand what makes a Web site
"findable." That's useful information for someone not directly involved
in SEO, but who's running, say, a marketing department and in the
course of their job must have semi-coherent discussions with the people
who are doing the nuts-and-bolts SEO stuff.

SI: If you had to write a book called "The One Truth of SEO," what would that one truth be?

RL: Content
is king. But content covers a whole lot of bases: there's copy, there
are title tags and meta data, there's local and vertical content —
even links can be regarded as content. Behind every great SEO
initiative is a solid and sustainable content strategy.

SI: If content is king, where do links fit in the kingdom?

Links point to content, and do so contextually — at least, the best
ones do. Implicitly, links say, "Hey, think this is interesting? Want
to know more? Then look over here." A publishing analogy might be that
links are the table of contents and footnotes all rolled into one. And
links don't just say that to users, they convey the same message to
search engine spiders as well. Well-executed and strategically placed
links help spiders to better understand and index content. Links also
help pave the way for spiders to find related and relevant content.
Links are critical to the way you surf the Web, and search engines
follow those same paths.

SI: You've been involved
in covering this field for some time now. Is there anything that was
really new or surprising to you as you put all this together? 

You're right — I've lived in this space for quite a while, since
people were wondering what Google's revenue model was going to be! In
the book I've worked hard to underscore the fact that SEO is a
continually evolving process that's never done. It can always be
improved upon. And that, of course, is because search
is new and rapidly evolving. While writing this book, I kept a close
eye on developments in universal search, local, vertical, video, and
the other newer forms of search that are gaining in importance, both on
the Web and to SEO strategies.

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