The Art of SEO: Book Review

Ian Lurie

Whenever I read a book on SEO, I want to slap the author. First there’s the inevitable reference to keyword meta tags. Then there’s the “Write great content” line. And the “put more keywords on every page”. Or there’s great stuff like “Exchange links with other sites”.
So, when I cracked The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization (Theory in Practice) I was skeptical. The authors are the top folks in the industry – Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge and Jesse Stricchiola – but I figured there’s some kind of stupid club that all editors use to beat SEO authors.
Thankfully, I was wrong. The Art of SEO actually talks about SEO. In a serious, productive way.
The book goes from very basic stuff, like keyword research and basic optimization tips, up to advanced topics like reverse proxy SEO and SEO analytics. In between, the authors talk about link-worthy content and how to create it, how the world uses search engines, and search engines’ defining goals.
Most important, the book adds a strong air of respectability to an industry that most folks consider slightly below drug dealing.
If I have any complaint, it’s the lack of a Kindle edition. Seems trivial, but I love my new DX and ended up reading the electronic edition from my Safari Bookshelf. It was less-than-perfectly formatted.
A few folks have said the book gets too detailed. Ignore them. SEO is all about the details! And this is one of the few I’ve seen that do a good job of covering them. You can buy the book on
The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization (Theory in Practice)


I have a book of my own – I’m only a Dummie, though. Other books you need to read include Trust Agents and the classic, Scientific Advertising.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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  1. I would agree with this review. I think the book gets technical when it needs to but is organized in a way that is easy to follow and apply the concepts.

  2. I bought it recently – and its way ahead of the others I have.
    It pretty much covers everything you need – forums, social media, viral stuff. If I had to pick one, it would be this one.

  3. I’m wondering if anyone else stopped on the bottom of page 37 like I did, after reading, “Spammers ruined the SEO value of this [meta keywords] tag years ago, so its value is now negligible. Google does not use this tag for ranking at all…”
    WordPress blogging, the All-in-one SEO plugin, Scribe, etc., all make keywording a blog post / page extremely important and Google ignores this information and it has zero effect on ranking?
    Anyone else find this statement in the book weird? I ask, because I am an SEO-rookie and this statement just isn’t what I read from just about every SEO source out there.

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