When the first edition of this book hit the bookstores at the end of 2011 it quickly became a reference book within the professional SEO industry. Although at that time several books on SEO had already been published in Spain, and a good number in other languages such as the wonderful The Art of SEO by Eric Enge and Rand Fishkin, the truth is that Técnicas Avanzadas de Posicionamiento en Buscadores was received with enthusiasm for its rigorous but also didactic approach.
I am indebted to a large number of clients who, since 2001, have entrusted their SEO projects to my consultancy Human Level Communications, since it was with them that I acquired the experience I wanted to share in this book. I also owe a lot to the universities, business schools, consulting firms and events that trusted me to provide training or give talks on this exciting field. The irreplaceable experience of spending many hours teaching what search engine optimization is to people with absolutely different professional profiles, backgrounds and levels of experience has taught me what is the most effective pedagogy to introduce others to the intricacies of algorithms, keywords, search results…
Armed with this invaluable background, I intend in the following pages to update this book, which is already a reference in Spanish-speaking SEO, and to go one or two steps further. Time goes by very fast and, as they would say in the industry, if you work in SEO even more so. From the end of 2011 to the date this book is published – mid-2015 – a lot has happened in the world of search engines. And although many of the basics of the first edition are still fully valid, others are already showing the rapid pace of obsolescence and require a thorough updating.
What will you find in this book?
With respect to the original structure of Técnicas Avanzadas de Posicionamiento en Buscadores, this edition introduces some slight changes. To begin with, the description of the SEO landscape as a professional activity is dispensed with. Organic search engine optimization is today a fully recognized and consolidated digital marketing activity. Aspects related to search engine optimization form an obligatory part, to a greater or lesser degree of depth, of practically all training programs related to online marketing, which are widely taught in multiple formats in business schools, universities, professional associations, city councils, local development offices, etc.
So the book dives, right from the first chapter, into aspects related to SEO activity. In this, it follows a similar scheme to the one we apply in our professional activity at Human Level Communications: setting visibility objectives, indexability audit, content optimization, templates and information architecture, popularity generation and, finally, evaluation to identify further opportunities for improvement.
Based on this simple but effective work scheme backed by years of experience, the first chapter dives directly into keyword consulting through which we identify the visibility objectives that respond to the search intent of our potential customers. We study what, how, how much and where people search on the Internet. We identify search trends, seasonal patterns, competition, and related and anticipatory searches. We will see the tools that help us in this task and how to make the most of them.
Next, we address the indexability audit. It involves carrying out an exhaustive examination that allows us to identify the obstacles that a Website may present in order to be correctly crawled and classified by a search engine.
Google Webmaster Tools is a set of functionalities gathered in this interface that provides valuable information for the work of an SEO. A whole chapter is devoted to explaining how to correctly configure this tool and how to interpret the abundant data that can be extracted from it.
These early phases of Website optimization are often the stage where the source of all SEO project failures is forged. The lack of cooperation from the Website programmers, the impossibility of making changes to the server configuration, the sine die postponement of the implementation of the recommendations contained in the indexability audit can ruin positioning projects that are born with the best of intentions. We address in a specific chapter the most frequent problems of SEO projects in three different scenarios: the involvement of an SEO consultant in the development process of a new Website; SEO consulting in the migration of a Website or the optimization of an already published site. The experience of countless projects is expressed with absolute frankness in this chapter, which, I trust, will save some readers from more than one failure.
Chapter 5 focuses on aspects related to improving relevance, mainly by modifying the information architecture of the Website, improving the structure of the pages and focusing text and metadata on the keywords we have targeted. The idea is to maximize the traffic generation potential of current Website content by aligning it with visibility objectives and adding crawlable information for those types of content that are not directly crawlable, such as images or video.
Google’s Panda update has brought new requirements for keyword density and the possibility of penalties for over-optimization. The Hummingbird update, on the other hand, directs the search engine towards semantic search, which means that the use of synonyms, rephrasing, analogous expressions, etc. should be favored so as not to overuse the keywords targeted for positioning. This usually involves reviewing the generation patterns of titles, descriptions, alternative image texts, header texts, link texts, etc. to make sure that we are in accordance with Google’s new requirements to achieve optimal relevance.
Two specific search engine optimization scenarios are addressed in two new chapters: international SEO and optimization for mobile devices.
Optimizing Websites for an international audience in multiple countries and languages is the focus of Chapter 6. We will see how to approach the generation of content oriented to international audiences, how to structure the different versions of a Website and how to take into account the peculiarities of other local search engines such as Yandex or Baidu. A comprehensive chapter covering all possible scenarios for an international Website.
The growing use of tablets and mobiles is increasingly affecting the way more and more users search for and access Web content. We will see how to prepare Websites to be positioned correctly for these mobile and geolocalized searches.
Once these two scenarios have been analyzed, we focus on generating popularity by identifying those contents that respond to users’ needs and that can generate “resonance”, i.e. multiple echoes in the form of social mentions: retweets, likes, +1s and, ultimately, traditional links from other Web content. Google’s Penguin update has significantly increased the search engine’s control over the legitimacy of inbound links, penalizing the positioning of those websites that it suspects have manipulated their popularity by artificially increasing their links and orienting their anchor text towards positioning objectives. This update has also opened the door to the possibility of being subject to a negative SEO attack so we look at how to detect these situations and defend against them.
The book concludes with the evaluation of results, including the tools and procedures we use to measure the degree of improvement that a Website undergoing optimization is experiencing and how to apply Web analytics to continue identifying new objectives and new opportunities for improvement.
The book includes an extensive bibliography and also online references of proven value, as well as a useful alphabetical index that will allow the reader to find the pages where the term of interest is discussed.
Who is this book aimed at?
Although written in a simple and didactic style, this book assumes that the reader is already familiar with the most common concepts used in search engine optimization. If not, we recommend that you first read Posicionamiento en Buscadores Ed. 2012, by Anaya Multimedia or any other basic book on search engine optimization. The book you are holding in your hands is aimed primarily at the following professional profiles:
- SEO Consultants.
- SEO agencies.
- Website analysts and designers.
- In-house SEO professionals.
- Online marketing managers.
- SEO trainers.
- Advanced students of SEO training programs.
- Community managers.
- Web Programmers.
And, in general, to anyone who has been interested in search engine optimization for some time and wishes to learn more about the more technical aspects of search engine marketing from a professional perspective.