SEO: An Hour a Day

Just when some say textbook SEO (define) has crashed and burned, a great new textbook comes along.

Written by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin, “Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day,” is much more than a primer for would-be search engine marketers. The book is a step-by-step guide that can help drive targeted search-referred traffic to a variety of Web sites — perhaps even your Web site.

If you’ve got the time and tenacity to attempt to improve your Web site’s visibility, this book will help you build a well-organized plan to optimize your site — in just an hour a day. Though the actual optimization tactics certainly surpass 60-minutes’ worth of work, Grappone and Couzin’s no-nonsense approach cuts through the jargon to simplify the process.

This practical book, due out in June 2006, offers many surprisingly simple optimization techniques designed to increase the visibility of your Web site in all the major search engines. There is plenty of information that will help novices understand SEO essentials, such as how to target specific keywords and the basics of link building. At the same time, the authors help non-SEO experts steer clear of the common mistakes that can hinder a major optimization project.

Day Parting the Plan

The first part of the book focuses on the basics. In Chapter 1, readers will learn what SEO is, why it matters, how it’s bound to business goals, and how to measure success. Chapter 2 helps you customize a SEO plan, making it specific to business-to-business or business-to-consumer sites, for-profits or non-profit, a business large or small.

Although the search engines are constantly changing, Chapter 3 discusses factors that haven’t changed much over time. Though exploring several SEO fundamentals, Chapter 4 looks at how search engines work right now, accounting for key organic factors and paid placement.

The second part of the book is all about building an SEO strategy, day by day and hour by hour. In Chapter 5, you’ll learn how to develop a workable SEO plan. Tips and insights include how to get an internal team on board and identifying the various disciplines necessary for building an effective SEO strategy. In Chapter 6, you start 30 days of preparatory work, building a baseline analysis and looking at keyword selection.

The third part of the book walks you through SEO plan implementation. You start in the first month of a three-month implementation regimen. You’re encouraged to make an initial foray into three critical areas of an SEO plan: organic optimization, link building, and PPC (define). You’ll spend a week making headway on each element, and you’re given daily tasks estimated to take an hour or so each. At the end of the month and each month going forward, you focus on visibility checks and reporting.

The next chapter addresses the second month of the 90-day implementation schedule. You’ll learn how to clean up your Web site’s structure for improved SEO performance and get serious about tracking site performance. The authors encourage you to document your progress to keep the ongoing campaign on target.

During the final month of implementing your SEO strategy, you learn a search engine marketer’s work is never really done, and it’s habit-forming. Chapter 9 offers thoughts on how to expend site content, as well as how to make PPC a long-term part of the strategy. According to the authors, you now have time to smooth out any campaign rough spots and prepare to track pertinent metrics as well as quarterly reports.

The authors accept the fact you’re not a full-time SEO professional. They know that, occasionally, other work obligations will get in the way of your progress. The last chapter ties up any loose ends you may have encountered along the way.

The book is accompanied by a series of documents that can be downloaded from a companion Web site,, which goes live when the book is released. Included are goals, worksheets focusing on the features of your Web site, as well as documents for keyword research, site assessment, rank tracking, competitive analysis, and a task journal.

In Summary

From setting reasonable goals to building buy-in within your company for SEO efforts, “Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day” offers bite-sized tasks and time-tested tools to help you on your way. With pithy pearls of wisdom and straightforward candor, the authors remind everyone SEO isn’t brain surgery.

This book offers no silver bullets or snake-oil potions crafted to magically propel your site to the top of every search engine. Together, Grappone and Couzin deliver a well-rounded, left- and right-brain approach to successful SEO.

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