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What Do You Need to Learn?
As with anything in the technology-related industry, one must constantly learn and research to keep
apprised of the latest news and trends.
How exhausting!
Fortunately, there are fundamental truths with
regard to search engine optimization that are both easy to understand and probably won’t change in
time significantly — so a solid foundation that you build now will likely stand the test of time.
We remember the days when search engine optimization was a black art of analyzing and improving
on-page factors. Search engine marketers were obsessed over keyword density and which HTML tags
to use. Many went so far as to recommend optimizing content for different search engines individually,
thusly creating different pages with similar content optimized with different densities and tags. Today,
that would create a problem called
duplicate content
.
The current struggle is creating a site with interactive content and navigation with a minimal amount
of duplicate content, with URLs that do not confuse web spiders, and a tidy internal linking structure.
There is a thread on SearchEngineWatch (
http://www.searchenginewatch.com
) where someone
asked which skill everyone reading would like to hone. Almost all of them enumerated programming
as one of the skills (
http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=11945
). This
does not surprise us. Having an understanding of both programming and search engine marketing
will serve one well in the pursuit of success on the Internet.
When people ask us where we’d suggest spending money in an SEO plan, we always recommend making
sure that one is starting with a sound basis. If your web site has architectural problems, it’s tantamount
to trumpeting your marketing message atop a house of cards.
Professional Search Engine Optimization with
PHP: A Developer’s Guide to SEO
aims to illustrate how to build a solid foundation.
To get the most out of this journey, you should be familiar with a bit of programming (PHP, preferably).
You can also get quite a bit out this book by only reading the explanations. And another strategy to
reading this book is to do just that — then hand this book to the web developer with a list of concerns
and directives in order to ensure the resulting product is search engine optimized. In that case, don’t
get bogged down in the exercises — just skim them.
The Story
So how do a search engine marketer from the USA (Jaimie) and a programmer from
Romania (Cristian) meet? To answer, we need to tell you a funny little story. A while
ago, Jaimie happened to purchase a book (that shall remain nameless) written by
Cristian, and was not pleased with one particular aspect of its contents. Jaimie
proceeded to grill him with some critical comments on a public web site. Ouch!
Cristian contacted Jaimie courteously, and explained most of it away. No, we’re not
going to tell you the name of the book, what the contents were, or whether it is still
in print. But things did eventually get more amicable, and we started to correspond
about what we do for a living. Jaimie is a web site developer and search engine mar-
keter, and Cristian is a software engineer who has published quite a few books in the
technology sector. As a result of those discussions, the idea of a technology-focused
search engine optimization book came about. The rest is more or less history.
3
Chapter 1: You: Programmer and Search Engine Marketer
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