Review: Drupal 6 Search Engine Optimization
At one point in my career my employer repositioned his web application development company to become a search engine optimization (SEO) company. This repositioning meant that for a very brief period I actually worked in the world of SEO. I didn't much care for it (hence the 'very brief period' working in SEO). For all the science of keyword research and result monitoring, there seemed to be an equal part of voodoo or tea leaf reading. And, lets face it, SEO wasn't as glamourous as finding an elegant technical solution or designing something beautiful for a client website.
Still, every so often SEO of a site is a client requirement. Even if you ultimately outsource the work of optimization to a third party, if you are a web site developer you need to be knowledgeable about SEO and be prepared to build your site in such a way as to ease the work of optimization. But, with so much information available on the web on the topic of SEO, even approaching the topic somewhat overwhelming.
Luckily there are books like Drupal 6 Search Engine Optimization by Ben Finklea to help you get oriented. Not only is this book filled with valuable information about SEO, keyword research and optimization practices, it does a good job of highlighting all the Drupal specific features, tools and modules available to you. It also includes plenty of step by step instructions to help implement your SEO strategy using the tools available in Drupal.
Score based on my own arbitrary rating system:
For any Drupal Developer or Drupal Site Administrator: 4.5/ 5
What I liked about this book was the fact that it is written well for several different audiences at once. If you are an SEO veteran, but new to Drupal the book does a good job of providing step by step instructions on what modules to install and how to configure them to achieve common SEO tasks. If you are a Drupal veteran, the book provides you with specific things you can do to help optimize your site and brings attention to good practices you may not have thought to do. For either audience it is easy to skim the parts they know and focus on the parts they don't.
I also liked the length of this book. At only roughly 260 pages there isn't much filler. The majority of the book is on target and by not being too hefty it can easily be kept around as a reference book.
Finally, the information contained in the book always answers the question 'why' (e.g. why bother? why do that?) in a way anyone can understand. I'd mentioned at the top of this post that I'd felt in the past that SEO was a lot of hocus pocus. There is plenty of information on the web on the topic of SEO that is based on assumptions or speculation. In this book however, the topic is grounded in good practices that regardless of where your site will rank on Google improves your site in measurable ways. There are real world business goals (e.g. increased reach, lead generation, sales conversion) your site is hopefully striving to achieve and in my opinion this book points you in a direction to help you achieve them. There is no voodoo required.