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ClickZ Reviews Website Optimization Secrets and the Google Sandbox

Summary: ClickZ gives our new book a great review and raises a question about the Google Sandbox. We respond with some data from actual client experience.

Mike Grehan has posted a great review of our new book Secrets. Grehan does a thorough job reviewing and summarizing the book, as well as pointing out some alleged SEO "myths."

The reviewer is an experienced online marketer, having worked in the industry since 1995. While overall I am pleased with his review, I would disagree with his SEO myth comment.

"There's quite a lot I like about the book. But it also perpetuated quite a few SEO myths, such as the Google sandbox. However, the book's overall composition is excellent. For a start, it's not an SEO book per se. But there's a whole lot of stuff you'll learn about SEO if you're new to the game."

The SEO guidelines that we lay out in the book are based on actual client experience, or documented case studies. These guidelines and gotchas are not based on conventional wisdom derived from the blogosphere, as can be the case with some books. We took great pains to only include search engine guidelines and gotchas that we actually experienced with clients, or could cite credible studies to document.

The Google Sandbox that he refers to as a "myth" we've actually seen in action. Danny Sullivan agreed with our assertion that there was an unofficial Sandbox where Google will not fully index new sites on new domains in earnest for months. How long the duration of that period varies, but we've seen it take up to 5 to 7 months to rank for some clients. Of course, your mileage may vary. Google can also change their closely guarded ranking criteria at any time.

We've also seen established sites with good rankings achieve high rankings for new pages in a much shorter period of time. That is why some SEO firms favor acquiring older sites and domains, which are also more likely to have more inlinks than newer sites. He refers to "quite a few" myths yet only gives us one example. He goes onto write:

"I don't usually get exited looking at page after page of code. But I was impressed with the chapter featuring AJAX optimization. It's been kind of a buzz term people have been using for a few years without actually fully understanding what it's all about. This is very well written and demystifies the technology. And you don't necessarily need to be a tech-head to follow it.

All that combined with a chapter on enhanced Web performance optimization, which covers server-side and client-side techniques, makes for a great all-round resource."

I agree with his comment that half the battle with SEO is "overcoming barriers to crawling." Avoiding techniques that give Google the willies is a good way to ensure that your online promotional efforts will not go to waste.

For the full review see:

Book Review: 'Website Optimization'

By website optimization on 7 Oct 2008 AM

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