Review: SEO School (from IttyBiz/Naomi Dunford)

Overview:

So what is SEO School? In Naomi’s words: “it’s sort of like regular school except you don’t have to wear pants”. If you need a bit more detail … it’s a 53-page ebook that takes you through all the major tenets of SEO, in a fun, very readable and completely comprehensible way.

The price:

When I was thinking about buying SEO School, I did think it was a bit pricy – $39 for a 53-page ebook sounded like quite a lot. Having bought and read it (avidly, several times) and implemented some of the advice, I think the price is justified. Unlike some ebook-writers, Naomi doesn’t waffle; I was impressed how content-packed this was.

What’s included:

SEO School covers:

  • The Psychology of Search – great for understanding how people search and what for. Also explains why it really isn’t a good idea to try to cheat Google.
  • What to Rank For – this section would have really helped me when I was looking into making niche websites (I gave up, too overwhelmed by figuring out what might be “good” keywords to try to rank for)
  • On-Page Optimisation – practical, concrete things to do yourself on your own website to get it higher up in a SERP (search engine results page)
  • Off-Page Optimisation – how to make the best use of other websites to get yours further up in Google
  • Creativity and Common Sense – having a well-optimised page without it looking spammy and crap. This is kinda important to me, and I’d figure it is to you too.
  • For Bloggers Only – blog-specific tips, on things like related post plugins and avoiding duplicate content (having the exact same content on different pages on your site can get you penalised by Google)

Good stuff

If you’re a small business owner, a freelancer, or anyone with online entrepreneurial aspirations, you’ll probably have come across www.ittybiz.com (if not – go and check it out!) Naomi’s blog amply demonstrates her small business expertise, and is written in her own inimitable style: chatty, sweary, funny and eminiently readable.

SEO School is just the same; unlike many dry-as-dust techy books, it’s written in a breezy, chatty, easy-to-grasp way without ever being patronising.

I don’t want to give you the impression that SEO School is just a fun, entertaining read; it certainly is, but it’s also jam-packed with concrete advice on what to do (and what not to do) in order to make sure your site ranks well in search engines. I already knew the basics of SEO, from spending hours trying to track down reputable and useful free information – so I wasn’t sure how much SEO School would add. I’ve picked up a lot of very specific tips from it, however, and if I’d had it when I started out playing around with websites, I’d have easily saved $39 worth of my time spent hunting for similar free information.

Bad stuff

If you have strong objections to bad language, you might want to avoid SEO School (and indeed Naomi’s writing in general…) Having said that, I tend to keep my language pretty clean myself, and Naomi’s use of swear words really doesn’t bother me: she uses them conversationally rather than aggressively.

And if you’re looking for a magic solution that guarantees a first-place ranking for whatever search term you like … you’re going to be disappointed. (You’re going to be disappointed however much you spend and whatever product you buy, however, so you can’t really blame SEO School for this!)

Verdict

If you have any need for search engine traffic, get this ebook. (A few businesses won’t be too fussed about search engine positioning – eg. if you’re a service provider, such as a copywriter, you’ll be basing business on referrals.)

I suspect it would be of particular benefit for bloggers, but it’s by no means written with bloggers alone in mind: most of the examples Naomi gives are focused on small online businesses with physical products to sell.

Frankly, if you implemented a tenth of the advice in the book, you’d easily recoup the $39 cover price, over the lifetime of your business. Naomi also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, in the very unlikely event that you think SEO School wasn’t worth it – so you’ve got nothing to lose.

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