A Developers Guide to SEO
If you program websites with PHP and want to learn more about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) then ‘Professional Search Engine Optimisation’ is a great book to read.
‘Professional Search Engine Optimisation with PHP’ begins by getting you to install PHP, MySQL and Apache which is used throughout the book. The book then delves straight into basics of SEO by instructing you how to boost your search engine rankings, via on page factors and off page factors such as link equity and semantic relationships. The chapter also talks about how to have your web pages penalised by the search engines.
Chapter three teaches you how to use mod_rewrite and rewrite your urls to SEO friendly urls. This is a good chapter which shows you lots of examples of real world situations such as making product and category urls SEO friendly.
There is also a chapter covering all of the http status codes such as 301, 303 and 404 error codes and how to correctly use them. This includes making sure you remove deleted pages using 404, and how to correctly redirect urls.
The Duplicate Content chapter tells you how to best minimise showing duplicate content to search engine spiders, by either making sure products are only in one category, or getting rid of pages with duplicate meta tags. There is also a good section in this chapter about how to get ride of duplicate content which can be created by affiliate program links when you send affiliate links to your web pages, and these affiliate urls can get indexed, which means lots of different urls are seen by a spider which is duplicate content to the search engine spiders.
‘Professional Search Engine Optimisation with PHP’ also covers web feeds and social bookmakring and gives you script examples to use in order to create your own RSS or Atom feeds. The chapter also provides you with a script to add social bookmarking icons to your pages from such sites as digg and de.lici.ous
There is also a chapter on black hat seo, which tells you how to protect your pages by escaping your php user input and to cope with 301 redirect attacks and how to combat content theft.
Other chapters include creating sitemaps for Yahoo and Google, how to create link bait to draw in links to your site, as well as how to create geo-targetted pages which are ok by Google and the not-so ok practices of cloaking are also covered.
There is also a chapter on building an SEO friendly e-commerce store which includes all the PHP scripts you need to set up a basic store. There is a very useful chapter on setting up a wordpress blog and how to make the blog search engine friendly as well as how to add a number of useful plugins to your wordpress blog.
Finally to help you with your mod_rewrite technique there is a useful appendix on helping you learn how to work with regular expressions.
Overall I can really recommend this book for anyone who programs with PHP and creates web pages, as it has lots of tips and some great code that you can use in your own projects. A lot of these tips you will not find in other books and it’s good to see that a book like this has now been written. If you use microsoft technologies such as ASP then checkout a similar book from Wrox entitled ‘Search Engine Optimisation with ASP.NET’.