This is a tale of two cities — no make that universes. In one universe, you have traditional marketers, whose purpose in life it is to create content shaped to a customer’s needs and behaviors. In the other universe, you have programmers, whose existence is dedicated to building efficient, flexible and reliable platforms for delivering that very content.
This is not a new tale. Anyone who has worked in a technology environment has probably observed the clash of marketing and product development. But today, the setting has changed. Today, the “rise of search” has compelled these two groups to cooperate at an ever-increasing depth and frequency. Search engine optimization or search marketing has become central to the success of both groups and, therefore, has become the a new fertile ground for breeding success (and waging war).
The world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be quite a mystery to your average marketer. More often than not, search marketing consultants are vague about the techniques they employ. Often, this is for a good reason. After all, how many traditional marketers are equipped to understand the SEO implications of a simple website decision like using Flash or graphics.
And, while programmers have a deep understanding of the technology distinctions — say, client-side versus server side scripting — they are rarely concerned with the nature and quality of the content displayed.
Fortunately for both groups, the SEM community has a new bible of sorts at its disposal. Search Engine Optimization with PHP (and the soon to be released ASP version) is designed to be a bridge between these two communities. The book is a collaboration between Jaimie Sirovich, a search marketing consultant, and Christian Darie, a software engineer.
It seems unlikely that an experienced marketer will learn much about marketing. Nor will a good programmer learn much about programming. But with this book, each group has the opportunity to learn about the other’s area of expertise.
So, who should read this book? Well, if you are a search marketing consultant, you probably (hopefully) are quite familiar with the concepts covered. You may benefit from the fairly comprehensive coverage of systems or foreign language SEO. But in general, if you’ve been at this for a while, you will most of this book to be light reading.
Overachieving programmers, will certainly have more to benefit here. This is especially true in areas such as site planning, content relocation and inadvertent black hat mishaps.
Marketers will benefit the most from this reading. This is true even if they avoid all the sample code and acronyms. Ultimately, marketers are responsible for the search-engine rankings of their sites. And therefore, having a solid, yet high-level, understanding of SEO is critical to their success. It also helps to ensure that there is less feuding and more collaboration.