In my quest to teach myself SEO and web copywriting, the first book I acquired was Audience, Relevance and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content by James Matthewson, Frank Donatone and Cynthia Fishel.
The description and reviews on Amazon promised a book that would help write better targeted web content. In this matter, I was a bit disappointed. The book is more SEO-focused than writing-focused. However, the basic principles it lays out can help build a solid foundation for better content.
Be warned: the book assumes some knowkedge of web design. I didn’t know what a wireframe was at the time of reading and I had trouble following the no-doubt useful chapter about site architecture optimization.
The first two chapters are mostly theoretical and deal with the difference between web and print content. They define what the authors mean by “relevance” and set up relevance as the major factor in planning and writing web content.
The authors go through all the steps for determining and optimizing relevance: keyword research, audience engagement, optimized site architecture, link building, social media and measuring results.
As you can see, these chapters discuss what happens around writing web content, not writing itself. Maybe my expectations were wrong, however. But even taking the book’s content itself, I wish the authors had delved a bit deeper in the how-to of things, especially about using search and web analytics tools.
As an introduction to web content planning and management, this book does a great job. However, don’t look for tutorials or more pratical strategies; they are woefully missing.
I certainly learned quite a bit about search engine optimization from this book. Unfortunately, it was not exactly what I was looking for and I found myself frustrated with the book’s content. Despite this problem, I will certainly keep it close in my electronic bookshelf for later reference, when I actually start building web content strategies for clients.
Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content.
James Matthewson, Frank Donatone and Cynthia Fishel
IBM Press, 2010