Mike Moran and Bill Hunt
Search Engine Marketing Inc is published by IBM press and was one of the first decent technical books on Search Engine Marketing. The authors have good credentials in the SEO arena particularly Mike Moran who is an engineer with over 20 year experience in search technology and search engine rankings.
My first impressions of the book were good - you can tell straight away that the authors know their stuff - the structure and content of the book is excellent. I am often dismayed with technical or niche books which often looks like the content has been stretched into making a book - a lot of SEO literature is like this - but this book has facts and information packed in with loads of content - tables and diagrams are there to add to the content and not just as page fillers.
The book starts off with the basics and introduces some definitions like SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and also explains the different types of search engines (yep there is more to life than just Google!)
The book then moves on to analysing the content of a web page and showing the basic principles of how search engines work. This really is a well researched and detailed book - it is not until chapter 12 that we get the detail on Optimizing your content for the search engines but by this time you have much better idea of how and why these optimization methods work.
This chapter is possibly is the most important if you are actually just wanting to optimise your site for certain words. Again it is detailed and informative - with example tables and guidance for chosing a Title for each page (which is probably the most important on-page ranking element on a single web page). Each element is handled with it's own section.
Search Engine Marketing is an excellent reference book for all things related to SEM. Sensible advice is backed up with technical explanations from two authors who obviously know their stuff - their are many so called SEO experts about who would do well to read this volume. The obvious caveats are that a book like this needs to be updated regularly as it contains a lot of factual and reference material which will become outdated. It is perhaps not the best book for someone who just wants to do a quick SEO makeover on their website - you are well into the second half of the book before you get this sort of optimisation information.
It is best to remember this book is covering much more than Search engine rankings but the broader subject of search engine marketing and so chapters are devoted to identifying goals, measuring costs and goals.
If you want lots of background and technical advice this book is excellent - if you're a web site owner who wants some quick fixes there are probably more direct books.
One thing I would mention though that this book contains more valid Search Engine Ranking advice than the thousands of overblown SEO Ebooks promising to make you rich with an avalanche of free traffic - you'd be much better buying this volume than any of those.
Another SEO book reviewed here.Search Engine Optimisation - An Hour a day - Grappone and Couzin