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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Review: Search Engine Fast Start

Search Engine Fast Start! A concise, step by step guide to positioning your website with the new breed of search engines.
by Dan Thies, President SEO Research Labs
92-Page Ebook, FREE
4th Edition, Updated: January 5, 2004

Dan Thies is one of the power horses in the SEO industry, well known for his keyword research expertise. Because Dan has been on the forefront of current search engine trends, techniques and technology, I was surprised at how dated his Fast Start guide has become. Billed as an SEO “map that’s COMPLETELY up to date”, I was somewhat disappointed that much of the technological-based information inside isn’t just “old news” but often times is simply no longer applicable.

Search engines and search engine technologies change rapidly. Last updated in early 2004, the Fast Start guide really shows its age when Dan talks about Yahoo returning Google results, Inktomi becoming a major search player or paid inclusion programs at AltaVista and Fast. These are justs a few examples out of many at how Fast Start is due for a new edition.

While the technological aspects of Fast Start may be dated, many of Dan’s optimization strategies and techniques still hold true. You’ll have to separate strategies that are specific to outdated technologies being mentioned and those that are general principles and guidelines which are often timeless.

I found the chapter on Organizing your website the most interesting. Dan puts forth an excellent site organizational plan that is good sound advice then and now. As expected, the chapter on Keyword Research is also chock full of great—and still very much current—information, tips and tools.

Dan talks a lot about “destination” pages, and I like that concept quite a bit. The term “doorway pages” has been hijacked by the spammers and until now I’ve lacked a great way to describe pages that are designed to target additional keywords while also providing quality information to the user.

If you are looking for something current I can’t recommend Fast Start. You might want to check out the Search Engine Marketing Kit from Site Point, also authored by Dan. I have not had a chance to review this but I would suspect that Dan has been putting much of his effort into creating this Kit rather than keeping Fast Start current and up-to-date.

On the other hand, Fast Start does offer some compelling strategies as well as some great overall tips. If you’ve been around enough to know which part of the guide no longer applies, and what does, you’ll be able to glean some incredibly useful information.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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