Professional SEO with ASP.NET


This book is a sister counterpart and follow-up to Professional SEO with PHP, also written by Christian Darie and Jaimie "SEO Egghead" Sirovich. As before, the duo leverages their cross-platform, cross-languages programmatic expertise to present a holistic view of SEO primarily with the developer audience in mind.

Among the key assumptions the authors make, and the most fundamental therefore, is that the reader has at least some level of experience with applications coding. However, advanced knowledge is not presumed. For the marketer who has at least some experience with various important areas of SEO beyond front-end (e.g. content optimization), coming from a background beyond the level of HTML jockey and/or copywriter, this book offers numerous unique insights - and examples - that generally aren't published elsewhere.

The Chapters

Chapters of Professional SEO with ASP.NET

Following introductory credits and background information on the authors, some of their experience, influences and sources, Chapter 1 starts off on the idea of the Web marketer as both communicative and technical. While the book leans toward the technical side, this underscores one of the key arguments of the read: The successful search marketer must be both, not unlike the ongoing importance of optimizing "for both humans and engines" (Among other noted SEO voices, Google's Matt Cutts is quoted frequently throughout the book). Chapter 1 also covers SEO from the high-level strategic definitions and appropriate process view, before leading the reader into active production mode with "Prepping Your Playground" - getting an ASP.NET environment set up and configured for SEO exercises.

Following an overview of SEO fundamentals, Chapters 3 through 7 cover a wide range of mostly straight-up technical topics, from basic to more advanced concerns. In terms of content richness, the standout among these is Chapter 3: Proactive SE-Friendly URLs (and oft under-serviced area).

Chapter 8 is where things change up a bit, explaining some issues of Black Hat SEO both in methods, principles, risks and to a light degree, politics. While perhaps falling oddly dead-center in the flow of the book, as it is followed up by a chapter on Sitemaps, it any case gives the matter due coverage and makes a point that doesn't get discussed in the media often: It is the prerogative of the White Hat SEO to understand Black Hat techniques, at least to the end that the White Hat has a vested interest in maintaining the security and integrity of his or her managed properties (namely, along the lines of escaping characters and sanitizing user inputs properly so as to prevent XSS-based link injections, or worse, actual hacking). This is but one example of several important humps the book aims to get readers over, in continually emphasizing the importance of how one thinks about SEO.

Following discussion of Sitemaps, Chapter 10 gives an overview of link bait and some of the most familiar and prevalent forms thereof. It concludes with a brief, generally simple working example.

Chapters 11 and 12 cover matters of IP delivery and its prevalent SEO applications, cloaking and geo-targeting. Here the book takes the discussions and examples global, so these areas are to a degree written for the international search marketer.

From Chapters 13 on, the book gradually wraps up covering QA matters, e-Commerce considerations to the extent of a full store-building tutorial, and what to do when one already has a site on-hand in need of treatment.

Differences from Professional SEO with PHP

Before the book's release and while he was floating sample Chapters out earlier this year, Jaimie and I briefly chatted about how essentially this book would be very similar to the PHP version, as one would obviously expect. However and more recently upon its release and as I awaited my full (final and physical) copy, he did hint at this book being a bit more complete. Generally I did find that it exhibited a bit more polish upon comparison, however its best parts still really keep to the main agenda: focused attention given to tackling SEO from an Microsoft-learned site builder's POV. It's a refreshing thing. Against the comparative wealth of available information on SEO for and by the PHP community, this book is a first in that it liberates ASP.NET some, from a kind of implied second class state (per a pure-play SEO outlook):

Highlights here include

  • A more thoroughly detailed and formatted TOC, clearly laying out what's in chapters' sections and subsections.
  • More complex (than XAMPP + MySQL db) however still clearly step-by-step setups: Visual Developer, SQL Server and Management Studio (Express Editions), IIS and onward.
  • Coverage of Helicon's IASPI_Rewrite and applications of URLRewriter.NET alternatively - akin a bit to what would be .htaccess level (with mod_rewrite) vs. PHP-level redirection, back in the other world. This was an interesting find, as up until now I knew of no alternative components to Ionic's IIRF.
  • Coverage of not just how to rewrite dynamically generated URLs to include targeted keywords ("Rewriting Keyword-Rich URLs" formerly), but moreover how to even optionally ditch numeric IDs in URLs altogether ("Rewriting ID-Free URLs") via either generic handlers or HTTP modules. Nice.

Lastly, it's worth noting that the writers didn't address the subject of SEO-friendly blogging as directly this time around (WordPress being PHP-based, a whole chapter on it is in the sister edition).


  • Stresses that SEO can never be (or must stop getting treated as) an afterthought, and that it's a strategic matter to be worked into business requirements definitions at the get-go. This is so, so key and gets at a sheds light on a big pet peeve of mine: Many outside the direct space, even full-time Web Marketers in other disciplines, still have their thinking stuck back in the 90s here (i.e. as if SEO has remained so conveniently much about Titles and metadata writing/tweaking, rendering SEO but a line item OK to wait 'til project end stages to address formally). It's critical that the SEO community continue to fight to help people get that this is not what we mean when we say "that which doesn't exist can't be optimized" when trying to speak to other tasks e.g. (most often) content strategy.
  • Breaks its 15-point Site Clinic down into "do now" vs. "do later" items. SEOs always have slightly different ways to go about Site Reviews (or Best Practices Audits as I offer them), but drawing clear lined between the "easy/immediate" vs. "in a holding pattern until we can rebuild" points is always part of doing them.
  • Makes clear distinction between Sitemaps types - for humans vs. for engines.
  • Feed me, Seymour: Thoroughly covers the role of RSS in SEO. Very important (BTW, IMHO aside from being a core SMO element it may ultimately prove the virtual death of email marketing).
  • Lays down the law re. Flash/AJAX and all their no/duplicate content tedium respectively. Another undercurrent out there is that of dabbling in experimental POCs in trying to validate these mediums as viable for SEO. More power to those peeps and their uphill battle and all, but as the authors here help validate, in the meantime all that is of anecdotal interest only - an area to keep grounded. Myself, I've yet to see a claim of an SEO-friendly Flash/AJAX-based site that I haven't been able to shoot full of criticism holes within a few minutes of investigation. I'm glad the guys didn't beat around the re. these technologies being inherently problematic for SEO. When it comes to organic search, Flash and AJAX are hubris traps befalling reckless cleverness and ambition.
  • Articulates IP delivery vs. geo-targeting vs. cloaking, and moreover explains why IP delivery over user agent detection is the better way to cloak.
  • Strong unification of the IT and development realms with those of the communicative marketer's - but without forgetting that much of what can make or break a tech read is tightly written, well commented code, code, code (including the sheer badassity of regular expressions) also available for download.


  • Little detail offered on the subject of Keyword Research tools, and essentially no mention of associated metrics matters e.g. KEI (yeah, I know... nowadays, meh) and other calculations at SEOs' disposal.
  • Light on discussions of site-side tracking tools, concepts and performance measurement issues (granular positioning vs. traffic sources monitoring, also when ROI measurement is a valid agenda or not). The tracking tools area is handled early in the book, and split testing (A/B as opposed to multivariate) is addressed much later on, but overall as an Analyst I felt more attention to SEO as a data-driven marketing discipline could've been given.
  • Still somewhat lacking in information for SEOs deeply invested in global brand management initiatives. Aside from geo-targeting, some important attention to issues like charsets, hosting, TLD extensions and diacritics normalization are all given, granted. However other noteworthy subjects here are left mostly or wholly untouched, such as:
    • IDN (internationalized domain names)
    • Current industry challenges re. non-English keywords research
    • In-URL sensitivities re. double-byte (Eastern) characters and Unicode specifically; how usage of these in certain areas can have different effects on both human and inhuman visitors (also different effects in between search engines), from positive to negative.
    • Other development issues like deconcatenation of transactional applications i.e. code-content decoupling to enable linguistic syntax flexibilities. Though these are primarily cultural usability concerns perhaps falling more in the lap of IA (Information Architecture), the book could've paid it some lip service on the grounds that even though a spider can't submit a form, form page content can still be optimized.
  • Though it gives a solid encapsulation, the Link Bait section is also still a bit light. Coming from a creative background academically and today from a full-service digital agency perspective, I see linkbait's virtues including it being a great wedge for breaking down process silos between disciplines Tech and Creative. Linkbaiting is a catalyst that elevates the Creative Writer as Social Engineer. The text doesn't exactly put that foot forward as would've been my preference.
  • Hard and soft-copy code available from the exercises, but no online PDF of the book in entirety. All tech pubs should provide both, not just one or the other (and shame on publishers whose offerings come with neither).

Judgment Day

Perfectionism is idealism perpetually unfulfilled. In keeping with that my scythe's oft at least nit-picking in between occasional swinging, but in light of what I found to sing praises of (what Wrox per se) I admittedly had to work some to call out deficiencies. It's a worthy successor to Professional SEO with PHP and likewise one of the best SEM books on the market to-day. If/when in (or needing to get out of) MS hell, make this your SEO bible (and keep the Faith).

Professional SEO with ASP.NET

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Based out of Northern California, is a bl.og dedicated to the advocacy and study of high-impact, data driven marketing disciplines and related concerns: Analytics and Data Mining, Marketing Automation, Integrated Advertising (targeting, retargeting), Demand Generation and Lead Nurturing, Social Media / Social Engineering (Crowd-hacking) and the new PR, Privacy, Security, CRM, SEO / SEM, CRO, ROI... more TLAs (three letter acronyms) than any sane person's daily lexicon should include.

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