Wednesday, 20 February 2013

"Free Google" e-Book review

JM Internet Group published a guide to "Free SEO, Social Media, and AdWords Resources from Google for Small Business Marketing". I am offering it an honest review as a former net'preneur - I use the internet social media round-trip to help along this blog today and oilelefant.com a while back, and shared my experiences on SlideShare. I also create web maps, and without any further technical ado let's say Google were less than forthcoming in providing help with crossing an API upgrade... This echoes  author Jason McDonald's (JM) reason to write "Free Google..." in the first place! He set out to render explicit for the rest of us what is implicit to geekdom and help 'free Google' from itself.

As you flip through the pages, the first thing that strikes you is its less than 50 pages length, and the peppering of figures or URLs make the text eminently readable. That is important to break through the digerati barrier - as JM says "if you know the question then you'll find the answer"... but it helps to know where to ask it in the first place!

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The second striking thing is JM calls 'a spade a spade'. He makes no bones about the fact Search is an advertising medium: have you noticed what we see every time we google anything? Ads are so in-your-face that you might actually miss them! It helps that we are bombarded with them in other media, but JM quickly points out the other not-so-obvious social media truism - that ads are targeted to your searches and thus offer great value-add to Google themselves. While that gets Messrs. Page and Bryn out of bed every morning, JM asks us: why not use ourselves the tools they make so freely available?

So first JM lays out the basic structure of a results page, and the ins&outs of advanced search techniques, as well as that much underused Help. The SEO section starts with Google Local (21st c. Yellow Pages), and Google+ (son-of-Facebook) and YouTube (son-of-a-gun is unique).  Adwords  and Google Analytics are sufficiently intricate to merit a few more pages and a chapter of their own; but here the text is very prosaic and to the point in helping elucidate how those knotty (to me at least) tools can be used by all of us. The last section is a folksy Googling Googlers in a grab-bag of info and links JM didn't know where else to put but didn't want to leave you without.

Now for the shortcomings: call me a mapping fiend but Google Maps is sufficiently important IMHO that is merited some reference. They're not even the best tool in town, but perhaps they're subsumed in Local such that JM saw no merit in expanding upon - after all we drive cars without a care for how engines work, save the  type of fuel and where the fuel cap goes - but as the recent press on map wars between Apple and Google smartphone offerings can only underline their importance. Also the very gripe in my opening that Google Maps migration is difficult - due to its new focus on mobile apps - is also bypassed by JM: After all, where are you likely to use any of your new found knowledge, if not on your smartphone?

So in a nutshell:
  1. good one-stop resource
  2. does what it says on the label
  3. to-the-point and well structured
Railways over a century ago failed to understand that they were not in the business of rolling-stock, but that of moving goods never mind attendant services... We must also understand that this is not about searches but about ads - and it's a double edged sword where we are both the carriers for sure, but also the potential beneficiaries if we use the tips outlined in this e-book in the US and the UK - I cannot recommend it enough to help

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