Become Search Engine Smart By Reading “SEO Like I’m 5”


An excellent read with strategies to implement immediately. The perfect book for non-technie small business owners or entrepreneurs who want to get SEO smart in a DIY fashion so they can do it themselves.

seo like im 5

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I’ll bet you want more traffic to your website. I know I do. Because more of the right traffic means more potential customers and more of the right customers means more profit. That’s math that all of us understand.

But the whole idea of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been a mystery to many small business owners. In fact, almost every business owner I know has been “sold” by some smooth talking SEO expert who promised them the world and delivered nothing. (Their words, not mine.)

With Google changing their magical algorithm every few years, I have to admit that I’ve thrown up my hands at the whole SEO thing and decided to just follow the only piece of advice that’s remained consistent; write for your reader. But that’s still left me feeling out of control of my website traffic. I don’t like not understanding SEO, but I’m not quite ready for all the tech-speak either.

This is why I’m thrilled to tell you about a book that literally landed in my hands last week at a Entrepreneur Magazine event in New York. It’s called SEO Like I’m 5: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization. I met the author, Matthew Capala quite by accident when my friend Amy pulled him over into our conversation and said, “You have to hear how this guy explains SEO – like you’re 5! I finally think I can get it!”

What can I tell you – I reached out and grabbed that book.

You Won’t Become an Expert, But You’ll Get Good Enough to Know What You Want

This is the ultimate entrepreneur’s guide to SEO. It’s a relatively short book with TONS of screen shots in color so it will keep your interest. More importantly, it will educate you enough to know exactly where you stand, what’s missing and what you need to do to attract followers and leads as well as build a vibrant community around your brand. You’ll be smart enough to get help where you need it and (dare I say) never get “sold” again.

Who is Matthew Capala?

Matthew Capala is an Internet marketer and entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience working with the world’s biggest brands (Apple, Western Union, Smirnoff, Dell, LG and a few more). He’s also the founder of and an adjunct professor at NYU. He’s also a speaker and writes for several industry leading blogs and publications including The Next Web, Sparksheet and Problogger. You can connect with him on @SearchDecoder.

Matthew is the author of this book, but he’s interviewed more than 20 of the best minds in SEO to back up his recommendations.

SEO Explained for the Rest of Us

According to Capala, SEO is NOT dead and isn’t close to being dead now or in the future. What he says instead is that “old” SEO is dead, the bad (black hat) and ugly (spam) SEO is dead. There are no more short cuts. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore SEO.

The key point he makes throughout this book is that SEO isn’t about search, as much as it’s about the quality of your content. Capala can’t stress enough how intuitive search engines are getting. He gives you updated (and in some cases advanced) strategies that you can use to help your content rise to the top. I’ll get into more of that later.

Capala breaks the book up into what he calls the “5 C’s of SEO:”

  • Part 1: Content
  • Part 2: Code
  • Part 3: Credibility
  • Part 4: Connections
  • Part 5: Cash

Throughout the entire book, the ONE thing Capala wants the reader to get is that it’s not just about SEO, Google has gone and is going way beyond keywords and search phrases. That is content. Google is becoming closer to human and giving their customers search results based on context.

He gives several great examples that include something as basic as “Gravity” – through it’s new Hummingbird algorithm, Google can discern whether you mean the scientific term or the 2013 movie starring George Clooney.

Tools, Resources and Tips Galore

One of the things I really like about this book is that Capala lists hundreds of tools and resources throughout the book.   Personally, I’ve dog-earned more than a few pages where I’m going to go back and check some out.

Another wonderful component of this book are the tips Capala offers in each of the sections. Yes, you’ll find the kinds of SEO tips you might expect, such as:

“What Keywords are Your Competitors Using?

If you’re having trouble coming up with keywords from your customers, check out your competitors’ keywords. Type their names into Google. The text linked to their websites (also known as their page title tags) will have the top keyword phrases that they are targeting.”

Then he gives you no less than eight keyword suggestion tools. Some are free, some are paid, but all are very interesting and insightful. Here area few I’d never heard of:

  • Keyword Eye
  • Ubersuggest
  • Soovie

A Few Distractions That Got in the Way

Capala invested extra money in the printing process to include lots of colorful graphics. Unfortunately the benefit of that is lost because the text is so small and hard to read. This is really my only complaint about this book. There is a TON of content and information, but the text is a little small and some of the color graphics are a little fuzzy – so that made it hard to read.

One other thing you’ll find in the book is Capala requesting that you tweet out certain phrases with a hashtag (#SEOLike5).  On the one hand, I thought this was an AWESOME way to build social engagement with the book. It reminds me of a stage speaker asking the audience to respond to something they said.  But at some point, for me, it became a distraction.  I’ll leave it for you to decide how you like it.

Is This Book for YOU?

OK, let me say that the title is a little misleading. This book is NOT for five year olds. It’s not for dummies. The trouble (if you want to call it that) with SEO folks is that they are really, really smart people. And explaining some of these complicated concepts can’t be easy. Capala pulls it off. But don’t think you can give this to your five year old and they’ll do the SEO for you. That’s not going to happen.

If you’re a non-technie small business owner or entrepreneur, you’ll want to read this book so you can be smart enough to understand what’s happening on your site. What you have, what you don’t have, what you need and what you want to do. This book will help you hire people and not worry about whether or not they can do the work that you want. You’ll be smart enough to ask intelligent questions and truly understand SEO enough to leverage it as a strategic leg of your marketing.

If you’re an SEO expert, you might want to pick up a copy, see how it fits with your own philosophy and then use it to hand out to your clients so they can get on the same page with you.

SEO Like I’m 5 is a book I read all the way through – and you will too. It’s written at the perfect level for the small business owner who wants to get SEO smart, pull out strategies to implement and either do it themselves or hire someone they can trust to get it done.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."