Earlier this year Paddy Moogan told me he was writing a book and asked me if I wanted to read it. Knowing his articles here on State of Search and on other blogs I off course immediately said yes to that. His writing has always been insightful and valuable, so an entire book of that type of content would be a treat. When I got the book it was in an e-book format, which makes sense because the subject, Paddy’s speciality link building, is a timely topic, so a hard copy book would be outdated before even published. The thing is with an e-book, unlike holding a real life hard copy book, you can’t immediately see how much is in there, there is not give away if the book is long or short other than going through the book. That is why it has taken me a long time to actually write the review: there is so incredibly much (valuable) content in the book which I couldn’t imagine when seeing the cover of the book (don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice cover, but it doesn’t show you how much is behind). Although the title could have been a give away, it truly is “THE” Linkbuilding book. So yes, it has taking me a longer time than expected to get through it, but it’s worth it. I just wish… No, I’ll wait with that part, read the review below and find out.
Who is it for
Paddy himself says in the introduction part of the book:
“I’ve written this book to be useful to anyone who wants to know more about getting high quality links to their website. I’m also going to talk quite generically at times, which is deliberate and involves not only getting links, but also building a website or an asset that deserves to get links. This covers people who work for agencies (like me), people who work in- house, or those of you who run your own websites and want to be hands on.”
What he basically says here: this book is for everyone. Which it is. I would say it specifically feeds the needs of those starting out in linkbuilding. Some of my training sessions are basic SEO training sessions and the attendees of those sessions could really benefit from this book. But it is true that even experienced link builders can get something out of this.
The book is easy to read. We are used from Paddy’s articles that he knows how to combine knowledge with easy to read content and he has taken that method through into the book.
As said, the book is long! I must admit I overestimated myself when starting to read the book. I thought a flight to Iceland would be enough to go through it and do a write up. It wasn’t. It took me way longer to go through it all, which actually makes an interesting point: how you read this book is important.
How to read the book
The book has a lot to it and you could go and sit down and read the book from beginning to end, as I did. That however will take you a lot of time (as it took me). You would be better off scanning the book first and then determining your level of knowledge and finding that what fits your needs best. In case you are starting off in link building that would probably mean you would start at the beginning, where Paddy explains all about links: why are they important, how Google’s pursuit of high quality content is tied with links and link profiles. He even goes into the history of link building and talks an entire chapter about PageRank. If you are looking for hands on advice you skip directly to page 47 where the Chapter “Planning and executing a link building campaign” starts. Here Paddy takes you on a step-by-step route to doing a link building campaign. It starts with selling and goes through to analysing, targeting and following up.
With so much content there is a lot to highlight. I’m just going to highlight some of the things which stood out for me:
Good links don’t come easy
Link building has a reputation. And not always a good reputation. For years it was relatively easy to ‘fool’ the search engines (Google) by buying links, entire sites or other shady tactics. Tactics that in some cases will still work. But I was glad to see Paddy took the time to write about the quality of links and that good quality organic links have to be earned, they don’t come easy.
Inhouse or agency?
As said, there is something to be found for everyone in the book. One chapter which really triggered me was ‘Building a Link Building Team’, which goes into who is the best for your team and how to keep them motivated. One of the reasons I find this interesting is because even though link building is one of the most important parts in SEO, it for me is also one of the most boring parts. At least, if you are not a “Link Builder at heart” that is. Paddy’s chapter here confirmed to me that you need to be passionate about it to be good at it, but that, as with every team, you need to look at how to keep your team motivated. It ads nicely to the chapters about setting up a campaign. Paddy is really giving away how you can build a team with a process here, making it really easy for you to get started in a structured way. The fact that he not only supplies text, but also templates is a bonus on that.
Another chapter which caught my attention, not surprisingly knowing my background, is the chapters on Social Signals and Authorrank. Even though Paddy doesn’t go in too deep here, there is still some valuable information there. He explains how social impact is there, but relatively short term at the moment. He also stresses not to avoid thinking about the social impact, which is a lesson which is important for many link builders I think.
Actual real life stuff
One of the things I liked in the book is that Paddy uses a lot of real life examples, both actual case studies from his work, which not everyone feels like sharing, as well as links to important posts about specific topics. That is the beauty of an e-book off course, but it also shows he’s done his research and it adds valuable content to the reader. I could do with an overview of all of them though :).
The tough topics
Paddy also isn’t afraid to touch on delicate topics. He for example addresses the topics of buying links and buying sites without either condemning or recommending either of them. He does explain the dangers of it.
It is hard to say something bad about Paddy, simply because he is such a smart and clever guy. But sometime you have to be tough. Looking at his book I see a lot of good stuff in there. My main point of criticism would be that he has written too much. There is so much valuable content there you would think there is enough to write different books for different purposes: one about the art of link building, one more practical and one more strategical for example. If you are not too sure about what you are looking for when it comes to link building it will be difficult to actually filter down what is important or not in the book. An e-book might benefit from more guidance in that, as in ‘who are you and if you are person X, you should read this, this and this chapter. Or you just read the entire thing off course 😉 (like I did).
The book needs a real cover and print, because even though link building is changing and some information will be outdated soon, part of the book is timeless and needs to be on every link builders bookshelf. Because there is so much content in the book it really needs the right focus when reading it, but if you found what you need, it is all there. So as a conclusion I can say that Paddy did really really well here. I’m impressed. But maybe he should have written a few books, not just one. But hopefully there is a publisher out there who wants to take this challenge and make Paddy publish a series on link building. I know I will be advising this book to the people in my training sessions, that’s for sure. Paddy Moogan’s “The Linkbuilding Book” is for sale on his website http://www.linkbuildingbook.com/