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A review of Danny Dover’s Search Engine Optimization Secrets book

Danny Dovers BookWhen Danny Dover proclaimed he was going to publish a book that “literally explains everything I know about SEO”, I bought in to that sales pitch hook, line and sinker. I’ve been an admirer of Danny for years and consider him the smartest of the (ex-)SEOmozzers around. So a book that contains everything he knows about SEO will surely be a true gem.

I pre-ordered the book, titled Search Engine Optimization Secrets, and it arrived yesterday morning. I’m writing this review less than 36 hours after having started reading, so you might leap to the conclusion that it’s a thin, lightweight publication. It’s not. At well over 400 pages and containing precious little fluff, it’s quite a dense work. But Danny writes in an enthusiastic, energetic style that sucks you in and gets you through the book quicker than you realise.

So does it live up to its promise? Does the book really contains everything Danny Dover knows about SEO?

Well if it does, either Danny doesn’t know all that much about the intricacies of SEO, or he has a very narrow definition of what SEO is. Since Danny is undoubtedly a very clever fellow, I suspect it’s the latter. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book by any stretch.

Danny has written his book for SEOs who have some experience – though you don’t need to be beyond the beginner level to understand the whole book. And that’s my main problem with it: it’s a beginner’s book.

It’s quite thorough in its handling of SEO. Every white-hat aspect of SEO is discussed and Danny’s perspective on it explained. Best practices take up a solid portion of the book, which makes it great reference material for beginning SEOs that want to have all the basic bits and pieces of knowledge close to hand.

But it’s not ‘advanced’, whatever that means. It discusses everything in the same way a prime-time news programme discusses current events: quick, bite-sized, and easily digestible. But there’s always a deeper story, a hidden truth, and this book doesn’t even begin to touch upon those subjects. It’s shallow and leaves you somewhat unfulfilled, like a hasty McDonalds meal.

Yet what Danny does do, and does very well, is apply a structured approach to SEO. The book’s greatest strength lies in its description of the SEO audit process and the templates it provides. Even for seasoned SEOs this is likely to be useful stuff, quite helpful to give your audits that extra level of polish and professionalism.

I paid a bit over £16 for this book on Amazon, and I think it’s worth that. It’s a suitable, if somewhat shallow, “phase 2” follow-up to an entry-level book such as The Art of SEO. It won’t turn you in to the seasoned SEO pro that Danny is, but it might help you get there eventually.



  1. Jim Rudnick April 6, 2011

    Fair evaluation I believe here, Barry…I haven’t as yet read it, but I do like your review….seems to have captured much of what I assumed would be true of same….


  2. Leo Fogarty April 6, 2011

    I got the book yesterday and too was a little let down. It’s got great examples if you were setting up as an agency (for pitching or client reporting) but the link building section was very weak at 2 pages, with all the usual, ask your clients for links etc. For risky/aggresive strategies, it lists buying links for directories.

  3. Ryan Bradley April 6, 2011

    Personally I don’t think there will ever be a “perfect” SEO book. You usually need a collection of a few books to fully wrap your head around the topic. Everyone is going to leave something out, that’s what volume two’s are for.

  4. Steven Britton June 4, 2011

    [quote name=”Jim Rudnick”]Fair evaluation I believe here, Barry…I haven’t as yet read it, but I do like your review….seems to have captured much of what I assumed would be true of same….


    How would you consider this a fair evaluation if you haven’t read that book, Jim? Looks like Barry has himself a link builder here… too bad it’s a ‘nofollow’, Jim.


  5. Jim Rudnick June 4, 2011

    @Steve…sorry you didn’t take the time to understand what I wrote…I know Barry’s work and I know that I agree with him about 95% of the time when it comes to SEO counsel and advice. You wouldn’t know that, I do realize, but what you seem to have missed is that as I usually always (well almost) agree with his take on all things SEO, when he wrote about Danny’s book, what he found and stated above – would seem as I said to have agreed with what Danny has been “preaching” when he was an SEOmozzer….other than the one time when his IMHO odd statistical review was both noticed and swelled into a larger blog “thingy”! This is not to pillory Danny – nor to point out that his own take on SEO is similar to Rands or Rusty’s or Jills or any of the top notch SEO practitioners out there….what I mean is that if “Barry said the book was spot-on – then it is!”

    That all said, have the book have read it just after reading Barry’s review and yup, Danny did fine!

    Oh, and I dont’ need or search out for DOFOLLOWs….I look for top quality SEO blogs where I can ‘be’ a part of the community….links back to my own blog aint’ important and I think ALL should be NOFOLLOWs in the blog community world….least most say….

    So…sorry that you found my comments looking like a link-builders – wait lets be fair here, idiots who do that aint’ link-builders but link-spammers…and that surely aint me or anyone within my firm….



  6. Steven Britton June 6, 2011


    I stand corrected and do apologize for mistaken you for a spammer. As I’m sure you’re aware, blog sites (especially SEO related) seem to be like fly paper these days and it drives me nuts when I see people like Barry and Danny contributing – granted Danny getting paid well for his contributions – to the SEO community, and spammers drop by with no real value just to drop links.

    Anyhow, it’s nice to meet another Whitehat out there and I’ll def check out your website.



  7. Jim Rudnick June 6, 2011


    not a problem, Steve….and yes, if you want to know more about Canadian SEO, then do drop by!


  8. Martin July 18, 2011

    I really enjoyed reading this book and found it very useful. Admittedly I wouldn’t describe myself as an advanced seoer but then is it realistic to expect any book to cover every aspect of seo in great depth? For me this book works because it provides a comprehensive guide to the key linchpins of seo – in other words it gives me a great base on which to build and expand my knowledge. So from my perspective it gets the thumbs up. Martin

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