Jan 19, 2024

The Best SEO Books that you should read in 2024 [Guide]

Maria Ruocco

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important part of any digital marketing strategy. As algorithms and best practices continually evolve, staying updated on the latest SEO insights is key for ranking higherand driving more qualified traffic to your website.

As we approach 2024, it's time to refresh your knowledge base with some of the most insightful SEO books out there. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced marketer, these books offer valuable lessons that can help you stay ahead of the curve.

In this guide, we are going to talk about the following good SEO books:

  1. Building a storybrand by Donald Miller

  2. Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares

  3. The 22 immutable laws of marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout

  4. Contagious by Jonah Berger

  5. They ask you answer by Marcus Sheridan

  6. This is marketing by Seth Godin

  7. The language of trust by Michael Maslansky

  8. Influence, The psychology of persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini

  9. Hacking growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown

  10. Friction by Roger Dooley

But first, let me give you some informations about criteria of eligibility that we have used to choose the best options for you.

Evaluating the Top SEO Books

There are a lot of books about SEO and determining which ones deserve a spot on your reading list can be challenging.

Here are 5 criteria to assess any SEO book:

  • Relevance - Does it cover current search ranking factors and industry trends?

  • Authority - Is the author well-recognized and reputed in the SEO community?

  • Comprehensiveness - Does it provide strategic frameworks alongside tactical tips?

  • Evidence-Based - Are the techniques validated through case studies and data?

  • Readability - Is it well-organized and easy to follow for newcomers?

These are the criteria, so...let's go!

1. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Written by Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand illustrates how to craft compelling brand identity that captures attention instantly. This book teaches readers how to transform product features into resonant narratives that prospects easily understand and connect with.

Here are some key ideas covered:

  • Leverage the elements of conventional storytelling to resonate with consumer psychology for enhanced recall and action

  • Introduce the 7-part “StoryBrand Framework” to articulate brand messaging clearly across channels

  • Teach how to manage skeptical persons about your brand through better storytelling

People don’t want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith: faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.

Building a StoryBrand excellently complements advanced SEO content strategies focused on topics like keyword optimization, link building and voice search optimization.

For additional tips on fortifying brand storytelling in video formats, this YouTube SEO guide is a great practical resource aligned to Miller’s core messaging principles.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

  1. Traction by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares

While not exclusively about SEO, Traction provides invaluable insights into acquiring customers through various marketing channels – including search engines – making it an essential read for any digital marketer aiming for growth.

Weinberg and Mares emphasize balancing product development with customer acquisition efforts. The book introduces the Bullseye Framework — a systematic method for discovering your most effective marketing channels — which includes actionable steps towards improving your site’s traction on SERPs.

For example, learning how often one should post on Twitter could be part of a strategy identified using this framework, integrating social signals as part of an overall approach towards enhancing search visibility.

While not SEO-focused directly, it outlines 19 marketing channels and a tactical framework to identify and double down on the most effective acquisition strategy for any business.

Key highlights:

  • Emphasizes the importance of dedicating 50% of resources towards product research and development and 50% towards distribution. This prevents creators from losing traction by solely focusing inwards rather than outwards.

  • Introduces the Bullseye Framework, a structured process to brainstorm, prioritize and execute on targeted customer acquisition channels customized to your offerings.

  • Covers organic and paid channels ranging from content marketing to partnerships to validate traction rapidly.

For SEO specifically, Traction stresses the significance of focusing on long-term, sustainable growth through building trust and value rather than exploiting shortcuts.

SEO comes down to creating high-quality, valuable content that happens to align with keyword demand.

Understanding what motivates customer actions is interlinked with optimizing web pages by providing real utility to users first.

For extended insights, these SEO cases study demonstrates how the principles from Traction were applied to build a profitable blog from scratch.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

3. The 22 Immutable laws pf marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout

The 22 immutable laws of marketing, written by Al Ries and Jack Trout, is a pivotal read for those invested in the art and science of marketing within the digital landscape. The book illustrates the essence of successful branding and positioning into 22 fundamental laws that have withstood the test of time.

Key insights include:

  • The law of leadership: it's better to be first than it is to be better

  • The law of the category: if you can't be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in

  • The law of mind: it's better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.

Understanding and applying these laws can guide SEO strategists in creating content that not only ranks but also firmly establishes their brand in the minds of consumers. For instance, recognizing the importance of positioning can influence keyword selection, enabling marketers to dominate niche categories within search results.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

4. Contagious by Jonah Berger

Why do certain online content go viral while others flop? Jonah Berger analyses this question, in his book Contagious, by breaking down the science of virality and word-of-mouth.

By applying Berger’s six principles, digital marketers can craft contagious content optimized for higher organic reach.

Some core ideas from Contagious include:

  • Social currency: content that makes people look interesting when shared

  • Triggers: content designed to cue people to think of related ideas

  • Emotion: content that appeals to high-arousal emotions like awe or anger

  • Public Visibility: content that leverages the influence of public actions

Digital word of mouth and online buzz are not random. Virality is predictable.

For SEO, viral content that gets widely shared can rapidly earn high-quality backlinks leading to better search rankings. Additionally, aligning topics to trend searches and news as a trigger for increased relevance and click-through-rate.

To complement Contagious, this post explores viral SEO tactics to earn media publicity and exponential organic growth.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

5. They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan covers an approach where brands directly address buyer questions and objections proactively through content.

With keyword research being the starting point of any SEO strategy, this book essentially illustrates how to transform high-intent topics into high-converting pages.

Some key details include:

  • Stress that most marketing fails because it's disconnected from actual prospect struggles

  • Teach how to identify buyer questions and craft content that drives action

  • Discuss structuring content across channels to plug knowledge gaps

They Ask, You Answer is a blueprint for dramatically increasing sales by showing you how to harness the power of content to build trust and demand in your market.

The book provides extensive examples of how leading with value through content recommendations has become the modern buyer’s journey.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

  1. This is Marketing by Seth Godin

Written by bestselling author Seth Godin, This is marketing cuts through the noise around conventional branding to get to the core of emotional, intuitive decision making that defines modern consumers. Godin’s philosophies around crafting messages that consumers choose to believe in rather than feel sold to remain highly relevant in 2023.

Some key ideas covered include:

  • Starts from the understanding that traditional interrupting ads are ignored, so marketers must add value and win trust first

  • Emphasizes the importance of knowing smallest viable audience (SVA) to get breakthrough momentum

  • Focuses on converting early adopters into enthusiastic evangelists to drive organic growth

Instead of interrupting strangers with ads that might get their attention, we can invest in understanding people and producing work that resonates enough that they seek it out.

This philosophy aligns strongly with user-focused SEO where the end goal is to produce content that offers real value to human readers rather than gaming search algorithms.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

7. The language of trust by Michael Maslansky

In today’s era of fake news and misinformation, Michael Maslanksy discusses how brands can communicate credibilitythrough content strategies focused on transparency.

By transparently answering consumer questions in a logical and relational way, it is possible to promote trust. This way of approaching the audience is what Google favors and takes into account when evaluating page quality.

Key Takeaways

  • Transparent content builds authentic trust

  • Addressing concerns head-on signals honesty

  • Scrutiny scares brands but satisfies algorithms

This book essentially discusses how to build goodwill amongst wary consumers in a way that aligns perfectly with modern-day search ranking factors centered around E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness).

Image credits: Rick Kettner

  1. Influence, The psychology of persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Robert Cialdini, with his book Influence, unveils human behavior principles that drive decision making.
While focused on the ethics of influence, digital marketers can apply Cialdini’s models responsibly to produce more compelling and conversion-focused content.

The central ideas examined include:

  • Reciprocity: people tend to return favors and gestures in kind

  • Commitment: people desire to appear consistent with prior actions

  • Social Proof: people look to what others do to guide their own actions

  • Authority: People defer opinions to credible experts

Image credits: Rick Kettner

9. Hacking growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown

Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, in this book, introduces a process focused on growth hacking and rapidly running small experiments to accelerate expansion. This scientific approach towards improvement through continual testing is highly applicable to evolving SEO strategies as well.

Regularly experimenting with new title formulas, meta descriptions, or content formats provides the data needed to double down on what best resonates with users and algorithms.

Key Takeaways

  • Testing content variations reveals optimization insights

  • Experimenting with formats and topics prevents stagnancy

  • Continual optimization becomes a competitive advantage

Essentially, this book discusses key mindset shifts that enable agility in the face of ever-changing SEO scenarios.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

  1. Friction by Roger Dooley

Roger Dooley, in this book, discusses the concept of friction – small obstacles that stifle users from completing desired actions – and how eliminating these roadblocks can majorly impact goals.

These same principles apply when designing content aimed at ranking. Any friction hindering engagement metrics signals irrelevance to Google.

Simplifying concepts that quickly meet user intent facilitates friction that may prevent visitors from fully understanding the main objective of your content.

Key Takeaways

  • Friction prevents engagement goals from being met

  • Simplifying journeys and complex topics reduces friction

  • Higher engagement signals relevancy for rankings

So while not directly about content or SEO, this book’s focus on smoothing user experience has major implications on your ability to rank.

Image credits: Rick Kettner

Read more: 7 Strategies for SEO [Guide to analyse your website]

So, there you have it! 🎉

Ten phenomenal SEO books to performe your strategy as we head into 2024.
While some focus directly on search optimization tactics, others demonstrate how principles from broader marketing contexts like psychology or growth hacking apply.

Modern SEO requires continuous experimentation. This reading list encapsulates the diversity of knowledge needed to excel today. The insights you gain will provide that cutting-edge needed to drive growth regardless of what 2024 may bring!

See you soon 👋🏻

Spanish version 🇪🇸

Maria Ruocco