As soon as I heard the title “Google Hacks” was being released, I ordered a rush copy from Amazon. I could not wait to see what a book with such a bold title contained. And I could not be more pleased with what I have read. From practical search tips to interfacing with the Google API, this book is a wealth of information.
One of my favorite chapters is “26 Steps to 15K a Day”. No, not another Amway multi-level marketing scheme, but a guide to getting 15K hits per day to your web site. With quotes like “Speed isn’t everything, it’s almost the only thing”, and “Add one page of quality content per day” (which comically appears mutltiple times within the same list), this chapter irreverently states the obvious: links get you nowhere without quality content.
Another gem within this book is the coverage of the Google Page Rank algorithm and links to “bad neighborhoods”. Concepts that wouldn’t obviously come to mind when designing your web site, but great to know if your intent is solely to increase visibility via Google.
The only downside to the book is that most of the book is written in Perl. And that doesn’t really qualify as a down-side as it is completely readable, I am just selfish and would like to see the code in C#. This book is worth learning Smalltalk or Eiffel for the information that it holds. (And a small bonus: Chris Sells is quoted in this book in the small amount of .NET code it contains. That guy is everywhere!)
To the programmer, many ideas spring from your mind on ways to integrate Google search boxes within your site and (hopefully) increase page ranking. Besides the geek factor of interest, there are light-hearted asides as well. There is an interesting chapter on “Google Pranks and Games”, with “Google Whacking” and “GooPoetry“. Goopoetry builds “poetry” (my 10th grade English teacher would have a fit calling this poetry), as you can see in this example that searches for “Don Box” in Shakespeare style:
MP3 developmentor sirrah thee
sirrah Dobbs Dr. TechNetcast hark! COM
Spoutlet Spoutlet Spoutlet – thee Spoutlet
services Spout SOAP Archives The sirrah a Spoutlet
Dr. a Archives Spoutlet developmentor
TechNetcast Spoutlet …
thee services developer Microsoft Don Box’s Spout
Spoutlet Spoutlet Don hark! Spout sirrah Joins
What wasn’t included in the pages was Google Bombing. After reading about David Gallagher’s self-imposed Google Bomb to be “the most popular David Gallagher on the web” (akin to boosting egosurf ratings), I couldn’t help but see where “Kirk Evans” ranked: number 2, 3, and 4. The really funny thing is the number 5 ranking: a thread debating the intellect of another “Kirk Evans”. Not really a Google hack, but an interesting way to look at Google. But I digress…
If nothing else, this book will help you search Google much more effectively. I have read this book once, cover-to-cover (the first tech book in quite a while that I have done that), and plan to re-read sections of it just to see what I missed.
A+ for this book.