On the High Street the location of your business is very important when it comes to attracting passing shoppers. On the electronic high street, this translates to being listed within the first few links returned by a web search engine.
OK, I wrote "a search engine", but most likely you read Google. In December 2007 Google topped the US search engine rankings, with almost 60% of the searches. Yahoo came in a distant second, with 22%, followed by Microsoft with 10%. We commonly take these numbers to apply to the rest of the world, and so we come to the conclusion that topping the Google ranking is the most effective way to be found by the Internet shopper.
GNOG is a short book containing a number of procedures and bits of advise that web site managers should follow in order to raise their sites' Google ranking. Most of the advice contained in the book is eminently sound, although, given that the Google algorithms are not known, it is difficult to judge how effective any of it can be. On the other had, the book's advice follows the gist of what can be found on Google's own web master pages, so by that measure it cannot be too much off.
If you are ready to read all of the material that Google itself makes available to web masters, you probably do not need this book. The book is however quite accessible, mostly avoiding technical jargon and marketing mumbo jumbo (with the exception of a few sentences here and there, like on on page 8 where we encounter "Google is an advertising vertical in its own right that, if used properly, can provide an abundance of highly converting traffic." Uh?).
As I said, most of the advice in the book makes sense, and it would apply to a web site even if it were not trying to enter the Google top ten list: choose well your keywords, have meaningful text for your links, stay on message, and in general---although this is finally mentioned only one third down the book---write good content for your site.
The book covers a number of free tools available in order to study how Google has ranked your site: unsurprisingly these are all provided by Google, who has all the knowledge on this matter. Another tool mentioned is Web CEO, that comes in a free and a business version. Web CEO makes an analysis of your web site, and suggests way to improve its web search ranking. Finally, the book covers also Google Analytics and Google AdWords: the former as another analysis tools, the latter as a way to bring traffic to your site.
All in all, the book is a worthwhile read. Although much of the same information could be gathered by reading a few of web sites, including Google own's pages for web masters, the book brings it together in a concise manner, and it offers many ideas for further investigation.