In an article I wrote a decade ago called “Finding Needles in Haystacks” (Screen Graphics, July/August 1996) I presented an overview of what then were the most popular search engines for finding what you were looking for on the Internet. Lycos, Magellan, Excite, Webcrawler, AltaVista, Inktomi and Yahoo were among the herd of contenders for search engine dominance. Google was still two years from conception.
The Internet was so new that the starting point of my article was explaining to readers what a search engine is. What’s astonishing is how sophisticated this whole search engine arena has become over these past 10 short years. The number of new Internet tools for your marketing toolkit can make your head spin, and search engine optimization has now become an industry of its own.
Within minutes there are tools that can show you…
• your site’s position on all the leading search engines for each keyword.
• how many pages are indexed by the leading engines.
• the number and URL of all Web sites back linked to yours.
• the popularity of your site compared to leading competitors.
• the percentage of traffic that enters your site from various search engines.
• which are the most popular keywords people seek which tie to your site.
• your URL’s rank in comparison to the rest of the Internet with an Alexa toolbar.
• the density of your site’s keywords as they appear to search engines.
• what the spiders see when they visit your site.
This partial list is really but a beginning. In addition, you can find all kinds of forums and whitepapers, not to mention the consulting firms and agencies, to assist you in your efforts to more successfully optimize your site for the engines.
We have come a long way.
[For a PDF of the guide click here or on the cover image]
Of course, SEO is only one tool in the arsenal. A site with sticky content, a marketing plan that creates synergies and, if you have it, a secret weapon that gives you an edge – all these conspire to create financial rewards for those aggressive teams of individuals who know what they are about and will do whatever it takes to get there.
In retail marketing, the catchword is “location, location, location.” In cyberspace, the same catchword holds true, only the locations are different. Hollywood got it wrong when they said, “If you build it they will come.” The reality is, they will only come if they can find you. SEO is a matter of survival.