So, 2003 is here and another year beckons. It�s that time, when most search engine optimization (SEO) experts look ahead to the coming months and predict what will come of the SEO industry. It�s also the time when we stare at our computers and try to think of clever articles with cryptic titles so that we can once again declare ourselves as "search engine optimization gurus". Well, I must admit to thinking the same thing. While researching the latest trends on SEO and determining the topic of my first article for the year, I came to the following conclusion; The SEO industry is growing at a tremendous rate, with more companies realizing the benefits of this marketing medium. With this rapid growth come new minds, researching how to get better rankings, all looking for the basic information that will get them started down the road of SEO. I therefore decided to break with the trend and go back to basics. While I will still endeavor to write articles that touch on complex issues, I want to make sure that those of you looking for the basic information are not overlooked. To get us started lets review some interesting statistics and set the scene for the upcoming series of articles...

Why you need SEO

If your company owns a website you will be pleased to know that, according to ComScore Networks, US online sales in 2002 leaped to a staggering $74 billion. There were more than 109 million people in the US surfing the Internet on a regular basis. And with an estimated 700 million people worldwide going online in 2003, Internet sales are set to soar to record numbers. These are all encouraging statistics for anyone looking to leverage online revenues in 2003. One fact you may not have considered is exactly how did those millions of Internet users locate businesses in order to spend their precious dollars. The answer is simple; they used one of the many search engines.

More than 85% of all Internet users arrived at a website for the first time after entering a search phrase at one of the many search engines. Whether their preference was Google, MSN, Yahoo or AOL, they all had one thing in common; they all knew what they wanted and they used a search engine to track down the best vendor. With an estimated 33% of search engine users believing that the number one listed website is the best location to spend their dollars, ensuring that your business holds top positioning in the search engines is critical for success in 2003.

Unlike traditional forms of advertising, such as the Yellow Pages, it is possible to manipulate your positioning on the search engine listings. The process is referred to as "search engine optimization" (SEO) or "search engine marketing" (SEM) and involves changing different aspects of your website to ensure better search engine positioning. Various factors are involved with any SEO campaign and can range from simple changes to the HTML code within your website, through to making changes to the number of times you mention a product within the page.

Upcoming series of articles

Over the coming weeks, I will introduce you to the principles of SEO and take you step-by-step through some of the fundamentals you should implement, if you desire to increase your online revenues in 2003. The topics we will take a look at include:

  • Keyword research; how to target the correct search phrases to bring traffic to your website.
  • Meta tags; what are Title, Description and Keywords tags and how should you format them for better search engine positioning.
  • Content changes; are you making the most of your website content to attract and convert visitors.
  • Search engine submissions; where to submit your website and how often should it be done.
  • Quick Tips; a host of small changes that you can make to assist in your SEO campaign.
  • What not to do; SEO techniques that you should avoid.

In addition, I will be happy to answer your SEO related questions, which you can submit directly to me at If you have a problem with your website or simply want clarification on a SEO technique you have heard about, be sure to email me. Each month, I will answer a selection of the best questions and publish the answers.

I look forward to sharing with you the information and advice you need to ensure that your website is better positioned on the search engines. With some minor changes, a larger slice of the 700+ million Internet users will discover your website.
January 20, 2003

Internet marketing consultant Andy Beal has provided online marketing advice to thousands of companies including, Motorola, NBC, Lowes and Quicken Loans and is a trusted resource for The Washington Post, LA Times, Dow Jones, NPR and CNBC. Andy provides consulting services on search engine optimization, business blogging and online reputation management. Read his blog and request a free consultation at Marketing Pilgrim.

Search Engine Guide > Andy Beal > Getting Back to Search Engine Optimization Basics (again)