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Search Engine Optimization

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Paranoia Wins the Search Engines’ Love
By Eric Lander - September 21, 2001

Search engine optimization is not a temporary solution causing a site’s success. As a form of advertising and marketing, optimization cannot be left untouched for long. While many optimizers will re-code a site and perform submissions, the well informed see this as only a beginning.

Determining factors of site ranking are argued continuously. While I will not deny any aspect of these arguments, I offer some simple advice to those looking for rank improvements.

Knowledge is Power
The most important tool that an optimizer can possess is knowledge. Every search engine ranks contents based on different criteria, and not one of those engine’s will define for you what that criteria is. Obtaining industry knowledge takes time and resources that cannot be bought, but found.

Business organizations the world over have recognized site optimization as such an important facet of their marketing efforts, that they have hired optimization specialists to add to their staff.

Successful optimization is defined by obtaining high rank within a search engine. Due to the vast differences from engine to engine though, identifying priorities and criteria can be difficult.

After implementing what you feel is the best approach to a site wide optimization plan, allow a few weeks for spiders and bots to crawl your site thoroughly. Now you are ready to begin analyzing your site’s current position in rank. Query engines for the keywords and phrases you have chosen to optimize for, and identify the top competitors within those queries.

An abundance of information can be obtained through this approach. Focus on how dense sites are with keywords and notice the overall structure of such sites. This will serve as a proven guide for you to renew your site’s structure as needed. If time allows, continue by analyzing competitors’ link popularity and content updating.

Another way to obtain an edge in the ranking wars is to refine focus to specific engines. By reviewing competition within a particular engine, a more intense series of conclusions can be made.

News Today, Rules Tomorrow
Various resources exist within the optimization and site ranking industries. In order to be more knowledgeable, you will have to devote both time and energy into staying on top of such sources.

Knowing how often engine’s databases and indexes are updated, realizing the impact of link popularity and site structure, will all prove to be vital in a long-term campaign’s success. Many colleagues of mine use sources such as Webmaster World, Web Pro News and Search Day. Of course, many others exist.

Such sites and publications are likely to make you paranoid. Typically, paranoia is seen as a bad thing. Such is NOT the case with site optimization though. For example, if you were targeting Ask Jeeves rankings last week and chose not to pay attention to this week’s news, you would not be aware that Ask just bought out the new Teoma engine. Now, you will want to research how Teoma works and begin applying their priorities.

Why do you need to know that GoTo and the FTC are going head to head?

Should you care that Inktomi expanded their inclusion partners?

There have been hundreds of headlines like this in the in past. Do yourself a favor, and take the time to keep current with the industry. Your success is on the line.

Understand the Game
Optimizing for rank can be more intense than any other form of competition. Think of how often you click resulting URLs from the third, fourth, and fifth pages of search query results. Chances are, not often if ever.

Intensity is an assumed pre-requisite for anything that you enjoy. As promoters in the optimization industry, such should be subconsciously applied. Be mindful that this intensity does not harm your efforts more than help though. Often, breaking news takes precedence, and decisions are made in haste.

Focus on making continuously subtle changes, noting the trends of engine’s attention following such implemented. From that point, just keep on watching the news...