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Search Engine Optimization

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Search Engine Optimization Makes The Headlines
By Andrew Gerhart - December 14, 2001

Introduction
Rise and Shine, all of you traditional folks! Welcome to the world of the Internet, search engines, and search engine optimization. It is no mystery that there are handfuls of people that hate to admit that business on the Internet is not a fad, and is here to stay. In turn, this means that the search engines will play a vital role in the success of "e-tailing" and business over the Internet. It seems that some of these people are beginning to realize the power of the Internet for businesses and the boost that it can give to already successful businesses. There have been some articles discussing online shopping, search engines, search engine optimization, and issues surrounding these topics in some reputable magazines and newspapers lately. Below I will discuss each of these articles and what it meant for the search engine and search engine optimization industry.

"Striving to Top the Search Lists" - NY Times
There was an article that ran in the NY Times on Monday, Dec. 10th, written by Bob Tedeschi entitled "Striving to Top the Search Lists", that was music to the ears of search engine optimization professionals if they listened hard enough. At first glance, the article appeared to be a big plug for Overture.com, which is the leader in pay-per-click search engines, and entails the opposite of the search engine optimization ideals. There were a few quotes that were great exposure for the search engine optimization industry. The obvious quotes brought the points that there were millions of Internet users and roughly 60% of them used search engines to find what they are looking for, or to shop online. There were a few of these quotes that were quite obvious, but nevertheless educated the people that were not aware of Internet use and usage trends.

There were two quotes in the article that were a blast in the right direction for the search engine optimization industry. The first quote by Marissa Gluck of Media Metrix stated, "Customers tend to focus on search results rather than the advertisements that surround the listings." This reinforces the feelings and hopes that the recent rise of Overture's paid listings on otherwise free search engines is soon to pass. Overture's paid listings are usually placed at the top of the search engine results page, and can be seen on Alta Vista, Yahoo, and AOL to name a few. These listings have been met with a feeling that they are ruining the search engines results pages, and definitely not a warm-welcome. Another quote that reinforced the first quote came from the CEO of a company that is the leader in their market. Mr. McCann, of 1-800-Flowers.com told Tedeschi, "In any event, at the current price of roughly $3 for the "flowers" search term, Mr. McCann said he would probably sit out the bidding on that term, at least. He said that even assuming that 10 percent of the people who clicked on that link would actually buy something - an optimistic assumption - "You're paying $30 for a sale, which isn't very cost effective." Mr. McCann and Ms. Gluck's quotes embody the essence of search engine optimization, and the reason that the idea of free, relevant, search engines is here to stay.

Even the title of the article is a step in the right direction for the industry. Some will think, "Okay, I can get to the top of the search engine results by paying Overture and each specific search engine to place me there. There is no need to pay a search engine optimization firm!" Wrong. Remember what Ms. Gluck stated, and what we have seen as a trend from research. Search engine and Internet users tend to trust the search engine results to be more relevant and targeted to their search, and in turn are clicked more than paid placements and advertisements. There is also the issue of price. If one wanted to pay for placement on all of the search engines it would cost a great deal more than a targeted search engine optimization plan. The return on investment (ROI) of a successful search engine optimization campaign is far greater and can be reached much quicker than with the paid listings.

"Search engines lead to best buys..." - Chicago Tribune
This article that ran in the Chicago Tribune on Monday, Dec.10th, was another step in the right direction for the search engine optimization industry. This article talked about how great a tool the search engines were for finding websites, products, and for online shopping. Although this was great, the article failed to mention what helped to make these websites accessible and prominent within the search engines: the optimization of a website.

The article was not full with promising quotes or great statistics, but followed the story of someone searching for a product that is not one of the most popular. The entire article can be summed up with this quote, "Finding stuff on the Net is no mystery: Just use a comprehensive search engine, like Google. The key is using just the right search words - not too general, and not too specific."

So, what did this article mean and how did help? The title of the article said it all: "Search engines lead to best buys." As more and more consumers turn to the search engines to shop for a certain product, how are they going to find your website, especially if you are in a competitive market with millions of websites? The process of search engine optimization and promotion is what will insure your website receives the targeted traffic and consumers that it was intended to get.

"E-Commerce Up As Catalog Purchases Decline - Study Says Consumers Flock to Web for Shopping"
The article "E-Commerce Up As Catalog Purchases Decline" ran on AdAge.com on December 10, 2001, and was written by Cara B. DiPasquale. This article followed along the same road as the NY Times article, with DiPasquale giving great statistics that proved online shopping to be increasing while catalog shopping is dropping. She reported that while catalog shopping dropped roughly 6%, online buying increased from 63% to 67%.

Conclusion
These three articles should have been combined to create ultimate e-commerce and search engine article. The first article spoke about the Internet user trends and how they point towards the search engine result listings over paid listings like Overture, as well as the importance of being found. The article also discussed the importance of choosing a good search engine optimization firm.

The second article discussed how the search engines were the only way to find things online, how powerful of a search tool they are, and how the search engines lead to a good online shopping experience. The article also gave exposure to Google, which is the best friend to all search engine optimization professionals as it is the king of the search engines.

The third article gave numerous stats on the rise of consumer spending and how the traditional catalog buyers are now turning to the Internet.

Each of these articles touched upon a very important aspect of search engine optimization. The majority of people are not aware of search engine optimization, the process that goes into it, and results that come from search engine optimization. Search engine optimization should be an integral piece of every advertising and marketing plan for a company, but the fact is that most people are not educated to the importance and outcomes of a successful optimization.

I hope that these articles have helped to educate those that have either not known or ignored the Internet and it's potential. When people become more educated about the Internet, it can have numerous positive effects. For one, it will help the search engine optimization industry to grow, the search engine industry to grow, and for the Internet industry to grow as a whole. It will help for the Internet to grow on a steady incline and become stable, instead of growing in a bubble that is destined to burst.