Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the most misunderstood, and potentially the most important to your marketing efforts. There are millions upon millions of pages of web content out there -- you can work hard, build a great site, and then be totally lost in the shuffle. SEO is important. It's also a very complex process that requires patience, careful planning and a long-term approach.

Every SEO professional in the world just cringed, so I'll break this definition down a bit and hopefully prevent a hail of angry e-mails:

Keyword Analysis is the process of mining keyword search data to find the best balance between the keywords you need and the best potential search niche. Search Engine means an automated search engine. 'Search Engines' include Google, AlltheWeb.com, Yahoo (powered by Google plus their own directory information), AOL Search, Ask Jeeves and MSN Search. A search engine obtains its results from 'spiders' or 'bots' -- small programs that come to your web site read it in much the same way you would: By reading the content on a page, and then moving from page to page via links. A directory, on the other hand, is built at least in part by human beings reading sites and other information and deciding where each site fits into the directory structure. Yahoo's directory area and Open Directory are both examples of directories.

Ranking is the numeric rank reflecting your position in the results list when someone performs a search on a particular set of keywords. Key Phrase is the keyword or set of keywords someone types into the little 'search' field in Google or Alta Vista or any other search engine.