CHAPTER 10

If It Can Be Searched, It Can Be Optimized: Content Optimization

SEO PAST AND PRESENT

In 1998, Google was a newly formed search engine created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were at Stanford University. (See Figure 10.1.) Microsoft’s Bing hadn’t been thought of yet; Facebook certainly didn’t exist; and other strange names filled the search engine marketplace, including AltaVista, Lycos, HotBot, and Excite. Only one name from those early days of search is still familiar today, and ironically, it didn’t start out as a search engine, but as a directory: Yahoo!

FIGURE 10.1 Google’s Interface in 1998

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Over the past 15 years the search engine world has changed dramatically. During that time, I have been an online marketing consultant, working with hundreds of clients, affecting thousands of websites, ranging from B2B start-ups to several Fortune 50 companies, and my experience has reinforced a single guiding principle: “Whatever can be searched, can be optimized.”

The advent of social, universal, local, and personalized search has kept the state of SEO best practices in a state of flux. SEO consultants and search engines are involved in a continuing cat-and-mouse game of learning what it takes to improve positioning of web pages and other types of searchable, digital assets. In pursuit of every competitive advantage possible, marketers must understand that whatever ...

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