In This Chapter
Understanding why search engines exist
Discovering what matters to a search engine
Staying away from tricks and penalties
Setting up your toolbox
Making an SEO worksheet
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term effort. It requires a lot of work and patience and a consistent strategy.
This chapter helps you prepare for a lengthy campaign by explaining why search engines exist. You find out what works and what doesn't in the SEO world. I also cover how to set up your SEO toolbox and help you put your SEO worksheet together.
Search engines drive the Internet. If you're going to grow your business online, you're probably going to depend on such search engines as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft Live Search to deliver a huge chunk of your customers and clients. A high placement in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs, if you want to feel all geeky) can drive tremendous growth.
You can leave those rankings to chance and hope for the best. Or you can use SEO, the practice of providing the best possible target for search engines.
SEO is a huge field, with thousands of little details that come together to make a successful campaign. If you're looking to dig deeply into this topic, get Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, 2nd Edition, by Peter Kent (Wiley). If you want to improve your search rankings and steer clear of trouble, this book is for you.
When you're learning SEO, it's hard to separate tricks ...