Chapter 1. Getting Ready for SEO

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.

Understanding Why Search Engines Exist

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 ...

Get Web Marketing all-in-one for Dummies® now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.