Engines and Spiders and Surfers, Oh My
by Aimee Cremasco

(Why search engine optimization is alive, well, and kicking - 
and as crucial as ever to the success and profitability of your 

"If you build it, they will come…"

"If you build it, they will come…"

While this is a great line from one of my all time favorite 
movies, "Field of Dreams," it is frighteningly also a principle 
that far too many web site owners inexplicably live by.

Let's face it. In the world of online marketing, "building it" 
means nothing. The new mantra must be "If you PROMOTE it, they 
will come."

So what's the best way to promote it?

Virtually all credible third party statistics would suggest 
search engine optimization.

Consider the following statistics, courtesy of 

· In a study released by ActivMedia Research, Search Engine 
  Positioning was ranked the #1 web site promotional method 
  used by eCommerce sites.

· Search engines create more awareness about Web sites than all 
  advertising combined including banners, newspapers, TV and 
  radio (IMT Strategies, a division of the Meta Group).

The cold, hard truth is that if you're not successfully 
optimizing your site (and if it's not search engine friendly), 
you're losing hundreds and thousands of hits from the very 
people you most want to visit your site - people who demonstrate 
a serious desire for what you have to offer, by proactively 
typing keywords related to YOUR business into the engines. 

So what SEO (search engine optimization) techniques are working 
and producing results in 2003? While an entire book is probably 
needed to fully answer this question, here are a few useful 
components of search engine friendly sites:

· Less is more - avoid using frames, java script and 
  database-driven text.

· Professional copywriting 

· Keyword-rich text (in your tags as well) will make or break 
  your site.

Simply put, here's what search engines do. They have "robots" 
that scour the Internet and gather up standard keywords, titles 
and descriptions. This knowledge is a powerful tool for 
webmasters, giving them some control over how their pages are 
ranked, which in turn determines how they appear in the search 

We can't stress enough that content is king! The single most 
important aspect of your web site is how and where you've placed 
keywords and phrases - and which keywords you've chosen for your 
keyword tag. Think about what your prospects would type into a 
search box of an engine to find you. Those should be your 
keywords. The description tag follows closely on the heels of 
keywords, as it helps engines determine if the site is relevant 
to the search. 

The page title tag is next in line of importance. It influences 
where your web site will rank within an engine. Keep it down to 
a maximum of 60 characters (including spaces), and place it at 
the top of the HTML code between 
                and .

Search engines also use hyperlink popularity to determine your 
ranking. This means that it's important to have as many links 
to and from as many other sites as you possibly can. Talk with 
other reputable web sites - that relate in some way to yours - 
about a link-swap campaign, wherein each of you will provide a 
link to the other's site. The bonus to this is that each time 
someone visits this web site, they'll see the link to your web 
site, which can increase your traffic results.

Needless to say, search engine submission is vital to your 
online campaign as well. Your primary focus should be getting 
listed with the top 20 search engines, which are the most 
heavily trafficked. More than 97% of all search engine traffic 
comes from the 20 most popular engines and directories. Once 
you've accomplished that, you can move on to some of the smaller 
engines. Being listing with the little guys will actually help 
boost your rankings with the bigger guys.

Why focus specifically on the top 20 placements? Rarely will 
anyone look any further - and if your prospects don't find what 
they're looking for in those first 20 spots (and what they're 
looking for is you), they'll simply try again with a different 

As the public becomes more educated about the importance of SEO, 
the competition for top-20 rankings becomes fierce. If your web 
site is not search engine friendly, better step to it - without 
one, you'll be left in the dust... leaving your competitors to 
snatch up what could have been your profits!

If you're thinking that getting these elusive top 20 placements 
on your own seems quite daunting (if not downright impossible), 
I don't blame you. Which is why a wise and logical investment 
for many businesses is to outsource this important task to a 
full service SEO firm who makes it their full time business to 
optimize sites and achieve top placements.

After all, shouldn't you let your SEO expert worry about these 
arcane (but very important) issues; and focus your own time 
where it's most valuable... growing your business and serving 
your customers?

Aimee Cremasco founded Word Associates (www.wordassociates.ca) 
in 1999. She has been writing for various industries online, and 
has experienced many SEO companies. Aimee recommends 
GuaranteedTopRankings.com, to all her clients. Aimee is not 
compensated for this recommendation, it comes solely from 
complete satisfaction in working with GuaranteedTopRankings.com 
due to their level of professionalism and up to the minute SEO 
knowledge. Email: acremasco@wordassociates.ca