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Monday, 30 March 2009

The Cream Will Always Rise to the Top

Part two in a new guide to search engine optimisation

In part one I concluded by remarking that Google rewards the more prolific and up-to-date webmaster.Which leads me to my second point and the most important factor in search engine optimisation: content is king. So if you've got 150,000 pages of detailed information about Lambretta parts, you shouldn't need to worry too much about a rival upstart with a six-page website, no matter how well optimised it might be.

Which is not to say there aren't tricks to improving what you've already got. Of course there are. But Google will be most impressed by a wealth of relevant information - that's how it recognises true quality.

LycosLycos RIP: a Note On Other Search Engines

Incidentally, before I go any further, and as they like to glibly say on the BBC, other search engines are available. There's Yahoo! But Yahoo! never strictly speaking had its own search engine anyway. And there's Microsoft's Live Search. It's not a complete monopoly. But the plain truth is that search engine optimisation is all about getting the highest possible ranking on Google, isn't it? That's how your customers are going to find you, so let's not beat around the bush.

If you've been in this business a while, you'll remember when the names Infospace, Altavista, Excite, Hotbot and Webcrawler were all movers and shakers in the internet portal industry. Back in 1998 I paid a visit to Excite's massive headquarters in Silicon vallery, not far from San Francisco, and at that time they were second only to Yahoo! in the internet biz. Little did they know that just up the road a little company called Google Inc would ultimately witness Excite being bankrupted, broken up and largely forgotten (although the brand still persists to this day in both the USA and Europe). - which not so long ago was being advertised on prime-time television such was the investment in its branding - closed down its UK portal operation in February 2009 and its website now offers nothing more than pointlessly rebranded Google search results. One day Google itself just might end up the same way. Nothing lasts forever. But for the sake of argument, let's just say that when I talk about Google I'm talking about search engines everywhere and you can draw your own conclusions about how important those supporting roles might be compared to the protagonist in this story.

Part One: Google Is Your Friend
Part Two: The Cream Will Always Rise to the Top
Part Three: Getting The Title Right