Search Engine Optimization for Beginners
Before you get started trying to “optimize” for the search engines, you should understand the basic landscape. What is a search engine, anyway? And what’s a directory? Who’s most important?
You can break the landscape into search sites, search systems, search engines, and search directories.
A search site is a website where you can search; Google’s a search site, AOL is a search site, Yahoo! is a search site.
Many search sites get their data from other companies; search systems are companies that create search data; for instance, Google is a search system that feeds data to AOL and many other sites.
A search engine is a system that indexes individual pages inside websites
A search directory is a collection of information about particular websites; it doesn’t index pages inside those sites, it just contains basic information about each site. However, most of the big directories have closed or are in decline. The oldest and most important search directory, closed down recently, and another important system, DMOZ, is still staggering along but rarely used. Google used to use the DMOZ directory, but removed it several years ago.
The three most important search sites are Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
Google and Bing have their own search engines. However, Yahoo!’s search results actually come from Bing; Yahoo! no longer maintains a search-engine index itself.
Google dwarfs all other search systems. Almost 65 percent of regular search-engine searches are down at the Google search site. Add in the sites that Google feeds search results too (such as AOL.com, Comcast.net, and so on), and Google is responsible for about 67 percent of all searches.
Bing is responsible for around another 31 percent of searches, at Yahoo!.
Ask.com is often included in the list of the top search engines; but it’s only responsible for a little over 1 percent.
Don’t forget, however, that not all searches occur at regular “search engines”; people often search for information at video sites, social-networking sites, online stores, and the like.
For instance, billions of searches are carried out every month at YouTube.com, Craigslist.com, Facebook.com, eBay.com, and Amazon.com.