Sunday, August 08, 2010

My Initiation Rites to SEO

I recently came across a similarly crowded term, Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I think for the sake of brevity, this three-noun version appears crispier than Optimization of Search Engines, or, God forbid, Optimization of Engines that Search. So SEO it is.

Thanks to Wei Joo, my elder son, as the intermediary, and to Daniel Tan, my nephew, who is an SEO guy (in his own words), I was initiated into the amazing realm of e-marketing, and in particular, the rat race for website ranking. Rat race is definitely apt here, not unlike the Wild Wild West known for the mad scramble for the pot of gold, as attested to by the proliferation of SEO websites.

From my limited online browsing thus far covering a span of a few days and that also outside my working hours and is thus meager at best by any measure, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) websites operate under the notion that nobody is going to be bothered with what is under the virtual pile, especially in cyberspace, as time is of the essence, no matter how useful the information can be. And Search Engine is the virtual equivalent of the Yellow Pages of the brick and mortar world, except that it's more nimble, expansive, and best of all, prioritized based on some objective criteria that presumably hold the interests of the consumers supreme. The latter aspect is where optimization matters, exclusively for those offering their services in the e-marketplace.

I think a disclaimer is apt here. There is no bashing of any kind whatsoever intended; it just so happened that I was recently awakened to what SEO can do, though what I'm about to blog may not be exclusive to SEO websites only.

My cursory search in cyberspace churned up so many SEO websites that it would last many life times of reading. Many of them will guarantee top billings for one's website, some even going as far as assuring the Uno. However, logic dictates that some in the latter category may be an exercise in futility based on simple arithmatic that goes something like this:

Number of SEO websites: countless (in relative terms as it most likely ranges in the thousands at most);

Number of niches: finite since regardless of the possible permutations of qualifying words and variants of the terms (here rarely used terms of practically no utility value as judged by the failure to elicit any recognizable response from an average Joe are excluded), the lexicons grow only at an excruciatingly slow pace and one can only drill down that far;

Number of top ranks: countable, with both hands at most for those interested in the Top 10 list.

Simple conclusion: there is just too many monks to share the few bowls of congee (to borrow from a opt-used Chinese idiom, loosely translated) given the fact that the pinnacle is always pointy at the top by definition. In other words, some unwary customers will not get their wishes granted. However, the ability to level the playing field such that big players don't simply win by sheer might in the e-business milieu is not in doubt. And therein perhaps lies its appeal where both the Davids and the Goliaths can match their creativity for supremacy.

Thus, a SEO consultant worth his/her salt will settle at “top billings”, implying that perhaps the pedestal is not as narrow a ledge as some would prefer it to be, leaving the numerals out to make room for creative maneuvers. So, caveat emptor, which, come to think of it, would apply to the procurement of any service, online or otherwise.

And a good way not to fall for any sales pitch is to learn some basics of what SEO can do and cannot do. In this regard, the Complete Idiot's Guide to Search Engine Optimization by Michael Miller (Alpha Books, 2009), courtesy of the local public library from which I collected the book just yesterday, will show me the way, hopefully. From its first few pages, I think I already like the even-keeled approach of the author, no promising the sky but "improving your search engine rankings" and "making your site rank higher". To me, these are realistic and achievable goals, if one knows what to do as the author assures in the Introductory chapter of his book, but with a reality check, it's not a quick and easy job. And my journey toward an improved website ranking just got started!


Lee Wei Joo said...

This is definitely a new chapter in our lives! I'm keen to find out where this will lead, as you definitely have the brains and expertise to understand and execute SEO.

Ken said...

Google has emerged as by far the most important and most used search engine on the Internet. The machine works like other search engines, according to certain search methods that the find ability of websites influences.
Seo Dallas

Say Lee said...

Thanks for your response, SEO Dallas.

That Google has emerged as the #1 search engine leaves no doubt whatsoever. However, you seem to imply that it's organic enough to response to the find ability of websites? Like a continuously learning and evolving form? Obviously this does not occur in real time but through the Google people improving their search engine code in response to market needs.