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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What you need to know about 2nd generation SEO

DIY tools have made it really easy for companies to build their own web sites, but the increased complexity of getting your web site to appear on the first three pages of Google or Yahoo still favors having the professionals do it for you.

Just as companies learned that adding “tags” on their home pages was important, the search engines changed their requirements, making optimized content and inbound links more important to site performance.

In May, Google launched Universal Search, which incorporates site images and videos to the optimization equation. On top of adding these new elements to the search formula, Google also has made it more difficult to get your pages indexed at all. The company’s Supplemental Index is a way of limiting the total number of pages in the database that displays web results; the pages Google deems to be of lower quality are banished to the Supplemental Index, where they have little chance of being seen by search engine users.

Given Google’s continual fluidity, it’s tempting to say “To heck with them,” and optimize your site for Yahoo and MSN. Unfortunately, Google is the 800 lb. gorilla. In July, its marketshare was 53.3 percent, compared to 20.1 percent for Yahoo and 13.6 percent for MSN. So, not putting the effort to perform well on Google is pretty much a suicide mission for your web site marketing.

Continued developments in software have made it easier than ever for companies to build and host their own web sites internally. But, the lack of internal expertise in navigating search engine waters usually renders these types of sites completely ineffective, as though they don’t exist at all.