Search engine optimization is essentially the science of designing your web site to maximize your
search engine rankings. This means that all of the elements of your web site are created with the
goal of obtaining high search engine rankings. Those elements include:
Entry and exit pages
Web site structure
In addition to these elements, however, you also have to consider things like keywords, links, HTML,
and meta-tagging. Even after you have all the elements of your page optimized for search-engine
friendliness, there are other things to consider. For example, you can have all the right design ele-
ments included in your web pages and still have a relatively low search engine ranking. Factors such
as advertising campaigns and update frequencies also affect your SEO efforts.
All of this means that you should understand that the concept of search engine optimization is not
based on any single element. Instead, search engine optimization is based on a vast number of ele-
ments and strategies. And it’s an ongoing process that doesn’t end once your web site is live.
SEO is a living, breathing concept of maximizing the traffic that your web site generates, and because
it is, that means that it’s a constantly moving target. If you’ve ever played a game of Whack-a-Mole,
you can understand how difficult search engine optimization is to nail. In the game, a little mole pops
up out of a hole. Your job is to whack the mole on the top of the head before it disappears back down
the hole and appears in another.
Search engine optimization is much the same concept. Search engines are constantly changing, so
the methods and strategies used to achieve high search engine rankings must also change. As soon
as that little mole pops up in one hole, he disappears and then reappears in another. It’s a frustrating
game, but given enough time and concentration, you can become very good at it.
Manipulating Search Engines
There’s one more topic to touch on before this chapter is finished. SEO is about manipulating search
engines — to an extent. Beyond that, the manipulation becomes something more sinister and you
run the risk of having your web site removed from the search engine rankings completely. It’s true.
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