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Excerpt – Search Engine Optimization: How to Make your Site Stand Out from the Apocalyptic Horde

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is a zombie-fighting profession unto itself. The majority of the work is finding the keywords that describe your product/service/thing and sprinkling them throughout your pages, plus removing anything that makes it harder for search engines to read your page.

This book lays out a base level of how search engines work and what you can do to set your site up for success. We’ll discuss roadblocks and how to stop getting in your site’s way. This is the book for everyone who wants to make SEO less of a giant black box and more a small gray box whose inputs are clearer. You may not hit number one just by reading this book, but you also can’t hit number one and stay there without attending to the things we’ll cover.

What Are Search Engines?

A search engine is any site that allows you to type in keywords and get results. The search engines we’re looking at will crawl the content of websites other than their own and display results to users. (I make this distinction because a few powerful, important search engines that are beyond the scope of this book are Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon. Think about all three of these sites as you look to publicize your site/content, but none of them will ingest content from your domain or show a link to your website in their search results.)

As of Sep 2021, the top six search engines in the world, in order, are Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu (popular in China), Yandex (popular in Russia), and DuckDuckGo (which focuses on privacy). Together, Google, Bing, and Yahoo cover 96 percent of the search market (most of which is Google). Yahoo’s search engine is powered by Bing, so while we’ll talk about the other search engines, we’ll focus on Google and Bing.

What Do Search Engines Want?

While their goals are many and varied, the primary goal of search engines is to stay in business and (hopefully) make money. The best way for them to do that is to keep people using them for search. That means providing the best, most useful, most easily accessible, and highest quality search results. The more your site does to support those goals, the more likely the search engine is to feature it. (And, yes, they also want to sell ads, but they know you won’t come to their search engines and see ads if the search results aren’t good.)