Search Engine Optimization and you!

One of the first ever sites or at least the second or the third at any rate, website that I ever visited on the World Wide Web on the Internet in 1994 was – then the sort of the default search engine. That site remained ‘sticky’ for a quite a long time beating others like Alta Vista, Lycos et al. and saw the dawn of the ‘portal’ before it lost the plot to management and other challenges. Not the least of which was Google with a similar set of founders and a better search algorithm! Search has always been critical in the age of the machines and large databases and the interlinked computing that was spawned by the DARPA and its packet based networks back in the day. Earlier computers and networks had something called gopher, which had crawlers, and bots that indexed systems automatically and returned search results. Modern search in the age of the World Wide Web and services is about relevance, about making sense of all that data and getting to what you need. Which often is not easy since most of the times we may not have a clear definition of what is it that we need much less in the language that a computer system understands. Thereby came the inexact science of the ‘search term’ – a set of words that define perhaps what we need – ‘cars’, ‘insurance’ and you know the list goes on and Google the god of search is essentially an auction house for search terms by the minutes in real time dollars and cents that amount to the billions that they rake in.

Since the entire core or the search engine at the heart of the operations was algorithm based for relevance – this also gave rise to an attempt and now an industry at optimization of the content, layout, and renewal/refresh mechanics, of a web site that ensured that it came up on the searches in and around those valued search terms. This was SEO – or search engine optimization and the focus like legendary computer nerd cliques of the open source community etc. was to do the right thing or organic search result manipulations. When you walk into the murky world of manipulation it often gets murkier and so there it was and an evil twin was spawned and this was SEM – search engine marketing – an euphemism where the focus was to actively ‘game the system’ through link buys, link exchanges, paid inserts, you name it. The objective to appear on top of the search engine results – the thinking being (and it may probably also be right) that most people cannot read beyond the first two or three results and an even larger percentage cannot tell the difference between a paid insert and an organic result. The search world has never been the same again and today at the level of an industry has its own gurus and practitioners, experts, consultants, snake oil merchants, carpetbaggers and practiced maestros. A good place to begin to understand this search mechanics and its world is to go through its definition in Wikipedia – here and a great place to read further and dig deep into the world, access forums and other thinkers and practitioners is here and you can  get whitepapers and original research there. This one is from a little time back but still relevant and can be accessed here at and here is a quick tutorial web video here at and here is a list of some companies that come up in a search in Google of ‘SEO Companies India’

These are only some of the several resources that exist and the best place to look for them is as one may have guessed is on search engines like Google and Bing. The technology has reached now levels and has been for a while when the entire evaluation of a web site in terms of search engine optimal content and settings can now be automated and delivered as a service over the web. A great example and start up company here is at Hub Spot. This has also brought its own new challenges and the providers of search – the engines themselves work all the time to fine tune their search engine that he hacks that people have found which may game the system are continually beaten. A recent result of such a change is discussed here.

About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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