When, at the end of the 1990s, the concept of “search engine optimization” began to be heard in the forums of North American Internet specialists, we could not even suspect that, a few years later, it would be the origin of a new highly specialized activity that moves an ever-increasing economic volume.

Although there are those who boast of working in search engine optimization since the very beginnings of the Web in the early 1990s, it was really the revolution in the world of Web search marked by the irruption of Google, followed by all the new second-generation search engines (Yahoo!, MSN Search, Ask, etc.), together with the lessons learned during the dotcom crisis of 2000, that created the right competitive conditions for search engine optimization to take off. On the one hand, the new search engines based on automatic indexing agents (robots, spiders or crawlers) require Websites to display a certain type of characteristics that allow the free transit of these agents through the contents, and that their contents are organized in such a way that the search engines are able to adequately calculate their relevance with respect to a certain category of searches and their relevance with respect to other contents classified in the same category. On the other hand, the dotcom crisis has led to new investments in the Web being considered in terms of performance measurement and return on investment, aspects that have led to the creation and implementation of Web traffic analysis tools. This real time feedback allows to know the improvements obtained from the different traffic promotion strategies and to verify the optimal performance of search engine positioning as the best way to bring qualified traffic to a portal.

Based on the realization that most users only click on the first results of a search, companies and institutions have begun to devote an increasing part of their promotional resources to ensure that their portals appear among the first positions in the searches of their potential customers. Today it is understood that not being at the top of the search engines is, for most companies, the same as not existing on the Internet.

The volume you have in your hands responds to a real need for companies to understand what search engine optimization is all about, detect the shortcomings of their portals, introduce the appropriate corrective measures and measure the results to increase the performance of their Websites.

The book explains what search engine optimization is, why it is important for any Internet initiative that expects a return on investment, which sectors can benefit the most from this type of promotional strategy and what its role is compared to other types of promotion. Rather than pursuing the top positions in very specific search terms per se, we believe – and our experience shows – that the ultimate goal of search engine optimization is to achieve significant increases in qualified traffic to a Website: people interested in products or services whose visits will ultimately translate into an improvement in your operating account.

The manual also provides formulas to increase the popularity of a site and warns about those practices that are prohibited or not recommended by search engines and whose use, even unconsciously, can lead to the expulsion of the Website from a search engine’s index. Beyond presenting the latest trick or technique, we have approached search engine optimization as a global strategy that involves aspects related to programming, content and the generation of popularity and that, in short, produces as collateral effects improvements in the usability of Websites, the generation of added value to the Web in the form of original content and a more satisfactory browsing experience for users.

Finally, the book guides you in the interpretation of your Web traffic data and how to build a “dashboard” from different statistics that will allow you to discover what your customers are looking for, and how and where they are looking for it. This ensures sustainable results that can be improved over time.

We hope that you will find the language used as well as the many examples illustrative enough to be able to apply the techniques shown in your specific case.