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You: Hybrid Programmer and Search Engine Marketer

Googling for information on the World Wide Web is such a common activity these days, that it is hard to imagine that just a few years ago this verb did not even exist. Search engines are now an integral part of our lifestyle, but this was not always the case. Historically, systems for finding information were driven by data organization and classification performed by humans. Such systems are not entirely obsolete – libraries still keep their books ordered by categories, author names, and so forth. Yahoo! itself started as a manually-maintained directory of web sites, organized into categories. Those were the good old days.

Today, the data of the World Wide Web is enormous and rapidly changing; it cannot be confined in the rigid structure of the library. The format of the information is extremely varied, and the individual bits of data – coming from blogs, articles, web services of all kinds, picture galleries, etc. – form an almost infinitely complex virtual organism. In this environment, making information findable necessitates something more than the traditional structures of data organization or classification.

Introduce the ad-hoc query and the modern search engine. This functionality reduces the aforementioned need for organization and classification; and since its inception, it has been become quite pervasive. Google’s popular email service, GMail, features its searching capability that permits a user to find emails that contain a particular set of keywords. Microsoft Windows Vista now integrates an instant search feature as part of the operating system, helping you quickly find information within any e-mail, Word document, or database on your hard drive from the Start menu regardless of the underlying file format. But, by far, the most popular use of this functionality is in the World Wide Web search engine.

These search engines are the exponents of the explosive growth of the internet, and an entire industry has grown around their huge popularity. Each visit to a search engine potentially generates business for a particular vendor. Looking at Figure 1.1 it is easy to figure out where people in Manhattan are likely to order pizza online. Furthermore, the traffic resulting from non-sponsored, or organic, search results cost nothing to the vendor. These are highlighted in Figure 1.1.


The less obvious effect of the search engine explosion phenomenon is that web developers are now directly involved in the search engine marketing process. To rank well in these organic results, it may not be enough to “write relevant content,” as your typical search engine marketing tutorial drones. Rather, the web application developer must work together with the marketing team, and he or she must build a web site fully aware that certain features or technologies may interfere with a search engine marketing campaign. An improperly designed web site can interfere with a search engine’s need to periodically navigate and index the information contained therein. In the worst case, the search engine may not be able to index the content at all.

So, ironically, while users are becoming less interested in understanding the structure of data on the internet, the structure of a web site is becoming an increasingly important facet in search engine marketing! This structure – the architecture of a web site, is the primary focus of this book.

We hope that this brief introduction whets your appetite! In the remainder of this chapter we will tell you what to expect from this book. You will also configure your development machine to ensure you won’t have any problems following the technical exercises in the later chapters.

So tell me what you think?  Does it make you want to buy the book or perhaps a pillow?  Leave a comment (or perhaps pre order the book!).


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