Search has become integrated into the fabric of our society. With more than 158 billion searches performed worldwide each month as of August 2011 (according to comScore, http://www.comscore.com), approximately 5.2 billion web searches are performed every day. This means that on average about 61,000 searches are performed every single second of every day. In addition, users have grown to expect that the responses to their search queries will be returned in less than one second.
Search is a global phenomenon. As of March 2011, the worldwide population of Internet users numbered over 2 billion (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm), and the penetration rate was still only 23.8% in Asia and 11.4% in Africa.
The high demand for search exists, and is growing, because people can now obtain in mere seconds information that 20 years ago would have required a trip to the library, the use of a card catalog and the Dewey Decimal System, and a foot search through halls of printed volumes—a process that could easily have consumed two hours or more. Through the new channel of search, people can also conduct many of their shopping, banking, and social transactions online—something that has changed the way our global population lives and interacts.
This dramatic shift in behavior represents what investors like to label a disruptive event—an event that has changed something in a fundamental way. Search engines are at the center of this disruptive event, and having a business’s website rank well in the search engines when people are looking for the service, product, or resource it provides is critical to the survival of that business. As is the case with most paths to success, obtaining such prime search result real estate is not a simple matter, but it is one that this book aims to deconstruct and demystify as we examine, explain, and explore the ever-changing art of search engine optimization (SEO).