Having a desirable search engine rank is ideal for driving traffic to your website. Generally, the majority of a website's traffic comes through internet users' use of the search engines. A good search engine rank is really important considering that over 80% of traffic for most websites is directed via search engines and most users of search engines only click through to websites that have a search engine rank within the first three pages of the search engine results.
There are a number of search engines today. Each search engine has its own algorithms which are rules that determine how websites are placed in their search engine rank. Thus, a search engine optimization strategy that provides a desirable search engine rank in one engine may not produce good results in another search engine. So, when trying to achieve a beneficial search engine rank, you really need to focus on one, or maybe two search engines for search engine rank purposes. If your website gets a good search engine rank in the other search engines, you can consider that a blessing.
Since your optimization strategy does need to be focused to be successful, you may wonder which search engine or engines you should focus on to achieve a search engine rank within the first three pages of results. I recommend focusing your search engine rank attempts on Google first, and Yahoo! second.
Getting a good search engine rank with Google will undoubtedly drive loads of traffic to your website. Statistics have repeatedly shown that Google is the most used search engine with Yahoo! coming in second. These two major search engines also power some of the smaller search engines, meaning that the results generated by small search engines draw their results from the major search engines. So, if you get a good search engine rank in Google or Yahoo!, you will likely get a decent search engine rank in some of the search engines they power such as MSN, AOL, Ask Jeeves, and Alta Vista.
Another reason to strive for a top search engine rank in Google is that it is an organic search engine, thus the results the search engine displays are based on the quality and relevance of the information on a website to the key terms searchers use rather than being based on paid advertising and who can pay the most to reach the top in search engine rank.
When you do a search using Google, you will notice that sponsored links that appear at the top and at the right of the screen are clearly marked so the searcher knows they are paid ads. All other results generated are generated based on algorithms, not paid advertisements. With Yahoo!, you can also tell which results are generated as a result of sponsored links. If you cannot achieve a search engine rank in the first three pages of Google or Yahoo!, you can always opt for paid advertising that will get you listed in the sponsored links.
Google's pay-per-click advertising program is called AdWords. Yahoo!'s cost-per-click advertising program is offered through Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture). With both of these programs, you can get your website advertised as sponsored links in search engine results even if you cannot organically achieve a search engine rank. Both programs have budgeting features which enable you to control the amount of money spent through your pay-per-click/cost-per-click advertising campaign.
The difference between organic search engine rank listings and pay-per-click/cost-per-click search engine rank is that organic listings don't cost you anything while with per-click listings you are charged the amount of your keyword bid for every click- through to your website. Whether you get a search engine rank in the search results naturally or through paid advertising, the search engine rank is vital for driving traffic to your website.