I keep hearing people say that they want to be "Number One" on Google or that someone-or-other is going to get them to Number One.

But - number one for what? There are no search results on the Google homepage: before you see a list of search results you need to enter some search terms. There's no point being number one for searches that are completely unrelated to what you do, or are so esoteric that nobody will ever search for them.

If someone is promising you "Number One" on Google without talking about search terms?


If they do tell you they can guarantee you the number one spot for a particular search term?

In the late '90s my Grandmother spent a few hundred dollars on a website to sell her self-published book. I recall spending hours with her crafting meta-keywords and submitting her site to Alta-Vista and Yahoo!

It's easy to forget just how much Google changed online search. These days it's difficult to imagine a world without Google Search (and Google Mail, Google Maps, Google Documents, Google Reader, Google Analytics, Google Trends... ).

Earlier this month Microsoft launched Bing, a replacement for Live Search (formerly Windows Live Search, formerly MSN search....) . Bing claimed to be a "decision e...