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Houston West Chamber of Commerce

Exploring Search Engine Optimization or (SEO 101)

by Jean Baker
March 1, 2005

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a new phrase in my comprehension of the enigmatic world of computer technology. As I scribble notes from my meeting with Philip O’Hara, CEO and President of directoryone.com, I contemplate the barrage of SEO information I’ve gathered during the past week.

Directory One is in an unusual office location off the Katy Freeway (Interstate 10) which is expanding on the west side of Houston, Texas. I realize the challenge of navigating heavy traffic patterns is not unlike channeling through the corridors of SEO. Let’s hope it won’t take as long to conquer SEO as it has taken Texas Department of Transportation to complete its initial phase of reconstruction. Just beyond the mass upheaval of heavy equipment and construction crews, the office lies behind gray walls and red doors of 9135 Katy Freeway where one finds a small dedicated team of SEO wizards.

At the top of the stairs, I am cheerfully greeted by Beatriz Ortiz, an expert web designer who assures me she doesn’t qualify as a receptionist. I’m immediately struck by the friendliness and humor in this unique business. Dave waves from another office but is absorbed by his computer. As I enter what appears to be a boardroom with three television screens, I meet with Philip O’Hara, the creative mind as well as the expertise behind transferring the business of phone directories to web directories. With many years of experience in the advertising world of the former, O’Hara owns and operates a growing Houston SEO business, including CheckHouston.com, a local directory of what’s happening in Houston. Business is doing well after seven years of evolution. O’Hara notes that sales are up 25% in 2005 and it’s only February. He happily adds that Directory One has acquired a new account with Ultimate Online Mortgage out of Las Vegas, NV.

Over Girl Scout cookies, we discuss the possibilities for articles about search engine topics and how to optimize their use. I’m easily observing the sites on a large flat screen tv that serves as a monitor, dominating the wall while situated between two smaller screens. The experts lead me through the complexities and mysteries of investigating search engine optimization.

As we explore SEO, various articles will follow that can be accessed through Directory One. We will interview experts with insight and experience, analyze ethics, learn what to do and not to do in dealing with customers, look at rankings and discuss web content writing, among many other topics.

In the meantime, azaleas and roses are blooming in my backyard in Houston. Spring in February seems unreal after two decades of living in the mountains. I’ve gladly traded snow shoveling for gardening. Now let’s get to digging through SEO. Stay tuned for updates and innovations as we examine not only the world but the expanding universe of search engine optimization.

For more articles, resources and information please see:
Article - natural search optimization guide
Article - search optimization glossary
Article - search optimization process overview
Article - search engine trends