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Casing the Competition (16 May 2005)
Welcome to the murky world of search engine optimization (SEO). Before you throw your hands up in frustration, I have good news for you: You can learn how to reverse-engineer your archrivals' tactics and join them at the top of the search results heap.

But first you need to understand who your competitors in the search results really are. More often than not it's the mom-and-pop sites, not the big players, that give you a run for your money. For example, PC Connection's fiercest search engine competitor is not PC Mall (even though a search in Google for "pcconnection" produces as the number-one search result!). It's actually Websites such as and that signed up for PC Connection's affiliate program that are occupying the top positions for "pc connection" in Google, far outranking PC Connection for its own name. Affiliates tend to be the most adept at search engine optimization and the most lax in abiding by the search engines' terms and conditions.
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