In the world of SEO (Wikipedia: Search Engine Optimization), content is king. If you write good content and thus draw enough target audience, search engines will be your friends.
If you are mainly interested in the U.S. market, then Google is your friend, because that is where this search engine has the highest market penetration. If your target audience happens to be in Asia or Europe, then you are probably better of with Yahoo!, because it has long had an international brand presence and Google just started to expand into those markets recently.
Interestingly, most Americans find it surprising that Yahoo has more netizen population than Google overall (Source: Compete.com). Since Google has more American population than any other search engine, it is natural to assume so. However, if you survey your friends outside the U.S. to see which search engines they use most, and you may be surprised with your results. In my random sampling, I have found that almost all of my friends in the UK prefers MSN Live Search.
To find out just how well you rank among all the search engines, I recommend Jux2, a meta search engines which combines and compares the results of Google, Yahoo and MSN. You may be surprised of how many results are specific to a single database. If you are trying to appeal to an international audience, you will do best to optimize your search strategies for all three primary players.
If you are an individual, can you utilize these techniques to compete with global international companies? I think so. I Googled SML (initials for See-ming Lee, my name) today, and this blog is prominently featured on page one among approximately 7,450,000 results. I am competing with global players and acronyms here. It's definitely a very 'gratifying' activity. :)
Do you have to spend a lot of money? Does it take a long time to see your ROI (Wikipedia: Return on Investment)? I don't think so. I believe that I am gaining these benefits all by writing a few poems recently. And I published pretty much all of them within the last four months.
I fell into all these mostly out of my recent interest in network theory. Based on my research, I have a hunch that Google's algorithm has largely to do with network theory (Wikipedia: Network Theory / SML Bookmarks: Social Media / SML Bookmarks: Network). This is a hunch, not a proof. Theoretically speaking, I don't think that any proofs are definite. You can, on the other hand, validate your confidence level based on statistics and analytics reports.
Copyright 2007 SML SEO = See-ming Lee + SEO. All rights reserved.