Deccan Chronicle

Feb 23, 2006 – The next time you type a key word in a search engine, like, to wit, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, you may get more than one lakh links to the cricketer’s exploits on and off the field. So, have you ever wondered how a particular website invariably comes up at the top, while other websites, with probably more information and images of your queries, show up at the end of the search? Probably link number 10,001, which, in any case, the search engine user will not have the patience to click.

The process of ensuring that a particular website gets a large amount of visitors, and, therefore, eyeballs, is called SEO, or search engine optimization. What does SOE do? SOE, which critics claim could be illegal, helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine. The search engine itself is a program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords are found, according to Webopidia.

Apparently, SEO is a good business to be in, in the technology space, though it is a highly specialized area. Says Suresh Reddy, chairman of Ybrant Technologies, a Hyderabad and Palo Alto-based technology company, which, among other things, offers SEO services, “Most online content providers and advertisers need SEO to be seen on search engines like Google.”

Ybrant Technologies, founded by Mr Reddy, started life in an earlier avatar as the purveyor of online greeting cards. “The online cards business was sold, because nobody was willing to pay us for the cards they were sending from our website, and SEO and custom services offer a more robust business model,” he says.

According to Mr Reddy, an IITian with a masters degree from the US, SEO services were much in demand because of the explosive growth in online advertising and content. “SEO service providers like Ybrant Technologies work with clients, to ensure their return on investment,” he says. But does SOE guarantee a marked increase in traffic to websites? “Nobody can guarantee that, but SOE helps in getting the client’s website reach a place where it can be seen quickly,” he says.

Mr Reddy sees the demand for SEOs expanding, and is planning for Ybrant Technologies, which has 150 people working for it in Hyderabad and in Palo Alto, to acquire similar E-Marketing companies in the US.

“These acquisitions will give us depth in the SEO and custom software space,” he says.