A search engine can be a Web site's best friend. A listing near the top of Yahoo or Google could bring more eyeballs to your site than e-mail, banner ads, print media, and even television ads. And the best part is, search engines don't cost you a dime.

That being said, getting your listing to the top, where it's most likely to be seen, is not easy. You need to understand search engines' idiosyncratic ways of registering sites. You need to know how to hardwire your own site to make it show up when they comb the Net for targets. You need to understand when and why competitors outrank you.

Maintaining a top search listing as thousands of new Web sites hit the Net every week is like clambering up a hill that keeps getting steeper. To keep your site from tumbling to the bottom, we've pulled together our best stuff on search engine optimization, including some stories from content partners iProspect.com and workz.com.

Search Engines 101

Somebody's Watching You
Googled yourself lately? Then you know it's nearly impossible to keep anything hidden anymore.
So Many Clicks, So Few Sales
Pay-per-click advertising seems like a dream. But up to 35% of all the clicks you pay for may be fraudulent.
Maximizing Pay Per Click
Thanks to search engines and local directories, pay per click advertising has become a viable option for advertisers.
Internet Opportunities Small Businesses Overloook
Search marketing and rich media work, but too few small companies use them to their advantage.
Ask Inc.: Generating Web Traffic
A Web of Ways to Bring Users to Your Site
You may be drooling over a Google listing, but until you can afford it, try these other techniques for spreading the word about your online business.
If You Build It, Can They Find It?
Tips for shining a searchlight on your company's Web pages.
Increasing Web-Site Traffic
It's hard to make money on the Internet, but increasing the number of visitors to your Web site could help boost your online sales and visibility.
Types of Search Engines
Knowing how they operate may mean the difference between a high ranking or one off in the back pages of cyberspace.
Why Your Web Site's Rank Matters
Research shows that almost 90% of Web users find sites through search engines. Letting them find you doesn't need to cost you anything.
The Golden Rule of Search Engine Marketing
Clever Netrepreneurs figure out why a competitor's site is outranking theirs. You can too, by understanding how search engines prioritize sites.
Understanding Search Engines
The Internet is the biggest library ever, and search engines are the card catalog system. Learn the basics of how they work -- and how they can work for you.
Attracting Search Engines: What Not to Do
With more than 1 billion documents on the Web, securing a good listing on a search engine is tougher than ever. By analyzing one site's missteps, an Internet marketing professional shows you how to get a leg up on competitors.
The Little Engines That Could
A study from the prestigious Wharton School lists the best search engines for finding business data.

Using Metatags

Search engines do their thing by looking under your site's hood for metatags, special lines of code that identify what your site is about. These few articles reveal savvy ways to maximize their potential.

Creating Killer Metatags

Using Keywords

Where to Put Keywords on Your Site
A search engine consultant talks about the most effective ways to wire your site with the keywords that potential customers will use to find you.
How to Create Effective Site Titles and Descriptions
Well-written site titles and descriptions will help get you optimal placement on search engines.
Brainstorming for the Right Keywords
It's a good idea to incorporate misspellings of your company into your search engine strategy. Doing so may bring you a whole slew of grammatically challenged customers you never knew you had.
How to Avoid Trouble with the Engines
Search engines are increasingly shutting out those sites that misrepresent themselves to boost their placement. Smart Netrepreneurs, however, can play by the rules and get results.

Making Your Own Site Searchable

Add a Search Engine to Your Site
In addition to submitting your site to search engines, you should think about installing a search engine on your own site so visitors can more easily get around. A checklist from workz.com walks you through every step.