The Eggshell Internet

As of Saturday, 20 February, 2010, the Indexed Web contained at least 19.71 billion pages. (That’s about three pages for every man, woman and child on earth.) But did you know that at any given point, the WWW is no more than 999 pages deep? Try this experiment:

Select the “Search Settings” on the Google home page (upper right corner) and set the “Number of Results” to 100.

Save your preferences and return to the home page. Type any word or phrase into the search box and hit the search button.

At the bottom of the search results under the word “Google” are the numbers 1 – 10 that indicate pages of results. Select “10.”

For most search terms you won’t get 10 pages of results (1,000 websites). In fact, the most you can ever get is 999!

Google doesn’t go deeper than 999 results on any topic, which is plenty since most people don’t look further than two or three pages into search results. Here’s the practical application of these arcane facts. When it comes to the Internet, if you don’t show up on the first few pages, you don’t exist. And if strangers do find your page, you have about four seconds to capture their interest before they move on.

These factors have led to a whole new science called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is all about landing the top spots in natural search results and companies spend big bucks to secure this coveted cyber real estate.

As a writer I’ve been involved with the text side of SEO for years. This includes everything from keyword analytics to writing for spiders and bots as well as human visitors. If you have a web page and want to learn more about SEO, email me ( and I’ll send you an easy to understand whitepaper.

Consumers flit over the vast sea of information like dragonflies. The goal of SEO is to attract their attention and get them to land.


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