What is SEO?
SEO is much more than getting the first rank for your website in Google. SEO's ultimate goal is to target the right traffic you may generate from that top spot and to convert it into loyal readers and/or buyers.

And to convert this traffic, you will have to invest a lot of time, and even money, in order to reach your OWN goals.

How Search Engines Work?
If you want to rank high in search engines, especially for Google, you'll have to understand how they work.
Listen to those words of wisdom from Mr. Callen, a a world renowned and prosperous SEO Mogul.
Quote Originally Posted by Brad Callen
Search engines have evolved considerably in the last few years, and continue to update their ranking algorithms periodically.

Search engines rank webpages, not websites. This is important to know since you can optimize individual pages, all from the same URL, for different search terms, thus giving your sites more chances to get ranked for a wide variety of keywords.

When a user types in a sentence or a keyword in the search bar, he is brought up to a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The 'best' site (according to the SE's criteras) that the SE has indexed for that perticular term will be the first one to be shown to the user, then the second will then follow and so on... also, each search engine usually shows some of the following:
Similar (or related) Searches,
Internal Ressources (Yahoo Answers, Google News, Live Qn'A, etc.)

All Search Engines display the search results pretty much the same way: The page Title followed by a brief description and most of the time, the URL.

Google or not?
In 2007, Google was used held 50% of the search market in the United States. Yahoo had about 30% and Live (MSN) 11%. Ask is way behing its competitors with only 5%.
THOSE STATISTICS ARE FROM 2 YEARS AGO. So you can expect an increase in Google's share as for today.
Even though Google should be your priority, you can still try to rank well in the other SEs. Altough they don't work the same way than Google does and this will be covered later on in another part of the Guide.

That's all for Part 1 everyone! Stay tuned for #2!