His company in Oglesby (in north central Illinois) helps its clients maintain prominent listings on the Internet’s most popular search engines. The strategy is to stay on top of every word or phrase users might enter in a search engine, and to tailor Web site’s code — or submissions to online indexes such as Yahoo — to incorporate these keywords.
Roebuck’s fees are tied to customers’ ranking in search engine results. Because he’s jockeying for position every day with just about everyone else who’s eager to publicize a Web site, the competition never ends.
“There are a lot of things companies do to make these great Web sites that are ultimately ineffective because they’re not (search) engine-friendly,” he said. For example, company names embedded in image files and animated site introductions — while all the rage in Web design — are tough for search engines to recognize and distribute, he said.
Roebuck concedes that his work is labor intensive and repetitive, but insists that it gets results. He maintains that companies lose plenty of potential customers if their Web site’s address doesn’t appear by the fourth page of search results.