In its standard meaning, search engine optimization focuses on making web sites rank highly with the main commercial search engines. The other side of it all is making sure content which is not supposed publicly available does not get indexed into the search engines’ massive databases.

WashingtonPost.com logo and home pageToday’s Washington Post has on its front page an article on the importance of knowing how to properly secure information from being scanned by commercial search engines like Google. This is the type of information you wish government web managers would know when approaching search engine optimization.

Visual explanation of how search engine spider web sites and a link to article on how to protect directories with sensitive information from visiting search engine robots

Knowing the flip side of things, i.e. knowing how NOT to show in the search engines, is as important as knowing how to rank highly with search engines — all based on the type of information you have on the web of course…