The first goal of any search engine optimization strategy is to get search engines to index your web pages. This is done by getting the search engine web crawlers to visit your website. 
This process can take a few days, weeks or even months depending on how you invite these search engine web crawlers. 
And while it’s true that the initial crawler visits can be somewhat unpredictable (or take a long time in coming), once the ice is broken, future visits can be controlled to some degree… 
The truth is that the more you frequently update your pages, these crawlers will frequently show up on your website doorstep. 
Of course, that is only half the battle but it is a step in the right direction. The other important half is getting the search engines and directories to actually index your pages.

In order to achieve that, you need to start at the very beginning. And the beginning in this particular case is impressing the search engine crawlers by developing and enhancing things such as Titles, Alt tags, Image names, Sub-headings etc. correctly.

The overall search process is very simple…

All the text content gathered by these search engine web crawlers is stored and indexed. People then conduct their searches using certain phrases known as keywords. The content with the most relevancy with regard to the keyword will be placed in the top positions of the search results.

And since the page titles and the text content generally matter the most when it comes to what search engine web crawlers deem most relevant

during their visits – it stands to reason that improvement in page rank and/or search results listing can most often be attributed to having individual and specific keywords properly incorporated into those two prime areas.

If keywords were to be the only criteria for which page rank and search results are determined; optimizing web pages would be the easiest thing ever…

pick a keyword > use it in your title and throughout your content >

achieve high page rank and top position in search engine results

The reality is, there are many variables that page ranking and search engine results are dependent on and these variables are adjusted on a regular basis, it can seem as though achieving effective and concrete search engine optimization might never be possible but it is.

Fortunately, it’s not only possible; it can be relatively straightforward as well. All you have to do is satisfy three major requirements which is pretty much the same for all major search engines including Google:

  1. Provide Quality Content
  2. Update Content Regularly
  3. Get Numerous Top-Ranking Websites To Link Back To Your Site

And the search engines and directories you should be trying to impress the most are the top three contenders…

Google, Yahoo, MSN (BING)

Beyond that, there are countless other search engines and directories like AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, and AllTheWeb.

Should you optimize for those as well, or simply level your sites on the major players and bypass all the search engines and directories below them? Not necessarily. You still want your pages listed in as many locations as possible. You just shouldn’t try to satisfy every one of them with regard to optimization. 
Satisfy the top four contenders. Then, if you have the time and ambition to broaden the scope of your SEO efforts, do it. If not, don’t worry about the hundreds (or even thousands) of other search engines and directories that exist.