Auckland-based internet company Netconcepts has won a deal with United States telecoms giant Verizon to make sites on its online shopping directory easier to find., which grew out of Verizon's yellow pages subsidiary, is one of the top 50 most visited sites on the web and the number one directory site.

It powers directory services on 2500 affiliate sites including MSN, AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, Ask Jeeves and Tripod.

Netconcepts managing director Stephan Spencer said many web pages were hidden from the crawlers employed by search engines like Google because of database structures or the use of technologies like Javascript or Flash.

Superpages has five million pages in Google and seven million in Yahoo, but Spencer said that could be improved.

"We want to make sure every page gets indexed, down to the individual business listing, and make sure each page sings to the search engines on keywords," he said.

He said a team of six people from Netconcepts took several months to audit Verizon Information Services. "Verizon is now in the process of implementing our recommendations, so we anticipate we will be going back in to review it later."

Verizon is number 12 on the Fortune 500, with $US67 billion in revenue last year.

Spencer said the deal was "a huge feather in our cap" because of Verizon's technology leadership.

He would not reveal how much the deal was worth, but said search engine optimisation projects typically come with a five- or six-figure price tag.

"We also try to take into account the value of the changes, so if a company stands to make, say, eight figures in additional revenue, we get some payment based on performance. We have done that a number of times."

Spencer founded Netconcepts in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1995. He moved to New Zealand in 1999, leaving eight sales and account management staff in Wisconsin but building up a technical team of 23 in Browns Bay.

"I moved for personal reasons but it turned out to be a lucky business move as well - this is a great place to have a global business because you are able to access world class talent," Spencer said.

"Madison had 1.2 per cent unemployment when I left and it was hard to hire any staff, let alone any with qualifications. New Zealand is very much an early adopter culture with a technology-savvy workforce, and we were able to raise the bar because we could do a lot better work here."

He said Netconcepts had developed unique expertise in how search engines worked because it built sites as well as doing optimisation.

"We learn what works and what doesn't. Often search engine optimisation companies are just doing a fix-up job on an existing site, so they are putting a veneer on something which may be flawed."

He said some customers had sustained a top-10 spot in Google for years with a competitive keyword without having to keep tweaking their site. has kept in Google's top three for "website hosting" for the past year, despite the search generating more than 12 million hits.

Another customer, Auckland recycled clothing company Double Exposure, has kept its site in the middle of the top 10 for the search "womens clothing" (no apostrophe).

"Designer Exposure carries clothes which have been worn maybe once by celebrities, or which come direct from the catwalk shows.

"Most of its sales are to the US, and the high search engine ranking means sustainable traffic and sales," Spencer said.