What Is Search Engine Optimization?

What is SEO (Defined)

SEO is short for the term “Search Engine Optimization”. SEO is the process that is used to improve your website’s visibility in search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Have you ever wondered why some web pages show up on the first page of a Google search while others don’t? Generally, the owners of those websites have done a better job of using SEO to optimize their pages.

How Does SEO Work?

The goal of search engine optimization is to ensure your website appeals to search engines. The search engines will take note of your site and its content, categorizing it in a way that will allow it to show up in the search engine results, when certain keywords phrases are typed. Providing your site is well optimized for online search, the optimization process includes:

  1. Performing, at the very least, On-Page SEO Optimization
  2. Creating well written value-added Content
  3. Building popularity in the form of links coming from other quality sites back to your website

Search engine optimization techniques focus on increasing the organic, or natural traffic that you receive based on your ranking within the search engines.

How Do Search Engines Find My Website?

There was a time that you had to submit your site to a search engine to get noticed. Those days are gone, now all you have to do is be present on the Internet and eventually will find your site.

During this discovery process, search engines use programs known as bots or spiders that crawl (scan) your site, provided there are no structural issues preventing the process. If another website has a link back to your site, the process can happen much sooner than later, especially if it’s a well known or authoritative website.

How Do Search Engines Evaluate a Site?

A search engine may use hundreds of factors to determine how to rank a website in its listings or SERPS which is short for “search engine results pages”. These factors and the weight each one carries may change continually. The SEO industry refers to these factors as “Algorithms”.

Search engines keep their methods and ranking algorithms secret, rarely sharing this information with the public. Algorithms can differ so widely that a web-page that ranks #1 in one search engine may only rank #30 in another search engine.

What SEO Means to Business Owners

Search Engine Optimization is a way of attracting people to your website by ensuring that your site appears as close as possible to the top of a list of organic search results. As a rule, the higher up in a list of search results your page is, the more traffic you will get from the search engine. The best position to rank for is one the first page and in positions 1 thru 5.

People type in keyword phrases in search engines to find the things they are looking for. Keywords are the very thing that help drive visitors and potential customers to your website.

SEO FAQs

Q: Why does my business website need SEO?
A: Applying SEO best practice techniques will help your website be found online and will help to improve the ranking possibilities of your site.

Q: The person that built my website said he did SEO on my site.
A: Really… Did he or she prove it? Some web designers are also good at applying SEO, but many are not.  One way to verify how well your site is doing is to run an SEO review audit. If you contact us, we can run a free SEO audit of your website and send you the results.

Q: My friend said all I need is a Facebook page, is that true?
A: A Facebook fan page can help,  Facebook pages usually serve as a supplement to a website in my opinion.  The one thing a website has over a fan page is control.  You are limited to what you can display on a fan page and for how long a visitor can see it , but your website can tell your story in ways a Facebook fan page could never do.

Q:  I thought SEO was Dead?
A:  People have been saying that for several years. I’m not sure who started this rumor, but based upon the millions of dollars that continue to be spent on SEO services, I’d say – it is not. However, what has happened to SEO is that it has undergone an evolution. It continues to evolve along with the search engines. Those that ignore SEO don’t rank well and eventually realize they’ve a big mistake.

Q: What is Meant by SEO Friendly
A: It means building a website that contains web pages that the search engines can crawl, while providing content that has been well written and adding value to a visitor and potential customer.

Q: Can I Perform My Own DIY SEO?
A: Yes you can, providing you follow the proper SEO best practices.  There are several sites (including this one) that seeks to help you, here are four really good ones:

Q:  Is SEO worth the time and investment?
A:  I’d have to say YES!  SEO can really help with increasing your site targeted traffic and lead generation. Every penny and second you spend on SEO is an investment in your own returns, as long as you’re spending that time and money on quality SEO services.

7 Take-A-Ways to Make SEO Plain and Simple

  1. Create a website that looks good, is easy to navigate (get around), that is fast and structurally sound.
  2. Ensure that each page has unique titles and page descriptions that are compelling
  3. Write Great Value-added content that people will want to read and share
  4. Use terms or words in your content (and page titles and descriptions) that people use when searching on the Internet, but especially the search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing
  5. Install analytics software so you know how your website is performing
  6. Leverage (use) social media to increase your brand
  7. Have patience because SEO does not happen over night and know that SEO is an on-going process

Hiring an SEO or Digital Marketing Company

If you don’t have the time nor desire to perform your own search engine optimization, you can hire someone to do the SEO work for you. The costs will vary and you will want to make sure you spend some time doing your homework, because there are a lot of SEO companies out there promising more than they can actually deliver.

Buyer Beware: Some things to watch out for is if a company is promising you first page rankings or telling you that they have some special formula or techniques that by-pass a search engine, you may want to pass on that company.

Here are five (5) questions you should ask a potential SEO company before doing business with them:

  1. How long have you been in the SEO business?
  2. How would you describe your SEO process?
  3. What other clients have you worked with? (get a list of those sites)
  4. Have you worked for other businesses which are similar in size to my business?
  5. How long will it take before I begin to see results?

Here’s what to expect: Search engine or digital marketing companies will usually want to perform an initial review of your site and make recommendations as part creating an overall strategy to increase your search engine ranking and website traffic. They may also want to provide ongoing consultation and reporting to monitor your website and make additional recommendations designed to keep your site optimized.

Final Thoughts on What is SEO

SEO is an on-going process, what worked a year ago may have become obsolete due to the fact that search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to ensure that they are providing the best user experience to anyone who visits their site to perform a search.

More Articles About SEO

Handy SEO Checklist to Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly

How and Why People Use Search Engines 

How to use SEO Keywords Effectively in Your Website

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70316493@N05/6436660709/

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