SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, should be a vital part of the your web site. It can determine the success or failure of your web site. In the next few entries, I’ll explain what is SEO, how it works, and things you can do to use SEO for your web site’s success. Parts of the information I am providing is available across many sites on the web, and SEOmoz has been a great resource to our company in the best ways to use SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO is the active practice of optimizing a web site by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines. Firms that practice SEO can vary; some have a highly specialized focus while others take a more broad and general approach. Optimizing a web site for search engines can require looking at so many unique elements that many practitioners of SEO (SEOs) consider themselves to be in the broad field of website optimization (since so many of those elements intertwine).
SEO involves the discovery of the terms and phrases that will generate traffic, what it takes to make a site search engine friendly by building the links and marketing the unique value of the site or organization’s offerings.
Why should my company/organization/website care about SEO?
The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines – Yahoo!, MSN, Google & AskJeeves (although AOL gets nearly 10% of searches, their engine is powered by Google’s results). If your web site cannot be found by search engines or your content cannot be put into their databases, you miss out on the incredible opportunities available to web sites provided via search – people who want what you have visiting your site. Whether your site provides content, services, products or information, search engines are a primary method of navigation for almost all Internet users.
Search queries, the words that users type into the search box which contain terms and phrases best suited to your site carry extraordinary value. Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization’s success. Targeted visitors to a website can provide publicity, revenue and exposure like no other. Investing in SEO, whether through time or finances, can have an exceptional rate of return.
Why can’t the search engines figure out my site without SEO help?
Search engines are always working towards improving their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return increasingly relevant results to users. However, there is and will always be a limit to how search engines can operate. Whereas the right moves can net you thousands of visitors and attention, the wrong moves can hide or bury your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal. In addition to making content available to search engines, SEO can also help boost rankings, so that content that has been found will be placed where searchers will more readily see it. The online environment is becoming increasingly competitive and those companies who perform SEO will have a decided advantage in visitors and customers.
Next time, we will explain how search engines work and some things to avoid when using SEO.