SEO: What Does That Mean?
The letters SEO stand for Search Engine Optimization. If this is a new phrase for you, don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. Most people stare blankly when the phrase is mentioned. Some call it an art. Others call it a necessity. All agree that there’s a lot to learn. What you will learn here are the basics.
It seems like everybody has a website. There are no truly “unique” businesses anymore. Everyone has competitors. All of those competitors have websites. The goal of SEO is to get ahead of the competition. That is to say, you want your business to rank higher than the competition when someone types something into a search box.
Let’s say that you sell Avon. If you type in Avon at Google, you will get 39,100,000 results, but the first page will only contain 10. The ultimate goal is to be one of the ten websites on that first page. There are a couple of ways to do that.
Today, Google, Yahoo and most other search engines sell space. At the top of the Avon results, you will see “sponsored links”. Those are companies that paid a fee to be on that first page. If you move to the second page, you will see that there are more sponsored links. The cost to advertise your business with these engines is determined by what page and how high up on it you would like your website to be.
It’s similar to the way that newspapers sell advertising. Ads above the fold cost more than ads below the fold. Ads on the first page cost a great deal more than ads on the last. When people are searching for something online, they often click on the first thing that they see. That would be the first page that pops up.
Organic Search Engine Optimization doesn’t cost anything. It is the idea of making the most of keywords; things that people might be searching for when looking for your business. Back to the Avon example, they might be searching for cosmetics, jewelry, cologne, insect repellent, gifts or anything that is sold by Avon. If you sold Avon, your SEO goal would be to have a page somewhere on your site with those keywords placed strategically.
Now, you can’t repeat the words too many times, because the web crawlers would consider that spam. There are various software packages that help people and businesses make the most of search engine optimization. If you’re just starting out, some software might be a good investment. Go to Google and do a search on different SEO software packages.
In addition to proper keyword placement, SEO involves getting quality incoming links to your site, getting listed at major directories, and providing quality, targeted content, among other things.
You must remember that search engine optimization is not an exact science. We can only try to optimize, but any effort is better than none.