Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of increasing the visibility of a website to search engines, so that they may pick it up and display it as a result when a relevant search is specified.
There are millions and billions of people who visit the internet, searching for specific information everyday. More often than not, these people do not exactly know where their required information will be located. So they run a search on their topic of interest on these engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, MSN etc.), using certain phrases and words, known as “keywords”. In turn, the search mechanism in these engines scans the World Wide Web for matching results and produces a list of relevant websites. In order to be better visible to search engines, websites need to be optimized in terms of their design, content/keyword usage etc.
These search results are also known as organic, natural or unpaid results or lists. This is because these are unbiased natural results and a small company stands an equal chance of being visible as that of a multinational company. The one who wins is the website that manages to get listed on page 1 search, towards the top. Page One ranking is an extremely desirable position for all websites. This is the case because almost 85% searches generated by users, stop at page 1 and do not go beyond it.
A related term one may come across is SEM or Search Engine Marketing. The difference between SEO and SEM is that SEM focuses on paid listings. In other words, they are sponsored or advertised search results that companies pay for to be displayed. junkyards near me
There are different SEO techniques that are employed to enhance a website’s visibility to search engines. These techniques can broadly be categorized as those search engines approve of (white hat SEO techniques) and those SEO techniques that search engines do not approve of. When search engines find a website employing SEO techniques they do not approve of, they delete the website from their indices. White hat SEO include directory submissions, article submissions, social bookmarking, forum postings, blog commenting etc.
There are many companies that offer SEO consultancy and services to those looking to optimize their web presence. These consultants may be individuals or companies. It is of great importance for small businesses to hire an SEO company before starting their website designing and involve them in the process from day one.