What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is the art and process of positioning your site to rank highly on the search engines. There are many factors that go into this process and each search engine uses a different mathematical formula to evaluate sites. This formula is updated from time-to-time, which means you can be number 3 for a major keyword today and number 303 tomorrow if you fail to properly interpret a change to the ranking formulas being used.

Search engine optimization (SEO) may best be described as the art and science of optimizing your website hosting, design, content and promotion, with the goal of increasing the number of visitors to your site by placing higher on search engines.

A quick word about search engines. There are literally thousands of search engines. Regardless of what you think, use or have heard, only three really matter - Google, Yahoo and MSN. Google controls the most traffic on the web with Yahoo running a distant second and MSN even further behind. If you want a lot of people to visit your site, you really have to try to get ranked on Google and Yahoo above all else.

There are a number of factors that go into SEO and getting ranked highly on the major search engines. They include things such as the code being used on your site [Flash is disfavored], the amount and type of text used, the number of times a keyword phrase appears on a page, link counts and so on. The trick with SEO is to balance these factors to produce high rankings for a site.

In global terms, SEO is the act and art of getting as many pages of a site ranked on the first page of results returned for certain pages on Google and Yahoo. Once these rankings are obtained, the rankings produce free traffic to the site for as long as the rankings remain. Google can be a bit twitchy, but Yahoo usually is very stable.

Advantages of SEO

The advantages of SEO are numerous and far reaching for any site that obtains the rankings it seeks on Google, Yahoo and MSN.

The primary advantage of SEO over any other type of internet marketing is found in the long-term aspects. Once your site is ranked in the top 10 for your keyword phrase, you should be able to keep it there with a minimum of fuss. This means that you will receive free traffic from prospects 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year for as long as you keep your site up.

Return on investment is another one of the advantages of SEO over paid advertising. SEO can take time to produce rankings, so the initial return on your investment in it is poor. Once rankings are obtained, however, the return on investment becomes excellent as you receive a large volume of free traffic. In contrast, paid web advertising produces more upfront, but caps your profitability in the long term. Why? Well, you are always going to be paying for the traffic. In two years, you will be paying the same or more for the identical traffic you are getting today. With SEO, you will not.

How Your Site Will Benefit From SEO?

SEO is the art and process of getting a site ranked on the first page of results for various keyword phrase searches on Google, Yahoo and so on. For instance, the keyword phrase for our home page is "seo services". This means we want to appear on the first page of results when someone does a search for this phrase on the search engines. Once we get our rankings into the top 10, we can count on getting visitors to our site each and every day as long as we maintain the rankings. This is also how your site will benefit from SEO.

Think for a moment about your site. Define it. If you had to pick any one to three world phrase to describe it, what would it be? Now think about how people would search for it. If you can get ranked in the top 10 for that phrase, you will be providing web surfers with the solution to their problem.

Once you have rankings, You can maintain them with a nominal amount of effort. This means you will effectively receive free traffic and potential clients each and every day, 365 days a year, every year. That is how a site benefits in the long-term from SEO.

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