Search Engine Optimization

What it is

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a process you use to allow your website to move up in the Google (and bing, yahoo etc) search results.

The story of SEO can be thought of as an arms race between Google and online marketers. Throughout its colorful history, marketers discover new ways to exploit google’s ranking algorithms and make huge profits when their pages get shown to millions of people.

Google then fights to find ways to improve it’s algorithm so that it’s users don’t get search results smeared with spammy, ad-filled, low quality sites. The stakes are high: spend one hour at the top ranking for a high value keyword, such as “buy viagra,” and you could easily rake in tens of thousands of dollars from simple affiliate sales.

Google has gotten incredibly sophisticated over the years, and it is in their best interest not to let anybody know exactly how their algorithms work. As such, every SEO expert and marketer is, at least to some extent, guessing when they tell you how to change your page to improve your search results. Despite that, there are still several tried and true methods for manipulating your page to improve your results.

Common SEO techniques combine tweaking the site’s content and metadata to be more google friendly with hustling to get other sites to add links (called backlinks) on their own sites that point to yours in order to show Google that other people care about your content.

Why it matters

Good SEO will allow people to find your website organically through google search, which is one of the most common methods people use to connect with businesses. Search engine optimization is one part in what should ideally be a many-armed marketing strategy, but it is a very appealing because it can promise to bring huge volumes of customers to your business passively, with no additional advertising expense or effort on your part.

SEO is a long and slow process, and you should not expect results over night. However, success is exponential. It is normal for, for example, a new blog to lose money month after month while they slowly improve their search engine rankings, and then be catapulted into huge revenues once they reach the front page of google results. Fingers crossed, anyway :D

Good SEO takes effort. You can’t buy a better ranking, and you will only get out what you put in. However, over time it can be a powerful and lucrative tool for marketing a business.

How to learn it

There are many facets to SEO, including keyword research, competitor analysis, on-page optimization and backlink generation. A good place to start reading is the MOZ Beginner’s guide to SEO.