What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Unless you’ve been under a rock without internet access for the last decade, you’ve probably encountered the term Search Engine Optimization, or just SEO, numerous times on your online forays. As the aforementioned definition clarifies, SEO is a term that has been coined by internet marketers, to give a name to the process of increasing the visibility (rank) of one’s website or web page on the result listings that are displayed by search engines when a user enters a query. SEO techniques generally focus on organic (unpaid) search results, and employ a host of tactics which may directly or indirectly affect the position of one’s website on the search engine rankings for the chosen keywords.
For example: if you go in and search ‘how to choose a used car’, the search engine will probably display millions of results, displaying websites which employed the best SEO tactics and are most relevant to the search query, on the first page. This holistic process of getting your website ranked up on the listings is now known as SEO.
Currently, the internet is dominated by three major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Bing, with Google taking the lead, representing almost 80% of all searches performed worldwide. Therefore, most SEO tactics today are influenced by the way Google updates and manages its search algorithms.
Do Your Websites Need SEO?
For a website owner, the most important factor is relevant traffic. Suppose you own a website where you teach people how to cook French cuisine – now you would want to attract people who intend to, or might want to, learn how to do so, right? That’s where SEO steps in. To attract the desired type of traffic, you will need to focus on people who search for terms like ‘how to cook French cuisine’, ‘French cuisine cooking tutorials’, ‘learning to cook French cuisine’, etc. Leading people, who perform such searches, to your website is nigh impossible without employing effective Search Engine Optimization tactics. So yes, if you intend for your website to remain competitive in the current era, you need SEO!
Aren’t Search Engines Responsible For Relevant Results?
You might ask, ‘if I have to do all the work to get my website listed in a good position in the search engine rankings, what use are search engines?’ Well, search engines have gotten pretty smart, with Google focusing on natural language processing techniques to appropriately determine the relevance of content on a webpage and list it accordingly; but the fact remains, search engines need help, and SEO tactics enable the search engines to display relevant information more effectively to the end-user. The automated web crawlers that search engines use to ‘crawl’ through the internet to index web pages are blazingly fast, but there are still restrictions to their speed; SEO helps the crawlers find your web page more efficiently too.
Bottom-line: everyone who wants their website to be a presence on the internet is using SEO; use it to your advantage, or your rivals will get far ahead of you!