If you’ve heard the terms SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) before, you probably have spent a good amount of time on the Internet. Although you may have heard or read these words, you may not understand their importance in the online marketing world. The purpose of search engine optimization is to achieve best possible ranking for a website on search engines (such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and others), in order to gain maximum visibility. The “best possible ranking” would be at the top of the page, or the highest result, because those results are the ones with the most visibility and are therefore clicked more often.
If you are reading these words, you are – undoubtedly – an Internet user. As an Internet user, you are most likely familiar with using search engines to find information on topics that interest you or ones you wish to learn more about. When you perform a search for replacement windows, for example, you probably type in those words, “replacement windows.” The results page will load with hundreds of thousands (or millions) of articles and websites that contain the words you were looking for.
Obviously, you’re not going to go read far beyond the first page or two of results – that’s too consuming and a little ridiculous. You will, however, check out the results that loaded onto the first page, starting from the top down. It’s just the way our natural reading technique works: from the top down, left to right. So how does Google, Yahoo, or Bing know which results to display in that top few links?
Retailers who sell replacement windows (or whatever it is that you’re searching for) want to be placed at the top of these results pages so you will have the opportunity to browse their company page and become a customer. It does no good for a company to be buried on page 149 of search results, because no potential customer will ever find them there. Users of search engines feel the same way. If they were looking for information on a specific product, the first results they want to see should be relevant, informative and helpful – not some obscure article that barely mentions the words they entered into the search box.
In a nutshell, that’s what SEO does. It structures a website so it can get the most attention from a search engine. The way this is done is through embedding words and phrases that are significant to the search engine and to the person searching, called Keywords, into the body text or into titles. The use of these keywords – frequency, positioning, etc. – is important and can make a difference in search engine rankings.
Determining keywords can be difficult. It’s all about knowing what Internet searchers are going to type into the search box. Some may type “replacement windows,” while others may search for “new windows” or “energy efficient glass.” Using all these keywords and phrases in a website can get it to the top of the results page, generate traffic and produce more customers – and that’s the real measure of SEO value.