So what exactly is SEO?

It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot these days. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. For some of you that might not be a giant help, but let’s put it this way: if you have ever used Google, Yahoo, or Bing then you have seen the results of SEO work. SEO is the process that is undertaken to rank websites in search engines. It’s one of the top reasons one website comes up before another when you type in your query. When most people are searching they don’t go past the first or second page in those search engine results. That’s why it’s so important to rank high. There’s a recent tweet that said, “The best place to hide a dead body, is on page 2 of Google search results.” A joke, true, but it makes a point. It’s estimated that the first page of Google results has up to 20 times the web traffic of the second page.

Cutts Meme

A Brief on Search Engines

All search engines are powered by computers. Obviously there isn’t someone at Google going and looking at every website on the planet and then writing notes about each site and its content relevance. Search engines use computers for this task, specifically something called spiders or web-crawlers. The programs search through sections of the web and come up with appropriate results. The search algorithms are consistently changed to return the best possible results for those that are entering keyword searches, and to make sure that people aren’t cheating the system. Check out this video to get a bit more explanation.

Set it, and Forget it…?

Even though it might make perfect sense to you why you might need SEO when it comes to being competitive in your market, the real purpose of SEO may still be unclear. Why is a ranking system for websites a good idea anyway? Think about any time you have been to a new website or a website that you frequent. If that website has the same content on it that it had a year ago, would you continue to visit it? Probably not.  If you have ever seen the infomercial from Ron Popeil for the Showtime Rotisserie Cooker then you probably know the tag line, “Set it and forget it!” Unfortunately this is what many websites tend to do; they set it up and forget about updating any content or updating any of their SEO. Websites need life and creativity in order to be relevant.

In Conclusion – SEO Results

This is the real purpose of SEO and ranking systems. Websites that are staying up to date and making sure their content is fresh are being ranked higher than those who do nothing. The top 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) are looking out for their consumers (you!).  They know that you don’t want to go to an outdated website, so they do the best they can to find which sites are updating their content and if it is valuable content. SEO will make sure that those search engines are seeing your website and that it finds its way to the top of those ever important results pages.