101: Search Engine Optimization


Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a vital form of marketing for almost any type of business ranging from a local fishing charter to a Fortune 500 company. Effective SEO enables a company’s website to rank higher on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for specific, targeted keywords when doing a search though one of the various search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN. The goal of any SEO campaign is to be the top listing on the first page of the organic search results. By working to uncover the various algorithms used by  search engines to categorize the information on the internet, successful SEO campaigns can tailor sites to increase relevance  to certain terms or keywords.

Theoretically, the higher a company appears in the SERPs  for a particular search term, the more visitors the site will receive and the better chance a sale will be made. For instance, even a small charter fishing operation in Delaware could benefit greatly by enacting an SEO campaign. By making subtle changes to their site, placement or ranking could drastically improve when someone searches “Tuna Fishing in Delaware” or some type of variable. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars advertising in local papers or magazines, which often produce little results, they could optimize their web site allowing their site to appear near the top of the list for certain terms. By taking advantage of the optimization the small fishing charter now is at the top of the list for that search, at the particular time someone is searching for a Charter fishing trip in Delaware.

Often businesses will hire a search engine optimizer to analyze the site and provide the necessary feedback to improve rankings. Tweaks or modifications to the site and often the HTML coding are required in order make the most of the campaign. If possible receive the input from the search engine optimizer during the creation or redesign of the site. This allows the site to be designed from the ground up to make the most of the optimization. Imagine clients looking for your product/service and instantly your site can appear at the top of the list above that of your competitors! Some tech savvy individuals will try and tackle the project on their own. Google offers a Sitemap program that helps to analyze the site and provide guidance to create your own SEO program.

Whether a search engine optimizer is brought in to assist or the project is tackled in house, search engine optimization is  definitely worth exploring for any business. To get started try reading Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291

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