What is SEO?

17 Feb 2010, Posted by EPoff in SEO
What is SEO

Often when I tell friends and family what I do, I’ll get a puzzled look as a response.  Sometimes, to keep things simple, I just tell people I do “web stuff”.  For those more business oriented or for anyone who has a website, the term SEO probably has meaning.  When I posted SEO under my Facebook profile I had one friend message me and ask me to explain and another friend wanting me to take a look at his blog to see what could be done about it.  One guy knew exactly what SEO was and how important it was to building a lasting presence online.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the “art” of driving organic traffic to your site via search results from a search engine such as Google or Yahoo.  I call it an “art” because there is a bit of trial and error and dancing to get things optimized so that your site shows up naturally in the search engine results.

You may be asking, “Why would anyone care about that, can’t you just advertise and get the number one search spot?”  SEM, or search engine marketing will get you to the top of the ranks, indeed.  This, of course, comes at a price – and a big price at that.  Most search engine marketing campaigns run on a cost per click scale.  When someone types in your keywords, your ad appears either on the top or on the side of the “natural” listings.  In a cost per click setup you only have to pay if someone clicks on your ad and goes to your site.  Impressions occur when your ad is seen (i.e. makes an impression on the customer) but is not clicked and these don’t cost you money in a cost per click scenario.  The downside to the SEM approach is that it can cost you a fortune.   Some ads may only cost a quarter while most competitive ones will run you from $3-12 per click, depending on the competition.  SEM is a much bigger topic that will be explored later.

Back to SEO…

A site that is well optimized will return natural search results near the top of the page and you don’t have to pay anything to the search engine for that.  It’s free – well sort of!  SEO can come at a price.  If you have an obscure website with unique content, you may have an easy time getting your site listed at the top of the search results.  If you are trying to make your mark on the Las Vegas, Nevada Real Estate search results, you have a lot of work ahead of you and may have to hire a professional to get your site on the organic map!

In the coming weeks I’ll explore some of the basic things you can do to help get your site better suited for the search engines and we will also explore the costs associated with professional SEO and when and if it is worth it for your business.

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