SEO What is it?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and simply means that your website is designed with search engines in mind so that when they are getting results for keywords related to your site, your site will be selected.
What is a search engine?
Basically a giant internet index. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask Geeves are all examples of search engines, but there are many many more.
How do search engines work? The protocol for how search engines choose their results are different for each search engine. That is why you get different search results when you use Yahoo vs. Google. And search engines don't like to reveal their tactics because people try to manipulate the results. Have you ever searched something and wondered how you could possibly get some of the crazy results? That is because people misrepresent their website in order to get on search results that would not otherwise include them. And it is annoying. So annoying you might find another search engine. So Search engine companies prevent that by using other methods.
Now we can't know the exact methods, but we can know what needs to be done to make being chosen more likely. Remember in school when you didn't know the answer so you didn't make eye contact with the teacher? It's a lot like that only you WANT to be called on, so there is going to be some things to get her attention.
The main tactic is key word placement.Each web page is about something specific. One word or phrase that sums up what it is about. One word that the customer you expect to be reading that page would type in the little search box. That word needs to be where a search engine expects to find it (and where a viewer would expect to find it) Those places are the page title, the header, the first paragraph, and the body. It should also be in the meta tags (the place where search engines originally looked for key words before people started placing bogus words to skew the results) It should also be in the page description (the little excerpt right after the page URL in the results also called the snipit).
So how do they choose Site A over site B? Each search engine has a different hierarchy of criteria. One search engine might count the number of times a keyword is used in the body. If that number is the same then they look at the page titles, and so on. Another search engine might not count the keywords in the body at all, but actually uses the meta tags. Have you found yourself preferring one engine over another? Have you had what I call "bad google days"? Some ways work better for you than others.
So I can't control the search results? Well, yes and no.
You can definitely go unnoticed by leaving out keywords and tags all together.
By including keywords (in a way that is not distracting to your human readers) in all those places I mentioned, it is easy to get attention. You can make the gene pool a little smaller by competing for keywords that are not as "taken". If I was to use the key word "web design" for instance, I might make it to page 64. But "web design Oklahoma city" will bring me way up. "small business web design Oklahoma City" will be even better. Another example is making your key words more specialized. Instead of "plumber" try "faucet repair" Which brings me back to blog articles which can be very pointed like "faucet repair how to" which may come up number one on the search result bringing people who need their sink fixed right to your door. Your front page might not make it, but your articles will, and you can make millions of those, no web designer needed.
So let me summarize, SEO means that your web is ideal (optimized) for search engine criteria. We have made sure it is a good candidate. We are attractive to humans and to robots!
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