What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO involves making Web pages more search engine friendly to promote them as the most relevant solutions for the search engines' users. The improvements can mean the difference between achieving top rankings, which can result in thousands of monthly visitors, and being lost in oblivion.

Why is search engine optimization important?

Search engine optimization is basically about following search engine rules. If your Web page fits the criterias that a search engine considers the most important factors in terms of relevance, then it will reward you with a top ranking. Search engine optimizers simply modify Web pages to fit these criterias. This gives the Web pages a better chance of being selected by the search engines as the most relevant page for the search query.

The importance of keyword research

The Internet is basically a massive disorganized library. Search engines are like librarians. They both try to organize the content, so that people can find what they're looking for without too much effort. With books, librarians have the benefit of bibliographic databases and the information on the book covers to help them organize their library.

Search engines don't have such a luxury. There aren't databases of every single Web page ever created. The Internet is just too big. There's too much information to index. The only way a search engine can try to organize the mass of information available on the Internet is by the use of keywords and links.

It makes sense to think that if a Web page contains enough keywords related to a certain topic, it should be relevant to a search for information on that particular topic. So part of the search engine optimization specialist's job is to make sure the Web pages target the keywords that people search for when looking for products, services or information related to what the Web page offers.

The variety of keywords used to search for the same product, service or information is quite staggering. For example, here are the most popular keyword phrases used by people searching for information on search engine optimization:

  • search engine optimization
  • search engine ranking
  • search engine optimisation (notice the English - as opposed to American - spelling of optimization?)
  • search engine placement
  • website optimisation
  • search engine positioning
  • web site optimization (notice a space between 'web site?')
  • high search engine ranking
  • web page optimisation
  • search engine promotion
  • top search engine ranking
  • high search engine rankings
  • search engine rankings
  • better search engine placement
  • web site optimisation
  • high search engine placement
  • search engines optimization
  • website optimization
  • search engine optimizations (notice the 's' at the end of optimization?)
  • high search engine positioning
  • engine optimization resources

You notice how many different variations people use to search for information on the same topic? The fact is, unless a page contains all of the keywords in a search query, then it will have very little of appearing at the top of the rankings.

Before Web pages can be optimized, you must conduct research to determine which keywords to target. This involves finding targeted keywords, determining their popularity, assessing the amount of competition, and then deciding which keywords to use in your Web pages. Fortunately, there are tools to help you find out what people are really searching for.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
  2. What are meta tags?
  3. How do I optimize HTML Tags for SEO?
  4. What are keywords?
  5. What is link popularity?
  6. How do I submit to search engines?
  7. What are pay per click (PPC) search engines?
  8. What's the best SEO software?