SEO – What does it mean?

By: Tim Coles
By: Tim Coles

Have you heard the term SEO? If you are not familiar with what it means, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. Here is how Wikipedia defines it; “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results.

Have you heard the term SEO? If you are not familiar with what it means, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. Here is how Wikipedia defines it; “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Typically, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines (http://en.wikipedia.org).”

Why is this important? As more people add web sites learning how to search engine optimize is part of the healthy growth for any web site. In the coming weeks I will be spending time discussing this and other issues along with Pay-Per-Click(PPC) and all aspects of internet marketing. I have had many discussions about SEO and other Internet marking strategies with a lot of clients. Businesses are getting into the game at a faster clip in the last year and they are thirsty for as much knowledge so they can get to be savvy internet marketers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) versus pay-per-click (PPC), I get this question a lot. They are two different processes and you have to use them for their strengths. In a presentation that I give I talk about how PPC is equal to liposuction and SEO is equal to a workout. Meaning that PPC is fast, easy, expensive and it is temporary. PPC is where you pay to be at the top of the page for specific keywords. How does that compare to SEO which takes more time and effort while it is less expensive and longer lasting. Looking at a Google search where a web site shows up for a specific keyword is referenced as where it “organically” shows up. The placement has to do with a lot of factors; links, words within the text, meta tags, images and much more. According to Google they rank sites using over 200 different “signals”. (http://www.nytimes.com) The reason I use Google in all my references is that over 75% of the entire searches worldwide are done with them. Not to say the Yahoo and the other search engines are not relevant.

You have to think of SEO like real estate. If you show up organically first on the first page for specific keyword, it is a lot better than showing up on page three. Like having a store in Times Square in NY City compared to being three blocks away on a street that is less busy. Can the average business person take care of their SEO for their website? Yes if they have enough time? My recommendation is to hire someone to take care of their SEO. An SEO industry has cropped up to service companies who do not have time or knowledge to maintain their SEO strategy. With age comes wisdom, I hire a plumber because he has the tools and knowledge to get the job done right. If I started a website today I would hire someone to manage my SEO strategy.

A couple of things that you need to know; who is your target audience? What are you trying to accomplish; do you have a store front and you want to sell service or product? Know as many relevant keywords that are associated with your industry. Ask your existing customers how they found you, and if they found you online what keywords did they use. Knowing this information along with much more will help you determine your online strategy. Go to Google and type in “what do I need to know to develop an SEO strategy”(http://www.google.com) and you will see over 253,000 returns related to this string of keywords. Get as much knowledge as possible before handing your strategy over to someone.

Internet marketing can be intimidating, the key is knowledge. If you don’t have time to develop the knowledge necessary to run your own SEO strategy then find a company you can trust to run your SEO campaign. As far as cost, it varies depending on what your website is trying to accomplish. Ask a lot of questions and get multiple quotes.

If you are in the business of consulting for SEO or you are doing your own SEO strategy I would love to hear from you. Leave your comments below or email me directly at tcoles@wkyt.com.
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