Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process required to increase the amount of traffic your website receives from search engines, primarily by improving your website rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). The objective of SEO is to appear as early as close to the top of the page in the unpaid, or organic results when someone searches for certain terms. This means that web pages must be optimized for specific keywords or phrases. A search engine uses an algorithm, basically a set of rules, to determine which web pages are most relevant to what the searcher is looking for. A professional SEO assessment can help you to identify what type of keywords you should target, and how well you currently optimize for them as website marketing strategies are developed.
Being Search Engine Friendly
The exact rules that the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing use to rank pages are a closely guarded secret. What they do tell us is that among the criteria that search engine use to determine relevance are the quality and relevance of the content on the page, and the number of inbound links it receives from other quality pages. Some search engines also consider the popularity of a page in terms of how many visitors it receives, how long they stay on the page, and whether they click on links in the content.
Ultimately, however they do it, the goal of each search engine is to present the searcher with the results they are looking for so that they will remain loyal. This means that anything you do improve your content and help them more easily determine the market focus of your pages, will be appreciated by the search engines, and will generally improve your ranking. Any SEO exercise that helps search engines deliver quality results is generally considered acceptable, and commonly called "white-hat" SEO. Deceptive practices that attempt to trick search engines into ranking a website higher, are frequently referred to as "black-hat" SEO. Deceptive practices are strongly discouraged by all search engines and in many cases are severely penalized. Any positive results of black-hat techniques are generally short lived, and are never worth the risk of of having your site permanently banished from search engine results.