Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of methodologies
aimed at improving the ranking of a web site in search engine listings. The
term also refers to an industry of consultants that carry out optimization
projects on behalf of client sites.
To obtain maximum search engine visibility,
a website must tailor itself to be found by its target audience through internet
searches. If a site is to be found, it must contain keyword phrases that match
the phrases the target audience is typing into search queries. These keywords
are determined by search engine spiders that analyze web page content and keyword
relevancy based on an algorithm. Search engine optimization is the process
of configuring a website to be more visible to its target audience.*
are Organic/Natural Search Engine Listings?
Search engine placement (or rankings) is
realized through a number of influences. Listings can be positioned in an
organic manner or by way of payment. Organic listings are considered because
a search engine deems them editorially important and consequently relevant
for inclusion, regardless of payment. Meaning, the keyword phrases on the
site match the keywords searchers are typing into query fields. Paid Inclusion
simply means payment has been made for a site to be included in a search
engine directory. This may also be considered “organic” even
though the ads are paid for, because the pages usually appear intermixed
with unpaid organic results.
The key to improving your web site’s search engine ranking is having
highly relevant content on your site that searchers are looking for and will
benefit searchers in some way. As an example your web pages could talk about
or sell the latest hot digital music product like Apple’s iPod. You
could offer insightful information about any given subject (Wikipedia.com), “how
to” tutorials (Lynda.com), timely news (CNN.com) or expert advice on
any given subject (About.com) – all different areas that people are
The art and science of Search Engine Optimization is taking
this relevant content and placing it on your web pages in such a way that
it is “spider
friendly,” meaning, there are “keywords” strategically
located on the pages (so search engine crawlers/spiders can index your site
properly), “and” most importantly people friendly, meaning, that
the pages are readable, make sense and are of value to them in some way.
What is Paid Inclusion?
Inclusion is an advertising program where web pages are guaranteed to be
included in a search engine's index in exchange for payment (usually annually
and or per click), though no guarantee of ranking well is typically given.
Your web pages will be among the organic listings in a search, but oddly
enough they are not guaranteed a high ranking because of payment. Obtaining
a guaranteed listing in a directory is different from ranking in a search.
You still have to strive for a well optimized web site regardless of payment
to be listed in a directory to get any kind of high search engine rankings.
So why would you pay for a listing in a directory if they don’t guarantee
you a high search engine ranking? There are several reasons. One is a Paid
Inclusion listing in a directory means that your site is crawled by the search
engine’s spider much sooner (in Yahoo’s case within seven days)
and much more often than a regular organic/natural listing; this is highly
desirable for companies that post new or timely information (news sites for
example), product up dates, or seasonable services for instance that needs
to be updated often. Another reason is many people like searching in directories
more than conducting searches on the web as a whole. Also, having in-bound
links from your listings in directories pointing to your web site helps with
your page rank so having select high quality directories that have a link
in them pointing to your web site is a very good thing.
To learn about Web
Search Engineer's Search Engine Optimization Service, please visit my Services page.
To learn more about the differences between web pages that appear organically
and paid sponsored ads in search results, please see my "What is an
Organic Listing / Sponsored Ad?" Flash tutorial movie on my SEO/SEM
Also check out our new Top SEO Tips, Tools, Resources and Mentors Lists!
Search Engine Optimization: What is it?