SEO Basics: What is SEO?

SEO Basics is the eCreative IM blog column written for SEO beginners just learning the basics of search engine optimization. You can find all our SEO Basics articles by browsing the SEO Basics Archive or find the specific tips you’re looking for in our SEO Tips & Guides page.

As Jules recently mentioned, despite the exponential growth of the internet and its now thorough integration into nearly every aspect of business, search engine optimization remains a foreign concept to many small and mid-sized businesses.

In short SEO, or search engine optimization, is the ongoing process of modifying the code and content of your web pages to increase the likelihood that they will rank well in search engine results.

For example, if you were in the business of selling antique computers you would likely want a website for your company (since more people search online than through any other means — the Yellow Pages have been surpassed). Unfortunately just because you have a website doesn’t necessarily mean that when someone types “antique computers” into Google that Google is going to list your website as one of the top results.

This is where SEO comes in.

Google, and other search engines, uses an algorithm to determine which pages get displayed when a user types in any given keyword phrase. To a large extent, the SEO world has been able to learn or deduce the factors and comparative weights of factors that run that algorithm. Thus it’s possible to increase the likelihood of a website ranking well for any given search phrase.

The details and permutations of SEO techniques and strategies are endless, in particular since Google and other search engines are constantly changing those algorithms and weighting of factors — thus SEO strategies are constantly changing.

In general though, SEO is just a way to make your website more attractive to search engines, rank higher in search engine results, and thus get more customers visiting your website. Whether you want to learn the ins and outs of the SEO field yourself or hire a SEO Firm to handle it for you, search engine optimization should be a part of every company’s marketing strategy.