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This is by far one of the most common questions I have received from my clients over the last two years. What is this SEO that people keep trying to sell me, and why do I need it?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Simply defined it is the practice of making a website more attractive to search engines for certain keywords/search phrases -- which will in turn make your website appear higher in the search engine results. I will cover the specifics of SEO with a whole bunch of fancy words in later post(s) but for now you should know that it can help drive traffic to your website.
Think of it like this...you have a website for your business, the BEST website in the whole internet, but it isn't going to do you any good unless you can get people to GO THERE! Driving traffic to your website is a little more than half the battle (let's call it 70%.) You've got to consider that there are numerous other sites on the internet in your exact industry and quite possibly in your same geographic area.
So we've got to do two things:
But Patrick, how am I going to do that you might ask? The answer is quite simple...Search Engine Optimization. The vast arsenal of SEO can be boiled down to two distinct categories:
Organic SEO (my favorite type by far) is where the website itself is manipulated to be as attractive as possible to search engines. Things such as page content, page titles, back links, descriptions, text formatting, anchor text and image/file name optimization are just a few areas that are manipulated to accomplish this. We'll explore those in more depth in a later post. While this may be my favorite type of SEO - you should be warned that it WILL take longer than PPC to have an affect on your website. You can't rush perfection! Please also note that no one can guarantee results with Organic SEO...run away screaming from anyone making such claims.
With that being said, one of the coolest and most beneficial aspects of organic SEO is that the changes made to your site are permanent and will forever benefit you...in some cases even long after you stop paying for the service.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) SEO is exactly what it sounds like. You tell the search engines how much you are willing to pay per click to your website for a certain eyword/search phrase. When your bid is the highest in the hopper for that particular search engine, your website will pop-up at the top of the page for all of the internet to see. These are the websites displayed in yellow boxes at the top of Google results and on the side of the Google results page.
PPC SEO can have an immediate impact on the traffic coming to your site -- as long as your budget holds out anyway. When signing up for PPC SEO you tell the search engine how much you are willing to spend each month on that particular campaign. When that amount is reached...*poof*...you disappear from that pretty yellow box on top of the results page. This is one of the reasons I do not favor PPC SEO, although it certainly does have its place.
So there you have it...my basic quick break down of Search Engine Optimization and why you need it. I will be exploring this topic further in future posts, so stay tuned.