Why SEO and Who Needs It
In this age of information when searching for something on the Internet people normally look it up in popular search engines like: Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista MSN, Alexa, and Gigablast. They do not go beyond the first or second page of the searched results i.e. the first 8-16 of the hundreds of millions of results found by the search engines. If the information is available on the Internet, it is found, more often than not, in these first few search results. Browsing through the top websites thrown up by the search engines related to the information suffices. Studies on internet search behavior and eye tracking have confirmed this.
As obtaining information and doing business online has become common practice, individuals and organizations that are conducting business on the Internet must be visible on the Internet. To do this, websites of such organizations need to come up among the top ten/twenty of the search. Small businesses as well as large organizations that depend on online business need to rank high up on the search engines. The higher the rank of a website, the more visibility- thus its number of visitors increases.
Websites that come at the top of the search engine results are not there by accident. Careful planning, designing, and programming by experienced internet developers, engineers and marketers are the factors behind pushing the ranking of a website higher up. The process of elevating a website to a better ranking and higher visibility is known as search engine optimization (SEO).
How SEO Works
Imagine the World Wide Web to be a huge library stacked up with innumerable websites. When somebody tries to search for specific information using a search form, a robot (much like a library assistant) scans the relevant section of the library of websites. Similar to libraries that have categorized sections for books, the search engines have indexes for the crawlers to search through. The robot (also known as spider or crawler) searches through HTML code and selects the most relevant websites first. Search engines use different algorithms to judge the relevance of websites to the information searched for.
SEO consultants help in designing websites by using key phrases and other methodologies which are not common knowledge to a majority of the internet world. They attempt to make the meta tags, contents, and links of the websites become more tractable for the search engine algorithm. Search engines outline their own policies of search engine optimization and it’s the responsibility of the SEO consultant to adhere to those. If you fail to optimize your site correctly, the search engines can ban your web site. Therefore SEO consultants have to strike a balance between ‘keyword stuffing or spamdexing’ and ‘paucity of keywords’.
Search engine optimization has gained importance with the growth of online business. A website foraying in to the World Wide Web without using SEO techniques is akin to a soldier rushing in to battle without a gun. “No wonder, SEO is being hailed as one of the most cost-effective and valuable marketing tools available today.