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The Technical Definition
Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines
Now a Little About What SEO is NOT
SEO is Not Paid Ads
The definition above doesn’t use the phrase “organic search” but may as well. A high-ranking placement in the SERP excludes the sponsored or paid ads area. Please see below.
The areas labeled “Paid Ads” are where paid ads are displayed. Those results in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) are NOT the result of a well optimized website.
The area labeled Organic Search Results is where you want your website to show up.
Why? Because organic search results are selected 94% of the time.
SEO is Not Tricks
Tricks are things people do to cause their website to “artificially” rank higher, where artificially means contrary to the stated intentions of the search engines, which is to return the MOST USEFUL results to the person conducting the search.
Such tricks used to work. Some still do. However with each search algorithm update, Google is causing these tricks not to work.
In the words of Google, such tricks are known as “Web spam”.
Probably the two most famous web spam techniques (neither of which work anymore) was:
1) Put keywords on your webpages such that search engines see them but people don’t. This was done by using white letters in a very small font against a white background (or some equivalent). Once upon a time, this was a great trick.
2) Backlink farms were (and I repeat were) a service where you could buy a high quantity of backlinks to your website from a set of servers who existed specifically for that purpose. Backlinks are a critical component to SEO success, but “artificial” backlinks (now) hurt your ranking.
So What is SEO Today?
Please read the followup article…
Have You Hired SEO Companies that Didn’t Deliver?
Most small business SEO services are ineffective. I have trouble counting up all the small business owners who hired SEO firms they feel charged too much and delivered too little.
Bucking the trend of “if it’s not core, outsource it”, unless you can afford $2,500 a month for a quality agency, effective small business SEO is best done in house.
To Learn More…SEO Needs Link Building