What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the art and science of increasing traffic to your website by acquiring greater exposure for it in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These search giants are constantly working to perfect their computer algorithms which are responsible for determining the quality, reputation, and relevance of a website.

There's no definitive list of guidelines to adhere to when it comes to SEO, and it requires a great deal of experimentation to get perfectly right. However, there are a select rules and practices that have proven advantageous, time and time again. Among these rules is the idea that the more links you have directed at your site, from other websites, the better your rankings. But this is only the surface truth. In reality, things aren't quite as straightforward.

The fact of the matter is, not every backlink is desirable when trying to push your website up through the rankings of Google, or whatever search engine you may be trying to manipulate. In fact, unnatural links can often have the opposite effect, and greatly reduce your position if your website receives one of Google's penalties. The key here is to reduce the occurrence of unnatural backlinks, while increasing the occurrence of real, natural and reputable backlinks. But once again, this is but the tip of the iceberg.

There are, quite literally, thousands upon thousands of different triggers and indicators that Google and other major search engines use to determine the quality of your site. Managing all these different aspects of SEO is exactly why choosing an experienced SEO company is so vital to the long term success of your online presence.

This includes both internal and external factors. While internal, or on-site, search engine optimization is a huge job, constantly adding new fresh content that is both useful and informative for your users, managing the external factors can also be a full-time job, and requiring regular upkeep.

Effective search engine optimization requires analysis, just as much as it requires action. The search engines never react to two different websites in the same way. What worked for one site one week, may not work for a different site the next, even if they're seemingly similar in content and have identical link profiles. And this is why analytics are so critical. SEO specialists must be able to not only make sense of the data received, but they must also be prepared to react to it, in order to gain the maximum benefit.

The SEO strategy that is designed for your website will be what determines the success or failure of your overall online marketing plan. The experienced SEO strategist will be able to balance the needs of the search engines, with the needs of your visitors, to ensure they both get what they want.