SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a method of adjusting web documents so they become visible and meaningful to Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Within the realm of search optimization work there are on-page activities and off-page functions.
On-page SEO concerns itself with the technical details of web page construction and the best use of keywords, meta data, and HTML attributes. Web page content is another significant aspect of on-page SEO, including document quality, document authority, multi-media assets like images, video, podcasts, and internal linking.
Off-page search engine optimization involves the various opportunities at hand to “get found” by having your website backlinks in blogs, forums, directories, social media sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and social bookmark websites, like Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon. The major advantage of backlinks from other websites is amplified when the text of the link – known as anchor text – is specifically relevant to your site.
The benefit of SEO is that best pages get most of the search engine visitors. In fact, the top three natural page listings on a Google search engine results page (SERP) are thought to get up to sixty-two percent of all the visitors (SOURCE: Nobel Samurai), with the number one spot receiving an amazing 42% of the traffic. This makes any one of the top 3 spots more valuable than any single pay-per-click position on the page.
SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is website promotion that seeks to increase visibility through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion. SEM is basically an umbrella term for various means of promoting a website, including SEO. The most frequent use of the terminology is in conjunction with paid advertising, like Google’s Adwords pay-per-click program.
SEO and SEM are critical to any business that needs to be discovered by local, national or international customers. When making important buying decisions, 89% of consumers use the Internet to search for information before making offline purchases (Source: ComScore). When your company can’t be found online, in all of the ways that people use search engines, your company is as good as invisible.
We live in an increasingly web-centric world where people have access to the Internet from home, smart mobile devices, kiosks, cafes, even their automobiles. This means you have the extraordinary ability to interface with people where ever they happen to be. The difference between those who do connect and those who don’t is SEO/SEM.
Plus, SEM is replacing traditional outbound marketing methods, including television, radio, print and e-mail. The number one reason that companies are turning away from outbound marketing is the cost and near complete rejection by clients. Today, people have complete control over advertising and can virtually shut it out with caller ID, Tivo, and e-mail spam filters, to name just a few.
SEO is a moving mark. Changes to a website that used to show up in less than a week now take weeks. Generally speaking, anything you do to a web page today will take 30 to forty-five days to show a true effect in the search engines. Smart SEO specialists keep up to date log books of all changes made so they can look back to see which changes had positive and bad effects.