SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, would be better understood if it were called Website Optimization since we are actually talking about optimizing websites for search engines versus optimizing search engines. Regardless, SEO is a technology buzz word that has been around for a number of years now. Most of us have heard the term SEO, but there still may be a few out there who dont know what it means. So, lets define it so we can better understand how SEO can help us.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of fine tuning a website for a specific set of subject matter, called keywords, which a) will be useful to the web searcher and b), will be helpful to search engines as they visit a website to determine what it is about. The better optimized a website is, the more likely it is that a searcher will be able to find it.
The big three search engines, Google, Yahoo, and MSN, comprise more than 84% of all search engine queries throughout the world. Google is the hands-down search engine leader with an almost 50% market share. Most people use search engines to find whatever it is they are looking for, so it is very important for website owners to be found via at least one of these three search engines.
On a regular basis, search engines scour the Internet, reviewing most every website and web page that exists, sometimes whether you want them to or not. I like to refer to these little visitors as web bots or search bots. On some visits, they just check in to see what is going on, but on other visits, they may make a decision regarding the ranking of a website or specific pages on a website. These search bots are definitely trainable and I have a separate article that discusses exactly how to train them.
Websites that have specific content-rich pages focused on a particular subject or theme are the pages which do well with search engines. NOTE: Website optimization is not about using the same keyword over and over again in an unnatural way. This overly redundant usage of keywords is referred to as keyword stuffing and is highly frowned upon by search engines. Just write good, relevant content for each web page and you will be on your way.
There are many, many other things one can do to optimize a website for search engines, but having good content is the number one priority. I will discuss these other methods in separate articles, so be sure to look for them.