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Search Engine Optimization
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  What is Search Engine Optimization?
Searching is the second most commonly performed activity of all Internet users - right behind using e-mail. The majority of Internet users use search engines and web directories as their primary method to find information or resources online. However, with approximately 4 billion web pages publicly available on the World Wide Web, the chances are slim that people will find your site for searches that relate to your product or service without proper optimization.

Search Engine Optimzation uses knowledge and observation of exactly 'how' search engines and web directories decide which web sites to return as results for queries, and applies this to attain significantly higher placement for particular sites. SEO is the process of assisting the search engines and directories to accurately evaluate which search queries your web content can answer effectively, and additionally seeks to place a certain 'bias' in your favor for ranking your sites within the search results for those queries.

How Important is Search Engine Placement?

In recent studies, top e-commerce and information web sites were discovered to receive up to 85 percent of all of their visitors (and customers) from search referrals. Without doubt, for the vast majority of on-line companies, SEO provides the highest possible ROI of all marketing and promotional activities.

More than 80 percent of Web users find the sites they're looking for by using a search engine, according to both Forrester Research and Georgia Tech's GVU Center User Surveys. Every single day, 57 percent of Web users search the Internet, making search the second most popular Internet activity after e-mail (according to Statistical Research, Inc.).

Search listings outscore banner and button ads by more than two to one on measures including awareness, likelihood to click-on, and overall opinion, in a recent study by NPD Group. The survey also found that consumers are five times more likely to purchase your products after seeing search listings versus banners.

Search engines drive extremely targeted traffic. The visitor who finds your site through a search engine is already actively looking for exactly what you provide. You can't find a more targeted form of marketing than that.

As the number of pages on the Web grows, so do the number of pages indexed by the search engines. Several engines have moved from the millions of pages indexed into the billions. With this kind of clutter, high rankings are no accident. They have to be thoughtfully planned and executed like the other tactics in your marketing mix.

According to industry leader Search Engine Watch, only 7 percent of searchers will go beyond the third page of listings. So if you're not in the top 30 search results, you may as well not be there at all.

Let's outline all of that one more time. Without SEO you are quite possibly throwing away up to 85 percent of your potential customers and visitors, and a full 80 percent of your potential customers will find their way to a rival business instead.

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