Let's say you own a carpet cleaning business. Your business has a website, but only a few people know the address to your website (ABCCarpetCleaning.com, let's say). In the past, customers would open up the Yellow Pages, go to the carpet cleaning section, and right there at the top would be the listing for your business, ABC Carpet Cleaning. But now people look on the internet instead.
Search engines are websites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Each of these websites has created an index of billions of web pages on the internet. When a person goes to Google and types in "carpet cleaning in Fresno", Google gives them a listing of all the web pages on the internet that talk about carpet cleaning in Fresno. The problem is, Google has almost one million web pages in its index that talk about carpet cleaning in Fresno. (Amazing, right?!) Only about 10 or 20 web pages are listed on Google's first page of search results, and almost no one takes the time to look beyond the first results page. So unless your web pages appear on the first page of search results, you're practically invisible.
Search engine optimization (seo) is the practice of getting your web pages listed as high as possible in the list of search engine results for whatever terms are important to your business. In our carpet cleaner example, you would want to show up on the first page when people type "carpet cleaners in fresno", "fresno carpet cleaning", "residential carpet cleaners in Fresno, ca", etc. These are all phrases that your potential customers would type in when looking for the services you offer.
Google and other search engines all have a secret formula they use to decide which web pages should be shown first when someone types in "carpet cleaning in fresno". Good search engine optimizers understand the basics of this formula and are able to make sure that Google realizes your website is important to people looking for carpet cleaning in Fresno. Here are some of the techniques employed in seo:
- Making sure your website says the right things about carpet cleaning in Fresno.
- Putting pieces of code into each page of your website that tell the search engines what these web pages are about.
- Getting other websites to link to your website, which shows Google your website is important.
Now that you understand the basics of what seo is, let's talk a little more about seo and its role in your business' internet marketing.