Search engine optimization (SEO)
is the method of making the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s outstanding results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. In general, more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users, and these visitors can be converted into customers. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
SEO is not an appropriate strategy for every website, and other Internet marketing strategies can be more efficient like paid advertising through pay per click (PPC) campaigns, depending on the site operator’s goals. A successful Internet marketing campaign may also depend upon building high-quality web pages to engage and persuade, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure results, and improving a site’s conversion rate. In November 2015, Google released a full 160-page version of its Search Quality Rating Guidelines to the public, which now shows a shift in their focus towards “usefulness” and mobile search.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links is another SEO tactic. As of May 2015, mobile search has finally surpassed desktop search. Google is developing and pushing mobile search as the future in all of its products, and many brands are beginning to take a different approach to their internet strategies
SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors. Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website’s placement, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. According to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day. It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic.
In addition to accessibility in terms of web crawlers (addressed above), user web accessibility has become increasingly important for SEO.