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  What is Search Engine Optimization?  
 
Search engine optimization (SEO) is something we hear about often when researching Internet marketing.  For someone new to Internet marketing, SEO may seem like just another acronym in a sea of acronyms.  So, let us begin with the basics.

Search Engine Optimization Defined

Anytime you enter a search in Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine, the search engine must determine which websites will appear in the results page.  The way search engines do this is with a complicated mathematical formula that compares all the pages on the Internet against each other.

The comparison of web pages is done to determine which web pages are the most relevant for the search term you entered in.  The factors that are considered in the formula include:

•    The words in the URL
•    The words used in the text
•    The tags placed in the coding of the site
•    The links from other sites that go to your sites

Search engine optimization is a series of tools and practices that enhance your site’s score in the formula so your website appears in the search results.

Why SEO is Important

Search engines divide the search results on a webpage to include sponsored listings (pay-per-click ads) and natural listings.  Most consumers know the difference between the sponsored listings and the natural listings.
Consumers generally equate a website’s position in search results with the quality of the company.  Though there is no real correlation between the two, the perception is an important one to be aware of.

SEO is also unlike pay-per-click because you do not have to pay every time someone clicks on your listing in the search results.  Though you may hire someone to do your SEO campaign, their fee is the only cost associated with getting traffic through search engine optimization.

Pitfalls of SEO

It is important to know that SEO takes time to reap results.  Unlike Pay-Per-Click ads that can bring traffic to your site in minutes, SEO generally takes several weeks to many months to bring traffic to your website.
Many website owners view SEO as an essential long-term marketing initiative rather than an immediate, instant traffic initiative like PPC or taking out ads on other websites.

If your goal is long-term success online your Internet marketing plan should include search engine optimization for your most important search terms.