|"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." - Soren Kierkegaard|
a couple of the listings at the top of the page of results when you perform a search are in a lightly shaded area. These are the results at the top of the list.
These results as well as all the ones on the right side of the page are paid listings. Google has a program called AdWords where it sells top listings to anyone who is willing to pay the price. When you click on one of these listings the client, who paid Google for the listing, pays Google a price for the click. I will cover AdWords in a later article, but for now I just want to explain what SEO is.
So, if you don’t want to pay for listings then how do you get your site listed on the first page of the results? This is a tricky thing. Since the search engines need to be returning the most relevant results when a searcher types in a keyword, they have to do all they can to ensure that the results are the best. Otherwise the searcher will use another search engine and Google will lose a bit of advertising revenue.
So Google and the others use various computer programs called “Algorithms” which help them determine which of the trillions of websites fit the searcher’s terms best. There are on-site and off-site factors to consider by these programs, (also called “Robots”, or “Spiders” among other names). Since the scope of this article is to explain what SEO is I will go more into detail about these factors that the search engines will look for in other articles. Right now the point is that SEO is the art and science of optimizing your website to get the best rankings for the various search terms someone might use to find your business.
I will detail how to do this in other articles on this site and in my blog at blog.southwestwebs.com