What is this thing called SEO and do I need it?

What is this thing called SEO (we’ll tell you)? Is it the next big thing in web (yes)? Do we as web site owners need it (usually)? What exactly does it do (we’ll tell you that too)?

If you find yourself asking these questions then you may not be surprised to find yourself in good company. That is because even those who are implementing SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, for their sites may not have a real understanding of what is being done and how it is helping them or if it is helping them. The other real truth is that if you have a business website then you probably do need SEO. SEO is becoming a standard requirement for anyone needing to be found on the web. And, these days, as web searches continue to replace the Yellow Pages, that is nearly everyone.

There are typically three services that sometimes get grouped into the category of SEO, but they are different. The goal of all three is the same, to be placed on the first page of search results.

Results for "Website Development Ridgeland"
Google search results for "Website Development Ridgeland." In search results for most search engines such as Google and Yahoo, "Organic" or "Natural" results are on the left, "Sponsored" or "Paid" results are on the right and sometimes at the top.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of fine tuning a website to be attractive to search engines like Google, Yahoo and others, so that your site shows up higher in their search results for searches relevant to your site. The goal is normally to appear in the first page of the search results since many people do not look beyond the first page of results.

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. This is usually used to refer to Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, which is used to get around bad search engine ranking by buying your way to the first page in the Sponsor / Advertiser areas.

Search Engine Optimization Marketing is the practice of boosting organic search results using a variety of techniques such as “back links.” This is considered a form SEM, but since it only affects the organic results, it is different from PPC SEM.

The first, fundamental step in Search Engine Optimization is a onetime service for your site. It involves updating content in your site and updating information in the coding of the site to better reflect key terms and phrases people are using in their searches. You may come back and revisit and tune up your site periodically, but it is usually to tweak, not to rebuild, and so it is basically a fixed cost. Search Engine Marketing and SEO Marketing services, on the other hand, are continuous and continually funded and are a different service than the physical tune up of basic SEO. Although PPC SEM can be very effective very quickly if you have the budget, it is not as effective long term and is useless without continual funding. SEO Marketing, on the other hand, can be very effective medium and long term. Many website owners choose to implement SEO for long term results and PPC SEM until those results are realized.

SEO, SEM and SEO Marketing are all designed to do the same thing: get your website recognized and placed on the first page in search engine search results.
There are a lot of important factors to weigh when establishing your search engine strategy including location, type of business, online services offered, customer base and much more. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help you.

Today as web searches take the place of Yellow Pages and phone books, it is critical to have a solid presence in search results. Fortunately, the cost of Yellow Page ads can often easily cover or offset the cost of a basic SEO upgrade for your website and begin to provide longer lasting results.

Contact Think Webstore for more information on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Think Webstore is a Mississippi based company that specializes in website design, web technologies, logo design, business identity and marketing strategy. Think Webstore is co-located with Advanced Microsystems (www.advmicrosystems.com), a company specializing in computer repair, networking and network administration.

655 Lake Harbour Drive
Ridgeland, MS 39157

Read more about SEO and SEM at thinkwebstore.com
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