For those of you still playing from home, here’s what SEO stands for: Search Engine Optimization. Congratulations, that was step one. You’ve scratched the surface.

You see, back in the old days (remember, seconds are years in Internet time), SEO used to be just another acronym for something only web techies were interested in. As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, however, business owners small and large are hearing they need to be on top of the SEO game.

Here’s a hint: The rumors are true.

The well-tuned engine on today’s information superhighway

Even when the Internet was a baby (the first time two computers hung out and did the binary shuffle) it was and still is all about the sharing of information.

Whether you’re using it to further your education, talk to a friend half the world away, waste an afternoon staring at pictures of cats, or closing all the curtains and, well… (just remember that 6 inches is the keyboard safety zone), the Internet is full of almost immeasurable activities and information.

Before long, users found themselves with a problem. They needed a guide, the AAA and encyclopedia of the Internet, to help them find their way around.

Search Engines Were The Solution

Search engines are like the Yellow Pages. They know where to find what you’re looking for as long as you have an idea of how to describe it. In the last few years, they’ve gotten a major overhaul, now helping you find directions, news articles, photos, videos, and pretty much anything that has been on the Internet – ever.

I know what you’re thinking. How do these search engines categorize information and bring you what is relevant to what you’re looking for? SEO is the answer.

How SEO Works

In short, companies like Google, Ask.com, Yahoo, Bing, etc., rely on you and I, the user and website owners, to provide them the details. All they have to do is organize and present it.

SEO is the process in which you optimize your site, through various labeling techniques, to make it easier to categorize, or index, for search engines and their endless army of Internet robots.

Optimizing your site correctly gives it a higher likelihood of appearing on page 1 of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). In case you were wondering, this is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic to your site.

Do it incorrectly, or abuse the system, and the search engine gods will punish you – severely.

Years of abuse and outdated SEO techniques, like buying backlinks, the measure of your site’s popularity on the Internet, and keyword stuffing, the practice of attaching so many keywords, most of them irrelevant, to your site that it loses both meaning and credibility, have taken their toll on the SEO world.

The Backspacelash

Google just recently introduced an update, coined the “Penguin” update (angry penguin, if you ask me), to its search algorithm, the key to its indexing and categorizing methods. Before it came the “Panda” update, which tried to identify the quality of backlinks and weed out the ones it felt weren’t real or were unreliable/relevant.

Now, “Penguin” is trying to affect SEO techniques in an attempt to keep its SERP full of quality information that the user is looking for, not what shady people want you to find.

If you’re lost at this point, don’t worry. A lot of people are. The field of SEO is a rapidly changing one and can take many years to grasp. It’s also time consuming – rightly so considering it can make or break your new business online.

If you’d like to learn more about what SEO is, or how it can help your business, give us a ring at (305) 576-9400 or write me at Jason@lgdcom.com.