While the Internet and the World Wide Web make information very easy to access, the huge number of web pages that are available online makes it extremely difficult to make one web page stand out from all of the others that contain similar characteristics. For lack of a better way to find information and products that are available online, most users take advantage of search engines to find what they are looking for. As a result of the reliance on search engines, and the fact that most users of the Internet are unlikely to go to sites that are not on the first page of the search results, many online businesses are left with an unfairly small volume of traffic to their sites.
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is a practice that allows webmasters to take advantage of the algorithms that search engines use to rank sites. The ideal result of search engine optimization is to have a site appear first in a search that has been done on key words related to the goods or services that are associated with the site.
Early search engines allowed webmasters and SEO practitioners, like Mark Goodman and Margae, Inc, to have a lot more control over how a page or web site was ranked than they do now. Search engine algorithms primarily looked at key words and meta tags embedded in the code of the web page by the designer of the web site. This practically invited abuse and manipulation when it came to the search engine’s rankings. In addition to interfering with the ranking of web sites, the use of inaccurate meta tags and key words allowed web sites to be included in search results on keywords that did not have anything to do with their actual content. More comprehensive algorithms have made search engine results more difficult to manipulate. This, in turn, has improved the validity of search results.
Search engines rank web sites by many means, including analyzing them for links, content and key words. The total number of links to a specific site that are found on different web pages is factored into the search engine’s estimate of the relevance of that site. Currently, more sophisticated search algorithms discourage abuse of this process. It is still possible for skilled SEO webmasters, like Mark Goodman and Margae, to influence the search engine’s ranking of a web site.