What is SEO?:

Why SEO Is Important

By James Atkinson, LLB

What is SEO? Why SEO is Important. Search engines don’t invent words. They merely collect, aggregate, and then return their findings back to searchers.

Search engine optimization (SEO) then, is the art and science of optimizing web pages to rank high for their chosen key phrases in the search engine results.

SEO is an amalgam of content and technology.

If asked, search engine optimizers will usually tell you that “technology” is much more important than content.  The reverse is true. 

Search engine optimizers prattle on about Google algorithms, keyword density, title tags, back links, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), silos, and so forth. Of course - they have to. Making something more complex than it is - allows for charging a great deal of money for SEO services. 

Most SEO practitioners are pretty hit and miss - and there is usually more MISS than hit! I know, because for years I was beguiled by the technological search for high ranking and I shelled out a lot of money believing the claims of SEO “experts”. In the end I learned how to do SEO for myself – and I’m a much better online marketer for it.

In my view, the technology process of search engine optimization is relatively simple. You can easily learn what is required and then endlessly repeat the process.

However, because of the perceived difficulty, many online direct marketers replace search engine optimization with PPC.

The PPC model to attract prospects and customers DOES work – but it is very expensive and of course PPC has its own set of perceived difficulties and “mysteries”. Later, I will outline some of the disadvantages of PPC over search engine optimization.  

It’s the CONTENT and keyword support linking that really gets you the high ranking. Of course your web content needs to be buttressed by technology - but the skills involved in are pretty straightforward.

Why bother jumping through all the hoops to get high organic search engine rankings when you can just use pay-per-click (PPC) to buy traffic?

The eye-tracking graphic below shows how much time searchers spend looking at the organic results vs. the PPC areas on the right ride of a Google search results page:

SEO Golden Triangle

Source: eyetools.com

Since this particular study was done in 2005, a few things have changed. Many PPC marketers place their ads on the top left side of the page. Since Google has put more video results on pages searcher eyes do tend to jump around a little more.

As a general principle however, the so-called "Golden Triangle" still stands. The red, orange and yellow areas represent the areas that searchers spend most time looking at – high organic rankings!

The research also shows that it’s not simply “views”. Searchers do click the links they see on the top left hand side in preference to the PPC on the right. Searchers pay very little attention to the PPC ads on the right side of the page and the bulk of views occur in the top left-hand corner.

In my view, organic results get much more traffic than PPC ads for the same keywords. So, if you are NOT optimizing for organic results, you are excluding a lot of potential traffic. Organic rankings can bring you “free” traffic for a long time without you doing any more work - after your initial optimization.

With PPC of course, you have to pay for every click. This makes the average cost of organic traffic much, much lower, even after factoring in the time and money spent in optimizing site and content.

Pay-per-click in the search network is so expensive now that many advertisers often lose money on the first sale. Almost all traffic comes from a search engine or social network. These are the “key information points” where prospects come to look for solutions. You need to put your message in front of those prospects.For all these reasons, organic SEO should be at the top of your list of ways to get traffic.

Given the traffic potential many marketers try to fool the search engines with all sorts of “black hat” optimization tricks.

Is this a good idea? Let's take a look.

> What is SEO? > SEO Basics > Why SEO Is Important > White Hat vs Black Hat SEO.

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