The use of SEO has become increasingly popular over the past 10 years, and while there may be free information guides to read online, the practice has become much more in depth than one might initially think. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s what stands between your companies website being lost in a sea of search results, or being ranked at the very top of Google, Bing, or Yahoo searches. In order to have your site featured on that desired first page of results, you need to understand the process of how search engines function.

When a user types in a specific keyword phrase into a search bar, the search engine basically acts as an answer machine. The engine will scour billions of websites and do two things: first, provide you with results that are relevant to the keyword phrases users enter, and second, rank the results based on the search engines perceived popularity of that website. So everything is based off of whether or not your website is deemed relevant enough for that top spot on the list.

The necessary ingredients that can boost your websites relevance are fairly complex, and with several hundred key methods to do this, it can prove to be a rather extensive task. However, there are two basic aspects to SEO that we can all get behind and understand without first having to read through a multitude of guides and How-To manuals. First, since search engines can’t determine the popularity of a website based on logical reasoning, they instead use intricate algorithms to sort through the data that appears within your site. Which means the more content it finds that matches the keyword phrases people are searching for, the higher the chance you have of the engine determining the popularity of the site. Second, it’s important to make sure your website is easy to navigate through. Search engines can register if a user visits your page and then immediately hits the “back” button on their web browser. This will cause the engine to create a log of the incident, which can hurt your overall ranking if it occurs frequently.

The competition on the web has exploded to new heights, and the practice of SEO marketing is a key factor in determining your spot on the web. With over 20.3 billion searches in just one month by Americans in 2011, the desire from users to locate the information they’re after quick and efficiently, can spell success or failure for your websites future.