Definition of SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is basically the practice of ensuring your website is fully optimized to appeal to the search engines.

Optimizing a website takes into account several different strategies, but the overall purpose is to show the search engines that your website is packed with interesting, useful and relevant content, and is worthy of being shown to people who are looking for that content.

Many SEO techniques are designed to attract the attention of the search engine spiders. Spiders are programs that search for new and updated websites and pages and rank them according to their usability and popularity among web users.

SEO can also be defined as an ongoing process, rather than a single task which must be performed once and once only. All websites are ?live' and by their very nature they are growing and developing all the time. Search engine optimization techniques can and should be practised constantly to ensure your website performs at its very best in the search engine results on a daily basis.

A good example of this concerns keywords. A specific keyworded phrase which is popular now may fall out of favour in weeks or months to come, and so regular checks on how your chosen keywords and phrases are performing are advisable to ensure you stay on top of your particular niche subject.

How well you perform in search engine results depends on how highly you are ranked by the search engines. You can directly affect your ranking by making sure you perform regular search engine optimization techniques to keep your site fresh, interesting and relevant.

There are two basic types of SEO that you may have heard of - black hat SEO and white hat SEO. Unless you want to get banned by the search engines (a relative disaster scenario in the online world) you would do best to steer well clear of any black hat SEO techniques you come across, and stick to the white hat ones instead.

Black hat SEO is the name given to the underhand strategies for trying to tip the balance of the search engines in your favour. This may include cramming in lots of extra keywords by using hidden text, for example - ie. white text on a white background. This is known as keyword spamming and will get your site banned without question.

White hat SEO strategies are all that you need to get ranked highly, and over time your efforts will be rewarded as your methods attract more visitors, which in turn will push your ranking even higher.

In the end, developing an understanding of what SEO stands for will benefit your website both now and in the future.

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