Search engine optimization is, in its most basic form, the art of building your website in such a way that when people use search engines to look for information related to what your site contains, they will find you at the top of the results. While search engines are a boon for people looking for information, the draw back is that they usually perform too well. That may sound odd, but when you consider that a search for a popular subject or product can throw up a hundreds of thousands of results, you will understand who is going to hunt through all that material for find what is wanted? The websites that attract the most visitors are those that come up highest in the search engine results – if not at the top, then in the first page (or at lest the second).

A search engine works by using the keywords that people type into it to look for relevant websites and when the search is complete, the engines produces pages of results. Where your website appears in these results will depend on how relevant the search engine thinks it is to the keywords it was searching for. That means that the more often the search word or phrase appears in your website, the more relevant the search engine will think your site is to the search. This is search engine optimization explained in its simplest form.

Many people fall into the temptation of using the keywords too often in their web pages which not only makes the text look forced and unnatural, it also puts search engines off because the advances in search technology means that these engines can detect web pages that are filled with keywords only for the sake of giving them a better ranking in the search results. A website that sells coffee makers and uses these words 75 times in a page containing 700 words of text will be ignored by search engines because it is an obvious case of artificially forcing keywords to get higher ranking and has nothing to do with the relevance of the site. There are also many unethical ways of optimizing your site such as using hidden keywords and participation in link farms but search engines are becoming more sophisticated every day and this kind of unethical optimization will get caught sooner or later, resulting in the website being removed from the search results.

A great website is not guarantee of success – there is far too much competition to sit back and relax without making every effort to get traffic to your site. The most effective way of doing this is by making your site search engine friendly. Optimization involves a great deal more, but this is the basic concept of search engine optimization explained.