Search Engine Optimization, a.k.a. SEO, is a process by which a website becomes visible on the search engine's radars. Considering the fact that there are over 4 billion publicly accessible websites on the Internet, being visible when a potential customer performs a search on Google or Yahoo is crucial. If your website does not show up within first couple of pages of results, there is a very slim chance that the potential customer will be able to locate your website.
When starting on the SEO journey, do not expect immediate results. Website's position on the search engine is like cheese - as it gets better with time! When internet was in its infancy, there was no need to optimize the site for the search engines to see it. Back then a robot (a.k.a. search spider) was able to traverse all of the sites on the Internet within few hours. Nowadays, the size of websites present on the internet is measured in petabytes(PB) (next level up from terabytes) and it takes search engines at least 72 hours to go through and index the pages.
SEO is all about establishing necessary components for the website to become search engine friendly. It starts with every page on the website having meaningful title and description. It also involves having researched a list of keywords and selected the ones that pertain to the site's content. After that it is a matter of submissions to the search engine queues and establishing link exchanges.
When considering hiring someone to perform SEO for your website make sure to spend the time and research the company. Here are a few questions to ask:
1. Does the company have previous experience with SEO?
2. What is their website's position on Google and Yahoo? If they can't optimize their site what are the chances they'll succeed with yours?
3. What is their strategy for your website? While most SEO companies won't go into detail on how they would perform SEO, they should be able to explain WHAT they have planned for your site.
4. Will the SEO Company use automated program and blast-submit your site to the search engines or do it manually? While faster and cheaper, blast-submitting a website is not without repercussions. To name a few:
---A. Your site might get submitted to adult content search engines.
---B. Your site may not be admitted to be listed as some search engines consider blast-submission a form of spam and either remove these entries from their directories or block them from being entered via CAPTCHA (challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether the user is human) in the first place.
---C. Your site might get submitted to a "link-farm".
5. The minimum amount of time necessary to make any difference in Search Engine position is about three months. In most cases, it is more likely to take about 6-8 months due to aging algorithm implemented by most Search Engines! If the company "guarantees" the top search engine position ask the following questions:
---A. Are they planning to use pay-per-click or pay-per-keyword as the strategy of getting your site to the top? While both strategies are fine, they are very costly and temporary alternatives to solid SEO practice.
---B. Is the person you hired happened to be Larry Page, founder of Google? Because anyone else won't be able to make such a guarantee.
Inexperienced SEO person can cause more damage than benefits to the site's position. You, as a site owner, would ultimately have to deal with the search engines, if your site gets in the bad neighborhood.