IF I had a dollar for everyone who asked me "How do I get my website to appear higher on search engines?" I would be one rich woman indeed.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines, the biggest of them all being Google and the other main players being Yahoo and Bing.
The search engine result pages are also referred to as "natural", "un-paid", "organic" or "algorithmic" search results. This is because you can appear in the search engine results naturally, without payment, if you are optimising your website in a way the search engine algorithms can recognise.
In short, it's all about relevancy. If you take the time to optimise your website for specific stuff on a page by page basis, and the search engine deems your site to be the most relevant when matching searcher to content, you have a chance of being found.
Having said this, there are more than 200 factors determining where you appear on any given search engine - far too many for one article. So it is a case of gradual improvement over time and even then, the search engines like to keep us on our toes by making regular algorithm updates which move the goal posts for all.
For most people who don't yet have a page 1 ranking for anything, these updates are no big deal, and even for the majority who do, provided they are not doing anything unscrupulous as part of the SEO activities, they'll be okay.
It is important to note optimising a website is about improving your website for both search engines and people - it is certainly not about adding keywords to hidden areas of your website (well, not any more).
Whether it's aligning yourself with a person or company who eats and breathes the stuff, or hitting the search engines and doing regular research yourself, it comes with the territory so don't be complacent.
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