SEO 101 - Search Engine Optimization Tutorial

Search Engine Optimization [SEO] has finally made to the mainstream. At SEO Atlanta, a division of, we have been doing SEO for as long as there have been search engines. In fact, in 1989 or so, back before the World Wide Web, there was a protocol called Gopher; and the search tool used to mine the network of computers running Gopher was called Veronica. It was much less sophisticated than the Web we know today, but even back then the power of search was key to making that data accessible to users.

Fast forward almost twenty years, and the art of SEO is hotter than ever. Traditional marketing costs continue to rise. Newspaper advertising, TV, radio and others have priced themselves out of consideration for many marketing plans and advertising budgets. Companies are consistently looking for unique and better ways to increase their brand awareness, customer base and overall sales volumes; and SEO can be a better, more cost effective, and ROI-positive alternative to these traditional behemoths.

What is SEO and How Can It Affect My Traffic?

As you may have already surmised, SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO can be defined as:

SEO Definition: the process of boosting a web page or web sites' ranking within the search engine results pages by removing barriers and enhancing favorable elements of the particular web page or site.

The most popular reason companies and individual web site owners utilize search engine optimization techniques is to attract more visitors to their web properties. In the case of e-commerce web sites, more traffic typically means more sales.

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN Live all have one goal in common: To provide their users the most relevant web sites for each, individual search query.

Search example: let's pretend I'm interested in attending an Atlanta Braves baseball game and I want the best possible tickets I can find. This usually means finding a ticket seller that specializes in Atlanta Braves seating options. I open my trusty web browser, FireFox of course, log on to Google and in the search box I quickly type, atlanta braves tickets. Naturally, I am presented with all sorts of options pertaining to Braves tickets. If you analyze the first five results in the search engine results page*, you'll notice that two of the three pages are official, Major League Baseball pages and the other three results are ticket sellers, such as RazorGator, that specializes in Atlanta Braves tickets. Voila, the search engine was successful in presenting me with the information that best suited my needs.

Now, to dig just a little deeper, if you review any of the ticket seller sites in the top five of the search engine results page, you'll notice that all of the web sites have taken great care in constructing their web sites utilizing the best and most basic techniques associated with responsible SEO. Unique, quality page titles, relevant content, easy-to-understand URLs, and clean code - all elements of quality, on-page search engine optimization.

* Results as of 1/29/2007 - search engine results pages change constantly, but the underlining point remains the same. The top pages are either directly related to, or highly optimized for keyword phrase content.

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