If you were born any time before 1990 you may remember these things called “phonebooks.”  These archaic tomes were once used as a way to search for the contact information of businesses, service providers or people.  However, since the age of the internet and search engine giants like Google, Bing and Yahoo, phonebooks seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs. These new methods of searching for material have made it paramount for companies to improve the ease with which they are found on these search engines through a process called search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way for a company or website to show up first, or at least on the first page of results, when the search engine is supplied with certain key words or phrases. In order to get a good search result position (i.e., the first page of results), you first have to understand how these search engines rank websites.  Google, the alpha of the search engines, uses complex algorithms that only people who wear glasses and have asthma truly understand, but there are still simple steps to be taken that will help you boost your pole position in search results.  The most effective and relatively simple things to boost your rating are to have unique, strong, keywords combined with fresh and original content, and topped off with links to your website from other pages.  Utilizing these things can dramatically impact your presence on the internet via search engines.

If you’re still on the fence about SEOs, think about it like this: If you have a plumbing problem and are not aware of any local plumbers, the quickest way to research one is to open a search engine and type in “local plumber.”  Chances are you won’t be spending a lot of time going through hundreds of pages of results, because when it comes to plumbing problems, time is of the essence and out of sheer urgency you will call one of the first results. The other added benefit of these search engines is customer ratings and verification sites that will give a company its stamp of approval if it has a good track record for customer service. Rankings like that, with customer feedback, aren’t in the book that is delivered to your front porch every so often.

So, if it seems like search engine optimization may not seem necessary, just remember that most people will use a search engine to research the product or service they are interested in buying.  And the difference between a thriving business and failing business lie in where these search engines rank the site.  And if Google can’t find a website, that website may as well not even exist.