If there is one technique that has been proven to be highly effective in generating profit through traffic for websites, it is search engine optimization. This process, otherwise known as SEO, takes keywords and keyword phrases – words that users use in searches to find particular products or services – and incorporates them into the text of the website to make website pages more “attractive” to search engines. Therefore, the intent is to attract more customers by placing the website higher on the first page of search results for engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others. SEO has numerous benefits for any e-marketer who wants to increase traffic and develop a competitive edge.

The technique is so successful that an entire industry has been created to handle the increased demand for experts who are well-versed in getting traffic through optimized search. SEO consulting services abound and strive to offer customers new and innovative techniques designed to maximize the power of Internet search for ecommerce purposes. A decade ago, before search really took off, webmasters depended on link directories and word of mouth. Now, SEO is a standard practice offered by web consulting and design firms, and is a staple of the ecommerce industry.

There are a variety of techniques and strategies that come with SEO. The most basic technique used is keyword placement. As mentioned above, a keyword is a phrase that is associated with a desired product or service (when referencing ecommerce). A user searching for “dentists in Las Vegas, Nevada” or “cheap airline tickets” is using keyword phrases. Search engine optimization takes these keywords and phrases and places them into the text content of the website. This is accomplished through blogs, articles, advertisements, and other forms of typed communication. For example, a website that helps people find cheap airline tickets will write content with the keyword phrase “cheap airline tickets” (and perhaps additional phrases, such as “airline tickets cheap”) so that the search engine finds these phrases.

Another way that SEO helps a website obtain a larger share of the search market for a phrase is through link strategy. Link strategy covers how a webmaster incorporates links on his or her website. External, incoming links (links that lead from outside websites to your internal pages) are especially valuable to web placement specialists because they show a search engine that your website is credible and relevant. Relevancy is a big component of how high up a website ranks in search engine results pages (SERPs) because it aids in more accurate results, which in turn makes the search engine itself more credible. Thus, they have an incentive to produce relevant content for the searcher – and that is why they value incoming links. How you utilize links in your website is link strategy, and that is a big part of SEO.

Finally, the third component of effective SEO is content. Content on a website should be relevant, informative, and useful. Gone are the days where search engine optimization meant a person could just spam keywords on a page. Now content has to be credible and written with a purpose, otherwise traffic will suffer.

The best way to optimize one’s website for search engine results is to hire a professional consultant. SEO is becoming increasingly sophisticated as search engine algorithms change. A professional firm can assist with learning which techniques are effective and can then apply them skillfully to a website in order to attract more visitors.