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All about Search Engines

Basic small business advice to demystify how search engines can work for your business.


What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization); What is SEM (Search Engine Marketing); and while we’re at it … What is a Search Engine?

Keywords: What is SEO, What is SEM, What are search engines, small business advice, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing

If you’re building a small business website, you won’t get very far before you read about or hear about search engine optimization and marketing. But why should you care about search engines? And, more importantly, how can SEO and SEM impact the results that you’re hoping to achieve with your website? Remember the old cliché, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, if you a build a website for your business, and you don’t take the time to learn how potential customers will find your website … you get the point.

So here is a very high level overview of search engines. I’ll also suggest some other great resources at the end of this article so you can continue to learn more.

Lets start at the beginning – what is a search engine?

The official definition is a site on the internet that uses some sort of searching software to locate other sites based on specific key words. You may have heard of the popular search engines which include Google (www.google.com) or Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com). Basically, these are sites where visitors can type in any term and find a list of websites related to that term.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your site to be easily found and properly indexed by the search engines.

This means designing your site and the content on your site so that search engines will rank your site high within the natural search results (that list of websites that appears after you conduct a search). There is a science to which key words you should use in the title /description of your pages and in the content of your site so the search engines will know how to rank your site. You can read more about key words in the resources listed at the end of this article.

The key take away about SEO, however, is that you do not pay the search engines to appear on their site. Where your site appears in the natural search results is simply a product of how the search engines’ software have indexed your site in their massive catalogs of websites.

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of paying search engines so your site appears in the small text ads (also called sponsored links) on a search engine’s site based on the words and terms that someone is searching for. For example, you may buy the keywords (NYC Florist) so when someone searches for a Florist in New York City, your website will appear in the sponsored links section of the list of sites returned.

As promised, here are some additional resources to help you understand how search engines can work best for you:

Search Engine Optimization – Leveraging Search Engines to make sure customers find you

BizTech: A regional strategy on keywords can help attract the right customers to your Web site.

Roni Jacobson
Web Business 101 Expert
Roni Jacobson Uncover the essentials of web business and the basic tools that will help you make an impact with your website.

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