Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Marketing jobs are increasingly devoted to the latest developments in search engine optimization (SEO), a multi-faceted, ever-changing field that seems to grow in complexity with every passing day. Simply put, SEO represents the strategies needed to make your company's website more findable for Internet surfers searching for your types of products and/or services. Your marketing job will likely involve the pursuit of those strategies in some way, and one such strategy is to pay for a spot on the top of the search list. That one is pretty easy. Plan B is to adjust your design, menus, images, videos and shopping carts to be more search engine friendly. Ideally you'd want your company to be in the top five "hits" returned in response to key search terms.

Google is the most popular search engine on the Internet, commanding roughly 60 percent of the market, and its recent adjustments to how it conducts its searches have sent everyone scrambling to adjust their websites in accordance with their vague understanding of Google's algorithms. Neither Google nor Yahoo will disclose their exact algorithms.

Not so long ago web-authoring software made use of such terms as HTML tags and meta tags, which are essentially the bait used to lure in robotic "spiders" that come "crawling" through web pages for content. Those are now things of the past, but new terms have cropped up, among them "clouds" of key words now floating through cyberspace. As you can well imagine, plenty of shady techniques have gamed the search engine system, and that has created the constant need for new systems.

As you check on your competition in your marketing job, you might come to wonder why a totally irrelevant website appears among the top hits returned in response to your search string. This is the work of "black hat" marketing, in which key words are hidden, possibly made the same color as the background or in some way positioned off-screen. Like most bad guys, their underhanded schemes eventually will be discovered and run off the range. "White hat" SEO is the goal of any responsible marketing job, and that generally means the content has been created with the end user in mind, not a search engine, and that the content seen by the search engine will be the same content seen by an end user.

Last Updated: 05/21/2014