Your website has a purpose and to accomplish that purpose, you require people to visit your website. How do visitors find your website? There are traditional ways to promote your website address: your business card, letter head, word of mouth, over the phone, on a print advertisement, at the cinema, etc. The above methods of promoting your website are considered passive. You can only hope that the person at the receiving end might check out your website. What about the vast majority of people who use the internet (search engines) to search for businesses (including the ones that they already know), products, services, advice, tips, guidance, or just random information? How do you get your website in front them? Search Engine Optimization!
A Brief History of Search Engines
In the past, there were web directories such as DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, Excite, etc. These directories were like the Yellow Pages of the internet. They listed websites under one or more related categories. The directories started to bloat up and became difficult to manage as the number of websites started growing. Even visitors were finding it difficult to scroll through the increasing number of pages. There was another problem! The websites listed on page one were getting all the hits, while the ones on page 2 onwards got very few visitors. Companies whose names started with an ‘A’ got real lucky! This problem gave birth to the modern day search engines. Companies like Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google came up with a complex algorithm to rank websites based on the keywords that were searched for.
If you have a store on the high street, you will face intense competition from other stores that offer similar products / services as yours. You might install a new banner and they’ll do something better, then you’ll launch a new offer and they’ll match the offer or offer a better deal. Imagine, you don’t compete because the competition is too tiring or time / cost consuming, what would happen to your business? You might loose all your high street customers to the competitor and maybe end up closing down your store. This is the same case over the internet. You Have to Do SEO, if you want visitors. Not just any random visitor, but targeted visitors who will eventually convert into a customer, offer a donation, sign up to your newsletter, or perform the actions that will accomplish the purpose of your website.
The answer to the question is simple – You should optimize your website for search engines, if you wish your website to be found! If you can already be found in the search engines, then you should optimize your website so that it appears ahead of your competitor’s website. SEO plays a small but crucial part in the success of every website.