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Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of writing with the intent of increasing your ranking amongst search engines like Google and Yahoo. Higher search engine rankings mean more traffic, which could mean more money for the companies involved. This is the "natural" or unpaid way to get more hits as opposed to Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which involves pay.

Search engine optimization got its start in the mid to late 90s. Webmasters would insert Meta tags describing what the website was about. When placed on the web, spiders (robots that search the web for content relevant to your search) would rank your page accordingly. The problem was, webmasters would use a process called "keyword stuffing" to increase traffic. They would use popular keywords whether those words were relevant to their site or not.
Today, search engines like Google and Yahoo use crawlers for to find pages in an algorithmic manner. This helps alleviate irrelevant results when doing searches. Google itself uses more than 200 signals to rank their sites.

SEO can be divided into two categories; white hat and black hat SEO.
White hat SEO is legit. It meets the search engine's guidelines and is not deceptive at all. Generally, white hat SEO is content that was created for users and not for search engines but are still accessible for crawlers to rank them. Because of that, white hat articles remain on search engines for a long time.

Black hat SEO is the complete opposite. It uses techniques that are considered unethical by search engine's standards. One method is using key words that are written in the same color as the background, making them invisible. If caught using black hat techniques you will be penalized by being dropped in the rankings or banned from the search engines all together.

Writing for SEO does not alone guarantee traffic and a higher search engine ranking. You can have the best-written article ever, with the perfect blend of keyword and sub keyword density. But if you placed that article on a webpage that is poorly designed, Google and Yahoo will factor that in and not give it a high ranking. Using
Google Adwords will supplement same keywords you use in your SEO writing, which will in turn give your higher rankings.

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