If you're going to sell any type of product or service online, you're eventually going to have to optimize your Web site for the Search Engines, in order to boost traffic and sales.
Many years ago, it was quite easy to draw effective traffic, as a good content-driven site, with good products, was enough to get a Web site ranked highly in the Search Engines. The competition has increased one thousand times over since then, with billions of Web sites existing online now, making for some very stiff competition in the area of Search Engine placement and rankings.
This increase in competition has given rise to many different styles, and many different methods of Web site optimization. Optimization is simply the method of making a Web site "Search Engine friendly", by using methods of enhancement that will increase rankings and placement by placing the Web site higher in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).
Everything from software to increase rankings and placement, to Search Engine Management and Marketing Firms exist, with many online merchants becoming confused about what or "whom" to use and how to effectively use the various services to increase rankings and placement.
The real battle seems to exist between those that favor "Organic SEO" as opposed to those that prefer "Non-Organic SEO". The term "organic" itself is defined by Webster's Dictionary as: instrumental; acting as instruments of nature or of art to a certain destined function or end (Webster's: 1913: 3).
"Organic SEO", also called "Natural SEO", is the most time consuming, and the most tedious method of optimization for placement and rankings. However, it is prone to longevity of results, as it has a focus on content, meta-tag enhancement using proper descriptions, keyword enhanced copy within the appropriate specified densities of the Search Engines, and link exchanges. In addition, keyword dense reports, articles, and other content materials are usually added in a routine fashion to a site to maintain the densities necessary and increase rankings and placement.
"Organic SEO", if done properly in a step-by-step approach, can literally promote increased traffic and rankings for years. It can also contain overall marketing costs, as the use of PPC (Pay Per Click), is not needed as much with this method. The main drawbacks with this type of SEO, however, are the length of time it takes to properly implement all the steps necessary, and the length of time it takes the Search Engines to thoroughly spider and index a site that has implemented "Organic SEO".
"Non-Organic SEO", also called "Artificial SEO", can take many forms, and can use some "Organic SEO" coupled with other techniques. These techniques can include software generated keyword enhanced pages, some methods of re-directs, whereby traffic is shunted off from other sites, with their permissions, and software generated doorway pages and meta-tag descriptions. There are many different techniques that can be employed including rather controversial ones such as hidden text loaded with keywords, and tiny text.
Overall, "Non-Organic" SEO methods are quite popular, as it is a much quicker means to rankings and placement. Links might be purchased from "link farms" which are simply services that specialize in the promotion of links to others.
Although "Non-Organic SEO" can speed up rankings and placement initially, care needs to be given when using any of these methods. If keyword dense pages are automatically generated en masse, the Search Engines might view large sites, with large numbers of such pages as "Search Engine Spammers" and a risk of being banned does exist. In addition, pages may initially place very high, only to drop lower rather quickly, as the Search Engines still place a great emphasis on good content, which is not usually the focus of the "Non-Organic" type of SEO.
All in all, it really depends upon the overall purpose of a site, and the longevity of results desired by a Web master/site owner. It also depends upon how quickly results and sales are needed. For some seasonal sites, such as holiday-theme sites that only remain up for a few weeks or months, then the quicker method of "Non-Organic SEO" can be quite effective. On the other hand, if a Web master/site owner promotes a product or service to which they are committed for years, or perhaps a lifetime, then "Organic SEO" would definitely be the better choice of optimization method.
No matter which type of SEO methods are chosen or implemented, an ongoing campaign of optimization does need to exist, as the parameters that are used for the rankings and placement by the Search Engines, change frequently, and research into current methods needs to be done routinely.
As the old saying goes, "Different strokes for different folks", really applies to Search Engine Optimization and rankings and placement. The whole Search Engine Optimization process is really more "art than science", and continues to change daily.
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of http://www.home-based-business-opportunities.com - A website dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources for starting a home based business. He is also the owner of the http://www.work-at-home-forum.com - an online community of folks who work at home.