Search engine optimization is one of the most discussed and controversial topics on the internet today. Also, it is one of the most misunderstood topics.
In its basic form, search engine optimization (SEO) is act of altering a web site so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines.
Now even this quick to the point definition of search engine optimization (SEO) can lead to spirited debates about the meaning and purpose of SEO.
So the question maybe asked, why is SEO such a popular and controversial topic that causes so much debate within the SEO community and the general internet population particularly website owners? In my humble opinion there are 6 reasons why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has the popularity that it currently enjoys.
1. Targeted Website Traffic - If you ask the vast majority of website owners and people within the SEO industry what is the most important factor to a successful website business and/or operation. A large percentage of the people will say website traffic and even more specifically targeted website traffic.
Currently on the internet, the largest resource for targeted website traffic on a continuous bases are search engines. On a yearly bases stats show that around 75% - 80% of all purchases made by individuals on the internet originally started as a result of a search at a search engine and the vast majority of people who visit websites usually come via way of a search engine. Numbers so dominate cannot be ignored even by the biggest opponents of search engine optimization. Moreover, because SEO is focused on optimizing websites for ranking success related to search engines, it is only natural that people would be interested in the field and practice of search engine optimization (SEO).
2. SEO Controversy - Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most controversial topics concerning internet website operations. The proponents of SEO can say that it provides a viable method for websites to be seen in search engines which is important for any website desiring traffic on the internet today.
However, opponents disgusted with SEO can also say that many websites achieve high search engine visibility without the use of SEO work and that SEO professionals only provide guess work high cost services that provide no assurances for search engine ranking success.
This situation, which has some merit concerning the arguments on both sides, generates heated debates between proponents of SEO and SEO opponents on a continuous bases which is fought out on a daily bases on forums, blogs, websites and newsletters across the internet along with exposure in magazines and on TV.
Simply put controversy produces attention and whether you like it or hate it, SEO really does provide a great deal of controversy. Moreover, as long as search engines play a dominant role in generating targeted website traffic, SEO will continue to be a popular topic.
3. Money - Search engine optimization is a multi million-dollar business. Search engines generate billions of dollars each year through advertising. Websites earn billions of dollars for their owners each year via using search engines either through paid advertisements or organic (free) listings in search results.
It is no wonder with billions of dollars on the table on a yearly bases that anything that can provide an individual or company a competitive edge in the ultra high pace internet world will be a hot topic for discussion and debate.
Moreover, through a combination of perception and reality that highlights search engine optimization as a key to increasing internet sales, search engine optimization is a very popular topic for decision makers within many companies which provides additional attention to SEO in the business world and beyond.
4. No Standard SEO Rules or Regulations - Search engine optimization (SEO) can be described as a modern version of the wild wild west. Basically almost anything can be said or done because there are no formal set standards for the industry as a whole.
Therefore, in a true sense, no one is really right or wrong concerning any thoughts, comments or decisions concerning SEO techniques and/or methods. Right or wrong is replaced by what is considered ethical by individuals and everyone has a unique set of ethics. What one person might consider unethical someone else might consider completely honest, well intended assistance. This is why you have labels such as white hat and black hat SEO within the SEO industry.
5. Search Engines - Search engine optimization was created as a by-product resulting from the development, utilization and popularity of search engines. Without search engines, there is no SEO industry in its current form and format.
As statistics on a yearly bases confirm, the majority of the targeted website traffic on the internet is generated directly or indirectly via search engines and a very high percentage of internet sales are directly linked to visitors coming from search engines looking for products and/or services.
With the dominant role that search engines play on the internet and the fact that the success of search engines depend on the ability to provide accurate and reliable search results to its visitors, successful search engines tend to develop an informal relationship with the SEO industry.
Whereby a certain amount of SEO work on websites tends to help search engines provide what its visitors are looking for which is top-notch search results.
For this reason, sometimes search engines will provide SEO information and SEO recommendations to its visitors directly on the search engines. This helps the SEO industry tremendously by placing the industry in the forefront of the main people that are interested in organic (free) search results which are the search engine users looking for something specific and the website owners who want to be found in the search engine results.
6. SEO Mystery - Almost no SEO professionals will explain what they do regarding SEO work in detail. Some will provide a little SEO information, which is mainly done as marketing efforts for the SEO professionals in forums, blogs and newsletters. Even the e-books and books that are sold only explain SEO in a general nature. Search engine optimization (SEO) is truly a mystery to the average website owner and/or people interested in organic search engine rankings.
This mystery produces a high level of interest regarding the SEO industry and helps feed the popularity of search engine optimization (SEO).