Search Engine Optimization, or SEO to experienced web developers, is one of the most important investments you can make into your WordPress site.
Search engines work with two different engines: paid and organic. Paid results are, just as they sound, bought and paid for by website owners or developers. They ensure that when someone searches for a service in an area, their website shows up on the first page. These entries are usually on top in a highlighted box, or on the side.
Paid search results are, however, not as sought-after as organic results. Organic results are derived from a complicated algorithm unique to each search engine. A combination of robotic web-crawlers and human search result sifters, the highly classified algorithm decides which results show up in order outside of the paid links. Market research shows that organic results are the most effective; typically a person will go to them before the paid links. SEO is the art and science of modifying a website so that it will rank highly in the organic results.
There are many different components to search engine optimization. One is the “meta” tags in your website which will be picked up by the web-crawlers. There is also content generation, both inside and outside of your site. Essentially if your site is “talked about” and linked to by external sources, it will rank better. Internal site traffic is important too; community-based sites always do well in search engines. There are all kinds of methods and strategies in the SEO community, some more ethical than others. It is entirely possible to run an ethical SEO campaign, however, and it is done every day by web marketing professionals.
For your WordPress site, don’t neglect SEO. Even if you are just loading a WordPress plugin which will install the meta tags into your site, it is time well spent. More aggressive SEO often involves hiring a web marketer to design a campaign designed to make your page rank highly in search engines like Google and Bing. It is also worth mentioning that SEO is a continuous effort; just doing it for six months and stopping will result in your site falling off the first page. Usually an initially strong campaign can be weaned off to a less intense one, but some work must be put in continuously to ensure good results.
So there you have it: don’t skip the marketing! If your site is all about marketing a product, then yes, you will have to advertise for your advertisement! Have fun, and feel free to leave questions and feedback in the comments.