1000s of fresh web domains are launched each day on the internet, each with the hope of striking gold. On the internet, as with bricks and mortar businesses, most of these new sites will fail to achieve their intended and desired goals. Far too many new website owners do not know what they are doing, launching sites without conducting the necessary research, and doing the appropriate preparation. Included in this number, are the many website owners who don't appreciate what search engine optimization (SEO) is, how it can help, and how to execute it in the right way.

Admittedly, some sites are successful despite this failure, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. To guarantee your website's success, you should expect to put in a bit of hard work into doing SEO right.

When SEO is at the heart of the web venture, it will give you a significant edge over your competition and unlike most other services you can invest in, SEO will almost certainly have a positive return on any investment you make in it. It should be stressed here, that nothing and nobody can guarantee your site's rankings within the major search engines. That said however, applying a few proven SEO techniques should see your rankings get better in Google, and the other top search engines such as Yahoo and Bing.

Far too often though, website owners see search engine optimization simply as an afterthought, often well after their sites have already launched. Failing to be familiar with the long-term benefits that SEO can lend to your site, while not the end of the world, will guarantee that you are not benefiting as much from your website as you could.

Depending on the size and type of your company, and website, there are several groups of people who should be involved in SEO for your sites. These can include the Marketing, as well as the IT departments. For many small sites, these functions are covered by just one person, usually the webmaster. In some larger companies however, it is possible to discover several individuals in each department working on, and involved with the site's SEO. Many times bosses will hire SEO experts to assist them in getting their SEO efforts just right.

Broadly speaking, search engine optimization can be thought of as the process of producing a lot of targeted traffic from search engines, external websites, and web directories. Its greatest goal is to drive lots of targeted traffic. That's the essence of it in truth. SEO will involve research both internally, and also of third party websites. Getting the correct website development and architecture will be as important as link building.

Knowing your competition will require research into competing websites, and keyword research, which helps with creating content and promotions. This stage is very important, as much of SEO is building the right content, *and* getting people to link to you. The importance of content cannot be stressed enough, but also, neither can the importance of building back links to pages within your website, particularly for search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Search engine marketing (SEM) on the other hand, refers primarily to the use of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns on search engines. The most popular example of this, is Google's AdWords program. SEO and SEM do share a few common elements, but they are different. PPC advertising is generally thought to be much easier to put into place, typically delivering new visitors to your site in minutes. As a result, many online website owners sometimes confuse SEO with SEM. Doing this however, could be very expensive.

Organic search engine optimization is not free. It involves work and effort, and it can be expensive too. However, it is certainly the cheapest way of driving traffic to your website available today. If you are creating your own website, SEO will deliver long term traffic and add value. SEM stops delivering the minute you stop paying for your PPC adverts. SEO however, will continue to deliver traffic to your site long after your initial efforts.

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