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What Is Search Engine Optimization?
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Search engine optimization (SEO) will make your website rank higher in search results to lead more traffic to your website – and we all know that more site visitors will lead to more business. Read on to find out how SEO works and why it’s an important element to your website’s success.

What’s it all about?
When you have the right tools, search engine optimization is simpler than you think. See, there’s a bunch of ways that search engines like Google® use to determine who they’ll list first in their search results. Updating your content on a regular basis, including search terms frequently in your text and receiving a plethora of inbound links are just a few pieces of criteria that are considered.
In short, optimization is a way of getting the attention of search engines and showing them that you should be a frontrunner in their search results. Following some simple steps outlined in your Search Engine Optimizer will help search engines value your website and rank it accordingly.

How do search engines work?
Search engines want to provide the most relevant listings possible. This helps them gain people’s trust in their results and encourages return visits. That’s why search engines have spent much time and effort developing complex algorithms that determine which sites are most significant for particular searches.
Every search engine sends out “spiders” to do their dirty work. These spiders crawl through site after site to read and research subject matter and understand how they are linked together. All of this information is stored in a database where it’s called up whenever a new search is performed. The websites that fit best with a search engine’s criteria are listed first and descend in order of relevance.

What is organic, paid and local search?
Organic Search is what people typically look at when they’ve performed a search. The goal of search engine optimization is to rank higher in these results, and the only way to do this is to optimize your website with SEO tactics. The green box in the image below is where the organic search results are located and they are ranked in accordance to how well these websites are optimized.
Paid Search results, (shown on the right of the screen) are advertisements or “Sponsored Links” that companies purchase. They are similar to banner ads, but they directly relate to the search that’s being performed.
Local Search results appear when someone includes a term and location in their query. These listings are always at the top of the page with a map of the area. It’s important to have a strong local search ranking in combination with your SEO efforts. To learn more about Vistaprint's local search tool, Local Search Profile, click here

Why do I need it?
The phone book has taken a backseat to searching for businesses online. Now customers search for businesses and products using search engines like Google®. It’s important to have a strong ranking in search results on the Internet and to appear on the first page of search engine results. In fact, 68 percent of searchers click on a link within the first page of results1. The best way to advertise your business and get the exposure you need in the online space is to play the search engine optimization game.

Wrap Up
To make sure your website isn’t overlooked in search results, SEO will give your ranking a boost. In the end, your improved placement will make it easier for people to find you, drive more business your way, and it could even move your website ahead of your competitors’.
1 iProspect Blended Search Results Study, April 2008.