SEO is all over the place today – whether you’re writing an article to go to Ezine, an “about us” page to go on to someone’s website or even posts on your own blog, everyone wants to make sure they’ve incorporated SEO. Before we talk about the grave importance that SEO has when it comes to online content, let me give you a brief description about SEO. The world has become quite a globalized one. Businesses don’t compete with others within national boundaries anymore. The doors to international business have been thrown wide open in most countries and business carry out their operations all over the world. But just because a business based in San Francisco is allowed to conduct business in New Zealand doesn’t mean that it physically sets up an office at the other end of the world. This is where the internet comes in. Why do businesses need websites? The internet has become a virtual marketplace – a market where businesses from all over the world communicate with other businesses from all over the world. Like all businesses need physical marketing to let people know about them, they need virtual marketing to let the world know that they exist too. How else can they gain customers if the world doesn’t know that they exist, that they have any services or products to offer and that they’re good at their job? In the virtual marketplace, a company or business’ identity is established by its online face or its website. Now add to this the fact that every business has competitors, and with globalization, these competitors have only increased in number. So like any two good salesmen of two companies would do, the websites of these companies need to outshine each other. Outshining each other doesn’t mean that one needs to use flashier colors and larger fonts. It means that they need to show up higher on the list of results that a search engine brings up. The search for a service As a customer looking for a service, say a portable air conditioner service, you are probably going to go to Google or Yahoo or Bing and type in the words ‘portable air conditioner’ in the search box. What comes up then is a list of firms and individuals who can offer you the service you want. Have you wondered why someone comes up on the third position in a search result and why someone else on the seventh? That, is the result of SEO. SEO or Search Engine Optimization has everything to do with ensuring that your website or blog or any online content for that matter comes up higher on the result list of a search engine. A popular method has always been to use keywords, words that people are likely to type into the search box when looking for a particular service, while composing the content for your web page. So if you’re selling baby nappies, your website will have a lot of usage of the word ‘baby’ and ‘nappy’. How will that be of any use, you ask? How search engines work and why SEO is in such demand? Google’s search engine is not a dormant one, neither is Yahoo or Bing. Their crawlers are busy scoping out all the websites available online at regular intervals and making a database; and when someone types in a bunch of keywords, they dive into that database and pull out websites that mention those very keywords. The more the keywords, the higher the page will show. The basic need for SEO is due to the human habit of not really pressing on the button that says ‘next’ at the end of the page of search results. The first ten entries or at the very maximum, the entries on the first two pages of search engine results are the ones that get looked at – so you need to make sure to be on that first page. For that, you need to make sure that your website is search engine optimized. It’s a rough world out there. If you’re not among the top few, you’re likely to go unnoticed; and the craving for attention has made SEO the new motto for success. Planning Your SEO Strategy So, what exactly are the so called strategies to master online marketing? Viral marketing direct marketing, social media, blogs and marketing techniques like Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and YouTube videos are the most basic means to marketing online. The site should have powerful and unique content and filled with the necessary requirements. Search engines analyze the text and compare with other related sites. The supreme role of keywords couldn’t be stressed more. It ensures that your site gets listed high in the search engines. It could mean the life or death of a site or its competitors’ sites! PPC is the pay per click campaign and all that needs be done is to pay the search engines based on the number of clicks to your site. Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter are the three largest PPC providers. It’s not over until it’s over! Once out on the virtual world, it’s a race to prove who the best is. In spite of a good marketing strategy, it can still spell trouble if a few things aren’t taken care of. Nobody has the time to read boring stuff. Either get them hooked or lose them all. Make the site worth a visit. Everybody loves gifts. Why not give perks to those who visit the site either by free gifts or free information related to object? That should hold people’s enthusiasm. Hire someone to do your dirty work. Not being good at making the site content-rich or creating a landing page that people wants to keep returning to is A-okay, as long as a little bit is invested to get that done. Creativity is the rule. Have something new and refreshing to dish out tothe visitors. The trends are changing by the minute. If there’s no foresight, it’s better to pack up before even beginning. Turning a blind eye towards the competition can be suicide. Be a peeping Tom. Doesn’t hurt to know what the others are doing. This is no time for ego. If in doubt, or in trouble, talk to experienced people. They would have a thing or two to say. If they don’t, no loss. The primary difficulty with online marketing is its lack of human interaction which sets it at a disadvantage. The entire online marketing strategy has to be implemented to counter this, to reach out to all the people out there. Online marketing earns a quick buck and with a little perseverance can turn out to be a treasure chest. Job seekers and those looking for a career change find the area exciting and the work-at-home possibility even more so. It is the ideal platform for those disenchanted with the usual course of events to keep their brains engaged. Online marketing could be the closest thing to an ideal job- earning heaps without even breaking a sweat.