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So What Is SEO? a survey

by Jean Baker
March 18, 2005

What does the phrase Search Engine Optimization mean to the average person on the street? As part of my own curiosity and exploration of SEO, I asked random folks of varying ages if they had any clue to the concept. An informal survey of twenty people in Houston, TX indicated that the majority of 17 had very little idea of the meaning behind the phrase. The few who were familiar were simply more computer savvy or indicated they worked in a related field.

However, when I asked the same people if they knew why some companies were ranked higher in Internet searches, they immediately expressed some knowledge of the question. The majority acknowledged that they understood the most frequented sites were placed first. A few asked why some businesses were ranked higher in the colored box area at the top. They then seemed to answer their own question as they realized those boxed area advertisements most likely paid for their position.

When asked if they ever searched past page one, the majority said they never bothered looking past page two or three. If they hadn’t found what they wanted in the first few pages, then they moved on to a new search. Naturally, their initial search led them to think of other keywords, phrases and ideas that led them in another direction and on to more logical site choices.

This simple survey indicates that although SEO is a highly technical phrase, it also represents a fairly uncomplicated concept to non-technical readers. Not surprisingly, a few teenagers in the survey had a much better understanding of SEO than their parents had shown.

That said, businesses will want to keep their targeted market audience in mind when choosing specific keywords and key phrases. Words that attract teens to computer games, electronic equipment, music, entertainment and autos consist of an entirely different language than words that entice their elders to antiques, cruises and rv’s. For example, the movie industry usually caters to ages 18-24 as they are the social group that is most likely to attend movies and bring in box office hits and revenue. It’s always important to know your market and your product on the Internet and elsewhere, so choose your words carefully. As trends are going and business is booming in SEO, it shouldn’t be long before many more internet surfers understand exactly how wording, searches and ranking interact.

For more articles, resources and information please see:
Article - natural search optimization guide
Article - writing for the web
Article - exploring search engine optimization
Article - website content usability
Article - tips for writing website copy
Article - designing websites that work
Article - writing website content that sells