SEO is the manipulation of the code or content on a website in order to influence the rankings on search engines to a higher position for specific search phrases. These “target phrases” are specifically chosen by analyzing the amount of traffic that is produced by them in a local area to a website, ultimately acting as a group of interested people who could potentially become customers. Businesses need to find new customers in order to continue making money, and marketing is the process of reaching out to large groups of people in order to make those people aware that the business exists and can sell them things they need. Any marketing medium is going to consist of a large group of people within which only a percentage are interested in this topic, and of that only a percentage will become customers. The art of marketing effectively is to find the mediums which work the best for your specific type of business, producing the most customers for the lowest cost.
All marketing methods have a cost associated. A television ad will cost the money necessary to produce it, as well as the money it costs to run that ad on a television station. A billboard will have a cost depending on how many people drive by that billboard every day, as well as the costs to produce the graphics. SEO produces content that gets posted to a website or to other websites that link back to that site, or potentially involves other things like code improvements and website redesign. All of these things take effort and time to produce, and the company that is doing it for you will have a fee associated with that work If their campaign is successful, you will see your rankings for the target phrases improve to the point where they are driving traffic to your website from Google. The people who click through search engines are especially engaged, to a much higher degree than most other forms of marketing. Think of it like a group of people who have gone out of their way to drive by your billboard on purpose, just to find out the information on it. This higher level of engagement produces a potential customer who is much more likely to buy from you, because they are specifically looking for your products. This makes SEO potentially the most effective marketing method available, if the rankings can be pushed onto the first page and into the top results. These are the only positions that provide clickthrough traffic to a website, and anything short of these top positions will provide almost no value. Once you have achieved the top positions and are seeing traffic, if it is converting into paying customers at a rate that produces more profit than it costs to pay the SEO company to do their job, then the campaign is successful. The biggest drawback to SEO is that there are no assurances that you will reach those good positions, so research your SEO company carefully to make your decision.