What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the "art" of getting a website to rank high in search engine results. You may have the best product in the world, but if the website you are using is not optimised, you will rank low, not be found, and ultimately fail.
In the early days of search engines, they worked with the use of Meta tags. (Meta Keywords and Meta discriptions), so, if you wanted to rank highly for a search term like "Noosaville accommodation", you would just make sure it was included in the meta tags, and away you go.
These days, life has become much more difficult! Due to the manipulation of meta tags etc, algorithms have evolved to include, meta tags, urls, age of the site, headings, content, inbound links, and the quality of inbound links.
There is no longer a quick fix to search engine optimisation!
Modern Search Engine Optimisation consists of various stages:
Initially keywords need to be researched and selected, competition analysed, and then actual site optimisation, followed by an imbound link campaign. Although put like that it sounds easy, there are penalties for doing the wrong thing, spamming keywords (ie innapropriate repetition of keywords throughout the page / site). So Search engine optimisers need to know what they are doing to ensure no damage is done to the site, rankings, or integrity of the customer.
Most times when optimising a website, you get what you pay for. Cheap companies offering quick results may get you ranked quickly using "Black Hat" tecniques, but soon after you can expect to plummit back down, or even be removed from the search engine all together. (It can take more than a year, and a lot of oppologise to be reinstated in the google index)!
It is better long term to use a reputable, experienced company that will back up their claims with results that are lasting. Also a company that would not jeopodise your websites appearance in search engines.
As search engines change and grow, search engine optimisers have the task of learning, and growing with them. One theory at the moment is that google will soon include "bounce rate" into it's algorithm. Which would mean that if people are leaving your site quickly after finding it for certain terms, you would not rank as highly for it next time.
So in summary, search engine optimisation is the ongoing process of acheiving, and maintaining high rankings in search engines. It is an ever changing process, but the end goal is always the same. To keep your site ranked, so that you waiting customers can find you!