Search Engine Optimization has become such an important subject of late, it has now become the thing that can make or break a business who's primary source of income is from the Internet. However the problem with this model is that too many times Google appears to be sitting right in the middle of it. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against Google I think it a great search engine, however the problem is that Google has a bit of a monopoly on search.
Your potential customer needs to find a product, you sell this product and you would like that customer to purchase that product from you and not your competitor (that's how you make money). The problem is your customer has an obstacle course to get to you unless they have been to you before and you have provided them with a good service and price to make them come back. The obstacle course in most cases is the one thing the user knows best for finding things on the Internet its in grained in most of us and for some of us its even set our home page on our browser. You guessed it, its Google!
Google is that bridge in most cases between you and that potential customer, it doesn't happen all the time sometimes your customer uses another directory or search provider such as Yahoo or they see an advert or are directed by a social networking site. But other than that if you are an online business Google is your most important gateway it is something you have to respect it is that one important thing that if you get it wrong could ruin your online business. Google and search engines in general present a constant race that never ends, to stay on its front page for that gold search term that a customer is going to use to find you.
As you can understand if you get your SEO wrong, your whole deck of cards falls flat, its such a critical thing key to your success. The problem that adds to this problem is that Google doesn't always get it right, I often see sites at the top of Google for a key term that should never be there in the first place. Google like email also suffers from spam, this is caused by people who have found ways of cheating the search engine ranking system, the real truth is that not everyone can be on the first page of Google. So of course this gave birth to the SEO industry because if there is a way to making money people will find a way to use it to the best of it ability. SEO in many instances can be thought of as a black and secretive art, some parts of it is quite legitimate while other parts of it are rather shadier. There are companies and individuals out there that will offer you you Search Engine Optimization services, they all have there own little secrets to getting your site higher up in the Google rankings. However those who do not have the money to spend on these organizations try to pickup tutorials from the various sites on the Internet. Of course they will tell you all the basics about getting sites like yours to link to yours, to create easy to read web content with some of your keywords carefully included etc etc. However there are many many more methods out there that are not mentioned and any SEO guru worth their salt will keep these secrets that earn them their bread butter if everyone knew them then everyone would be trying them and the Search engines would cancel them out or everyone would be on the same level playing field again.
As you can see it all gets pretty interesting, I just hope that social networking sites will help to provide a healthy balance to Google. While Google is a great search service it needs a good competitor to keep balance in this industry, its never good to have any one company with a monopoly over an industry and competition is only healthy.