A search on any search engine for a popular keyword yields thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of results. In this situation, the techniques which allow a company to appear in the first few results for a query using a particular word is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Figuring at the top of a web search can attract more traffic for your website, resulting in more business, and that is why SEO has attained such prominence in the last few years.
Black hat and white hat are the two primary classifications of SEO techniques. Black hat SEO involves somewhat unaccepted means to get a website to the top of the search rankings. However, white hat SEO only uses those techniques which are approved of and do not violate the principles of the search engines.
In order to understand the significance of a web page for a particular keyword, search engines conventionally used the page’s Meta data, which is inserted into the code of the page by webmasters. However, these days a significant number of search engines make use of extremely complex algorithms, involving the use of over 200 different parameters to decide on the results.
SEO specialists try to figure out the relevance of several elements in the search algorithms and keep in touch with the latest modifications that are brought about by different search engines. This knowledge helps them improve upon the SEO techniques for their clients so that they stay competitive for selected keywords. A few years back, when the search engines relied upon Meta data and the text on the page, this process required taking care of the Meta tags and ensuring a reasonable density with which a keyword existed on the page.
Although these aspects are still quite important, search engines now give much more weight to the popularity of a web page. The number of links pointing to a web page suggests the popularity of that web page. Each link is hence seen as a vote for the page and the algorithm becomes democratic in nature. Because of this major change, SEO now also involves many offsite strategies like distributing free content to get inbound links, and creating an external presence through blogs and other types of social media.
You must always remember that SEO is an ongoing and dynamic process. The field is constantly changing and your techniques need to adjust to those changes. That is why it is so important to have a good SEO consultant help you out.