Building a website is only the beginning of what you need to do for success while using internet tools. If you truly want to achieve online success, you need to establish some type of marketing online which you can either manage yourself or hire professional service providers.
What exactly is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the term used to describe the process of optimizing a website for better organic listings on the left hand side of the search engine results page (known as a SERP). The search engines read your website and use your naturally written website copy to determine how to rank your site.
The best ranking is achieved through a combination of several fine tuned factors such as keyword research, rewriting pages on your site to match the keywords, correct website layout and proper use of various HTML tags (such as b, u, i, h1, h2, a) throughout the page.
The most important factors by far are the Titles of every page and the Meta Description of every page.
Google provide several tools through which all pertinent information regarding your website can be monitored and analyzed regularly. These tools are called Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
How long does it take for SEO to be effective?
A skilled SEO professional could produce a change in your SERP ranking within one month. Sometimes that change is significant, and sometimes it's small. It all depends on how much time is spent, and how many different SEO techniques are used. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are essential for the long term SEO process because those tools tell you weather you are doing it right or wrong.
How long will successful SEO results last?
You might spend a lot of time and money to move your website to page 1 SERP listing. But beware that once you do reach page 1 there are a lot of other companies that will work just as hard to push you back down.
Believe it or not, part of the SEO process is to figure out who your online competition is and then rewording your website to be better than theirs. Everyone fighting for SEO ranking is doing the same. Therefore, once you reach page 1 of the SERPs for any keyword phrase you will need to continue to work just as hard to stay ahead of your competitors.
You can do the SEO job on your own if you want to.
If you would like to take on the task of SEO you should be aware that you will need to learn those HTML tags mentioned above, you will also need to learn about keyword research and analysis, and of course how to use the SEO tools that Google freely provides. For the first several months you should also realistically plan to spend at least 10 hours every month managing your efforts until your understanding of SEO techniques are developed.
Admittedly, SEO can be a full time job for someone serious about achieving full desired potential from their website.
What do you need to know before you start any SEO effort.
Before any SEO effort can be effective, your website will need to be in top notch shape according to today's technologies and usability standards. Your website will need plenty of content on all the pages that are important, preferably more than 250 words.