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An overview of what SEO (search engine optimization) is and how it can be used to get a website a high ranking. And the ways in which it can be used and misused by the creators of websites. 
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the way in which a website or page is worded in order for it to be highly ranked when a person is using any given search engine and is looking for some thing in particular. There are many different search engines that a person can use and everyone has their favourite. Some of the most popular search engines are – Google, Yahoo! Search, Ask.com and Live Search although there are many, many more and every person who uses the internet will have their own reasons for favouring one over another. 

When a search engine is used to find information on a topic the person using it will first of all type the topic into the search engine. For example if the person is looking for hairdressers in their local area they will type “hairdressers in -----(their locality)” into the search engine and click on the search button. These words will be classed as keywords for the search. This will then bring up a list of all the hairdressers in the specified area. However it will also bring up any other websites which have any of the words in the search text in them, such as hairdressers. SEO works by optimising the way in which the search engine will select a body of text and present it in the list. 
Obviously the higher up a list, or rank, a website is the more chance a person will click into it. This is because the person searching will automatically assume that the top website on the list is the most relevant to them. All this seems very straight forward, however some websites will use certain popular words many times in a text in order for them to gain this high ranking, without the site necessarily being of much use. SEO is often misused in this way to gain a high ranking position for websites that are trying to sell things or have a pay per click system in operation. Many search engines, such as Google, take a dim view to this misuse of SEO and will remove websites which are found to be keyword stuffed just to maximise its ranking. 
When used correctly SEO is an excellent way of promoting your website through the text that is contained in it. The text can be both informative and keyword optimised in order for the website to rank highly when a topic is searched for. In order for a body of text to be recognised by a search engine it must have the correct density of keywords in it. A density of 2-5% is the most popular, although many will tend to opt for around 1-3% as this is deemed to have a more natural flow to the writing. In turn this helps the reader too as the text does not seem to repeat the same keywords or phrases over and over. 
In order for a website to get a good ranking on a search engine it must have very good SEO content that is relevant to the search that is being performed. Without it a website will go unnoticed by the search engine and will get a very low ranking and as a result will not get the kind of traffic that the owner will want, if any. And this can be the difference between a website being popular and having many visitors every day and one that performs poorly and eventually gets abandoned by its owners. It may sound quite trivial but a website’s text content can be its making or breaking online.