Search Engine Optimization is an online marketing technique which means to optimise your website in order for it to receive higher rankings in the organic listings of search engine results pages, this will therefore drive more traffic to the website.
There are lots of websites fighting for page 1 positions on search engines these days especially for the popular, generic keywords like 'car insurance' or 'cheap holidays' where companies have an unlimited budget available to reach the top position. Most large companies competing for such search terms are using search engine optimisation companies to get themselves high on Google because they know the benefits of SEO are monumental, giving them brand authority and huge amounts of traffic.
The results in the natural listings of search engines are generated by relevancy; the most relevant webpage to the search term (or keyword) will show at the top of the results. During a search engine optimisation project we would make a website as relevant as possible to the targeted keywords to reach the high results, this includes carrying out proven technqiues such as tidying source code, channeling PageRank, adding content and obtaining one-way backlinks.
Have a look at our SEO ranking results page to see the results we have gained for some of our clients using these same techniques that we have been testing for years.
The main aim of search engine optimization is to reach those top results on search engines so that when users are looking for a certain product they will find your website and click through, therefore the SEO work is driving traffic to the website and subsequently increases sales.
Also SEO is about brand awareness, getting your site out there and recognised in the internet world. Online advertising helps businesses to grow, become recognised by competitors and potential customers, again increasing sales which is always the end goal for an business.
In comparison to other online marketing techniques search engine optimisation is a long term process and once results are acheived it is only requires a small amount of effort to maintain those results, it's getting there initially that takes time. PPC on the other hand is much more instant but needs a constant supply of budget to keep going. Once a search engine trusts your website the results it has become very steady, and with continual work will only improve, you would have to do some black hat SEO in order for those results to drop so SEO is much more reliable in some ways than other internet marketing.