It would be cool if we humans had the ability to know the answer to any question in just a matter of seconds. So today we have the internet for that. With the internet came massive data-bases. With so much data came ways of sorting through all of it efficiently. These tools are called search engines and are like the librarians of the internet.
When you have a question or want to do some research you hop on the web, run a search on some keywords, and your favorite search engine (Google most likely) will find websites that can help you. It seems almost magical that the first five to ten websites listed on the search engine results were exactly what you were looking for! What actually happens is that a search engine has a specific algorithm that appropriately weighs different factors in websites to provide results that you will find useful. Factors weighted are site reputation, keywords, titles, links to the website, keywords or titles in these links, and so forth.
When a company develops a website that is focused on maximizing all of these factors, the company is thus practicing Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The purpose is to make the company website more favorable to the search engine algorithm that evaluates it.It would be like writing, designing and explicitly labeling a book to fill an exact vacancy in a specific library.
Search Engine Optimization is branch of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM is a broad term, and can be used to describe "anything that is done to utilize the technology of search engines with the goal of promoting a web site and increasing its traffic, its 'stickiness' and, in the case of sites that promote a business (or are a business), increase profits. SEM can encompass such strategies as SEO, paid inclusion (bribing the search engine company basically), traditional advertising on the search engine, and the more time consuming Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.
So the next time you search for a hotel and the first ten results on Google are Marriott, Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Hotels.com, etc. remember that it isn't some magic technology. It is smart marketing and great management.
Watching the video should help you understand the process of generating attention for SEO and increasing your market via search engines. However the video should leave you wondering about how the smaller scale companies might fare against the giants like Marriott.
In your comments discuss how you might optimize your website for search engines if you were a small hotel company; or discuss how you as a large company might do things more efficiently to cut costs.
Or just comment with fun things to say! Thanks readers!