How can you use SEO to build a successful business online?

Over 20 years of e-commerce and online business has shown that building a business on the Internet can be a really, really profitable venture.  Just look at huge online stores like Amazon (20 years old and now one of the world's largest retailers, on or off-line) and projects like Wikipedia (founded in 2002 and more popular and extensive than any other encyclopedia in history within a few years).  There is huge potential online – for both big ideas and small busnesses, and everything in between.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is where many of these web sites get a large amount of their traffic, especially when starting out – and you can too.

It's become more complicated and competitive to become successful at SEO in recent years, what with so many Google updates, but it's still very possible.  Broadly speaking, there are two ways people do it – 'black hat' SEO and 'white hat' SEO.

The former involves automated link building (I've written a reviews of some of the popular tools on my site), heavily optimised sites, private networks of web sites that exist to build links and in some cases even hacked links (I do not recommend this)!

The latter is more about creating content that you hope people will want to share, and waiting for your site to become popular naturally – without pushing it up the rankings.

There are many examples of both being successful.  Both can get more visitors (and customers) to your site, and I'd recommend a combination of tactics from both personally (black hat comes with risks though!).  What is clear is that SEO can be an effective and low cost way of building a business online – which is especially important at the start.

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