Search engine optimization (SEO) should be considered a critical element of any Internet marketing strategy. This is important because there is so much which can be gained from SEO in terms of Internet marketing and advertising. Failure to optimize your website for search engines can result in a considerable loss in terms of free advertising which is essentially gained from ranking well with search engines. This article will provide insight into what SEO is and will explain why Internet marketing requires at least some degree of SEO. SEO optimization is a strategy in which a website is designed to obtain favorable search engine rankings from popular search engines. This may be achieved in a variety of different ways and optimal SEO strategies combine a variety of different strategies to complete one well orchestrated SEO campaign. There are several elements to consider when attempting to optimize your website for search engines. This may include keyword density, prominence, META tags, titles and inbound links. Keyword density is one of the most common SEO strategies and essentially involves using relevant keywords often in the content of a website to demonstrate the relevance of these keywords to the website. This is important because search engines are likely to reward websites with optimal keyword densities with favorable search engine rankings in an effort to provide Internet users with the most relevant websites for particular search terms. The prominence of keywords should also be considered. This includes how close the keywords are placed to the beginning of the website. The common mistake with this strategy is to believe the first opportunity to incorporate keywords is in the first line of visible text on the webpage. This is not true because search engines crawl the code of a website as opposed to the visible content on the website. This means there are multiple opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords long before the actual visible content on the website. This might include the code for the title as well as the META tags. Business owners who realize the potential for incorporating keyword into the code gain an advantage over competitors who only incorporate keywords into the content on their website. Another area of concern which is very important for those who are interested in SEO is inbound links. Inbound links are essentially links which reside on other websites and direct traffic to your website. These links are considered important because many search engines place a value on inbound links because they are essentially an example of one website recommending another website. However, when obtaining inbound links it is important to do so from other websites which rank well with search engines because many search engines consider the rank of the original website when determining the value of the inbound link. Now that we have briefly explained some of the main concept of SEO, we will illustrate why it is important to optimize your website in the first place. SEO is so important because most Internet users highly value the results of search engines and are likely to only visit to ranking websites when they search for a particular keyword. Internet users trust search engines to serve the most relevant content first and are therefore not likely to visit websites which do not fall on the first or second page of search results. This means websites which rank well essentially are receiving a great deal of free advertising from search engines that place their website in a key position. Website owners who do not invest time into optimizing their websites miss out on a great deal of potential web traffic.