For many SEO has been the black art of the web. The web has changed things, because the add id the local paper went to thousands of households, where as the new website is visible to the world. When you place an ad in the paper you the search the paper to find the ad, and that is not always easy. You new site is likely to be one of 250 million sites in the world. yet we need Google to make it visible.
Google is the search engine of choice to world over and they survive on being a excellent deliverer of content. The Google search bits trawl the web indexing everything they can in order that from the highly optimised indexed database they are able to return content to the person who is looking for something. Many people try to punch above their weight, and all sorts of tricks have been tried to get the Google search engine to move your site higher up the scale. The Google engine survives on people knowing that the search is effective and reliable, so Goggle has invested millions in refining what they do.
It used to be that the key words buried in the meta-tags was what the search engine indexed, and if everyone had played fair that would have worked. People used to do things like bury their competitors’ names in the meta-tags so people looking for the competitor would be directed to their site. Today, Google either does not read and take the meta-tags with a grain of salt. There is some suggestion that they look at the tags and if they don;t match the page then they penalise. Google in fact now reads the page, so the logic in that the content on the page needs to return the information that you want Google to be giving weight to. If you want to be found for ‘WordPress Web Design’ then you need to make sure those specific words are on the page, and probably three times. Overplay it too much and Google will mark you down again. Google penalises those sites it believes are trying to manipulate the search engine unfairly.