"What is SEO and why should I care about it for my business?"
Simply put, SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of optimizing your website and your business to appear higher in online search results by properly utilizing - and meeting the criteria for - what are referred to as "SEO ranking factors".
For example, optimizing your website, your Google My Business listing, or the information associated with your YouTube videos helps them appear higher in Google search results. Optimizing your Yelp business listing helps it appear higher in Yelp search results, and also increases the likelihood that a Google search produces results in which Yelp mentions - and highlights - your business. Contrary to popular belief, SEO isn't just for your website ... everywhere your business appears online can be optimized for improved search results.
There are countless SEO ranking factors that help determine where your business appears in search results. Among the most important of these are the quality, quantity, relevancy, and originality of the textual content your business provides online. You don't have to be - or hire - a professional content writer to perform well in these areas ... good writing skills, combined with a solid knowledge of your business and its target audience, can provide you with a real SEO edge over your competition. As it applies to your website, this practice is particularly effective if combined with proper use of heading tags and well-constructed title & meta description tags. (Yes, I know some of this might sound a bit technical, but that's okay ... a good SEO professional understands its importance and implementation, and can explain it to you in greater detail.)
Another very important - and typically overlooked - consideration is that every site and every search engine has its own unique set of SEO rules and ranking factors. For instance, Google has one set of SEO rules for Google search, and another set of SEO rules for its Google My Business listings. Yelp has its own set of SEO rules, as do Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, craigslist, ad infinitum. Knowing - and playing by - the rules is an essential part of effective SEO.
Of course, these few paragraphs just scratch the surface ... as you might expect, there's much more to SEO. Some of its elements are relatively simple, while others are considerably more involved and complex. In considering anyone to do your SEO, I recommend asking tough questions (nicely, of course!) to help you determine whether they're legitimate SEO experts, or just out to get your money.